When wet and cold weather arrives, every guy needs a waterproof pair of functional footwear that features top-notch insulation. Duck boots, also known as Bean boots, were invented back in 1912 when L.L. Bean himself grew weary of the discomfort he experienced after hunting trips that left him with freezing, damp feet.
And lo, the iconic L.L. Bean Duck Boot was born. Since 1912, these boots have been hand made in Brunswick, Maine by L.L. Bean, and they often sell out before the winter is over. Even after 100 years, these boots still feature the triple stitching that makes them so good at keeping moisture away from your feet. In recent years, these boots have become particularly popular, part of the trend in menswear toward dad-style clothing, bags, and shoes (you can thank dad-core for the white sneaker trend, too). You can still buy the original duck boots at L.L. Bean, but there are similar styles available from other top retailers. They aren’t the most attractive shoes in the world, but they will keep your feet warm and dry no matter what.
If you’re looking for the best ducks boots available today, we’ve included a range of duck boot dupes below, but you should start by checking out the original. These are the men’s boots that started it all:
The term “duck boots” is thrown around loosely today and may include rain-proof footwear alternatives that don’t always align with the original design of the duck boot. For those of us who are in the know about footwear or want to hop on the resurfaced outdoor trend, the duck boots you want are the ones made with rubber soles, a leather upper, quality insulation, and long rope laces. And yeah, they’re certified cool right now.
What is the purpose of duck boots?
Duck boots will not only keep feet well-protected from the elements, but they’re built to remain functional and reliable in icy, slushy, and creepily cold conditions. Thanks to the lace-up style that mimics an ice skate, duck boots can be tightened to keep even the smallest spec of snow from hitting the top of your socks. The leather-and-lace upper design keeps the usual winter bulk at bay, so not only does it look better resembling a regular shoe, but you’ll be more in control of your stride, too.
Don’t take duck boot shopping lightly and wind up with a pair that will make you look and feel like a quack. We’ve reviewed the best duck boots on the market, so you can take home the perfect pair. Check out the best duck boots for men below.
1. L.L. Bean Shearling-Lined Bean Boots
This updated version of the classic Bean boot features warm shearling lining, dark earth leather and laces, and the classic rubber bottom. The full-grain leather fiends off frosty intrusions while the chain-tread bottom will keep you firmly planted on the ground despite slippery conditions. Handcrafted in Maine, the all-weather performance of these duck boots is unbeatable.
Duck Boot Tip: If you wear a half size and intend to wear your duck boots on only uber cold days, order a half size down. If your shoe size is a whole number, order your regular size. If you know you’ll wear light or midweight socks with the duck boots, order a full size down if you normally wear a whole size and a size and a half down if you typically wear a half size.
2. Nike Lunar Force 1 Duck Boots
BEST EVERYDAY LOOK
Nike is the top name in the activewear industry, and it’s no surprise the brand offers up one of the best duck boot alternatives designed to conquer (and not just get through) the elements. Similar to the brand’s famous sneakers, not only were these shoes crafted to keep you swift on your feet, but they also come with an elevated aesthetic and, dare we say, swagger. While you might not want to slip these on to shovel snow after the biggest storm of the season hits, these duck boots will be your go-to for work, shopping sprees, and more on wintry days.
Made with classic rubber soles and a leather upper, this pair features a lighter textile interior, so you can go ahead and order your normal shoe size. The over-sized Nike logo looks subtle and sleek, too.
3. London Fog Ashford Duck Boots
BEST DUCK BOOTS UNDER $100
Worn with wool socks, these London Fog Ashford duck boots will keep you cozy on the coldest of days. They’re perfect for romping around the outdoor portion of the resort on your next ski trip, and reviewers even say they’re durable enough to keep feet warm and dry on the trails, too.
This line is sold in whole sizes, so you can order your regular size or size down if you’re typically a half size. If you’re looking for boots for freezing temperatures only, you’ll want to go with one of the other options on this list with more insulation. So, if you wear socks up to medium thickness at your regular size or just a half-size down, these duck boots should fit you perfectly right out of the box.
4. ArcticShield Duck Boots
BEST DUCK BOOTS UNDER $50
These duck boot dupes cost under $50, so you’d never expect them to be Amazon’s Choice in the duck boots category. Here’s why they snagged that accolade: The duck boots are stylish enough for casual wear, but they’re rugged enough for all weather conditions in the great outdoors. Thanks to the durable rubber soles which contain slip-resistant patches, you’ll be swift on your feet even when there’s slush and snow on the ground.
Order your regular size and if you wear a half size then order a size up. Some reviewers have experiences off sizing based on their needs, but exchanges through Amazon are a breeze. You can snag a pair in this tan color, or go for dark brown or black.
5. Tommy Hilfiger Casey Duck Boots
BEST FOR RAINY WEATHER
These Casey duck boots by Tommy Hilfiger look sleek and they make for the perfect rainy-day footwear option and they’re available in cognac (pictured below) or grey, which looks a bit elevated. These boots will keep you dry, but you’ll need to depend on the socks you wear with them to keep you warm as this pair doesn’t feature quality insulation.
If you’re looking for a casual duck boot you can sport on the next muddy fall hike or just footwear that’s a bit more secure when you take the trip to chop down your Christmas tree, this is a great option.
6. Nautica Channing Duck Boots
BEST FOR COLD DAYS
The insulation on these Nautica Channing duck boots is guaranteed to keep toes toasty when you can’t depend on thick socks. Keep in mind, the soles on this pair of duck boots are made of a hard material that makes it easier for snow to pack in, which can reduce traction. And, if you look closely, these duck boots feature double stitching where the originals feature a triple stitch. But if you’re looking for the best pair of duck boots to keep you dry on a freezing, rainy day, these boots won’t let you down. And at less than half the price of the L.L. Bean version, these are some of the best duck boot dupes available today.
Bonus: The upper features vegan leather.
7. The North Face Chilkat Insulated Boots
BEST MOUNTAIN BOOT
We mentioned that the term “duck boots” now includes boots that fall out of the traditional style, and this is our favorite pair out of those options. If you’re itching to go ice fishing or hit the mountain when the winter hits, you’ll want to keep a pair of these duck boot alternatives close by.
With a style mirroring the traditional duck boot, these Chilkat insulated boots by The North Face feature special IcePick temperature-resistant rubber lugs and Heatseeker insulation to keep feet extra dry and warm no matter the conditions. If you’re a real outdoor junkie, you probably are wondering if you can pull on your gaiters over these boots, and not only will you be able to, but the Chilkat boots contain a D-ring so you can attach them easily and keep your legs protected.
You’ll really want the perfect fit, so first go for ordering a half size up. They might feel tight at first (thank the thick insulation), but once they’re worn in, your feet will have more room. If you order a half size up and they’re really too tight, send them back and size up again. In the conditions you’ll be wearing these, you’ll want to make sure you have optimal circulation after hours of wear.