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:
Why Do People Love Duck Boots So Much?
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.
Partly, that’s because dad-style shoes, hats and clothing are popular right now, but duck boots are also super practical if you live in a cold, wet region. 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 a 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. The North Face Back-to-Berkeley Redux Remtlz Lux
BEST EVERYDAY LOOK
North Face is the top name in the outerwear 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. 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.
Because these don’t match the typical duck boot style, snag your regular shoe size for these bad boys. They run to fit how any other sneaker would, so these aren’t quite as rocket science as some of the other boots listed.
3. Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot
Now that the weather’s getting chillier, it’s time to throw those Sperrys in the back of your closet for next summer’s pontoon boat parties. Or… is it? Well, yes, it is, but if you’re going to miss your Sperrys oh-so-much during the next couple of months, transition from your go-to summer boat shoe to your a pair of duck boots that have the same level of comfort. Tell the rain to screw off in style with a sturdy rubber shell and slip-proof sole that will keep your tootsies dry and warm as the rain falls down and snow begins to accumulate until the sun’s steaming next May.
If you’ve ever worn a pair of Sperry’s boat shoes before, get whichever size you’d typically get for those when purchasing the Saltwaters unless you plan to double (or triple) up on the sockage. If that’s the case, we suggest heading up a half size.
4. London Fog Ashford Duck Boots
BEST PRICE POINT
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. They come in at just $50 and considering their stylish look and cozy-feel, they’re a genuinely affordable pair for any guy.
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 men’s 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.
5. 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.
6. Kamik Fargo Snow Boot
BEST FOR SNOW
While most duck boots work appropriately on snowy terrain, the Kamik Fargo snow boots are 100% meant to take on any snowscape. These are the perfect duck boot for guys living up north and tend to see a decent chunk of powder during the colder months. They’re completely waterproof, insulated and seam-sealed, so absolutely nothing, and we mean NOTHING, is going to get your socks wet when these are on. They’re totally warm and even elevate your step a bit, making that classic snow trudge a little less difficult than it normally has to be.
We suggest ordering your regular shoe size, but some reviewers claim that these duck boots run a little small. We just think that considering these are built to wear in the snow, these guys are choosing to wear an extra pair of socks on their feet to combat the cold, making the boots a little tougher to squeeze into. All in all, it really just depends on how you wear boots in the winter — if you’re a thick sock lover, maybe it’s smart to size up.
7. Polo Ralph Lauren Declan Water Repellent Duck Boot
While most of us aren’t really looking to sport any designer brands while wearing duck boots, some of us are. You do you! These water repellent duck boots from Polo Ralph Lauren take the style into another realm by bringing high-fashion to the mix. They’re exceptionally crafted to be both durable and affordable which is surprising given they’re designer brand. Rock them with a pair of ripped black jeans and an oversized sweater this fall and give us a look that nobody on the streets is at all ready for.
With these, we suggest you purchase your regular shoe size for your best fit. But you better act fast, these boots are essentially nowhere else right now than Nordstrom and there are only minimal sizes left. So get in on this buy before they’re gone forever!
8. Sperry Cold Bay Boots
BEST FOR COLD DAYS
The thermal insulation on these Sperry Cold Bay duck boots is guaranteed to keep toes toasty when you can’t depend on thick socks even in weather as cold as -25° F. While tons of people have never even imagined such a temperature, for others, that’s just a casual February. Made to be water-resistant, seam-sealed, durable and cushioned, these are the duck boots of all duck boots when it comes to keeping warm this winter.
These match your regular shoe size perfectly. You don’t have to wear an extra pair of socks with these, so you’ll never experience the tight fit you might get from other duck boots. Just throw these on and take on that cold, cold world.
9. 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.
10. Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Avenue Duck Boot Chukka Boot
Sure, all of the boots are on our list are going to protect you from a little water. But what if there is A LOT of water? What if that water is mixed in with snow? And what if that water is in puddles all around you and falling from the sky? If you find yourself in really any of these scenarios, these duck boots from Sperry Top-Sider have your back (er, feet).
Aside from having your standard waterproof leather upper and rubber sole and footbed, these durable duck boots from Sperry Top-Sider also feature a seam-sealed waterproofing around the shoe, to make sure nothing gets in. To make things even more secure, they created the shoe with a seven-inch shaft (measured from the arch) to ensure no splashes skip in. Finally, both the shaft and footbed of the shoe are lined to keep you extra cozy no matter what ground you’re stepping onto.
11. SOREL Cheyanne II Winter Boot
BEST COLOR OPTIONS
While you likely aren’t researching men’s duck boots for the sake of fashion, it doesn’t hurt to have a nice pair of boots that look good and perform well. If you’re a man who appreciates options, check out SOREL’s take on the duck boot. These duck boots cross off your usual asks for a quality pair: they’re waterproof, boast a rubber sole and footbed and will keep your toesys cozy while you step out on a cold winter’s day. But you’re picking these up because you can get them in all gray, green or, heck, even red if you’re so inclined.
12. Sperry Top-Sider Breakwater Duck Boot
In a similar vein as the duck boots above, Everest-conquering duck boots aren’t always the goal. For those of you out there who really only need the most basic option that will keep their feet dry without requiring physical work to put them, consider Sperry’s Breakwaters. These men’s duck boots offer up a rubber footbed, easy to work laces and a plush lining throughout the inside to keep you warm. They’re not that high, so watch where you’re stepping, but if you’re only in need of shoes to get you to the corner store and back during a downpour, you can end your search with Sperry.
These fit your foot as well as any other shoe your size would. Throw these on with a casual pair of joggers and a hoodie and hit the road.
13. Vance Co. Tanner Boot
Merging the classic duck boot design with the more modern, elevated chelsea boot is the handsome looking tanner boot from Vance Co. Who would have thought these two styles could coexist so perfectly? Not us. They’re a timeless look make with faux leather, capable to both dress up or dress down no matter the look you’re going for.
Thinking about sizing up? Don’t. These boots were made for walking exactly in the size you normally wear.