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When wet and cold weather arrives, every guy needs a waterproof pair of functional footwear with top-notch insulation. Duck boots, also known as Bean boots, were invented in 1912 when L.L. Bean 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 handmade 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 similar styles are available from other top retailers. They’re a pretty unconventional-looking shoe, but given that they’ve been around for over a century, they’re a certified classic.
If you’re looking for the best men’s 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 know about footwear or want to hop on the resurfaced outdoor trend, the duck boots you want are 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 keep feet well-protected from the elements and are 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 also be more in control of your stride.
In addition to LL Bean’s Bean boots, Sperry is one of the top brands for duck boots. Sperry duck boots are available in a wider range of colors than LL Bean’s, so they’re a good option if you want a more modern style or something different. In addition to Sperry, there are other great brands, including designer labels like Thom Browne and Diemme and outdoorsy brands like UGG and Sorel.
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 rounded up the best duck boots on the market so that 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 Sizing Tip: According to LL Bean’s sizing chart, these boots run quite large. If you’re wearing light or midweight socks, you should order one size down for full sizes or one and a half sizes down for half sizes. If you’re wearing heavyweight socks, take your normal size for full sizes, or go one full size down for half sizes.
2. Sperry Men’s Duck Float Lace Up Boot
LL Bean may have originated the style, but Sperry duck boots have some of the best variety. These duck boots have a leather camo upper with a tonal rubber outer for a more contemporary take. The orange laces add to the tactical, military-inspired look of these boots. The microfleece lining keeps you comfortable and warm.
Sizing Tip: It’s available in whole and half sizes and fits true to size.
3. Wolverine Heritage Muscovy Chukka
If you’re wearing your duck boots to work, these chukkas from Wolverine Heritage make for the perfect companion. These heavy-duty bad boys use a waterproof full grain leather upper with a TPU shell to stay handsome and durable under all weather circumstances. They merge brown and black in a way your mom told you wasn’t allowed but look way too rugged doing so. Your feet stay dry yet breathable with 200g Thinsulate Ultra insulation and a moisture-wicking mesh lining. So, wetness will never be a problem you’ll have to face. Each boot is complete with an EVA midsole.
Sizing Tip: Fits true to size, but consider ordering a half size up if you’ll be wearing very thick socks.
4. Sorel Cheyanne II Snow Boot
BEST FOR BAD WEATHER
Sorel is a name everyone should know as soon as temperatures drop. Why? This brand has mastered snow-ready boots. For real. Just look at the Cheyanne II snow boots and see what we mean. These boots are tremendously handsome and can keep your feet toasty in temperatures as low as -25°F. And, yeah, they’ll also keep your feet as dry as possible. In addition, you can expect real traction to ensure that if you’re walking on slippery sidewalks, you won’t ever take a tumble.
Sizing Tip: Fits true to size.
5. L.L.Bean 8-Inch Flannel-Lined Thinsulate Insulation Bean Boots
Dip your toes into lumberjack territory with these flannel-lined duck boots, ready for whatever life throws at them. Hiking? Sure. Working outdoors? Of course. Wandering the city streets? Why not. With a pair of boots this good-looking, the possibilities are endless. The boots are lined with the same cotton used in L.L.Bean’s famous Scotch Plaid Shirts to bring the coziness down from your abdomen to your feet. They really will be a winter fav of yours in no time.
Sizing Tip: According to LL Bean, you should go one size up if you’re wearing heavyweight socks. For light or midweight socks, you can take your normal whole size or order one size down for half sizes.
6. UGG Emmett Duck Boot
No matter what’s going on, the UGG Emmett Duck Boots will keep you cozy on the coldest of days. But you shouldn’t be surprised — they’re UGGs. These duck boots are perfect for romping around the outdoor portion of the resort on your next ski trip, and they’re durable enough to keep feet warm and dry on the trails, too. If you’re only looking for men’s boots for freezing temperatures, you’ve found the pair to snag. Literally, these rugged boots can hold their own in temperatures as low as -25 degrees. Available in two colors, these waterproof and insulated duck boots will keep you looking quite handsome.
Sizing Tip: This line is sold in whole sizes, so you can order your regular size or size down if you’re typically a half size.
7. Sperry Cold Bay Duck Boot
If you want a pair of duck boots but don’t want L.L.Bean, the Cold Bay Duck Boots from Sperry are quite the reliable option. Not only are these some of the best-looking duck boots on this list, but they use a smart 200-gram Thinsulate insulation to ensure your feet stay warm and dry no matter where you’re walking. Water never saw it coming. Each boot is bottomed off with Wave-Siping for traction, ensuring you won’t slip in the slickest circumstances.
Sizing Tip: Reviewers say that these puppies fit just right, so get your exact size unless you plan on bundling sock after sock.
8. Polo Ralph Lauren Oslo Low Waterproof Boot
These lace-up boots have a buckle across the top and panels across the top and heel, making for a pretty aggressive-looking boot. In short, they won’t be for everyone. But if you want a rugged boot with water resistance, Ralph Lauren has you covered. These boots have uppers made from waxed suede, meaning you won’t have the usual cold-weather worries you get with a pair of suede shoes.
Sizing Tip: Fits true to size.
9. Thom Browne RWB Stripe Chelsea Duck Boot
While most of us aren’t looking to sport any designer brands while wearing duck boots, some of us are. You do you! These waterproof duck boots from Thom Browne take the style into another realm by bringing high fashion to the mix. They’re exceptionally crafted from smoothed leather to be durable and good-looking. With these, we suggest you purchase your regular shoe size for your best fit.
Sizing Tip: Get a half-size up if you plan on tripling up on the socks this season.
Read More: Best Red Wing Boots
10. A-COLD-WALL* NC. 1 DIRT BOOT
ACW makes streamlined pieces inspired by tactical gear, usually in black. These unique boots draw inspiration from duck boots, thanks to their contrasting leather and neoprene uppers. The heel pull makes them easier to pull on and off, while the chunky soles help with traction.
Sizing Tip: Fits true to size.
11. Converse Gray Utility Hi Explore Sneakers
Converse has long been known for making classic sneakers, but lately, the brand has been stepping out of its comfort zone and experimenting with unique materials and silhouettes. Take these high-top sneakers, which are unlike anything else we’ve seen. They have textured paneling on the toes, nodding to duck boots and Converse’s Chuck Taylor sneakers. The shoes have an insulated, waterproof lining.
Sizing Tip: Fits more like sneakers than boots.
12. Sperry Breakwater Duck Boot
In a similar vein as the duck boots above, Everest-conquering duck boots aren’t always the goal. Consider Sperry’s Breakwaters if you only need the most basic option to keep your feet dry without requiring physical work to put them on. These men’s duck boots offer 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. Throw these on with a casual pair of joggers and a hoodie and hit the road.
Sizing Tip: These fit your foot as well as any other shoe your size would.
13. 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, will get your socks wet when these are on. They’re warm and even elevate your step a bit, making that classic snow trudge a little less difficult than it usually has to be.
Sizing Tip: We suggest ordering your regular shoe size, but some reviewers claim that these duck boots run small. We 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. It depends on how you wear boots in the winter — if you’re a thick sock lover, maybe it’s wise to size up.
14. Diemme Balbi Light Grey Suede
If you’re a fan of duck boots, then Diemme is absolutely a brand you need on your radar. The Italian brand makes elevated takes on duck boots, including this style, which marries a suede Chelsea boot upper with a rugged rubber vamp. The tonal style makes for a more modern take on the duck boot.
Sizing Tip: Sizes and pricing are European, but these boots are worth doing math for.
15. L.L.Bean Bean Boots Rubber Moc
Something we never thought we’d see? A half duck boot, half moccasin hybrid. Yet, here it is, proving that in 2021, just about anything can happen. Unlike most regular moccasins, these shed rain and snow easily to keep your feet dry and cozy when wearing them outdoors. They aren’t necessarily like most snow shoes, though, given they lack coverage for the ankle and lower leg. That said, these should be your go-to if you’re going on a few errands in a dusting. But, wearing these when the snow has accumulated more than two inches? Good luck, Charlie.
Sizing Tip: Follow same tips as normal duck boots.
16. Lands’ End Insulated Flannel Lined Chelsea Duck Boots
Merging the classic duck boot design with the more modern, elevated Chelsea boot is the handsome-looking Chelsea duck boot from Lands’ End. Who would have thought these two styles could coexist so perfectly? Not us. They’re a timeless look made with a fine leather upper, capable of dressing up or down.
Sizing Tip: Thinking about sizing up? Don’t. These boots were made for walking exactly in the size you usually wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Duck boots are made with rubber bottoms stitched to leather uppers. The boots are designed for wet weather, and contemporary designs are all based on the original "Bean boots" by LL Bean.
Duck boots can withstand snowy conditions, but if you want extra warmth, you can buy flannel or shearling-lined versions.
Duck boots are a rugged style, so pairing them with other rugged pieces like work pants and denim will work well. Or, you can go in a more preppy direction.