Best Ice Fishing Boots 2018 – Reviews And Top Picks

So, as usual, your ice fishing season cannot begin without an insulated bib or ice fishing suit, a toasty-warm winter parka, and a pair of reliable windproof gloves. However, none of these winter clothes will provide you the necessary cold protection without snow shoes. While your winter boots may have stayed with you for 15-20 years, they need a replacement occasionally – and no fishermen can allow themselves to be unscrupulous about these.

In what concerns your circulation, feet are the most distant body part from your heart, that’s why they get cold so easily. Entering the ice surface with leaky boots can be outright dangerous to your health. It also influences your comfort and may get you out of the ice sooner than you’d want to. Some other things you should remember to consider are the stability of grip on the slippery surface and also whether your boots stay dry in the high snow.

These and other characteristics are definitive in the selection of the most suitable ice-fishing boots for an angler – we’ll guide you through them as soon as we’re done with our review of the top 5 greatest winter fishing boots.

With the help of the table below, buyers will be able to quickly compare the parameters of the reviewed items.

Name
Weight (lbs)
Height (inches)
Price ($)
Price

Muck Boots have managed to obtain something of a legendary status. And here’s why: these shoes make their biggest emphasis on durability, ruggedness, and uncompromised warmness. They are designed to suit trekkers who go through snowy terrains in -40ΒΊ F. The Arctic Sport model keeps water off your boots’ insides thanks to the neoprene top (the same material scuba suits are made of). Both durability and warmth in mind are guaranteed with 5 mm neoprene. The quality material is also the answer to how these Muck boots counteract the issue of numb feet and bad circulation. Walking is made less tiresome due to the flexible rubber sole, while hard molded lugs on the outsole provide you with improved traction on uneven and slippery grounds.

Weight (lbs)
1.75
Height (inches)
14.5
Price ($)
96 – 362
PROS

reliably waterproof;

good traction;

high sides prevent snow from getting in.

Cons

not so warm as advertised.

With its black and camo color schemes, these boots by Baffin look very professional. Its lightweight combination of materials makes for a comfortable wearing experience: the shoes are easy to put on/off, while they remain on your leg with no slipping. You can pull tight the nylon snow collar to be able to walk in deep snow without it falling inside the boots. Its pull cord allows you to snug the collar around your pants or jeans when you tuck them in. To ensure warmness of these boots, Baffin uses Thermaplush insulation, enabling the product with an eight-layer inner system.

The specially designed tread on the sole maximizes the contact with the ice – in this way, your weight is distributed correctly, which lowers the risk of slipping. All this makes these insulated shoes excellent for snowmobiling, ice fishing, hunting, or simply remaining out in the cold for extended periods.

Weight (lbs)
2
Height (inches)
16
Price ($)
154 – 326
PROS

nicely insulated and warm;

increased durability;

fit tightly yet allow freedom of movement.

Cons

not 100% waterproof;

tricky to get the right size.

Sorel is known for its handcraft approach and waterproof technologies. These Bear Extreme shoes boast a vulcanized rubber shell with a polyurethane coating for increased protection against elements. The product’s felt inners hold your feet snugly with minimum slipping and dry quickly. Its rugged outsole provides you with sure footing, while the drawstring-enabled barrel-lock closure excludes the annoying snow inside your boots. With their flexible soles, your feet will have the necessary freedom of movement, not ending up with cold and numb toes. These boots will be a good choice for snowmobiling in colder regions.

Weight (lbs)
2.5
Height (inches)
13.5
Price ($)
122 – 312
PROS

excellent for snowmobiling;

good heat-retaining capacity;

high-quality rubber and polymer materials.

Cons

some models may leak, check upon purchase.

Here, LaCrosse offers us a stylish Realtree-colored article of footwear, combined of premium-quality materials. The sturdy rubber is laid by hand over a 3.5 mm thick neoprene core for optimal flexibility. The synthetic material is breathable and ensures comfortable wearing without scents. Sculptured liner allows for a better air circulation, channels out any moisture collected inside and dries up almost as quickly as natural wool.

The boot surrounds your ankle and calf with soft foam for a comfy fit, while you can further tighten the boot’s back with a strap. The rest of the strap you can tuck in with a special clip. To provide the maximum snow protection, your pant legs go inside the shaft for you to strap them down. With all their warmness features and well-made, non-slip tread, these best hunting boots for cold weather are very much to the point on a snowy terrain or a steep mountainside.

Weight (lbs)
4.8
Height (inches)
18
Price ($)
189
PROS

faster drying up;

adjustable with an ankle strap;

thick and rugged.

Cons

the upper part is not insulated.

Kamik boots stand for affordable quality, hands down. Their construction seems solid and promising in terms of longevity. They are easy to put on/take off thanks to the wide base; it also makes them comfortable to wear with socks. To save your time with these further, Kamik provided the product with a velcro strap right over the instep of the shoe, thus allowing you to control the fit even without extra socks. Don’t forget to loosen the strap before slipping them on.

The sole’s flexibility and aggressive traction will do you a good service for gripping in the snow. Anglers can use the drawstring at the top to keep high snow out. A moneywise choice for ice fishing, snowmobiling, sledding with your kids, or simply staying out in the frost.

Weight (lbs)
2
Height (inches)
13
Price ($)
50 – 93
PROS

very competitive price;

quick to put on/off;

comfortable wearing with socks.

Cons

not fully waterproof;

quite clumsy.

Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose an Ice Fishing Boots

What Makes a Good Ice Fishing Boot

The chief purpose of your winter footwear is to keep your feet warm and dry while allowing for long-term driving, walking, and standing. That being said, your main bet with boots goes with the quality of materials that should have the following characteristics:

  • waterproofness of both the bottom part and uppers to save your feet dry and prevent material degradation;
  • reliable synthetic (e.g. Thinsulate) or natural (e.g. wool) insulation to ensure good heat retention;
  • toughness and durability of the outsoles to provide long-term slip-resistance;
  • shock-absorbent design of the insole or footpad to keep you comfortable during long hikes.

As a rule, warmer boots tend to be pretty bulky. While keeping your feet toasty at -30 Β°F, they may be not as all-purpose as a lighter pair; for instance, large boots could limit your ability to drive. Living in negative temps can go to a point where you’ll need to own an extra pair of shoes just to drive a car.

However, if yours is not an extremely cold environment, you might want to consider buying a less bulky option to be able to drive without changing.

High-quality material

Boot materials are key as long as they determine the comfort, wearability, and longevity of your footwear. Nylon is excellent for lightness and higher breathability, but it doesn’t stop water from getting in, not all on its own. At the same time, leather can be waterproof to the max, but its breathability is moot. That is why the best winter boots feature either a blend of materials, such as split-grain leather combined with nylon, or advanced materials, like Gore-Tex in Danner boots, to be both breathable and waterproof.

Rubber is, undoubtedly, the most reliable material for soles and the one offering the greatest traction. However, due to heaviness as its main disadvantage, many manufacturers seek after alternative sole materials, such as polymers or modified/synthetic rubber. A good example of this is Kamik’s rubber (He) created specifically with lightness in mind (50% less heavy than natural rubber). Depending on whether an angler puts the emphasis on sturdiness and durability or a higher speed of movement, he/she should choose the combination of materials accordingly.

Waterproofness

Wetness in your shoes begins with snow, bits of ice and drops of cold water entering through the material and/or from over the top. This explains why rubber and hybrid rubber (He) are superior to leather in the winter boot manufacture – rubber remains both leak-resistant and impenetrable for cold air, where leather would soak slowly through unlacquered patches in below-zero temps. This goes for the boots’ sole and instep, while the waterproofness of the shaft mainly comes with polymer materials, also allowing your foot to breathe and not accumulate wetness in the form of perspiration.

Some anglers, however, may have a somewhat lower level of requirements to water resistance. If you are planning to be standing and walking on unstable and slippery ice, rather than trailing through ankle-deep slush, your focus, then, should be on a waterproof and gripping outsole. Check your purchase by putting it to test in water/slush reaching over the foot portion of the shoe. Completely sealed boots are great for sleety weathers, whereas a good grip is more important in dry frost.

Insulation

The thickness of insulation is what makes your shoes bulky; still, buying larger boots is worth it where the temperatures get real low. The trick is, you can wear good quality socks even with well-insulated fishing boots, thus maximizing the heat retaining capabilities of your footwear. In not-so-freezing weather, though, an over-insulated pair of boots could be too hot to wear. Normally, you can judge the amount of insulation by grams, where 400 g will make for a cooler pair and 2,000 g is quite hot. Moderate options, such as 800 g and 1,000 g are the most popular due to their higher versatility.

You also should understand that insulation isn’t the only thing that renders the boots warm. A concept of ‘action warmness’ is your another guarantee of a comfortable wear as it may completely balance out the thinner insulation yet preserve the lightness of your shoes. In some winter footwear, you will notice a plastic honeycomb separator immediately underneath the liner, which creates a heat-insulating layer of air at the bottom of your boot. For people doing a lot of walking, this technology may be more preferable to thicker and heavier boots.

Boot weight and height

Experienced anglers know that mobility outweighs warmness when things get active. You wouldn’t want to be clumsy if you need to walk around regularly in deep snow/slush or have a lot of heavy pulling/lifting on the agenda. In the footwear industry, lightness is born with hybrid materials, like fabric/rubber in MuckBoots or a polymer construction of the Baffin. Modern polymers and modified rubber bring in a good lot in terms of cold protection and grip. As the result, composite boot designs are both lightweight and durable, with thermosetting parameters completing the bargain.

However, you might as well opt for classic 100% waterproof rubber if you don’t mind working out with heavier shoes.

In what concerns the height and ankle fit, the general practice tells us that you can’t go wrong with the higher boot. Taller boots protect your heel and ankles more effectively. It greatly reduces the risk of strain on rocky terrains and also provides you with improved warmness. Some winter styles go up and over your calf to enhance the comfort. However, beware of too-high boots if you’re walking around a lot because they might tire you more.

Additional features

Earlier we mentioned breathability, as an important parameter to protect your feet from getting sweaty due to all the activity. Although many brands may not mention this directly in their product descriptions, a moisture-absorbing inner liner is a great thing to check for.

Another useful extra feature is the compatibility with heating inserts. This type of boot heaters uses charge to keep your feet toasty for up to 8 hours. In addition, the inserts could also improve the overall waterproofness.

Many winter boots are enabled with cleats to get you firm footing on slippery surfaces. Whether you need them built-in or prefer slipping them on/off when needed really depends on your lifestyle. Certain anglers prefer removable cleats to avoid tracking in their car while driving. On the other hand, integrated cleats provide you with a surefire anti-slip feature since they are impossible to walk out and save you the trouble of trying to wear them on in bulky winter clothes.

A heel kick is necessary for some boots that tend to sit on your leg maybe too well. Always make sure that your newly bought boots are equally easy to put on and off. Laces or straps in the uppers will come in handy for taking the shoes off; still, they often are missing in winter footwear that’s why you should look for a heel kick whenever possible.

Tips for keeping your feet dry&warm

Actually, you can improve your fishing experience with any boots by following the tips below:

  1. Don’t put your fishing boots on before you make it to the lake. Give your feet some freedom and wear the boots only when on the ice.
  2. For long-distance hikes, you’ll benefit remarkably from setting out in a lighter pair and later switching it when you start feeling colder. Have a change of dry socks too, especially if you are prone to sweating.
  3. A combination of wool socks under a pair of thin wicking socks is very efficient.
  4. Always leave a channel for the trapped moisture to escape. For this, try not to lace/strap your boots too tightly at the top. Provided your shoes have a wicking, breathable insulation, your legs will be able to dry up as you walk.

Conclusion

We hope that you get it right. Not only high-quality polymers and leather ensure you durability and waterproofness, but also the design of your boots itself. A well-thought-out boot construction will include a multilayer insulation, a removable liner and, at the same time, will remain lightweight to not get your feet sweaty during long hikes. Extra goodies in the premium models will be an EVA cushioned midsole, special snow traction, and a rubberized or rugged exterior. Take your time considering the suitable model and stay reliably warm on your outings!

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By Chris Hayes
about author

My name is Chris and I am a hunter, outdoorsman, survivalist of 36 years old from Bosie, Idaho. Being a participant of Ihea-USA, I like big game hunting most of all, especially hunting white-tailed deer. Except hunting, I’m also keen on fishing and gaining new knowledge how to survive in the wild nature. As a professional hunter, I do not stop improving upon own hunting skills and testing new gear, equipment, hardware and weapons. I write articles to share my experience and knowledge with the readers who motivate me for more. For any additional information contact me at [email protected]