Best Ice Fishing Boots (Buying Guide)
If you love ice fishing, you know that just as essential as bringing the right bait, is wearing the right pair of boots. As one of the chilliest sports, investing in proper footwear is essential to keep your toes comfy, and protected from the elements. Don’t settle for a pair of regular hiking boots or trainers that lack the needed insulation, traction, and grip: you need a pair of Best Ice Fishing Boots in your life!
To help you navigate your way towards the top-rated options on Amazon, we’ve comprised this handy Best Ice Fishing Boots overview. We’ve rounded up our favorite waterproof styles guaranteed to you – and your feet – firmly on the ice without the risk of frostbite. With outstanding customer reviews and a premium quality standard, each cold-weather boot on this list is a solid choice for ice fishing enthusiasts.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
Discover the differences between our favorite Best Ice Fishing Boots below and determine which are the perfect fit for your upcoming ice fishing trips:
Best Ice Fishing Boots – Overview
Muck Boot Arctic Sport Men’s Winter Boot
- 5 mm neoprene provides comfort and flexibility, along with excellent waterproofing, shock absorption and heat retention properties; adjusts to your foot shape to resist blisters and chafing
Why is the Arctic Sport rated as one of the best boots for ice fishing? Well, it’s a combination of premium materials, excellent insulation, and surprisingly comfortable fit. This high-performance winter boot features an MS-1 molded outsole that is rugged, durable, and provide excellent traction. The 5mm neoprene shell is waterproof and flexible, plus offers additional shock absorption and heat retention.
Concerning the inner boot, the Arctic Sport has an EVA molded midsole with an ergonomically contoured footbed for comfort and cushioning. The design also comes with a soft fleece lining. A 2mm thermal foam underlay in the instep area and footbed provides additional insulation and warmth, even in extra cold conditions.
- Eva molded midsole
- Thermal foam underlay
- Waterproofed neoprene shell
- Not ideal for walking long distances
- Not for extremely cold temperatures
Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot
- EXTREME CONDITIONS: Made for the most extreme conditions, the XT boots provide warmth, waterproofing, traction and comfort; Great for urban adventures in the harshest winters
The Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot has a waterproof rubber shell and PU coated synthetic upper. Part of the Extreme (XT) collection, the style offers all the protective benefits of the original Bear Snow Boot, plus an innovative new method of heat retention. Why? Because this XT version comes with Sorel’s new ‘Omni-Heat™ Reflective Lining’ in the removable 9mm recycled felt inner boot. This means the liner is reflective and helps maximize heat management and retention. A metallic dot pattern retains heat, whilst the liner is also very breathable to aid the dissipating of moisture and excess heat. Keeping your feet at the ideal temperature, all day long.
Removable inner felt liner
We want to point out that the removable, 9mm felt inner boot is a big perk for multi-day fishing trips. When you camp out for the night, whether that’s in a cabin or tent, you can still keep your toes warm by only wearing the felt boots. Plus, if you chuck them at the bottom of your sleeping bag or near the stove, they’ll already be warmed up in the morning. Meaning that when you slip into the rubber shell, you don’t have to worry about cold feet or your boots reaching a comfy temperature.
The rest of the Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot is just as innovative and top-grade as the special Omni-Heat lining technology. The midsole of this winter boot is a sealed, 6mm Thermoplus felt, with a 2.5mm bonded felt frost plug. The outsole is made of handcrafted, waterproof ‘vulcanized’ rubber. And features Sorel’s special AeroTracs, non-loading lug. Designed especially to increase grip and traction on icy, snow-laden conditions.
- Special AeroTracs, non-loading lug pattern
- Inner felt boot can be worn separately
- Special Omni-Heat warmth retention technology
- Made by an expert brand in outdoor gear
- Not ideally balanced with super-lightweight upper, yet heavy base
- Tend to run small (consider sizing-up)
- Can be a bit tight on the calves
Tip: If you want a more traditional-style winter boot that’s also great for hiking and walking, check out the Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot – a versatile, well-insulated favorite amongst outdoor enthusiasts. Also, if you like the style of the Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot, but are on a tighter budget, consider the Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot. This style by Kamik is similar in design than the Sorel model but falls in a lower price range for those that don’t want to break the bank.
Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated Boot
The design by Baffin is a top-rated style amongst ice fishing enthusiasts. The style features a Hardy Timberwolf leather upper, enhanced with Diamond-Lite insulated nylon panels. The 8-layer inner boot system comes with Baffin’s famous Thermaplush technology. This means the boot’s most innermost layer is made of a next-to-skin material (Thermaplush) that feels exceptionally smooth and soft. Adding a whole new dimension of comfort to the style. This Thermaplush layer uses a vaporized aluminum membrane with a silver surface to reflect energy toward the boot. Maximizing heat retention in a state-of-the-art way.
The style also comes with a comfortable waffle insole and an ergonomic footbed for added support and comfort. The design’s integrated Arctic Flex rubber base adds even more protection. Whilst the durable rubber outsole with Icepaw™ technology gives you increased grip and traction on slippery and wet terrains.
Quick lace-up bungee cord
Other design perks of the Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated All-Weather Boot are the style’s lace-up front with drawstring/bungee cord closure. Plus an adjustable cuff with bungee closure. Allowing you to quickly tighten or loosen the fit, even when your fingers are stiff and cold.
If you’re looking for a winter boot that performs well in all kind of extreme conditions and will keep your feet warm, dry, and protected: you can’t go wrong with this premium style by Baffin. Granted, it is a pricey investment, but with outstanding durability and comfort, this boot should last you for many years to come.
- Arctic Flex rubber base + Icepaw technology adds grip and protection
- Thermaplush heat-retention for superb insulation
- Ideal for extreme weather conditions
- Temperature rating of -94° Fahrenheit
- Ergonomic footbed and waffle insole for extra comfort
- Tend to run small (consider sizing-up)
- Quite a heavy boot (approx 2lbs 2oz)
All 3 styles on this Best Ice Fishing Boots Overview tick the boxes. Every boot offers excellent insulation against the cold, plus is waterproofed to ensure your feet stay dry even when wading through slush, snow, and icy water. Which matches your needs best, depends on where and how you plan to wear the boots. For those that plan to go ice fishing in extremely cold temperatures, a heavy-duty, high-performance style such as the Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot, or the Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated All-Weather Boot makes a solid choice. If you’re looking for an all-rubber shell and don’t require the highest level of insulation, a muck boot style such as the Arctic Pro may be ideal. It also depends on your budget, and if you plan to wear the boots on outdoor hikes. The Arctic Pro Muck Boot is less ergonomic for walking long distances, meaning you’re better off with a hiking boot/snow boot hybrid like the Baffin Men’s Snow Monster.
That said, you can’t go wrong with any of these 3 options. We’ve carefully gone through all customer reviews and can confirm each product on the list is recommended by ice fishers, for ice fishers. These are not only excellent winter boots but also top-rated options for lovers of this extreme hobby: ensuring they’re a great catch for every ice fishing enthusiast.
If we had to pick a winner, the Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated All-Weather Boot would be top of our wishlist. Not only is this boot the most temperature resistant (temperature rating of -94°F), but it’s also big on comfort. An ergonomic footbed and waffle insole make them suitable for all-day wear, whilst keeping your feet stable and dry. The excellent use of materials and durability makes them a worthy investment for ice fishers who want to upgrade their gear, and are only prepared to settle for the highest quality standard.
Don’t get us wrong: we also really like the Sorell and Muck Boot products on this list. But when it comes to premium performance, this truly is a Snow Monster that can trample any kind of extreme weather challenge. On the ice or wading through deep snow: this Baffin style has got you, and your need for insulation and grip, firmly covered.
Best Ice Fishing Boots – FAQ
We know that buying a pair of ice fishing boots can be a bit daunting with so many styles, brands, and types on the market. That is why exactly why we’re answering which are the main criteria for buying ice hiking boots. Get informed about exactly what you should look for when shopping for ice fishing boots, and avoid the hook, line, and sinker trap of falling for cheap dupes or low-grade footwear.
What are the key criteria for buying ice fishing boots?
Ice fishing is one of the coldest hobbies. Sitting on the ice for hours at a time. Wading through slush, snow, and icy water. It’s no surprise ice fishers are at increased risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and general discomfort. The good news is that a pair of well-insulated ice fishing boots can be the solution to staying safe, and warm. Insulation is a key factor when shopping for ice boots, snow boots, or fishing boots for cold weather conditions. Though keeping your feet warm with special neoprene or cold weather liners is important, so is air circulation and ventilation. Look for boots that don’t just insulate, but are also breathable and allow some cold air in to prevent your feet from getting sweaty. Moisture-wicking properties are also a big bonus, as keeping your feet both warm AND dry is the best combination.
Most ice fishing boots will indicate the level of insulation, and how many degrees Fahrenheit or Celcius they can handle. We’d never buy from a brand that fails to disclose this information, as it’s a key factor for the performance of your boots in cold temperatures.
Another term you’ll often come across when looking at the insulation of boots is ‘Thinsulate’. Thinsulate is a type of fabric that is lightweight, durable, moisture-wicking, and very thin. The material is made of polypropylene fibers stitched closely together. Compared to regular polyester fibers, Thinsulate fibers are extra small and extra dense, keeping you twice as warm, for example, 6-denier polyester (also used in outdoor gear insulation).
So, what makes Thinsulate insulation that much more effective? The secret lies in the way the fabric can trap air, and reflect body heat. In general, insulating fabric work in two steps. Firstly, they trap air to retain warmth. The more air a fabric can ‘trap’, the higher the insulation. The second step is reflecting the body’s heat, maximizing warmth.
As the Thinsulate fibers are roughly ten times smaller than regular synthetic insulation fabrics, they are much more capable of trapping air. As the fibers are also super dense, more of them can be ‘stitched’ together per square inch, allowing them to better reflect the body’s heat and maintaining a comfy temperature inside your boot.
Thinsulate is available in different types of thickness and constructions. Every brand that uses Thinsulate for their cold weather boots will generally list the R-value, also known as the thermal resistance. This R-value specifies the type of Thinsulate used. For example, a boot with a 1.6 R-value is an 80-gram fabric Thinsulate. A boot with a 2.9 R-value rating is a 200-gram Thinsulate. The higher the R-value of a pair of Best Ice Fishing Boots, the better they will insulate, protect, and retain heat.
Ice fishing boots can be made of various materials, but how do you determine which ones are the ‘best’ for your outdoor adventures? Let us help you! Overall, there are 3 main materials you should look out for, as these are proven to withstand cold, offer traction, and can withstand extreme weather conditions:
Outdoor boots often come with a rubber upper and/or rubber outsole. A rubber upper or rubber shell means your boot will have a slightly pliable, flexible silhouette that is water-resistant/waterproof, ideal for withstanding icy conditions. Rubber outsoles are generally lugged for extra traction and grip on slippery surfaces. The deeper the lug pattern, the more grip on loose undergrounds such as snow and slush. Do note that if you’re choosing a boot with a rubber upper or silhouette, an interior liner is crucial to prevent cold feet. Also, if a brand lists a non-slip rubber sole, this is preferable to help you keep your footing in all situations.
Leather is a classic material for hiking boots and outdoor footwear. Leather boots generally are a bit stiffer and rigid, and more durable than rubber or synthetics compounds. Real, high-quality leather is also puncture-resistant and less prone to tears. However, if you decide on a leather boot, make sure the material is waterproofed. Waterproof leather boots almost always have some time of water-repellent layer built-in between the leather upper and the interior of the shoe. For example, water-repelling Gore-Tex membrane, or a similar type of material. This will ensure you won’t get your feet wet, even when wading through slush.
Boots made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or polyester, are often more lightweight than their rubber and leather counterparts. Synthetic fabrics also tend to be softer, and more flexible, adding to the comfort of wear. That said, ensure that if you’re buying synthetic material boots, the quality is top-grade. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many cheap synthetic knock-offs that lack the performance to keep your feet insulated and dry. Due to the use of low-grade fabric. Double-check the denier nylon and/or the grade polyester used, and always make sure the materials are waterproofed.
Removable liners/regular liners in waterproof rubber boots are also mostly made of synthetic fabrics. For example, a Thinsulate insulation layer.
Ice fishing boots can also come with additional design elements such as arch-support, steel toe caps, quick lacing systems, and more. Though, for more regular ice fishers, fancy features such as arch-shanks and ankle-supports won’t be key factors. After all, sitting down is a big element of spending your day on the ice. However, if you plan to walk long distances in your boots, or want them to double as regular hiking boots, you may want to consider upgrading to a shoe that does come with these perks.
Also, consider the length/height of the boot. We’d advise against ankle-heigh models, as there are prone to let water in when wading through deep snow or slush. Choose a style that covers at least your heel and ankle, to ensure insulation and dryness. Do note that a knee-heigh boot offers great protection again water and slush, but may also be less comfortable for walking long periods due to their less flexible silhouette.