Are Duck Boots Good for Snow? Don’t Duck Around With This

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by  Bradon Matthews | Last Updated: 

As winter rolls in and cold weather falls upon us, you may find yourself in need of weatherproof footwear. 

Traditional winter boots are an obvious option, but they can be expensive and may not be in line with your personal sense of style. 

Maybe you already have a few pairs of boots sitting in your closet. Maybe you’re planning to buy a pair but just don’t want the winter boot aesthetic. 

If this is you, you may be asking yourself if duck boots are good for snow. This article will explore that question to help you make the best decision on your winter footwear. 

What Are Duck Boots? 

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Duck boots are a style of boot initially invented by Leon Leonwood Bean. Bean is the founder of the widely-known brand L.L. Bean.

For this reason, you’ll often hear L.L. Bean mentioned when referring to this style of boot

Leon Bean was an avid outdoorsman, spending much of his time engaged in tasks like hunting and chopping wood. Because he was based in Maine, he often did so in harsh weather conditions. 

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Over time, Bean got tired of constantly having wet feet. Despite wearing appropriate hunting attire, the rain and snow would penetrate his boots and leave him cold and damp. 

Bean decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided to create a boot that would stand up to water and cold temperatures while still maintaining the comfort and casualness of his leather boots. 

He did this by combining the rubber soles of a rain boot with the leather uppers of a casual boot. Thus, the duck boot was born. 

The rubber on the bottom of the boot is naturally water-repellent, keeping your feet dry when walking through rain or snow. The leather uppers are flexible and comfortable, keeping you from having to choose between movement or warmth.

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Duck boots were initially created for hunting, but they’ve since gained widespread popularity. You are just as likely to catch a glimpse of duck boots on a city street as in the woods.

Modern duck boots have evolved. While the general silhouette is the same, different models now feature things like additional insulation or visually interesting patterns.

Duck Boots Vs Rain Boots

While duck boots share many similarities with rain boots, the two aren’t the same. 

Rain boots are typically made entirely of rubber. They’re constructed from one continuous piece of rubber with a rubber sole attached at the end.

This keeps rain boots completely waterproof, but it can also make them a bit uncomfortable.

Duck boots seek to improve on this. They take the rubber sole of the rain boot and attach it to the leather upper of a more traditional work boot. 

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This makes them a bit more flexible and allows them to break in better than a rain boot.

If you’re wondering “are duck boots good for snow?”, you’ll be pleased to know they hold up better than rain boots.

Rain boots are thin. They are more like rubber shells than anything. While that is completely appropriate for rain, it’s not ideal for the cold that comes with snow.

This is where duck boots win out. They feature interior linings, many of which are intentionally padded to combat the cold. 

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This makes duck boots the clear winner when it comes to winter weather.

Additionally, rain boots don’t tend to provide strong traction. Their soles are typically rather minimal, making them easy to slip in. 

Duck boots are built for adventure. They tend to have bigger, grippy soles that can prevent you from slipping on ice. 

Overall, you can think of duck boots as the natural winter evolution of rain boots. They take the rubber that keeps water from getting in and add the elements you need to battle the winter.

Are Duck Boots Good for Snow? 

Duck boots are great for snow. They’re built to withstand harsh weather while keeping you exceptionally comfortable. 

One of the big factors that make duck boots so well suited to winter conditions is their rubber soles. 

Many work boots might have sufficient insulation to keep your feet warm, but they aren’t waterproof. If you wear them out into the snow, the warmth from your feet might melt the snow.

The snow then penetrates through the leather, soaking your socks and leaving your feet freezing for the rest of the day.

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Duck boots solve this problem by swapping the leather bottoms for rubber. Rubber isn’t penetrable the way leather is, and as a result, your duck boots won’t leave you with wet socks after a walk through the snow.

If it were just about waterproofing, rain boots would work fine for winter. But a good winter boot needs to do more than just keep water out. They need to keep your feet warm in freezing temperatures as well.

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The duck boot excels in this department. Most models of duck boot feature some form of insulation in addition to the typical padding you’d get with any leather boot. 

This insulation keeps your feet nice and warm in the harshest weather. 

The leather uppers also have the advantage of making duck boots flexible and comfortable. They’re designed to be worn on hunting trips, meaning they need to be able to move with your ankles.

The leather used in the shaft of the boot does just that. It keeps you nimble while cushioning and protecting your ankles and shins.

Not only will you stay warm in duck boots, but you’ll be able to perform whatever outdoor activities you need them for. 

Are Sperry Duck Boots Good for Snow?

Sperry is one of the most popular footwear brands to produce duck boots. Because of this, many people want to know if Sperry duck boots are good for snow. 

The answer depends on which model of boot you purchase from Sperry. 

Sperry Avenue Duck Boot
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While all of Sperry’s duck boots are somewhat well suited to snowy conditions, not all are equal. They offer their standard Avenue model with weatherproofing, meaning your feet won’t get wet when walking from the car to the office.

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That said, the Avenue doesn’t have any serious insulation. It may keep your feet dry, but it isn’t going to do much to help keep them from getting cold. 

For this reason, you’re better off going with their Ice Bay boot. This boot features a Thinsulate lining, ensuring your feet stay warm even in freezing winter temperatures.

The Ice Bay boot also features a taller boot shaft. While not absolutely essential in a winter boot, the higher shaft can be nice in that it can help keep more of your leg warm and keep any snow or slush from slipping into your boots from the top.

If you’re looking for a solid winter boot, the Sperry Ice Bay is a solid and affordable option that should give you all the waterproofing and insulation you need for typical wear.

2 Best Duck Boots for Snow 

When looking for duck boots, your main focus should be on finding a pair that provides traction, warmth, and weatherproofing. 

While all buck boots should theoretically have these features, the market has become so saturated that there are many cheap versions cutting corners. 

These boots focus more on the duck boot look and less on functionality. As a result, it’s easy to wind up with a pair of boots that don’t actually hold up the way duck boots should.

To help you avoid this, we’ve identified two fantastic pairs of duck boots that will stand up to the snow.

The Premium Option: Sorel Men’s Caribou Wool Boot

If you’re looking for a true winter duck boot, look no further. The Sorel Caribou Wool Boot is a beast of a boot designed to withstand even the harshest snow.

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This boot stands out for a few key reasons. 

For one, the boot is extremely durable. It’s constructed of premium leather, meaning it will stand up to consistent wear without breaking down the way cheaper models might. These boots will last you more than a season, even if you wear them rough.

The vulcanized and vacuum-sealed rubber shell provides the most advanced waterproofing possible and ensures that feature sticks around for the entire lifespan of your boots.

The extended boot shaft adds to their appeal. Having a slightly higher shaft than most duck boots, this pair will cradle more of your lower leg. 

Not only does this keep you dry when walking through deep snow, but it also helps your entire body stay warm. By wrapping around more of your calf, this pair helps prevent the heat loss that happens further from your core

Not only will your feet stay warm, but your whole body will be able to regulate its temperature better. 

The interior of the boot features a ThermoPlus lining, designed to keep your feet warm in temperatures as cold as negative 40 degrees. This adds to the boots’ versatility, as they can be worn for anything from a quick walk to the mailbox to a hike in a blizzard.

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Speaking of versatility, Sorel had the foresight to make the lining removable. As a result, these extremely warm boots can be easily adapted to autumn and spring drizzles.

You can buy these boots and wear them year-round, helping justify their slightly steeper price tag.

As far as traction, you’ll find plenty with these. The Sorel soles are highly textured, allowing them to grab even the slickest ice. You won’t have to constantly stare at the ground trying to avoid the frozen sidewalk patches this winter. 

As a final added bonus, this model eliminates the typical duck boot lacing and replaces it with D rings. This lets you lace these boots extra tight, making them a great option for those who plan to participate in adventurous winter activities.

Sorel Men's Caribou Wool Boot
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The Budget Option: ArcticShield Waterproof Duck Bean Boots

You need to be careful when looking for a budget pair of duck boots. Many manufacturers offer boots that borrow the look without providing the traction and warmth that defines this style.

If you’re looking to pick up a pair of winter boots for cheap or want to test the waters before committing to an expensive pair of duck boots, the Duck Bean Boots from ArcticShield are a great place to start.

These boots feature thick rubber outsoles that will hold up to daily wear while keeping your feet dry in the snowiest conditions. 

They also feature patented insulation designed to keep your core body temperature up, ensuring you stay warm all winter. Unlike many other budget picks, you won’t be buying a standard work boot dressed as a duck boot. 

Finally, the sole is textured and features slip-resistant patches for extra traction. While they’re certainly not at Sorel levels of buildy quality, you will be able to step into the snow confidently when wearing these duck boots.

ArcticShield Waterproof Duck Bean Boots
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Conclusion 

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Duck boots offer the warmth of a winter boot, the waterproofing of a rain boot, and the comfort of a casual boot all wrapped into one convenient pair. 

When shopping for duck boots, pay special attention to the insulation and soles. You want a boot that provides ample warmth with enough texture on the soles to prevent slipping.

If you’re ready to jump into the duck boot game, the Sorel Caribou Winter Boot is a great option. For a cheaper version, check out the ArcticShield Duck Bean Boots.

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FAQs

What weather are duck boots for?

Duck boots were designed to stand up to the harshest outdoor conditions. They’re ideally suited to winter weather, providing warmth and weatherproofing so your feet stay warm and dry.

Which boots are best for snow?

While there are many boots that can handle snowy weather well, duck boots are a particularly great choice. Duck boots provide the insulation of a winter boot combined with the waterproofing of a rain boot.

Which Sperry duck boots are good for snow?

The best Sperry duck boots for snowy weather are the Ice Bay boots. This model features additional insulation to help keep your feet warm in winter weather.

Can you wear duck boots to ski?

While duck boots are fantastic at keeping your feet warm, they probably won’t work for skiing. Ski boots are specifically designed to snap into your skis, something that duck boots aren’t equipped for.

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