Ice fishing is one of the most popular winter sports. Yet, for you to enjoy it, you have to be prepared for freezing temperatures. Enthusiasts are even testing the limits of this sport by traveling to more remote spots with an extremely harsh climate.
Having the right gear is crucial to avoid serious injuries. Since your feet are more prone to circulatory injuries like frostbites and hypothermia, an ice fishing boot with optimum heat insulation can be the most essential gear for this sport.
We’ve put together a list of the six best ice fishing boots you should consider to be safe on your next winter fishing trip. Without any further ado, let’s dive into what makes each entry on the list worth your money.
At a Glance:
- Bogs Classic High Winter Snow Boot – Best Overall
- Muck Arctic Pro Snow Boot – Best for Deep Snow
- Columbia Bugaboot III Mid-Calf Boot – Best Mid-Calf Boots
- Baffin Control Max Insulated Boot – Best for Extreme Temperatures
- Kamik Men’s Canuck Cold Weather Boot – Most Comfortable
- Rugged Shark Great White Fishing Deck Boots – Budget Pick
The 6 Best Ice Fishing Boots of 2020
1. Bogs Classic High Winter Snow Boot – Best Overall
Bogs offer a complete overall package that doesn’t compromise in terms of protection and comfort. The Bogs Classic High boots feature a 7 mm thick Neo-Tech inner bootie that creates an excellent insulating seal around your feet and calves. They are crafted to keep your feet warm even in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
They implement a unique four-way stretch inner bootie that makes the boots exceptionally flexible, allowing you to quickly put them on or take them off. You can even put one on while standing on one foot, making it very easy to transition from the warmth of your car to the snowy lake.
Moreover, they offer a non-slip, non-marking, and self-cleaning outsole. So, you don’t need to worry about them getting dirty as quickly as other boots on the market since dirt and other debris don’t stick to the boots’ neoprene and rubber body and can easily slip away.
They are designed to keep your feet dry as they have a tight water seal, giving you peace of mind on your fishing trips since you know that water can’t find its way through. In addition to their 100% waterproof form factor, the boots’ shaft extends 12 inches above the arch of the feet to offer extended protection.
Bogs have some bells and whistles under their sleeves that take these boots another step ahead. The innovative DuraFresh bio-technology prevents the build-up of unwanted odors in your boots and makes cleaning them much more straightforward.
If you’re ordering your boots online, you’d be happy to know that they fit true to size, and there will not be any inconvenient surprises regarding the fit. Since they offer excellent warmth and heat-retention, you won’t need to rock your heaviest pair of socks either.
- DuraFresh bio-tech to prevent your boots from getting smelly
- Stretchable and easy to put on
- Self-cleaning outsole
- Fit true to size which leaves no need for a pair of heavy socks
The Bogs Classic Boots is a well-rounded product that checks all the boxes you’d expect to find in your ice fishing boots of choice. The implementation of DuraFresh bio-tech adds to the longevity of your boots and ensures good foot hygiene.
2. Muck Arctic Pro Snow Boot – Best for Deep Snow
Muck Arctic Pro boots are perfect for venturing in deep snow since they have a tall shaft that extends 17 inches from the arch of the foot. You might expect that tall boots are harder to fit, but this is not the case here as they come with rear pull loops allowing you to put them on and take them off easily.
These boots are designed to provide excellent heat insulation without overlooking the comfort factor. They come with an EVA midsole for additional cushioning and comfort that you’d appreciate if you stand for extended periods. Furthermore, they have high-grade rubber bodies that make them 100% waterproof and add to the protection the boots provide.
The boots achieve excellent heat-insulation thanks to their fleece lining that makes them comfortable to wear all day long, but they end up being a little bit heavy. That’s why you need to consider the weight factor when traveling. Moreover, they have 2 mm thermal foam padding over the footbed for shock resistance and additional insulation.
Muck went the extra mile with their heat-retention technology by implementing soft topline bindings that snug around your calf to keep the warmth in, and at the same time, form a seal that prevents snow from slipping in.
All those design choices came hand in hand to deliver a comfortable fit that keeps your feet warm and dry at low temperatures, as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Excellent multi-layer heat-insulation
- Suitable for deep snow
- EVA midsole for shock resistance
- Heavy form factor
Muck Arctic Pro boots are perfect for anglers who find themselves more often in areas with deep snow that can easily slip into shorter boots. These boots also provide an integrated system for maximum heat retention, allowing them to withstand -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Columbia Bugaboot III Mid-Calf Boot – Best Mid-Calf Boots
If you’re one of the people who find tall boots a little bit restraining, we got you covered with our best mid-calf option on the list. Columbia is a household name for its stylish and innovative winter wear, and Bugaboot III doesn’t disappoint. They come with a medium-sized shaft that measures 8.5 inches from the arch.
They managed to couple an upper leather body with a rubber sole in a waterproof, stylish package. The material choice delivers good insulation thanks to the implementation of 200g insulation and thermal-reflective liners that can withstand cold temperatures up to -32 degrees Fahrenheit.
These boots come packed with Columbia’s Omni-Grip, multi-terrain traction technology to give you confidence while stepping on different surfaces. So, whether you are walking on slippery ice or moist snow, Bugaboot III got your back.
These boots can be very versatile, as they are inherently military-style hiking boots. After the winter fishing season is over, you can still use them on your hiking adventures, so you’re getting added value for your money.
- Excellent heat insulation in a compact form factor
- Suitable for fishing and hiking
- Multi-terrain traction technology
- Not suitable for deep snow
You don’t have to get one of the tall boots to enjoy the warmth and protection you’d expect from ice fishing boots. Columbia Bugaboot mid-calf boots deliver a compact package without compromises. They offer a multi-terrain traction system that makes them suitable for hiking as well.
4. Baffin Control Max Insulated Boot – Best for Extreme Temperatures
If you’re looking for boots that can withstand extreme temperatures, look no further, you will be pleased with what Baffin Control Max boots offer. They have a cold rating of -94 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to their 8-layer inner boot system with Thermaplush.
The upper part of the boot is made of contoured timberwolf leather, which contributes to the longevity and durability of the boot in addition to offering you all-day comfort. Capitalizing more on the comfort factor, the custom waffle insole and anatomical footbed add an extra layer of comfort that allows you to stand for extended periods without getting foot sores.
Baffin didn’t spare the opportunity to pack in its latest premium ice paw technology that delivers excellent traction to keep you on your feet while finding your way on slippery ice.
- Built for extreme temperatures
- Comfortable to wear for extended periods
- Good traction
- A little bit heavy
If your favorite fishing spot is on a high altitude that gets extremely cold in winter, you need the maximum heat-insulation you can get. Baffin Control Max boots come in a durable leather shell that can withstand -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Kamik Men’s Canuck Cold Weather Boot – Most Comfortable
Kamik made the perfect boots for people with sensitive feet. If you don’t like the super snug fit of many boots on the market, you’d be happy with the loose, yet secure fit Kamik Canuck boots offer.
These boots fit larger than what you’d expect, so there is always extra room in order not to feel that they are crammed around your legs and feet. But at the same time, there is no trade-off in terms of heat insulation as they implement a bungee cord system that lets you close the cuff and prevent any snow from getting in.
Kamik Canuck knee-high winter boots come in a 1000 Denier waterproof nylon body, together with a durable rubber sole that offers comfort and shock resistance. Moreover, they feature excellent traction thanks to their slip-resistant soles.
They also come with a removable 8mm Zylex liner, allowing you to easily clean your boots and prevent any build-up of undesirable odors over time.
- Removable liners
- Suitable for sensitive feet
- Fits large
- Some people find the loose fit to be sloppy
- Some customers reported leaky boots
If you’re looking for the maximum comfort out of your fishing boots, Kamik delivers a breathable yet efficient heat-insulating option. The Kamik Canuck boots can be a game-changer, and you don’t have to put up with leg sores after long fishing trips anymore.
6. Rugged Shark Great White Fishing Deck Boots – Budget Pick
If you don’t encounter deep snow or sub-arctic temperatures that often, Rugged Shark boots can be just for you. They come in an all-rubber waterproof body that features excellent flexibility and comfort.
Rugged Shark delivered a decent package that ticks all the basics at a budget entry price, but you should expect some shortcomings that you have to work your way around. They don’t feature the best traction out there, so you should be extra careful on slippery surfaces.
Moreover, they come in a basic all-white body that might be disappointing for you if you’re looking for a pair of stylish boots to rock. The all-white body can be camouflaged in the ice if you take them off and leave them on a snowy surface.
They offer fantastic versatility, and you can continue using them even after the winter season is over, as they are excellent for muddy puddles.
- Suitable for anglers on a budget
- Flexible and comfortable
- Subpar heat-insulation
- Poor traction
- Plain all-white design
Rugged Shark White boots deliver just the right feature set to make them our budget ice fishing boots of choice. They offer decent heat-insulation, yet they are not suitable for sub-arctic temperatures. Their versatility allows them to be used in muddy puddles after the winter season is over.
What to Consider When Picking an Ice Fishing Boot
Good heat insulation is what makes or breaks an ice fishing boot. Different boots come with different temperature insulation ratings.
The boots’ insulation directly affects their comfort and weight. Some materials like wool and fleece provide more comfort at the expense of a heavier footprint. On the other hand, Thinsulate offers adequate insulation in a lightweight body.
You need to assess how harsh the weather is where you will be fishing to adequately choose the right temperature insulation rating for your boots. Moreover, long fishing trips can be much more manageable if you have a pair of flexible, comfortable boots that make you forget you have them on.
You need to make sure that the boots you pick will form a waterproof seal around your feet, whether they are subjected to moist ice or even water. Different boots vary in how good they can keep your feet dry; make sure you choose a pair of efficient waterproof boots.
When you’re walking on damp ice or fighting your catch and want to keep steady feet on the ground, that’s when your boots’ traction comes in handy. Ice can be really slippery, so you want to pick boots with good traction that keeps you on your feet.
Size and Fit
Some brands have a wider variety of sizes than others. This can be a factor that directs your purchase, especially if you have big feet.
Moreover, If you’re one of the people who like to wear a pair of warm thick socks to go with their ice boots, you should consider slightly oversizing your boots.
This is an essential feature that, at first glance, you might overlook. Picture with me a long fishing day in your boots, and when you finally get home, you want to air out the interior of your boots and prevent any unwanted foul odors from accumulating over time.
Here comes the role of the removable liners, which add to your boots’ longevity and help you maintain proper foot hygiene.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why Do I Need Special Ice Fishing Boots?
As discussed above, ice fishing boots need to provide adequate heat insulation to keep your feet warm in extreme weather conditions and offer a waterproof seal around your feet. If your feet get wet, this will be an early end to your fishing trip.
Can Regular Winter Boots Get the Job Done?
Regular winter boots don’t necessarily come with the same features of ice fishing ones. They are definitely weatherproof, but not all of them are waterproof.
The comfort factor is as important as the protection since you’d expect to wear your ice fishing boots for extended periods on long fishing trips. Traction and balance on slippery surfaces are other added features that make your life a lot easier when you’re on the frozen lake.
Is It Better to Pick a Loose or a Tight Pair of Boots?
If you go for a tight pair of boots, you will get uncomfortable sooner than later, and leg sores can distract you from getting the most out of your fishing trip. Also, there will be friction between your feet and the boot’s interior, which increases the risk of getting blisters. The tight fit can compromise the foot’s circulation, which is dangerous and can lead to severe complications.
You don’t want to go for an overly loose pair either. You will lose all the heat-insulation features, as snow and cold air can find their way in. It would also be challenging to move around in loose boots, as they will wobble around and lead to falls and injuries.
You have to pick the sweet spot between the two. You might consider getting a slightly loose pair of boots if you plan on wearing a pair of warm thick socks that can fill in the extra space.
Protective gear is as important or even more critical than your fishing equipment when it comes to ice fishing. The harsh climate can lead to serious injuries and complications that can be prevented by using proper protection. Ice fishing boots are particularly important because our lower limbs are more sensitive to cold.
Bogs Classic High boots offer the complete set of features you’d be looking for in an ice fishing boot and that is why they are the best ice fishing boots on our list. They deliver proper heat insulation in a comfortable, waterproof body that gives you good traction on slippery ice. Most people will be satisfied with what they get here.
More specialized boots that serve niche needs can also be found on the market. For example, if you are one of the anglers who venture in extreme environments that demand more protection, we’d recommend you go for the Baffin Control Max boots.
There is something for everyone, even those who are looking for a budget option, so there is no excuse not to look after your well-being and be prepared for the challenges that you might face.