Ice fishing is a popular sport, but it’s certainly not for those who don’t like the cold. It can be one of the coldest sports to partake in, with hunters being subject to extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Therefore, if you fancy a go at ice fishing, you’re going to have to wear the right clothes, and this includes the right footwear too, so you don’t get cold or wet feet. They will need to be well-insulated but also have good traction on the bottom, so you aren’t slipping around on the ice.
So which ice fishing boots are going to be best for you? We have compiled a buying guide for you and listed our top picks below, so you can make an informed decision and prepare yourself before you head out onto the ice.
What To Look For In Ice Fishing Boots
There are a number of factors you should look for and consider when purchasing ice boots to ensure you are going to get the correct shoe.
First of all, the most important factor to consider is the insulation of the boot. We mentioned above that you are going to be subject to freezing conditions while ice fishing, and there will be nothing worse than having your toes freezing all day. While also keeping your feet warm, the boots should allow for air circulation without producing moisture and letting cold air in. Often you will see boots with the product “Thinsulate” inside — this is a product that has polypropylene fibers that are stitched together and support the inner fabric body to create a stronger barrier. The amount of Thinsulate a shoe has, the more protective and warm it is going to be.
The material your ice fishing boot is made out of is important because this will determine how durable it is going to be, among other factors. The three main materials you should be looking for is a rubber upper, synthetic materials and leather. A rubber upper provides a flexible yet strong shell for the boot and normal has a synthetic lining. These boots will be waterproof and help to keep the cold out. Synthetic materials will have a softer feel to them and be more lightweight, where a leather material offers a stronger and stiffer surface that will not wear or tear very easily.
You may want your boots to not just cover your feet but also part of your legs as well. Many boots today protect both your feet and your ankles, but you may want to stay away from boots that come up too high, because this will make it more difficult to move. You will also find boots with steel toes and ankles, which can add an extra layer of protection to your feet, especially from the ice or other debris that you may come into contact with.
You will want to check the stiffness of the boot you buy. A stiff or rigid boot keeps the pressure off your body which is especially great for ice fishing as you often spend time standing in one place. Rubber boots have better flexibility and are better if you are moving around a lot. However, they are more prone to bending and breaking, so you will need to be careful.
We touched on this above in the material section, but you will want to find a boot that is waterproof. Of course, you are dealing with ice — frozen water — so you will want to keep your feet dry. A waterproof boot will also be much warmer and more protective. Often, the most waterproof boots have a rubber upper.
Ice and snow can be slippy, so your boot will need to have good traction on the sole so you can grip the ground. A good sole will have a particular groove pattern where ice and snow can move without getting stuck. It should also be made of a durable material such as rubber.
Of course, you want your boots to fit you properly, as you do any shoe. However, it is advised that you purchase a pair of boots in which you fit both your foot and a thick sock inside. Ice fishing is a very cold activity and you will want to wear a good pair of socks.
The laces of your boots should be thick enough so that you can get ahold of them and tie them even when you have gloves on. They will also need to be sturdy so they won’t tear easily, as you’ll want to make sure the laces are tight for extra support and protection. You should also pay attention to the metal clamps that secure the laces — they should be easy enough to open when you need to change or replace your laces.
Socks For Ice Fishing Boots
Now you’ve got the right boots, you want to make sure you’re wearing the right socks to protect your feet from the cold too. There are three main types of socks you should be looking at for ice fishing — waterproof socks, heated socks and thermal socks. Waterproof socks are great because they add an extra layer of protection between you and the ice, ensuring your feet stay dry. Heated socks are an excellent choice for obvious reasons — they keep your toes extra toasty.
You don’t need to worry about the safety of them either, as they run on low-amperage battery and are shockproof. Thermal socks are the most common socks worn when ice fishing. They are thick and warm and are great at wicking away moisture while also adding a protective layer between you and your boot to prevent blisters.
The material of the socks you choose is important too. Merino wool can be a great choice because it is thermostatic, meaning they socks regulate the temperature so your feet remain comfortable. Synthetic socks are another good choice with materials such as nylon and lycra. They retain their shape while adding support, yet they’re also comfortable and wick away moisture.
If you’re ready to find the right boots for your ice fishing adventures, take a look at the list below. All of these boots are available to you on Amazon.
The Best Ice Fishing Boots
The Muck Boot Men’s Arctic Pro Snow Boot has 8 mm neoprene on top to provide comfort and flexibility, along with excellent waterproofing, shock absorption and heat retention properties. Muck’s warmest boot, the fleece lining is soft, durable and provides exceptional warmth in the extreme cold. There is also 2 mm of thermal foam under the footbed for extra warmth. The bottom half on this boot is made with rubber, making it tough and 100% waterproof.
The boot adjusts to the shape of your foot to resist blisters and chafing, while the Stretch-fit Comfort Topline sits snugly against your calf to seal in the warmth while keeping the cold and debris out. There is a lightweight EVA midsole for additional cushioning and double reinforcement in the instep, heel and achilles area where you need it most. The outsole is supper rugged and durable for extra traction, too.
The Kamik Icebreaker cold weather boot has a waterproof rubber upper that features a cinchable nylon collar for top-to-bottom protection from the elements. A knee-high boot, this shoe will be sure to keep you safe from the outside, keeping both your feet and the lower parts of your legs warm. There is also a removable insole and lining to provide warmth and breathability, keeping your feet comfortably dry all day long. The deep lugs of the outsole ensure excellent traction, keeping you steady and ensuring you don’t slip on the ice. There is a textured toe bumper to further protect your foot from any debris or ice you may hit. With a simple design, this shoe is sturdy and durable.
These U.S. Military Contractors extreme weather boots were designed for use in temperatures up to 20 below zero. Offering a unique solution to water evaporation from the feet, the leading cause of frostbite and cold injury in winter, these boots have a layer of thick wool and felt sandwiched between two layers of waterproof rubber. It is compressed to make a thin, flexible, and completely watertight insulated barrier, unaffected by outside moisture or sweat moisture from the feet.
The high blucher design features a seamless shell design, direct molded sole and a gusset fused to the main body along its whole length, ensuring complete waterproofing and warmth. There is also an air pressure release valve that can be opened when in high altitudes to allow air pressure between the layers to escape.
This pair of men’s Canuck cold weather boots from Kamik feature an adjustable snow collar with a bungee lace lock, ensuring both snow and ice stay away from your feet. This knee-high boot uses 1000 denier waterproof nylon for the upper and a rubber shell at the foot. The waterproof bottoms keep your feet dry while the lightweight RubberHe outsoles are designed for excellent traction so you don’t slip on the ice. There is a toggle closure around the ankle to secure a custom fit, alongside the traditional D-Ring laces that do the same. The rubber shell is also waterproof and flexible for durability. There is a removable 8mm Zylex liner, too.
The lightweight Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated All-Weather Boot is a knee-high boot. With a waterproof base, this boot keeps your feet warm and dry even in the most extreme conditions. The waffle-comb foot-bed increases insulation throughout the boot and an EVA midsole ensures comfort as you walk. The upper uses contoured insulated leather which is waterproof seam-sealed, and there is a snow collar to ensure no snow or ice can get in.
With an Arctic Rubber shell this boot is durable and your foot is protected from the elements, and there is a Polar Rubber sole that provides excellent traction so you don’t slip on the ice. With a multi-layer inner boot system to keep you warm, the lining is also removable.
The Muck Boot Arctic Sport Rubber High Performance Men’s Winter Boot will keep feet warm to -40° in deep snow or ice. With an EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed this boot is not only comfortable but it also has a 2mm thermal foam underlay added to the instep area for additional warmth. With a synthetic upper and a rubber lower, you get both protection and flexibility in one shoe, as well as excellent waterproofing.
The MS-1 molded outsole is rugged, aggressive and durable for maximum protection and stability, ensuring you can get a good grip on the ice. There is also a cozy fleece lining that adds further warmth and comfort to your foot. This boot is available in two colors.
The Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boot looks more like a hiking boot, but still provides great protection when ice fishing. With 200g insulation, this ankle-high boot has a waterproof seam-sealed construction featuring Omni-Heat reflective lining, keeping your feet both dry and warm. The Techlite lightweight midsole gives long lasting comfort, superior cushioning and high energy return, perfect if you are on your feet all day long. The leather and textile upper ensure your foot is protected from the ice and debris you may encounter, and the Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole provides excellent stability against the ice.
The Rocky BlizzardStalker Pro boot provides excellent insulation for ice fishing, with 1200g of 3M Thinsulate Ultra insulation. Made with the Rocky Waterproof system, this boot allows air to circulate in, but it keeps water out so your feet stay dry and warm. This boot has great traction and helps you grip the terrain with a multi-directional Blizzard rubber outsole.
The waterproof leather with CORDURA combination upper resists tears, ensuring the boot is durable and protecting you from the elements, while also providing additional waterproofing. This nine-inch boot has a TPU molded shell and heel for great stability and a padded molded foam collar for additional comfort, too.
The top of this Muck Boots Arctic Ice Extreme Conditions Mid-Height Rubber Men’s Winter Boot is made with 5 mm neoprene that provides comfort and flexibility, along with excellent waterproofing, shock absorption and heat retention properties. It also helps to mold to the shape of your foot to prevent any pain or blisters. The bottom half of this boot is made from tough yet flexible rubber that adds protection from the elements and also makes this boot 100% waterproof.
The improved midsole gives you better support and a soft fleece lining enhances comfort and provides superior warmth. The Vibram Arctic Grip outsole pods deliver the most advanced traction on wet ice, while the Vibram Icetrek full base layer provides the highest level of traction on dry ice. Even better, the multi-directional outsole lug design offers excellent traction on a variety of different surfaces, perfect if you want to wear these boots when you are not ice fishing too.
Made for the most extreme conditions, the Sorel Men’s Bear Extreme Snow Boot provides warmth, waterproofing, traction and comfort. With a water and wind resistant PU coated synthetic textile that keeps you warm and dry, there is also a drawstring with barrel lock closure that helps to keep snow and ice out, while ensuring a close and snug fit to your foot. A removable 9 mm recycled felt inner boot with Omni-Heat reflective lining keeps you warm down to -60F, and there is a 6 mm ThermoPlus felt footbed for extra coziness.
The handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell has a grippy outsole, making it perfect for icy conditions, giving you great traction while also protecting your feet from the harsh ice.
Ice Fishing Boots FAQ’s
Do I need special ice fishing boots?
If you plan on going ice fishing then the answer is yes. Ice fishing boots differ from regular walking or hiking boots because they have to protect you from the extreme elements. They also need to be waterproof and have a sturdy and durable construction and sole to keep you safe. They will also need to be comfortable as you will be outside in them for a while.
What level of insulation is the best?
For winter and freezing temperatures, 400g insulation is recommended. If it is fall or spring, you might be able to get away with 200g.
What material is the best for ice fishing boots?
The material you choose will come down to your personal preference and what feels right and comfortable for you. Whatever material it is though, it should keep you warm and protected and be safe to wear on the ice.
If you’re planning on going out ice fishing, you will need to make sure you are wearing the correct footwear. A good pair of ice fishing boots need to be able to keep you warm in freezing temperatures, while also being waterproof enough to keep you dry so you don’t get cold feet and protective enough to keep you safe from the elements. The shoes should have good traction so you are not slipping on the ice and they will also need to be comfortable, as you may be outside in them for a long time while fishing.
Whether you’re new to ice fishing or have had a love of the sport for a long time, we know you’ll find a pair of ice fishing boots in the list above that you’ll love.