Selecting The Best Ice Fishing Boots
Check out my list of the best ice fishing boots on the market. Pick any one and I guarantee that your feet will stay dry and warm all winter long.
Boots are a critical piece of ice fishing equipment. Its very important to make sure that you get the very best, as nothing will ruin a day of fishing like cold, wet feet.
Often, people who are new to the sport will be poorly prepared for the harsh conditions on the ice. They'll come out with inadequate footwear, proceed to spend the day suffering, and therefore decide to never go ice fishing again. If only they had been wearing the right boots, they may have been more able to enjoy the experience.
There are lots of different styles of boot available, but through my years of experience I've developed a real understanding of which are most suitable for ice fishing.
When I'm buying boots for the hard water, I want them well insulated, thick soled, tall, and completely waterproof. I'll state that again - COMPLETELY WATERPROOF. It doesn't matter how heavily insulated a boot is, if your feet get wet, they're going to get cold.
When you're spending hours on a frozen lake in the middle of winter, you'll want plenty of material between your feet and the ice that you're standing on, and having thick soles definitely make a difference. As far as being waterproof, I very strongly favor full rubber boots over ones with laces and a tongue.
I have a friend that I introduced to ice fishing a few years back. He came out with me a number of times and really enjoyed himself.
He ended up buying quite a bit of ice fishing gear, including a pretty good pair of insulated, lace up boots, which served him reasonably well...for a while.
But, on our last trip of the year, we encountered very wet conditions. Frequent periods of rain, and temps in the low 40's were melting snow and it rapidly formed a slushy mess about 5 inches deep on top of the ice.
Unfortunately, my friend's supposedly waterproof boots began taking on water - over the top of the foot along the seams of the tongue, and his feet were quickly soaked to the bone.
By 1:30 my buddy was absolutely miserable, and wanted to head back. Since we had driven there together, I was compelled to leave with him. It was a poor time to be going home, as the rain and warmer weather had put the perch in a very aggressive mood.
We had planned to fish the following day as well, but the weather forecast we were listening to during the drive back home was sounding just as bad.
However, instead of being deterred by the idea of another wet day, on the way back we stopped at a local sporting goods store, and as per my instruction, my friend bought himself a pair of tall, fully rubber boots.
The very next morning we were back out on the ice, and the conditions were exactly the same as the previous day, if not worse.
But, my friend was now well prepared with his new rubber boots, and he was easily able to deal with the wet, sloppy, slushy environment that had soundly defeated him just 24 hours earlier.
The fish were feeding hard, and we each jigged our limit of jumbo perch, with a steady pick of slab bluegills mixed in. My friend had his best day yet, and he had officially become addicted to ice fishing.
The difference between an unbearable day of ice fishing, and a fantastic day of ice fishing had come down to simply having the right pair of boots.
Top 3 Best Ice Fishing Boots For 2019/2020
Below, I have assembled my list of what I believe to be the best ice fishing boots currently on the market. You can't go wrong with any of my recommendations as these are all fantastic boots.
Muck Boots, Arctic Ice
If you want the absolute very best, complete top of the line, then you get yourself a pair of Muck Arctic Ice boots. They're a premium product, with an impressive pedigree to back them up. Spend enough time ice fishing, and you'll see a lot of people wearing them.
I really love these because they have everything that I look for in an ice fishing boot.
The full rubber composition is completely impenetrable by water, and the use of neoprene for the boot's upper shaft makes them more pliable, allowing for greater flexibility and shock absorption than other boots that use a more rigid rubber.
This greatly increases comfort as the neoprene adjusts to the contours of your foot, which prevents the development of blisters. Neoprene also possesses excellent insulative properties, making the Muck boots very warm.
The top of the boots also have pull loops which make it easy to put them on. It's the small touches like this that really set these boots apart.
In the lower portion of the boot, the neoprene is coated with a tougher rubber and Spandura. Spandura being a high-tech blend of Spandex and Cordura nylon which is renowned for it's tough and durable, yet flexible properties. This material is routinely used in performance wear for the US military and even by NASA.
The sole of the boots are thick and tough, made by the well known Italian company Vibram, who specialize in manufacturing rugged rubber soles. The thickness is important as it keeps your feet from absorbing the cold through the ice that you're standing on.
Vibram's 'IceTrek' and 'Arctic Grip' technology combine to create soles that provide excellent traction on both wet and dry ice.
Muck Arctic Ice boots are available in tall and mid-length fits.
The shafts on the tall version reach a height of approximately 14" from the arch. The inner 8mm neoprene is lined with soft fleece that make these boots suitable for extreme cold. To be precise, they're rated for temperatures as low as -60°F. I wear size 10 and they weigh roughly 1.9 lbs per boot.
The mid-length version is obviously going to be a slightly shorter boot, with the shaft topping out at 12" from the arch. They are also fleece lined, but the neoprene is slightly less thick at 5mm. They have a comfort rating for temps down to -40°F. The weight of the size 10 is about 1.7 lbs per boot.
While I usually wear a size 9.5 in most footwear, these boots, like many others, are only available in full sizes. Under these circumstances, I usually go up to the next nearest size, which in my case is a 10, and they fit me very well. You can check out the Muck Boot size chart below to determine which is best for you.Muck Boot Sizing Chart
I really feel that this is the best all-around boot, possessing what I believe to be an optimal combination of warmth and a comfortable design. If you don't mind paying for the best, look no further than the Muck Arctic Ice Boots. They won't let you down.
If you're interested in the mid-height Muck Arctic Ice Boots, they can be ordered here.
Baffin, Titan Boots
As much as I love my Muck Ice Extremes, the Titans made by Baffin deserve some serious consideration as one of the best ice fishing boots.
Baffin Titans have a full rubber construction and are very well insulated, making them completely waterproof and INCREDIBLY WARM.
The Titan's great warmth is due to it's removable, 8 layer, thermally insulated liner. This allows them to be rated as suitable for use in temperatures as low as -148°F! And as I mentioned, the liner insert is removable so you can easily wear these boots for warm weather applications as well.
The boot also has an interesting design feature - a preemptively made crease above the toes. When you walk around in most boots, you'll notice a crease forming with each step that you take.
This creasing puts direct strain on the seam where the sole meets the foot of the boot. This design by Baffin will make for more comfortable walking, minimize the strain on the seam, and most definitely increase the lifespan of the boots. Its a simple, but very intelligent touch.
The opening of the boots feature snow cuff gaiters, which can be cinched closed by drawstrings to keep out snow, rain, and cold air. This also helps prevent warmth from escaping.
The soles have an aggressive, long wearing tread design that should hold up well for many years of use. They're also self-cleaning, which will minimize snow, ice, mud, etc caking up the treads and reducing your traction.
For being such heavy duty, warm boots, the Titans are also surprisingly lightweight at about 1.25 lbs per boot. They're 15" high. These are also only available in full sizes. You can consult the chart below.Baffin Boot Sizing Chart
If you're after the absolute warmest possible ice fishing boots, you should really check out the Baffin Titans. You can order them here.
Kamik Ice Breaker Boots
Kamik boots, like Baffin, are made in Canada. Trust me, the Canadians know a thing or two about cold weather apparel. But, unlike the Baffins, and the Muck boots for that matter, the Kamiks are very economical. Very.
I originally bought a pair of the Kamik Ice Breaker boots to wear offshore, cod fishing, and I was really impressed. I know that many guys wear Kamik boots ice fishing, so out of curiosity, I wore mine on the ice a few times last season. They worked great, even on one particularly cold day.
Are they as great as the premium Muck or Baffin boots? Probably not, but they're definitely quite warm and comfortable, and clearly belong in the list of the best ice fishing boots.
The Ice Breakers are another boot that have a removable insulative lining. Kamik uses Zylex thermal inserts, which consist of multiple layers of polyester felt to wick away moisture and retain heat, combined with an outer layer of thermal foil to deflect the cold. With the inserts, the boots have a temperature comfort rating of -40°F.
These boots also feature a waterproof nylon snow guard that can be cinched tight at the top to keep out the elements.
The soles are composed of TRACKER synthetic Rubber, and like the Baffins, the treads are designed to be self-cleaning.
The boots are nearly 14" high and weigh in at 3.8 lbs per pair. They're also supposedly tested to withstand contact with some hazardous/caustic substances such as oil, acid, other chemicals, so these are some seriously tough boots.
They probably aren't as premium as the Muck Boots or Baffin Titans, but they're absolutely a great pair of ice fishing boots at a very low price. You really can't beat the quality for what you'll pay for them. The Kamik Ice Breakers won't disappoint. They deserve to be included in anybody's list of the best ice fishing boots.Kamik Boot Sizing Chart