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When it comes to the right shoes for bad weather, there are winter boots and there are rain boots, and both serve the exact purpose you’d think they would. But as we enter the slushy, colder seasons that are fall and early winter, neither of those boots seem like the right fit. That’s where another kind of footwear comes in: The duck boot, which combines the insulation of a snow boot with the waterproofing of a shoe built for the rain. They also have great traction, are easy to walk around in, and are generally more comfortable for long-term wear, thanks to features like the soft uppers and the ankle- or calf-length fit. Duck boots generally combine the same two specs: a flexible leather, suede, or fabric upper and a sturdy rubber sole. They’re perfect for walking around outside before, during, or after a rain- or snowstorm — and will keep you warm, comfortable and completely dry. The one thing they can’t do is stay completely submerged in water, but they can handle anything else with ease. We’ve rounded up the best duck boots for every budget, so you can snag a pair for the seasons to come.
1. Our Top Pick
These classic L.L. Bean boots are most likely what you think of when you think of duck boots — and that’s no surprise, because they’re the best out there. The waterproof upper is made of strong and durable leather, and the laces are also waterproof. The rubber bottom can stand up to all types of weather, and feature the brand’s proprietary ‘thinsulate’ insulation, which means they can still be comfortable to wear with thicker socks and will keep you warm without the bulk. Size up if you want to wear them with wool socks, though.
These Bean boots have the same specs as the above option, and you’ll love these just as much. One thing to note is to follow the suggestions of the manufacturer when it comes to sizing, as reviewers say that makes all the difference. L.L. Bean writes: “With light or midweight socks: Whole sizes, order one size down. Half sizes, order 1½ size down.”
2. The Best Mid-Priced Duck Boots
If you’re not looking to shell out the dough for our top pick but still want something that is high-quality and durable, we love these Sperry Avenue Duck Boots. They have the flexible upper and waterproof sole, and reviewers love that they’re comfortable to wear indoors or for long periods of time, too. And one sums it up with this: “If L.L. Beans are out of your budget then these are the best alternative.”
The Land’s End duck boots are a great mid-priced pick for a few reasons. We love that they’re ankle length which tend to be a little more comfortable and lightweight, and they’re flannel-lined for extra warmth. I gifted a pair of these to my mom for when she takes her dogs out for a walk in the rain, and she loves that they’re easy to put on and incredibly comfortable, thanks to the footbed made of cushioned foam. They’re also made of leather and rubber.
3. The Best Affordable Duck Boots
For a high-quality boot that’s under $50, these duck boots from Nautica should last you a few years — making them a fantastic budget option. They are waterproof in mild rain and snow with some insulation, and they’re calf-length, too. Reviewers like these more for light snow over heavier snow, but find the traction to be solid and the boots to be comfortable. We love the sherpa-like lining around the ankle, too.
Another affordable option, these are a zip-up pair and don’t have the traditional lacing of duck boots, which means they’re more susceptible to snow and rain — but these are a solid pick for the price. Reviewers say these are best used with an insole for added comfort, but the waterproof insulation and the sturdy grip do the job. One five-star purchaser writes: “I wore them for almost a week in the snow, rock and ice. I played in the snow at a ski resort and went tubing with them. I visited a national park and hiked different types of terrain. My feet stayed warm and dry and I did not slip once. The boots are exactly as described and look great for a great price. Highly recommended.”