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Which ice fishing boots are best?

Ice fishing can be an exciting outdoor activity, but also dangerous if you aren’t prepared or lack the right equipment. Ice fishing boots are a particularly important piece of gear for aspiring ice-fishers who want to keep their feet warm and dry while out in the middle of a frozen lake or river.

The Bogs Men’s Classic Ultra Mid Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boot is popular with men who ice-fish in slushy environments, while other winter boot products are better-suited for drier winter activities, tighter budgets and the feet of women.

What to know before you buy ice fishing boots

The difference between ice fishing boots and other winter boots

Compared to general purpose work boots, ice fishing boots are generally made of rigid, synthetic materials and have upper portions that cover the ankles and shins. This design makes ice fishing boots well-suited for stationary activities in a wet, cold environment, but suboptimal for winter hiking, skiing and other activities that require freedom of motion for the feet and ankles.

Improving their traction with ice cleats

Owners of ice fishing boots should always consider getting a pair of ice cleats, special harnesses with metal spikes or chains that can anchor themselves to patches of ice and stop soft, slippery snow or slush from clinging to the bottom of a boot. When purchasing ice cleats, make sure they fit securely around the toes and heels of your favorite ice fishing boots.

Ice fishing safety tips

Always check the thickness of the ice over the body of water you’re planning to fish upon and never go ice fishing if the ice is too thin to support you plus your gear. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 4 inches of ice can support the weight of a person, while 12 to 15 inches of ice can support an average-sized automobile. Recently frozen ice is consistently sturdier than ice that’s been frozen for awhile, while ice frozen over a lake tends to be more consistently thick than ice frozen over a river or stream. Bring tools that let you check the thickness of the ice and always have live-saving equipment, such as ice picks and life vests.

What to look for in quality ice fishing boots

Traction on slippery surfaces

Every shoe, to some extent, is designed to provide its wearer with traction even when they’re walking on slippery surfaces. On the iced-over surface of a frozen lake, though, slipping and falling can be a life-threatening experience; for this reason, always try to pick ice fishing boots with soles that can reliably adhere to ice, slush and the other slippery hazards of winter.

Reliable waterproofing

When a frozen lake is covered with fresh snowfall, a layer of extremely wet slush forms between the hard surface of the ice and the powdery blanket of surface snow. The moisture of this slush can utterly drench the feet of an ice-fisher if their boots aren’t waterproofed, leading to hypothermia and other cold-weather hazards. To avoid these grisly outcomes, pick out boots made of solid, rigid materials that keep water out.

Comfort and warmth

As with any other kind of footwear, ice fishing boots should fit their wearers comfortably, conforming snugly to the contours of their feet without being painfully tight. A snug, nicely fitted pair of winter boots also stops warmth from seeping out or water from seeping in.

How much you can expect to spend on ice fishing boots

Sturdy boots made for ice fishing or other outdoor winter activities generally cost between $100-$300. Ice fishing boots closer to $70 in price exist, but should be carefully checked for any issues with quality and long-term durability.

Ice fishing boots FAQ

What other ice fishing accessories should you have besides ice fishing boots?

A. Aside from common-sense winter supplies, such as coats, or common-sense fishing supplies, such as fishing rods, an enterprising ice-fisher can also bring along ice augers for drilling holes in the ice, ice fishing shelters to protect themselves from wind-chill, ice picks, life vests, hand-warmers and other forms of winter survival gear. 

What materials are ice fishing boots generally made of?

A. Most winter boots rated for ice fishing are made from treated rubber, synthetic polymers like Neoprene, and other rigid substances that will block water and create friction against even the most slippery surfaces. To minimize the discomfort of these hard substances on the foot, ice fishing boots generally come with a soft, warm lining, such as wool, fleece or even sheepskin.

What are the best ice fishing boots to buy?

Top ice fishing boots

Bogs Men’s Classic Ultra Mid Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boot

Bogs Men’s Classic Ultra Mid Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boot

What you need to know: These all-rubber winter boots are well-insulated, easy to slip on and keep your feet dry and warm in both wet and cold weather.

What you’ll love: The soles and “upper” of this product are made of tough rubber rated for outdoor temperatures as low as -35 degrees Fahrenheit. The material of the insoles has antimicrobial properties and can stretch four ways.

What you should consider: These boots aren’t made for winter hiking or other forms of extended outdoor walks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top ice fishing boots for the money

Kamik Men’s Icebreaker insulated winter boots

Kamik Men’s Icebreaker insulated winter boots

What you need to know: This bargain pair of boots will keep your feet warm and dry in practically every kind of weather or landscape.

What you’ll love: The synthetic soles of these boots are designed to grip ice, snow and other slushy surfaces. The “upper” portions are made of “TPO” (Thermoplastic olefin), rubber and nylon, while the interior comes with a wool lining and removable zylex liner/insole.

What you should consider: Some customers have reported issues with the soles breaking down after extended use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Muck Boot Women’s Arctic Ice Mid Snow Boot

Muck Boot Women’s Arctic Ice Mid Snow Boot

What you need to know: This women’s pair of ice and snow boots are designed to be warm, waterproof and comfortable for several different foot shapes.

What you’ll love: The sole and upper part of these boots are both made of waterproof neoprene designed to provide traction on wet ice. The interior is lined with comfortable fleece that retains heat by snugly conforming to the lower legs.

What you should consider: The stretchable top portion of these boots chafes the shins, according to some customers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Coleman Gailloreto writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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