Best Ice Fishing Boots 2020 – Review (incl. Top Pick Video)

Keeping your feet warm during an ice fishing trip is vital and great ice fishing boots are arguably the most important piece of equipment you are going to take with you if you want to catch more than a cold. Below you will find the best value for money ice fishing boots in 2020 to keep you on the ice and in the action for as long as possible, because once you are in the zone, you wouldn’t want your feet nearly freezing off, would you?

Quick Overview - Best Ice Fishing Boots 2020

Buying Guide

Material & Features

The technical properties can make or break your buying decision, depending on your specific needs. We decided to take into account the following for our evaluation:

Insulation

Which temperatures will you be doing most of your ice fishing at? Colder temperatures require stronger insulation, which will make the boots heavier and clunkier. For more details, please refer to the Q&A.

Grip

Are you going to get special ice cleats or are you relying on the boots themselves to offer you sufficient grip? If the boots do so, that is a plus in our book. If you are used to using traction cleats anyways, you can either ignore this criteria or try out a boot with great traction without your cleats yourself.

Waterproof

Normally, you would not require ice fishing boots to be perfectly waterproof. While you will be out and about in the snow, you would not expect liquid water to surround your feet. And if you break in, you will have other problems to worry about than keeping your feet dry 🙂. That being said, you definitely will want to avoid wet feet and a certain level of waterproofness is absolutely necessary. Therefore, we excluded boots in our ranking, where people were constantly complaining about easily getting wet feet. If you are still struggling with wet feet, you can also consider applying waterproofing spray to your boots.

Removable Liners

Last but not least, while waterproof boots can help to keep your feet dry during fishing, there will always be at least some moisture in the shoes when you are done, be it from melting ice or sweating. If the boots are properly equipped with removable liners, you can take them out and let them dry on a heater to be ready to with completely dry shoes the very next day.

Comfort & Size

Usually, ice fishing boots are not made for purposes such as running or snowshoeing. Still, some can be used for more than one purpose. In any case, when you are going on an hours-long trip in the cold, we want you to be comfy. Some boots require a longish break in period, while others are more or less good to go from the start. Additionally, we are also taking into account issues with sizes, as some shoes run small, others big, some narrow, others wide. We took note of any such variances and mentioned them in the reviews.

Cost & Value

As with all products, cost and value are decisive factors, arguably the most important ones. Are you going to buy the best boots if they cost 1000$? Probably not. Are you going to buy boots that cost you a dollar if they are going to last 10 minutes until they break? Similarly unlikely. It makes sense from an environmental standpoint, to buy high quality and less often, but the price has to be reasonable enough for this to be feasible. We are looking to get you the best bang for the buck and this is reflected in our choices for the best boots for ice fishing.

The Best Ice Fishing Boots – Our Top Picks

best ice fishing boots from bogs

The Best All Around Ice Fishing Boots

Best All Around Ice Fishing Boots

Pros

Cons

  • Great Quality and Durability
  • Perfect Insulation up to -40° and Perfect Water Resistance
  • Reasonable Price
  • Not the best Grip
You really can’t go wrong with Muck Boots. They have been the top selling boots for a long time for a reason. They combine perfect insulation, water resistance and durable quality at a reasonable price and this is reflected in the reviews. There is hardly a fault to find here and they are a top choice for ice fishing boots and used by many regulars. If you decide to go with the Arctic Pros, you will probably want to get some cleats though, as the only minor concern is the mediocre traction, which good cleats can easily nullify.

The Best Ice Fishing Boots for Beginners

Best Ice Fishing Boots for Beginners

Pros

Cons

  • Great Quality and Technical Specs
  • Incredibly Comfortable and Great Fit (True to Size)
  • Light Weight
  • Great Traction
  • Reasonable Price
  • Require a Break-in Period

This is perhaps not the most obvious choice for the runner-up, but the latest update from Columbia to their popular Bugaboot series has completely won us over with their technological improvements and is a great choice if you are a beginner. While the shoes did require a break-in period where they felt quite stiff, afterwards they offered an absolutely amazing user experience for all but the longest and coldest ice fishing trips. Contrary to many other options, you don’t even feel like you are wearing shoes but have toasty warm feet and great grip. When you buy these shoes, you can use them for all other types of activities as well. For example, we have used them for snowshoeing without a problem. Considering all this comes at an affordable price, we had to include the Bugaboot in this guide.

The Best Value Ice Fishing Boots

Best Value Ice Fishing Boots

Pros

Cons

  • Great Price
  • Very Comfortable
  • Good Insulation
  • Stylish / Nice Look
  • Not Completely Water Resistant
  • You Might Have To Try Different Sizes To Find The Right One

Looking to get some good ice fishing boots at the best price? Look no further than Kamik. At this price point, you get cheap ice fishing boots that are comfortable and light weight despite their insulation properties, quality made in the US, have decent grip and are just overall very easy to use. From just slipping in, to not having to deal with lacing but instead using Velcro straps, to easily removing and drying liners. The only compromise you have to make, is that water resistance is an issue, especially if you change from the outside to inside as melting snow can enter the shoe. However, this should not be much of a problem when going ice-fishing where you are walking and then standing in the cold and the draw string at the top keeps snow from entering the boots and melting there. Just be careful with the sizing, as for this shoe we would not recommend buying them bigger than your average size.

The Best Grip Ice Fishing Boots

Best Grip Ice Fishing Boots

Pros

Cons

  • Outstanding Traction
  • Great Insulation
  • Eight-Layer Removable Inner Boot System
  • Questionable Durability

Honestly, if it were not for some reports of questionable durability, these boots might have been our top choice for ice fishing. You get everything you look for in a specialized boot for ice fishing: A deep traction rubber outsole that will make sure you have a steady footing, insulation for up to -148°F (though I would not want to test this myself) that will keep your feet warm even on the longest trip and an eight-layer removable inner boot system to completely dry them after. If you are going to be using these a lot right after buying, you could test the quality for yourself and return if it is not up to your expectations. People who do not experience issues with durability absolutely love these shoes for ice fishing.

Need even more traction? Check out our article on the best ice fishing cleats!

The Best Ice Fishing Boots for Women

Best Ice Fishing Boots for Women

Pros

Cons

  • Great Quality and Durability
  • Very Stylish
  • Insulation For Up To -40°
  • Good Traction
  • Some Reports of Failing Water Resistance

Very comparable to our runner-up option for men and aside from the water resistance not consistently delivering, a very solid choice for women, especially for beginners or the occasional ice-fisher, as they are light enough to be useable for other activities as well. The insulation does deliver, but for the serious female ice-fisher, our top pick Arctic Pros also come in a women’s version.

The Best Extreme Cold Ice Fishing Boots

Best Ice Fishing Boots for Extreme Cold

Pros

Cons

  • Great Quality and Durability
  • Perfect Insulation for up to -60°F and Perfect Water Resistance
  • Good Traction
  • Rather Pricey

What if I told you that there was a boot out there, that was basically an even warmer version of the most popular boot for ice fishing? Well, there is, and the “Muck Boots Arctic Ice Extreme Conditions” really live up to their name. With an advertised comfort range of up to -60°F these waterproof neoprene booties will keep your feet warm even in abnormally cold circumstances. Add to this the better traction than in the original boot due to its new Vibram Arctic Grip technology and you got yourself some amazing, if pricey boots.

Still getting cold feet? Check out our article on the best ice fishing socks!

The Best Ice Fishing Boots for Kids

Best Ice Fishing Boots for Kids

Pros

Cons

  • Great Quality and Durability
  • Perfect Insulation and Water Resistance
  • Good Traction
  • Heavy and Bulky

Easily the best choice if you want to take your kid ice fishing. Sorel delivers shoes of outstanding quality, which are basically guaranteed to keep your kid’s feet warm. Just keep in mind, that these shoes are heavy duty boots made for the extreme cold and activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling or prolonged periods in the snow. They are not made for fast running, so the little ones might need to get used to this. These ice fishing boots for children come in sizes 1-7 and are advertised for kids aged 4-12. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The requirements for a great ice fishing shoe are different from those for good general-purpose winter boots. Insulation and grip are more important than weight and flexibility. Therefore, it is advisable to get special boots, especially if you are planning to go for an ice fishing trip more than once. For beginners or occasional ice-fishers, there are also great options for multi-purpose shoes from Columbia, though.

While it is perfectly fine to just wear normal socks, merino wool socks do offer many benefits like added warmth and you can combine them with polypropylene liner socks for even less issues with sweat. We created an overview of the best socks for ice fishing here.

If in doubt, you should order the shoes half to one number bigger than usual. First, this makes it possible to wear thicker socks or a second pair for additional protection and second, bigger shoes promote air circulation and prevent blood circulation issues. The air also provides insulation and your feet are not pressed against the cold boots. In any case you will not be running fast with these boots, which eliminates the need for a tight fit.

The standard material for ice fishing boots is leather or nylon/synthetic which is insulated to differing degrees. A 200g insulation is rather on the low-end but would be enough to keep your feet warm for shorter periods of temperatures as low as -30° or longer periods at warmer temperatures. A 400g insulation will keep your feet warm at colder temperatures for longer but is heavier and clunkier. There is always a trade-off and you have to decide based on the length of your average ice fishing trip and the most likely environmental conditions you will find yourself in on a regular basis.

You do not need them to go ice fishing. That being said, you might want to go for the additional traction depending on which shoes you ended up choosing and the conditions of the terrain you are doing your ice fishing on. If you are going ice fishing more than very occasionally, you will probably want to get traction cleats, especially since they are generally inexpensive and help you feel more secure. If you are looking to buy ice cleats, we reviewed the best ice fishing cleats here.

Finally...

Please let us know in the comments below if we missed your favorite ice fishing boots or if we can add anything to this article or the Q&A’s. If you are looking for additional expert opinion on ice fishing boots, we recommend you check out the excellent forum iceshanty. We hope that whichever boots you end up choosing will help keep your feet warm and dry, be it for walleye ice fishing, perch ice fishing or any other fish you are holding your breath for. Good luck and always remember: A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at the office! 🙂