Duck boots have are well-known for being reliable outdoor recreation boots, but in recent years they have become more and more popular as casual boots. But how effective are these boots during winter weather? Are duck boots good for snow and rain?
Yes, duck boots are good for rainy, snowy conditions. The unique design of a duck boots allows for a rubber bottom portion around the foot, which is completely waterproof. The leather upper helps add flexibility and warmth that 100% rubber boots can’t match.
That said, there are a few drawbacks to consider when comparing duck boots to other types of rain and snow boots. Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that traditional duck boots have laces (you can also find slip on duck boots).
The laces can be an issue in deep snow because they can become snow-packed. Also, lace openings present an opportunity for water to creep in even if the shoe has a waterproof barrier. For total waterproof protection, slip-on rubber boots will be your best option.
But slip-on rubber boots can be a little stiff and clumsy in cold weather, and that’s why many people like the unique combination of leather and rubber on a duck boot. It creates a stylish blend of comfort and protection.
A helpful tip from my experience is I like to buy duck boots that use leather laces because they don’t become waterlogged and soaked like normal laces do (in case you encounter deep snow). Here is a look at mine:
In this article let’s take a closer look at what makes duck boots particular effective against rain and snow, and what some other options might be if you wish to shop around.
Are Duck Boots Good for Rain?
Yes, duck boots are good for rain and wet conditions.
The rubber portion of duck boots is completely waterproof, which gives you protection in wet, mucky conditions.
Also, most types of duck boots are made with outsole tread patterns that help increase grip and traction in wet weather.
Are Duck Boots Waterproof?
Most types of duck boots are waterproof. There are a couple things to understand.
As we discussed above, the rubber portion of duck boots is completely waterproof. The leather portion is a bit different.
Leather is water-resistant, which means it can repel light precipitation. However, no leather can ever be truly waterproof. Leather contains pores, which means that it will eventually absorb water.
That said, most companies will treat the leather on duck boots with waterproofing spray to help improve the protection (still, don’t expect the leather to be completely waterproof).
But to improve the waterproofing of duck boots, most companies will also add an interior waterproof bootie, which is a breathable membrane that allows heat and vapor to escape, but prevents water from leaking in.
This waterproof membrane won’t necessarily be added to every duck boot on the market, so be sure to check the product description of the boot you are interested in.
Finally, it is also important to remember that if the duck boots use laces, that the lace opening presents an opportunity for water to creep in even if the shoe has a waterproof barrier. For total waterproof protection, slip-on boots will be your best option.
Are Duck Boots Good for Snow?
Yes, duck boots are also very good for snow and winter weather. Many of the same reasons that we discussed above for rain also apply to snow.
The rubber bottom portion is not only waterproof, it also makes the duck boots very easy to clean.
Here’s my helpful tip from wearing many types of duck boots over the years: I like duck boots that use leather laces. Duck boots that use more traditional yarn/thread laces can become soaked and waterlogged in deep snowy conditions.
Also, not all types of duck boots are insulated. Let’s discuss the warmth of duck boots in more detail below.
Insulated Duck Boots
For more extreme conditions, you will want an insulated duck boot.
The leather portion of the duck boot can be lined with shearling, fleece, flannel, or other material. Synthetic insulation is often used on the rubber portion—the part that holds the feet.
For example, here are my insulated duck boots:
These boots use a shearling lining to help insulate above the ankle, and a synthetic lining to insulate around the foot.
Why do boot use different insulations? Well, because the shearling lining is thicker, it could affect the fit of the boot if used around the foot. So, instead, companies will use a synthetic insulation around the foot because synthetic insulation (like 3M Thinsulate or PrimaLoft) is very good at trapping heat while also being thin and non-bulky (which doesn’t affect fit).
Duck boots that are not insulated will be better for rain or more mild winter weather. If you opt for an unlined duck boot, you can wear them with thick socks if needed for additional warmth.
To explore options, visit my article about the best insulated duck boots.
Duck Boot Alternatives for Winter
If you don’t like the design or the fit of duck boots, there are many other options to choose from that’ll also suit rainy, snowy conditions.
Rubber pull on boots are a popular choice during the winter months.
They are completely waterproof and easy to clean. Because they are slip-on boots, they don’t have laces, which means less opportunities for water to creep in.
What is a potential drawback? Rubber boots can feel a bit stiff and clumsy in freezing conditions compared to duck boots, and there are less insulated options on the market.
There are also types of lace-up rubber boots for winter. Although laces can allow water to get into the boot, laces do help you tighten the boot and pass more control to your foot.
Neoprene is often combine with rubber to create boots for wet winter weather. Why does this combination matter?
As we discussed above, finding insulated 100% rubber boots can be difficult.
Many companies will instead use a rubber bottom portion (much like a duck boot), and then use a neoprene shaft. The neoprene shaft acts as insulation for the leg area above the ankle, and then they will often inject foam or other material to act as insulation in the bottom rubber area.
Pac boots are very similar to duck boots.
Most modern winter pac boots combine a rubber bottom with a leather or canvas shaft. There can be exceptions, including options that are made entirely of rubber.
Most winter pac boots will use a combination of insulations to line the boot. Synthetic insulation like 3M Thinsulate or PimaLoft is often use to insulate the bottom rubber portion of the boot. Some boots, like the Lacrosse pac boots on our list, will use foam insulation around the foot.
The type of insulation used around the shaft of the boot can vary dramatically based on the type of boot. Some will also use that synthetic insulation around the shaft, but you can also find flannel, fleece, and shearling-lined shafts.
To see options, visit my article about the best pac boots for winter.