Are Duck Boots Good for Hiking?

Did you know that duck boots are waterproof, stylish, and comfortable? At first glance, duck boots seem to be the ideal choice for hiking, but that’s not true. There are also some other things that you need to consider when choosing the right boots. In this article, we’ll discuss whether duck boots are really good for hiking or not. So, let’s start!

Are Duck Boots Good for Hiking?

So, Are Duck Boots Good for Hiking? Duck boots are not recommended for hiking. They don’t have sufficient traction and stability that is needed for long hiking trips. Also, these boots are not intended for hiking, even though they can withstand wet and muddy conditions. However, duck boots can be used for casual walking around the camp.

Duck boots will serve you well if you plan to go hiking in muddy and wet conditions that are not longer than two miles. But if you have in mind to go on hiking trips that are longer than five miles and that require climbing and walking on uneven terrain, we would not use duck boots.

We also covered a similar topic, so be sure to read Are Timberland Boots Good for Hiking?

What are Duck Boots?

Duck Boots

Duck Boots were created by Leon Leonwood Bean, the founder of the L.L. Bean company, who wanted footwear perfect for staying outdoors that would keep his feet dry while hunting. That is why they are also called Bean boots. 

He tried different materials and finally combined the sole of rubber characteristic of work boots and the leather upper of the shoe for hunting and walking in one footwear.

He thought that the rubber sole protects the foot from unwanted elements, while the leather upper ensures that the footwear is flexible, following the example of classic boots made of leather.

And he was right. Duck boots immediately achieved great success in the market. Today, many manufacturers make shoes based on the Beans idea, but its original innovation cannot be forgotten.

The name ‘duck boots’ was given to this type of boots because they were originally designed for hunters, primarily for duck hunters who accepted them very well because they provided slip and water resistance.

They were so accepted among hunters that they were soon renamed from Bean Boots to Duck Boots. After Bean, numerous manufacturers who started producing footwear on the same principle also kept that name.

The Pros and Cons of Duck Boots for Hiking

Duck Boots for Hiking


  • Comfortable – This type of boots gives great comfort primarily because they are waterproof. Unlike ordinary boots, duck boots protect the foot from the penetration of water and dirt and the feeling of moisture and cold in the shoe.
  • Easy to wear – Unlike other boots, this model is easy to use and take off due to the spacious interior on the front of the shoe, which leaves enough space for the toes.
  • Waterproof – When walking around wet and muddy terrain in duck boots, you don’t have to worry about getting your feet wet. Wet feet are known to be a big hassle that reduces comfort during hiking. Also, if your feet stay wet inside the shoe for a long time, there is a high risk of damaging your feet’ tissues, skin, and nerves.


  • Fit – Since these boots are not breathable, rubber soles are made to give spaciousness to the feet when moving as compensation. At the same top, the laces of these shoes are only on the upper part. Due to the mentioned spaciousness, the foot constantly comes into contact with the shoe during long hikes, which creates friction. On the other hand, friction creates heat inside the shoe, the foot sweats, and during long hikes, painful blisters form on it. Because of this, duck boots are not good for long hiking trails.
  • Ankle support – Duck boots will support your ankle to a certain degree, but it will not be enough when you move on steep and rough areas where your feet are often set sideways in motion. The shoe’s stability is the weakest in the area of the ankle because the rubber part of this footwear is connected there. Classic shoes created just for hiking give much better ankle support.
  • Breathability – The fact that duck boots are waterproof means nothing if you go on dry trails. Even, on the contrary, their water resistance in such cases proves to be a disadvantage since shoes are not made of materials that provide the necessary airiness to the feet. When there is no ventilation inside the shoe during long hiking, the feet sweat, which can be very uncomfortable if the hiking lasts for a long time.
  • Traction – Duck boot soles are made so that they can withstand muddy, wet, and slippery hiking routes, but they are not suitable for sharp and dry routes. They don’t have a strong grip for successfully scaling a rocky trailer, climbing, and clambering through sharp rises, which is ultimate gold for serious hikers. 

Best Duck Boots for Hiking

Best Duck Boots for Hiking

After studying Bean and Sperry duck boots, it’s time to look for some other models of duck boots that are not so well known. These models are much more suitable for hiking, although they are not recommended as the first choice when it comes to hiking shoes. Let’s take a look.

1. The North Face Women’s Shellista II Mid Boot

Although this model of duck boots is not ideal for hiking, it is still a much better choice compared to classic duck boots. Their greatest feature is durability, water resistance, and the feeling of warmth they provide.

When it comes to traction and ankle support, they are in the middle range, between hiking boots and standard duck boots. Also, keep in mind that these boots are quite heavy, but they are not a bad option for performing activities in the snow.

2. Sorel Women’s Caribou Boot

This boot model is quite similar to the previous Shellista II model. Also, these boots are very heavy, and they are an acceptable option for hiking and snowshoeing. In fact, these boots are more snowshoes than hiking shoes.

They will be comfortable and warm for everyone, but I do not recommend them for more demanding hiking on uneven and rough terrain.

Want to know more? Look at this youtube video with the 5 best duck boots that you can buy.

Sperry Brand Duck Boots

These duck boots use the archetypal concept of the Sperry brand. The manufacturer Sperry can boast of being behind the invention of Topsiders boots and iconic boat shoes.

Sperry has been more than 80 years in the footwear production industry, and you can trust this brand when it comes to comfort, quality, traction, style, and protection in adverse weather conditions.

Since the soles of Sperry duck boots are made of rubber, it can be said that they are technically waterproof.

But you should know that the part of the shoe made of leather is not fully water-resistant but it can withstand a certain amount of moisture without letting the water inside of the shoe. Keep in mind that Sperry’s footwear is designed for outdoor marine activities.

Therefore, these types of duck boots are made so that they can get wet, so your feet in them will not be soaked in humid conditions. Also, water will harden the leather part and improve the overall impression of the shoe. But, they are not completely waterproof.

Related Article: Can You Use Gorilla Glue For Shoe Soles?

Duck Boot Manufacturers

Below is a review of some of the best duck boot models if you really insist on buying this type of footwear. 

  • LL Bean – Since LL Bean was the first manufacturer to launch duck boots, its footwear is still the most popular in this product category. 
  • LaCrosse – This brand is known for producing perfect rubber boots that are pleasing to the eye and at the same time very functional and high quality. These boots are especially recommended for use on demanding, sharp and icy terrain.
  • London Fog – Today, duck boots have become a great fashion accessory for cold and rainy days to those who cherish a casual dressing style. The London Fog brand provides them with a wide selection of designer duck boots that are both beautiful looking and functional for everyday use.

Other Combinations To Duck Boots For Hiking

The Zamberlan 1996 Vioz Lux GTX RR Hiking Boots is another good combination that can be used if you are planning to go on a hiking trip. The material they are using is made from Gore-Tex waterproof material, which makes these boots water-resistant but at the same time breathable.

They are made from grain leather and treated with the Hydrobioc formula. This model boasts 3D outsoles with great traction when climbing and descending steep and rough terrain.

In them, the ankle is protected by collar lining, and the flex system ensures easier mobility in all directions. Zamberlan are an ideal alternative to duck boots if you are going on a hiking trip. They are made so that they are absolutely adapted for hiking and backpacking.

Are you still interested in hiking? Be sure to read Are Military Boots Good For Backpacking?

FAQ: People Also Ask

Can duck boots be used in the rain?

Duck boots can be used during the rain. They are designed for wet conditions. Their soles are made of plastic or rubber, making them waterproof in the lower part.

However, even though duck boots can be used in the rain, they are not recommended in flooded areas. The leather part of these shoes will withstand a certain amount of water, but sooner or later, the water will penetrate the boot and flood your feet.

Do duck boots keep your feet warm?

Yes, duck boots can very effectively warm your feet! There are three reasons for this. The first reason is that rubber soles prevent water from penetrating the shoe and your feet always stay dry in them, which enhances the feeling of warmth. 

Another reason is that these boots are not breathable, so they do not let in cold air, but they retain the body heat of the feet created by body movements. Some models of duck boots, especially those designed to be used in winter conditions, have insulation from i.e., micro-fleece lining. It additionally warms your feet.

Final Thoughts

When you go hiking, there is neither a time nor a place to take unnecessary risks, especially when choosing shoes. Bad shoes can easily ruin your carefully planned trip. Hiking in uncomfortable shoes that cause blisters is not comfortable for anyone.

A hiker needs to buy the right pair of shoes. So, in the end, we will once again answer the question, “Are duck boots a good choice for hiking?”. The answer is No! Set them aside when you go hiking to be ready when your adventure is hunting!

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