When inclement weather roars in, you need to be ready — no matter whether it's torrential rain or a few feet of snow. Waterproof shell jackets are an obvious start, and water-repellent pants help more than you'd expect. The true lifesaver, however, is a pair of waterproof boots. But which ones? How do you choose between muck boots, those within the broader rain boot category, snow boots and, of course, duck boots?
The latter (duck boots) are arguably the most versatile. They're typically tall, finished with a seamless rubber bottom and waterproof throughout — and, more often than not, lined. That makes them right for rain and snow.
Best Overall Duck BootL.L. Bean 8" Bean Boots Read More
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When Were Duck Boots Invented? By Who?
An avid outdoorsman named Leon Leonwood Bean designed the first pair of duck boots to protect his feet while hunting in Maine’s damp conditions — all the way back in 1911. With them, he launched his now-iconic brand, L.L. Bean. Ten years later, a crew of Arctic explorers trusted Bean's design in one of the most extreme, remote locales in the world. Duck boots have spread beyond hunting, though, and they come in different heights and with various linings.
Are Bean Boots the Same as Duck Boots?
Honestly, yes. It's just that L.L. Bean was first. The aforementioned Mr. Bean debuted his, which became colloquially known as Bean Boots (but were really called Maine Hunting Shoes), long before others, meaning he technically owned the space until competitors caught on.
What Are Duck Boots Good for?
Duck boots are ideal for braving adverse conditions. They’re waterproof and durable — some are even lined — and they can take on the worst of winter storms — or simple rain. It's best to find a pair that rise high enough to cover a pant leg if you wanted. They'll be the best at keeping you warm and dry. Another core component is a rubber outsole. Never buy a duck boot without some type of tread. Sure, you could trudge through fluffy snow in them — think: snow shoes — but if you hit an icy sidewalk or a wet side street, you're sure to slip — and no one wants to slip.
The Best Duck Boots for Men
Plenty of brands make their own iterations, whether as a clear tribute to L.L. Bean's category-defining style or as a subtler spin-off. Shop our favorites below.