Ice Fishing Boots - How to Choose the Right Model

Ice Fishing Boots – How to Choose the Right Model

Ice Fishing Boots

There are few things that are more miserable on an ice fishing trip than feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather. Sitting out on the ice with wet or cold feet is horrible, so you’ll need an insulated boot to keep you warm. The best ice fishing boot can protect you against this horrible experience and ensure that your feet stay warm and dry, even if you spend several hours on the ice.

How do you choose the right model of winter boot? It’s important to know what your options are. Once you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each style, you can choose the ones that are best for you.


One of the most important things to look for in ice fishing boots is to look for an insulated boot. There is no “right” or “wrong” insulation amount or style because it really depends on where you are fishing. Obviously, though, it’s going to be cold, so in most cases, the more insulation your boots have, the warmer you’ll be. You don’t want to sacrifice comfort for insulation, though, so make sure you choose a pair that are warm and well-insulated without being too tight. A winter boot or hiking boot will usually have an interior fleece lining, or a removable liner that will let you switch it out depending on the weather. For deep snow, fleece lining is a must.

It’s also a good idea to keep your own cold tolerance in mind when choosing what level of insulation you need. If you are someone who runs warmer, you can get away with less insulation. But if you chill easily, it will be worth investing in thicker insulation styles.

In addition to how much insulation your boots have, you’ll also want to consider:

  • Purpose of the boot (ones that allow you to do some walking tend to be better and more comfortable).
  • Whether or not you are willing to invest in high-quality, thick socks that offer padding, insulation, and blister protection.
  • If the boots can be equipped with ice grippers or ice cleats (most can, but not all of them need this feature because they come with grips).
  • Whether you intend to put foot warmers in the boots (it’s a cheap way to up the heat factor, especially if you’re on a tight budget and you had to buy boots with no removable liner).
  • Dryness of the boots (this is important even if you do not intend to fish in rainy or wet areas).
  • How much effort it requires to care for the boots (following the manufacturer’s care instructions increases the life span of the ice boot and helps keep them in great working condition).

With all of these things in mind, here are your choices for ice fishing boot style:

Hunting Boots

A hunting boot can be great ice fishing boots, but you must make sure you choose the insulated kind. Regular three-season hunting boots are going to make you miserable, but winter or big game hunting should work. They are also likely to be comfortable and allow you to walk a decent distance if you are planning to be mobile or you need to get deep into an area to access your fishing hole. The best hunting boots feature a good fit, solid laces, and plenty of support for walking. Mobile anglers love this type of boot because they are so comfortable. You should also look for a waterproof membrane and breathable material. There are plenty of different heights. We recommend taller ones, but go with whatever makes you the most comfortable. Some people find tall boots too restrictive and prefer to get their warmth from their clothing and a pair of thick socks instead of the hunting boot.

Hunting boots also tend to be very sturdy, so you’ll get a lot of life out of boots like this. Prices usually range from $150 to $250, but you can find ones cheaper or more expensive depending on the brand and the quality. But we recommend sticking with a decent quality ice fishing boot that will last longer.

Pac Boots

Pac boots have a base that is waterproof and go very high up on the calf. It’s one of the most popular choices among ice anglers and lets you walk in wet snow and on ice without concern for your feet getting wet or cold. In addition to a rubber outsole, these boots have a heavy duty outer shell made of either leather or nylon. Some also feature a gaiter on the top so you’re further able to seal out snow. Pac boots feature buckles, zippers, or laces, or a combination of all of these features, so they’ll be secured to your feet without issue. We love the buckles because it’s so easy and convenient to get them on and you don’t need to worry about them coming untied mid-way through your fishing excursions. Some models even come with an inner boot removable liner, making for an all-around solid cold weather boot.

These boots come in different styles. We recommend the ones with the best traction, as opposed to those that are designed for hiking long distances. Prices for Pac boots usually start about $100 and go up to several hundred depending on the brand, style, and features of the boot.

Insulated Rubber Boots

Your standard rubber boots with insulation are a great option for ice fishing. They’ll keep you warm, comfortable, and dry, and come in a variety of styles.

These boots are completely made of rubber on the outside with a rubber sole. They are one of the most budget-friendly choices available and perfect if you are fishing in snowy or wet areas. Because they are so affordable, some like to keep a pair of these boots as a back-up snow boot while they regularly use the other kind for most trips. The rubber boots are for when you are fishing in deep snow conditions or if you are out and concerned about the rain. The downside, and the reason insulated rubber boots might be the backup, is that they don’t give you the same level of warmth as other types of boots. They also tend to be less breathable, so your feet will sweat in them. This means they won’t be great for walking long distances. You can get a high-quality pair of rubber boots for $70, so if you want something that has you covered for wetter conditions, these make a great option.

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Roy Ericson

Roy Ericson started fishing when he was just a boy, like many of us did. He spent far too much time on the piers not being able to catch anything, until his uncle brought him deep sea fishing, out to the lakes of Michigan, where he lived, and to the various ponds in neighboring states. He’s been all over, caught over 400 different species of fish, and doesn’t believe you should embellish your stories. He’s just here to teach you about his absolute favorite thing in the world: fishing.