What is a man to do when faced with torrential rain, squelchy mud, deep snow, or that annoying middling slush? You open up your laptop, read this article on the best men’s duck boots, then get yourself a pair.
Of all the men’s boots, the duck boot has a special place in a man’s wardrobe (and heart) for its instantly recognizable aesthetic and supreme practical wet-weather capabilities. Before we dive into the best available on the world-wide-web at the moment, first, a little trip back to Maine in 1911.
It’s hunting season, and a man named Leon Leonwood Bean is out in the forests of Maine. On that day, like many before, he returned home with soggy feet. Only this time, he has an ingenious idea to boot (pun intended). His leather boots weren’t up to the task of waterproofing. But the logical alternative of fully rubberized boots lacked good fit, comfort, and style.
So he stitched the bottom half of a rubberized boot to the top half of a leather boot and invented the “Maine Hunting Shoe,” or “Maine Hiking Shoe.” It was later shortened to “The Bean Boot” and is now colloquially known as the men’s duck boots.
There are various theories on its name. The grooved rubber looks like a duck’s bill. The heel lifts the sole off the floor in the same bar-of-soap shape as a duck’s body. The water-repellent brilliance of rubber mimics the duck’s natural amphibiousness. While the boot might not have transcended its nominal silliness, it is now a staple all-weather boot and has retained popularity since its 1912 debut.
From the exceptionally traditional to the modern, chic, and urbane, we have water-repelling men’s duck boots for the forests of Maine or the Michelin-starred restaurants of NYC. This round-up of soggy-terrain-beating-aquatic-aces will have you purring with excitement. Here are the best men’s duck boots.
This pair sits on the classic end of the men’s duck boots spectrum. We love the angular, hexagonal eyelets that line the tough leather outer and the chunky oblong leather laces threaded through them. What works really well here is how the chestnut tan leather with its intricate stitching creates a sense of craftsmanship. It blends seamlessly with the deep green of the vulcanized rubber. And a simple cream stripe allows it to transcend the rustic and enter into the stylish. Also, it comes with a plush sock lining to keep your toes toasty when the frost is snapping at your ankles.
These G H Bass men’s duck boots tie together a traditional aesthetic that keeps each part balanced, an insulating lining, and a super waterproofed exterior. This makes it something much more than the sum of its parts.
Material: Leather, Rubber, Nylex | Sizes available: 7-13 | Colors available: 2
It’s The Bean Boot. The original. Looking to experience and buy into men’s duck boots roots? This is the one. This high-quality, purpose-built outdoor boot guards against the harshness and dampness of the natural world. The Portuguese chamois flannel in hazy patterning will keep you super insulated. Plus, they’d look pretty cool when displayed on the boot rack.
Since the early 20th century, L. L. Bean has handcrafted each boot in Maine. They still do that today, and the pre-tumbled leather will feel like it was tailored to your foot as soon as you slip them on. They’re highly durable thanks to the leather/rubber combo, but the brand also offers repairs and re-soling when the dreaded time does start to wear them down.
Material: Leather, Cotton Chamois Flannel, Rubber | Sizes available: 7-14 | Fit: Medium Width (If you’re a half size, order one down. If you’re a whole size, order your size)
Hybridizations are a mixed bag. Excuse the pun. Some fail, and some blossom like a cherry tree in spring. Sperry’s take on a duck boot-cum-derby-shoe, and they’re a perfect example of the latter. Not only is it stylish but also unique, giving you kudos for going into the murky waters of fashion.
The shoe, naturally, has great waterproofing capabilities, thanks to the rubber bottom. It also has great traction, thanks to the Wave-Siping deep tread below. The cozy kicker is these boots pack some serious Thinsulate micro-fleece technology inside to keep your foot as snug and happy as humanly possible. Style. Comfort. Outdoor capability. This cabriolet boot has it all.
Material: Leather, Rubber, Thinsulate Micro-Fleece | Sizes available: 7-13 | Colors available: 1
Men’s duck boots are so well suited to the great puddles of mud and rocky traverses of the countryside that one could disregard its potential for the urban spheres. This UGG boot combines the rubberized bottom with a Chelsea boot top. The result is something sleek, svelte, and aesthetically pleasing.
The black hue adds a thick layer of formality to the duck boot, allowing them to crop up in the unfamiliar territory of the restaurant while still also being capable of a sturdy hike. The Chelsea boot’s elastic means it will slip on and off with ease too. This boot requires minimal fuss and delivers maximum panache.
Material: Leather, UggPlush Recycled Wool & Lyocell Blend, Foam, Elastic Gore, Textile, Molded Shell | Sizes available: 7-14 | Fit: Wide | Colors available: 2
Think of these boots by Sorel as the lightweight, nimble, nifty, and streamlined version of men’s duck boots. What stands out here are the spacious eyelets and the hiking-boot laces that thread them tight, supporting your ankle with each step. The eyelets bring a simplistic and relaxed aesthetic to the shoe. And the molded footbed brings reverse angle grippy tread and bold branding.
While they would do well in a rainy city (Seattle, looking at you), the tread means they’ll handle little outdoor pursuits if pushed to it. They come with 100g of interior insulation, giving softness and warmth aplenty.
By merging the everyday comforts of a sneaker with some of the capabilities of a boot, these make for a nimble winter city ally.
Material: Leather, EVA Rubber, Insulation | Sizes available: 7-10.5 | Colors available: 2
If you’ve ever taken an impromptu showering from a passing bus, car, or HGV, you know how grim a rainy city can be. To help negate the woes of a wet metropolis, these Studio Nicholson boots have a little waterproofing from the rubberized sole that creeps up onto the upper. They might be more suited to the transitional autumn or spring when good weather isn’t guaranteed, but the bad weather isn’t terrible either.
What sets these apart is their style. The contoured chocolate brown rubber is courtesy of Japanese manufacturer Moonstar, and it melds so effortlessly with the almond-hued canvas upper. Wear with some loose-fitting Earth-toned trousers, a white oxford shirt, and a grandiose puffer jacket for the ultimate city style.
Material: Canvas, Rubber | Sizes available: 4-11 | Colors available: 3
These Columbia boots take the old-school men’s duck boots design, modernize it, beef it up, and bring it into 21st-century tech. Firstly, there’s the Omni-Heat™ Infinity liner featuring 200g of highly insulation material to keep your feet as toasty as can be. It is impressively both waterproof and breathable.
Secondly, there’s the TechLite+™ midsole, ensuring the plushness of step that’ll keep the soles of your feet satisfied after a day of walking. And finally, the Adapt Trax™ outsole keeps the whole rig planted to the ground and is especially adept in the snow.
These shoes are designed as the ultimate water-repelling machine. Though, they aren’t limited to just that. The camouflaging effect gives it an outback seriousness that takes men’s duck boots back to its hunter heritage.
Material: Leather, Textile, Rubber, Metal | Sizes available: 7-17 | Fit: Wide | Colors available: 3
Flicking through the Diemme website is an act of torture. Everything is desirable. Even the way they style their photographs is… anyway, I digress. This is indicative of the general aesthetic success of this outdoor brand—to find men’s duck boots with such grace is rare.
The light grey suede upper isn’t exactly ideal for hardcore trekking, hunting, or general outdoor pursuits due to obvious results from the wet and mud. However, it is perhaps one of the sleekest boots you’ll witness. And for that reason alone, they deserve a spot in your wardrobe.
Material: Suede, Rubber | Sizes available: 36-45 | Fit: True to Size | Colors available: 1
Think of this shoe as a sports car that can go off-road in style. The technical prowess of the Vibram sole balances outdoor ability with sneaker daily comfort. Attach this tread on the bottom of men’s duck boots/Chelsea boot upper combination, and you have the recipe for versatile beauty.
Wear this in the city with black jeans, a vintage shirt, and a puffer jacket. Or get on the trails with some GORE-TEX trail pants, a fleece gilet, and some gnarly Oakley shades. Though these are good-looking shoes, be mindful that the white and brown Vibram sole underfoot cancels out its ability to be worn as anything close to formalwear. But, as a casual all-rounder, it’s wonderful.
Material: Leather, Rubber, EVA Midsole | Sizes available: 9-13 | Fit: True to Size | Colors available: 2
No one knew it was even possible for men’s duck boots to look this nice.
While it was designed to slot right in with a catwalk runway show, its high-fashion status certainly doesn’t mean it won’t capably keep your lower extremities warm and dry. Naturally, its white canvas color means you’ll want to avoid any agricultural labor, but city environs? They’ll be up to the job.
There are two important details to note here. One, the rope-tie rubber outsole brings traction. Two, the elegance of the linear grooves through the rubber molds elevates this design. Get yourself some selvage jeans, chic shades, and a minimal trench/overcoat. You won’t be able to contain that confident stroll passing from street to street.
Material: Cotton, Rubber, Fabric | Sizes available: 7-11.5 | Colors available: 1
What to look for in men’s duck boots
The very design of men’s duck boots with a lace-up fabric upper half is an improvement on a fully rubberized boot. Always read and adhere to the brand’s sizing guide, as each manufacturer varies slightly. Also, consider if they need thick socks or not, which will heavily depend on your seasonal preference.
While the rubber bottom is a standard feature, everything else on men’s duck boots are liable to change. Different fabrics up top will affect its properties. Do not get a canvas upper if you’re planning to use them as wet-weather boots. Check the insulation properties on the inside, plus the particular material and treading of the outsole. This will all alter rain/snow performance.
Don’t wear a white canvas upper in grimy outdoor conditions. Lighter colors will fare worse in more treacherous conditions because they’ll stain almost instantly. The color is mainly a consideration for styling. Before purchasing, give a passing thought to what jeans or trousers they might be worn with and whether the color of the shoe pairs well.
A lot depends upon color and application. For example, for an all-black Chelsea boot, it might be worth keeping things in the black range with a few small deviations for the outfit. For a traditional leather duck boot, consider some high-quality selvage or raw denim and put a roll-up in through the ankle. Up top, perhaps a bomber jacket, peacoat, or chore jacket, combo with a white t-shirt and a chic knit if you need the warmth.
Traditional crisscrossed lacing system will suffice. Don’t mess with a good thing. Tie your laces up in a simple double-bow to ensure it looks authentic and won’t come undone.