Considering everything needed for ice fishing — an auger and ice scoop, a sled, rod, reel and bait — it’s easy to relegate clothing, perhaps particularly boots, to the bottom of the list.
But choosing ice fishing boots should get careful consideration, because keeping your feet warm and dry is essential to being safe and comfortable on the ice. Read on for recommendations on the best ice fishing boots.
Our Top Picks
Korkers Polar Vortex 1200
ArcticShield Cold Weather Snow Boots
1. Korkers Polar Vortex 1200
If you use a snowmobile or a four-wheeler to get to your favorite ice-fishing spot, the Korkers Polar Vortex 1200 will be your best choice among ice fishing boots.
With the Polar Vortex 1200, operating a manual-shift four-wheeler is easy, and it also can be held comfortably in a snowmobile footrest. Additionally, the Polar Vortex 1200 comes with interchangeable soles to match whatever snow or ice conditions you may encounter.
Easy to put on and remove
Provides exceptional warmth, including toes
Uses innovative and easy BOA lacing system
Breathability may be an issue above the boot sole
Boots tend to run small, may need to order next size up for best fit
Some wearers may find the boots a bit clunky
2. Kamik Men’s Icebreaker Cold Weather Boots
Featuring Kamik’s proprietary RubberHe technology, the men’s Icebreaker cold weather boot offers top-level traction and flexibility among ice fishing boots, both important in getting to and from your ice fishing adventures.
With a moisture-wicking liner and a temperature rating of -40 degrees, the Icebreaker is sure to be comfortable even in the most frigid conditions, and its pull-on style, laced at the top, makes it easy to pull on and take off.
Remains comfortable during long-term wear
Removable liner dries easily
Large top opening means they’re easy to put on
May be uncomfortable for people with wide feet
Liners subject to deterioration within 12 months
Sizing can be inaccurate for some purchasers
3. ArcticShield Cold Weather Snow Boots
Rated to minus-40 degrees, at a price of less than $60, ArcticShield Cold Weather Snow Boots represent a great value for anyone looking for ice fishing boots at a great price point.
As part of the bargain, the ArcticShield snow boot combines light weight with amazing heat retention, and it also offers a thick treaded outsole for traction on the ice.
Hold up well, even with every-day use
Snow won’t infiltrate the boots
Effective during long hours of ice fishing
Ankle strap can be a problem to tighten
May not be particularly effective at lower than minus-5 degrees
Wearing heavy socks may be difficult
4. Muck Arctic Pro Snow Boot
Featuring an 8-millimeter interior bootie constructed of neoprene, a synthetic rubber that can handle a wide range of temperature extremes, the Muck Arctic Pro Snow Boot is worth your consideration as a contender among high-quality ice fishing boots.
Also helping to ensure warmth in the Arctic Pro Snow Boot is its fleece lining, and an upper binding that snugs up to the calf to keep cold out. And, the Arctic Pro includes 2 millimeters of thermal foam below the foot to ensure comfort and warmth.
Great balance between warmth and light weight
Hold up well under sustained use
Toe area is roomy and comfortable
Not as durable as some users would like
Not available in half sizes
Camouflage design wears off quickly
5. Sorel Men’s Caribou Waterproof Boot
With a breathable textile lining and a tough rubber outsole, the Sorel Men’s Caribou Waterproof Boot should be on your list of ice fishing boots to consider as part of your ice fishing adventures.
One of the great advantages of the Caribou boot is its distinctive lug design, which offers incomparable traction on many different types of terrain.
Effective in wet and slushy snow
No guessing required for correct sizing
Great gripping strength on snow and ice
May not be best choice for covering long distances
Cold protection numbers may be somewhat exaggerated
Some looseness at top of boot
6. Lacrosse Hunt Pac Extreme Hunting Boot
The combined leather and vinyl construction of the Lacrosse Hunt Pac Extreme Hunting Boot gives it a premiere level of both durability and flexibility. At the same time, the boots’ reinforced heel and toe gives them an ability to deal with challenges of use in the outdoors.
Additionally, the Lacrosse Hunt Pac Extreme offers a thickly cushioned midsole, ensuring the warmth of the feet, and thus, the rest of the body, during extended periods of having feet exposed to snow and ice.
Designed for long periods of sitting in extreme cold
Effective even when immersed in slush
Won’t require wearing multiple pairs of socks
Bulk of boots may mean they’re clumsy for some to use
Sizing tends to run small, so order larger size than indicated
Liner is not removable
Ice Fishing Boot Buyer’s Guide
Great ice fishing boots aren’t some sort of luxury for spending a day on your favorite lake, it’s a necessity. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that a great ice fishing boot keeps your feet warm, which in turn helps ensure that the rest of your body retains its warmth.
Among the things that you’ll need to consider before choosing a pair of ice fishing boots that will meet your personal needs is how long you’ll be fishing. As a rule of thumb, the longer you plan to spend ice fishing at your favorite spot, the more insulation your boot should have.
Temperature and Terrain Factors
If you’re shopping for ice fishing boots outside the winter season, one thing you should find out, and keep in mind while you’re shopping, is what the average temperature has been when you’ve been out on the ice. That will be a good guide for determining boot insulation needs.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind the depth of snow you’ll encounter en route to your fishing spot and on the lake itself. If you’ll be in deep snow, you’ll want a boot that either rises high toward your knees or that can be tightly sealed no matter its height.
On a related note, you’ll want to consider whether you’ll encounter snow, ice, slush, or some mixture when crossing the terrain toward your fishing spot. The type of ground you’ll be covering should be a consideration regarding the type of sole on your boots.
Riding or Driving a Snowmobile or Four-Wheeler
One thing that you may not consider, but should when deciding on a pair of ice fishing boots is how, exactly, you’ll get to your fishing spot. If you’ll be doing a lot of walking, you might want to opt for a fairly flexible boot to ensure comfort.
On the other hand, if you’ll be riding or driving a four-wheeler, a snowmobile, or some other kind of all-terrain vehicle on your ice-fishing day, you’ll want to be sure you have compatible boots.
If you’re driving, of course, you’ll want ice fishing boots that don’t restrict your access to gas pedals, clutches, or other controls, and if you’re a passenger, you’ll want boots that fit comfortably on footrests and vehicle access points.
Lastly, having properly fitted ice fishing boots is a key to both comfort and safe walking on icy, snowy or slushy terrain. Be aware, in particular, that ordering ice fishing boots online, rather than trying on a pair in your local outfitting store, can be problematic in terms of ensuring a proper fit.
Also, when considering what size of ice fishing boots you’ll need, particularly when you’re ordering online, remember that you’ll likely be wearing extra socks along with your boots.
When trying on ice fishing boots, you should opt for the softest pair that you also feel will provide adequate support to your feet and lower legs for the distances you’ll be walking and the time you’ll be out on the ice.
As a final note to help you decide on the ice fishing boot that will best meet your needs, check to be sure that the boot liner is breathable. Be wary of heavily insulated boots without breathable liners because they can cause your feet to sweat, making you uncomfortable.
FAQs on Ice Fishing Boots
Of course, the one question that everyone looking for a comfortable and functional pair of ice fishing boots will have is which boot is best. As you’ve seen in this post, there’s no one answer to that question, given the individual circumstances involved in every decision.
As a guide, though, answering that question on an individual basis should involve consideration of questions such as the amount and type of insulation the boot should have, whether its weight and other design factors will be comfortable, and how well its soles perform.
What About the Soles?
With regard to the soles of your ice fishing boots, you’ll want to have boots that either come already equipped with cleats, if you’ll be fishing in an area where traction and grip will be at a premium, or you’ll want boots that can have cleats attached to them.
How Can I Keep My Feet Dry?
Of course, the many choices available for ice fishing boots include boots that are designed specifically to keep your feet dry. But if you choose a boot that may not offer all of the protection you need or want, there are steps that you can take.
One option is to use a waterproofing wax on the bottom and along the seams of your boots to help ensure that they will keep water from infiltrating into your boots.
What’s the Best Balance Between Boots and Socks?
One of the more confusing aspects of getting a properly fitted pair of ice fishing boots is working out how thick the socks you wear with your boots should be.
It can be tricky because the interface between foot, sock, and boot should be snug but not too tight. You don’t want a fit so tight that blood circulation might be affected, but you also don’t want room for outside air to infiltrate the space between your boots and your feet.
On a somewhat related note, as already mentioned, you might want also to consider getting a pair of cleats to attach to your boots. In addition to providing traction, cleats can get boots off the ground and the icy surfaces through which cold can penetrate your boots to chill your feet.
Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Boots
We hope this post has taught you about selecting the best ice fishing boots and has prompted you to consider buying our favorite, the Kamik Icebreaker, which, again, you can find on Amazon.
Need some more Minnesota gear? Trust our recommendations to guide your next shopping trip!
Want to learn more about fishing, discover more fishing spots, and or read up on the best fishing gear? Then continue your fishing adventure with our comprehensive guides, info posts, and more!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.