Are Duck Boots Good For Hiking?

You wanna buy a duck? It doesn’t quack but it’s still a duck! Some people call them Bean Boots but this is an example of a generic trademark, akin to referring to all gelatin desserts Jell-O. This waterproof boot was created by outdoor enthusiast and inventor Leon Leonwood Bean, founder of the L. L. Bean company. Its purpose is to be as comfortable as a leather boot while functioning like a rubber workman’s boot.

are duck boots good for hiking

Why Duck Boots Are So Popular?

These boots have been around for over a hundred years with no sign of going out of style. There has been little change to the original model over the years. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! There’s also the scarcity of the Bean Boot. L. L. Bean only makes so many a year. They’re also made to last a lifetime with local materials.

Why Are They Called Duck Boots?

They are also known as the Maine Hiking Shoe due to the inclement weather in this northern New England state. They are known as duck boots because they are entirely waterproof, like the feathers of a duck. “Like water off a duck’s back” is how the saying goes. They can be used for duck hunting as a little water doesn’t affect them at all.

How Comfortable Are Duck Boots?

They are comfortable to wear without any breaking in period at all. What makes these boots really comfortable is that they keep the feet clean and dry in any environment. Snow, ice, rain, and mud can’t get to the feet at all in these. Do keep the sizing in mind.

Are Duck Boots Good For Hiking?

They are not the best choice. They just aren’t stable enough and they lack traction. There’s no ankle support and they are not very breathable. They are comfortable and waterproof, but they are more suited for short walks than long hikes.

Are Duck Boots Good For Walking?

While not suited for long-distance hikes, duck boots are suited for short walks. They’ll get you from the camp to the blind. They are warm and comfortable enough to wear for quite a while.

What Are Duck Boots Good For?

They were originally engineered to be a boot for hunters in cold and/or damp conditions. There have since been duck boots made for women and children to be worn on rainy or snowy days. Traditionally, these boots originally came in earth tones and dark colors but now they come in a broader variety.

How Are Duck Boots Supposed To Fit?

They should fit comfortably straight out of the box. They should feel as comfortable as a pair of boots you have had for years.

Do Duck Boots Run Big Or Small?

Do keep in mind that if you are buying from L. L. Bean they only come in whole sizes. These whole sizes generally run true to size. If you wear a half size, go up.

Do Duck Boots Stretch Out?

While leather can stretch a little, rubber and synthetic materials are very hard to stretch out. You can try some of the stretching tricks for boots, but don’t expect dramatic results. Duck boots have a reputation for feeling the same out of the box as years down the road.

Are Duck Boots Waterproof?

That’s why they’re called duck boots. Of course, this means they are not very breathable. On the other hand, they are very warm. The whole purpose of duck boots is to keep the feet both warm and dry. You may want to try a non-insulated pair with thick, warm socks.

Are Duck Boots Non-Slip?

The soles are made out of rubber and thus are quite grippy. Bean’s competitor, Sperry, also makes their duck boots slip-resistant. The Sorrell Caribou boots improve on the original design with lugs in the soles to make steps even more secure. Ralph Lauren puts rubber lugs in their children’s boots as well. Polar’s take on the design is budget-friendly but the tread is secure enough for ice fishing.

Are Duck Boots Good For Snow?

They are probably the best boots there are for snow. Wool insulation is the best for keeping warm on a snowy day. Look for something like Thinsulate or shearling for the best results. They’re not great for long hikes, but you can wear them to shovel your walk.

As the rubber sole and toe box seal up the shoe to make it totally waterproof that means snow will not melt and seep into the boot and make your feet cold. The leather uppers may need to be treated if you are in unusually deep snow.

Are Duck Boots Good For Rain?

The waterproof duck boots go great with a raincoat. The boots are not only waterproof but have great traction so that you are less likely to slip on damp pavement. Duck boots are among the best possible boots you could wear in the rain or snow.

This goes not only for the L. L. Bean original but the many other brands that copy the style and above all try to make a boot that is as warm and waterproof as the original was intended to be.

Can You Wear Duck Boots In The Summer?

This is the best time to buy duck boots as they are often on backorder in the winter. If summer is damp where you live or you like to camp or hunt in places that may get a little marshy, you might want to wear duck boots. Of course, you don’t really need much in the way of insulation in the summer. The low-cut Chelsea is highly recommended. Wear them with thin socks so the air can circulate.

Can You Wear Duck Boots Year-Round?

This practical and versatile boot can be worn all year long. Most people consider them to be casual wear with a hint of the preppy look. Jeans and sweaters make the perfect accompaniment. Flannel complements the rugged outdoorsy look associated with the boot.

For a casual look, you can tie the boots loosely but remember to tighten them up if you are going into rain or snow. If you got some long winter socks with a cute print on them, here’s the time to show them off.

When Should You Wear Duck Boots?

You can wear them anytime. Of course, hunting and fishing and other outdoor activities are most often associated with duck boots but really anytime is good. You can wear them to a business meeting wearing utility pants and a blazer. You can wear them with a summer dress and throw on a rugged jacket for that unkempt beauty look.

A wool jacket and a colorful beanie make a cool winter in the city look. Duck boots can also be worn to brunch with neat socks and a button-down shirt. For fall, go with a layered look that can be built up or down as the temperature changes.

What Are The Original Duck Boots?

The original duck boots are the ones also known as Bean Boots. They were created by L. L. Bean himself way back in 1911. Bean wasn’t just a maker of outdoor gear; he was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He found that ordinary hunting boots often left him with feet that were cold and wet.

With some help from a local cobbler, Bean combined the rubber soles of rain boots with the rugged leather uppers of traditional hunting boots. Shortly after, Bean founded his famous company to market and sell these shoes.

The first hundred pairs were quickly sold but were quickly repaired due to a defect in the connection of the leather and the rubber. Bean went back to the drawing board and came back with the Bean Boot as we know it today.

Who Makes The Best Duck Boots?

Of course, the Bean Boot remains a favorite, but as they are still handmade, they sell out quickly and at premium prices. Well, like Jim Jones no doubt once said: “If we don’t have any more Kool-Aid, Flavor-Aid will do.” (What? Too soon?) The Schnee’s boots have great traction and are very waterproof.

However, they are not insulated well and would make a better summer boot. Bean’s main competition in Duck Boots is Sperry, which is just as waterproof and features the patented Wave-Siping outsole.

However, it is not as well insulated and is not reparable. The G.H. Bass Douglass is as close as you can get to L. L. Bean without paying L. L. Bean prices. Lacrosse, Sorel, Frye, Wolverine, Timberland Grenson, and Kamik all make adequate duck boots.

Do You Need Hiking Boots?

You need them if you are going to hike. As said before, while the duck boots are warm and comfortable enough to walk in for some time, they are not suitable for long hikes. They just are not supportive enough. Trail running shoes would be a better choice for hiking than duck boots. If the trail is rocky, muddy, or wet you might want to go with the hiking boots.

What To Consider When Buying Hiking Boots?

The fit is most important. They should be snug in the heel and loose in the toe. Ignore the numbers and just go with what feels right on your foot. Get the right style for the type of trail you like to go on.

Almost as important as the boots are the socks. You don’t want a seam causing pressure issues. There should be ample padding in the tongue. The ankle also should be padded well in the interior.

How To Clean Duck Boots

Duck boots are often worn around snow and mud and all kinds of muck so they get dirty quite often. Fortunately, they can be easily cleaned with soap, water, and a sponge. Soak the sponge in warm, soapy water. Use this to scrub the rubber portion clean without touching the leather.

The leather should be cleaned using a leather cleaner. A clean, dry rag can be used to wipe off excess moisture and remaining dirt. A shoe refresher can keep the interior of the boots clean and fresh smelling.

Conclusion

There’s another reason why someone might want to call them duck boots. The colorway made by the combination of rubber sewn to leather sort of makes your feet look like those of Scrooge McDuck. This character famous in Disney comics and cartoons wears spats over his webbed feet in imitation of the stately attire associated with upper-class gentlemen of the Victorian era.

Would Scrooge wear duck boots if he were human? He does often go on wild adventures in search or treasure where it might get a little cold and wet. On the other hand, Scrooge is a notorious cheapskate. He might go with Sperry or G.H. Bass Douglass. Wherever you go for an adventure, duck boots of any brand can be counted on to keep your feet dry and warm.

References:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean_Boots
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  • https://hikingguy.com/how-to-hike/do-i-need-hiking-boots
  • https://trailandsummit.com/are-duck-boots-good-for-hiking
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