man ice fishing with tent in background

Choosing Good Boots for Ice Fishing [And Popular Brands]

Ice fishing is not for the faint of heart. Braving the frozen waters in search of the perfect catch requires determination, skill, and, most importantly, the right gear.

You certainly need certain types of fishing gear and equipment for ice fishing, but among items, a pair of reliable ice fishing boots stands out as a critical piece that can make or break your experience on the ice.

duck walking on ice

In this guide, we’ll delve into the factors to consider when choosing the best boots for ice fishing, the various types available, and our top picks.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Ice Fishing Boots

fishing in a hole in the ice

1. Insulation

When venturing onto icy lakes where temperatures can plummet, proper insulation becomes paramount. Insulated boots help retain body heat, keeping your feet warm and comfortable throughout the day.

Look for boots that contain materials such as Thinsulate, wool, or neoprene, which are known for their excellent insulation properties. The amount of insulation needed can vary depending on your local climate and how long you plan to stay out on the ice.

2. Waterproofing

You can lose a lot of body heat through your feet. Given the nature of ice fishing, where you’re in constant contact with snow and ice, waterproof boots are a must. Wet feet can quickly lead to discomfort and even frostbite in extreme conditions. Boots made with waterproof materials like Gore-Tex, rubber, or PVC will keep moisture out, ensuring your feet stay dry and warm.

3. Traction

One slip on the ice can turn a great day of fishing into a painful one. That’s why traction is a crucial consideration when selecting ice fishing boots. Look for boots with aggressive treads, cleats, or studs that can grip slippery surfaces effectively. Some boots even come with removable cleats or built-in traction systems designed specifically for icy conditions.

4. Comfort

Ice fishing often involves long hours of standing or walking on hard, cold surfaces. Therefore, comfort is key when choosing ice fishing boots. Look for features such as ample cushioning, good arch support, and enough room to accommodate thick socks without feeling cramped. A comfortable pair of boots will keep you focused on the fish, not on your feet.

5. Durability

Ice fishing can be tough on gear, with boots subjected to harsh conditions like sharp ice edges and abrasive surfaces. Opt for boots made from durable materials such as leather or high-quality synthetic fabrics. Pay attention to the stitching and overall construction, ensuring that your boots can withstand the rigors of the ice fishing season.

Types of Ice Fishing Boots

1. Pac Boots

kenetrk pac boot

Insulation and Design of Pac Boots

One of the defining features of PAC boots is their innovative design that combines a removable inner felt liner with a sturdy outer shell. The removable liner, often made of thick felt material, serves as the primary source of insulation. This design allows you to adjust the warmth of the boots based on the weather conditions. In extremely cold temperatures, you can keep the liners in for maximum warmth. On milder days, you have the option to remove them for a lighter, more breathable feel.

Waterproofing and Protection

Pac boots are built to withstand wet and icy conditions, making them an excellent choice for ice fishing. The outer shell of these boots is typically made from waterproof materials such as rubber, PVC, or synthetic fabrics. This waterproofing not only keeps your feet dry, but also protects against slushy, wet snow and icy puddles commonly encountered on the ice.

Kenetrek 10" Rancher Insulated Pac Boot, 10 Medium
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Traction for Slippery Surfaces

One of the biggest challenges of ice fishing is navigating the slippery surfaces of frozen lakes. Pac boots address this concern with their rugged outsoles featuring deep treads or lugs. These aggressive treads provide exceptional traction on icy, snow-covered terrain, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Ideal Conditions and Uses of Pac boots

Pac boots excel in extreme cold and deep snow conditions, making them a favorite among ice anglers who brave the coldest months of winter. So, whether you’re standing on the ice for hours waiting for the big catch or trekking through snowy landscapes to reach your fishing spot, Pac boots offer the warmth, waterproofing, and traction needed to tackle the elements.

Key Features of Pac Boots

Removable felt liners for added warmth, waterproof uppers, and rugged outsoles for traction.

Ideal Conditions For Pac Boots

Ideal for extremely cold temperatures and deep snow.

Sorel 1964 PAC Nylon Waterproof Men's Boots - Quarry, Dove - Size 11
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Advantages Of Pac Boots

  • Excellent insulation with removable felt liners.
  • Superior waterproofing to keep feet dry and warm.
  • Rugged outsoles with aggressive treads for traction.
  • Versatility in adjusting warmth with removable liners.
  • Durable construction to withstand harsh winter conditions.

Cons of Pac boots

  • Slightly heavier compared to other types of ice fishing boots.
  • May require occasional maintenance such as cleaning and drying the liners.
  • Sorel Caribou Pac Boots
  • Kamik Men’s Hunter Pac Boots
  • Baffin Men’s Impact Insulated Boots

2. Rubber Boots

man ice fishing with rubber boots

Rubber boots are a classic choice for ice fishing, valued for their simplicity, waterproofing capabilities, and ease of use. These boots have stood the test of time as a reliable option for anglers venturing onto frozen lakes and snowy landscapes.

Ideal Uses and Scenarios

Rubber boots shine in early and late ice conditions, where waterproofing is crucial. They are perfect for quick outings, easy trips to and from your fishing spot, and scenarios where you expect to encounter wet or slushy surfaces.

Key Features

  • 100% Waterproof: Made of rubber or waterproof materials to keep feet dry.
  • Simple Design: Slip-on style for easy wearing and removal.
  • Easy to Clean: Rinse off mud, snow, and debris with ease.
  • Quick Drying: Interior tends to dry relatively quickly.

Waterproofing and Design of Rubber Boots

The hallmark feature of rubber boots is their 100% waterproof construction. Made entirely of rubber or rubber-like materials, these boots are impervious to water, making them ideal for wading through slushy ice, wet snow, and icy puddles without a second thought. The seamless design of rubber boots ensures that no moisture seeps in, keeping your feet dry and comfortable throughout your fishing expedition.

Muck Boot Women's Arctic Sport Ll Extreme Conditions Tall Rubber Winter Boots, Black/Pink, 7
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Advantages of Rubber Boots For Ice Fishing

  • Waterproof Protection: The primary advantage of rubber boots is their ability to keep your feet completely dry. This feature is invaluable when dealing with the wet and icy conditions commonly encountered during ice fishing.
  • Easy to Clean: Rubber boots are a breeze to clean after a day out on the ice. Simply rinse off any mud, snow, or debris, and they’re ready for your next adventure. This low-maintenance aspect makes them a convenient choice for anglers.
  • Quick Drying: Should your boots get wet on the inside, whether from sweat or moisture seeping in, rubber boots tend to dry relatively quickly. This feature is particularly beneficial when you need to reuse them soon after a wet outing.
  • Simple and Reliable: Rubber boots are known for their straightforward design and reliable performance. They are often slip-on, with no laces or complicated closures, making them easy to put on and take off, especially when you’re bundled up in layers.

Cons of Rubber Boots

  • Less Insulation: Compared to pac boots or insulated hiking boots, rubber boots generally offer less insulation. While they provide excellent waterproofing, they may not keep your feet as warm in extremely cold conditions without additional thermal socks.
  • Limited Breathability: The waterproofing that makes rubber boots so effective can also lead to limited breathability. This means your feet might get sweaty and uncomfortable during extended periods of wear.
  • Muck Boot Arctic Sport Rubber Men’s Winter Boot
  • Bogs Classic High Waterproof Insulated Rain Boot
  • LaCrosse Men’s Alpha Range Waterproof Rubber Boot

3. Insulated Winter Hiking Boots

insulated winter hiking boot for ice fishing

Key Features

  • Insulation: Thinsulate, wool, or synthetic materials for warmth.
  • Versatile Design: Suitable for hiking and ice fishing.
  • Good Traction: Sturdy outsoles with moderate to aggressive treads.
  • Breathability: Allows for better airflow to prevent sweaty feet.
  • Comfortable Fit: Designed for extended wear without discomfort.

Ideal Uses and Scenarios

Insulated winter hiking boots are perfect for ice anglers who want warmth without sacrificing mobility. They shine in situations where you need to hike to your fishing spot, trek through snowy terrain, or enjoy a mix of hiking and ice fishing activities. These boots are also excellent for anglers who prefer a more streamlined and lightweight option compared to bulky pac boots.

Insulation and Design

The defining feature of insulated winter hiking boots is their combination of warmth and agility. These boots typically feature insulation in the form of Thinsulate, wool, or synthetic materials, providing a cozy barrier against the cold. Unlike the bulkier pac boots, winter hiking boots offer a more streamlined design, allowing for greater freedom of movement.

XPETI Men’s Crest Thermo Winter Hiking Boots Lightweight Snow Shoes Insulated Olive Green 14
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Pros of Insulated Winter Hiking Boots:

  • Versatility: Insulated hiking boots are not just for the trail—they also excel as ice fishing boots. Their versatile design makes them suitable for both hiking through snowy landscapes and standing on the ice for long periods.
  • Warmth with Mobility: These boots strike a balance between warmth and agility, providing sufficient insulation without the bulkiness of traditional pac boots. This makes them ideal for anglers who need to move around or hike to their fishing spot.
  • Good Traction: Winter hiking boots often feature sturdy outsoles with moderate to aggressive treads, offering reliable traction on icy surfaces. This traction is essential for stability and safety while navigating frozen lakes.
  • Breathability: Compared to rubber boots, winter hiking boots typically offer better breathability. This means your feet are less likely to get sweaty and uncomfortable during prolonged wear.

Cons of Insulated Winter Hiking Boots:

  • Less Insulation Than Pac Boots: While they offer good warmth, insulated hiking boots may not provide the same level of insulation as dedicated pac boots. Anglers fishing in extremely cold conditions may need additional layers of thermal socks.
  • Not as Waterproof as Rubber Boots: While many winter hiking boots are water-resistant, they may not offer the same level of waterproofing as rubber boots. Standing water or slushy conditions can still lead to moisture seeping in over time.
  • Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat Winter Boot
  • KEEN Durand Polar Waterproof Winter Boot
  • Salomon X Ultra Winter CS Waterproof Hiking Boot

4. Ice Fishing Specific Boots

man holding fish from ice fishing

Key Features

  • Built-in Ice Cleats: One of the standout features of ice fishing boots is the incorporation of built-in ice cleats or studs. These cleats provide exceptional traction on slick, icy surfaces, ensuring stability and safety while walking or standing on the ice.
  • Specialized Lacing Systems: Many ice fishing boots come with specialized lacing systems designed to provide a snug and secure fit. These systems help prevent snow and moisture from entering the boots while offering customizable tightness for comfort.
  • Exceptional Insulation: Ice fishing boots prioritize warmth with advanced insulation technologies. These boots often feature multiple layers of insulation, such as Thinsulate, to trap heat and keep feet warm even in frigid temperatures.
  • Waterproof and Windproof Materials: To combat the elements, ice fishing boots are constructed with waterproof and windproof materials. This ensures that feet stay dry and protected from the biting cold wind that often accompanies ice fishing expeditions.

Korkers Men's Polar Vortex 1200 Winter Boots - Insulated and Waterproof - Includes SnowTrac Lug Sole
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Pros Of Ice Fishing Boots

  • Unmatched Traction: The built-in ice cleats provide superior grip on icy surfaces, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Maximum Warmth: Advanced insulation keeps feet warm in even the coldest conditions, allowing anglers to fish comfortably for hours.
  • Durable Construction: Ice fishing boots are built to last, with rugged materials that can withstand sharp ice edges and abrasive surfaces.
  • Specialized Features: From specialized lacing systems to reinforced toe caps, these boots are designed with the needs of ice anglers in mind.

Cons Of Ice Fishing Boots

  • Higher Price Point: Ice fishing specific boots often come with a higher price tag due to their advanced features and specialized design.
  • Heavier Weight: The robust construction and added features can make these boots heavier compared to other options.
  • Striker Ice Combat Boot
  • Clam IceArmor Edge Cold Weather Boot
  • Korkers

Nordic Legend Explorer Ice Shelter 5 Sides Wide Bottom Insulated 6-8 Person Ice Fishing Tent
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Maintenance and Care Tips For Ice Fishing Boots

To ensure your ice fishing boots last for many seasons, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Remove dirt, salt, and debris after each use to prevent damage.
  • Proper Storage: Store boots in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Conditioning: Treat leather boots with appropriate conditioners to maintain suppleness.
  • Inspect for Damage: Check for wear and tear, and repair or replace as needed.


Choosing the right boots for ice fishing is a decision that can significantly impact your comfort and safety on the frozen lakes. Consider factors such as insulation, waterproofing, traction, comfort, and durability when making your choice.

man ice fishing pulling out small fish

Whether you opt for pac boots, rubber boots, insulated hiking boots, or specialized ice fishing boots, investing in quality footwear will enhance your ice fishing experience. Stay warm, stay dry, and most importantly, stay safe out on the ice!

fishing on gunnison river in colorado

Mountain State Angling | Why Colorado Is An Ideal Winter Destination for Fishing Enthusiasts

Outdoor sports gained immense popularity amid the COVID pandemic when sporting venues were closed and people were apprehensive about crowded spaces.

Of course, even before the virus hit the world, Americans were keen on outdoor activities. 

Fishing is among the hottest favorites, with 54.5 million Americans flocking to the nation’s waterways in 2022 alone. This number was nearly two million more than the previous year, and one of the highest participation rates in over a decade.

colorado river

When it comes to top fishing destinations, Americans are spoiled for choice. As an ardent angler, you can go fishing to Thousand Islands in New York, Lake Tahoe in California, Lake Austin in Texas, or the famous Florida Keys. 

The best part is that the fishing in Colorado goes beyond the conventional seasons like Spring and Fall. You can try your luck with the rod and reel in the Colorado winter and go home with a big catch.

In this article, we will explain what makes Colorado a perfect winter destination for fishing enthusiasts.

Diverse Fishing Opportunities In Colorado

Colorado is heaven for outdoor lovers, offering a year-round opportunity to have fun amid nature.

The state boasts a diverse range of fishing opportunities even during winter. According to the recently released annual list of best ice fishing destinations in the US, Colorado is among the top names. The state’s remote 11 Mile Reservoir got a special mention in this context.

While July to October is the peak season for the San Miguel river fishing, you can also enjoy the winter experience here.

winter trout in hand

According to RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service, guided fly fishing is the best option for anglers looking to explore Colorado in winter.

A seasoned guide can help you explore popular destinations such as Blue Mesa Reservoir, Steamboat Lake, and more. They may also share valuable tips to reel in a big catch from the icy waters. 

Crystal Clear Waters

Colorado’s rivers and streams feature crystal clear waters in winters, making it easy for anglers to maximize their catch. Enhanced visibility is an added advantage as it enables you to identify fish-holding spots and track your fly’s path through the rapid current. You will also witness the beauty of the underwater world.

You may worry about the chill of the icy water, but Colorado’s vast network of tailwaters addresses the concern. Tailwaters are the rivers below dams releasing controlled flows. They maintain consistent temperatures, regardless of the winter chill. It prevents ice formation and ensures abundant fishing opportunities even during the coldest months. 

Scenic Winter Landscapes

Besides experiencing the thrill of guided fly fishing in Colorado during winter, anglers can relish the unmatched scenic beauty of its landscapes. Winter brings heavy snowfall in the state, blanketing the landscapes in snow and enhancing the allure of fishing expeditions.

colorado mountains road

Fishing enthusiasts can witness the panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, serene forests, and frozen waterways. The tranquility of Colorado’s scenery takes the fishing experience a notch higher. You need not worry about wading through crowds, with fewer adventure lovers battling for prime fishing spots. 

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Trophy Fish Potential In Colorado

With the competition being less intense, you have a better chance of landing a trophy-sized catch during a winter fishing expedition in Colorado. The trout population has focused feeding patterns and heightened aggressiveness at this time of the year. It enhances the probability of encountering a big one lazily patrolling a sun-dappled stretch or lurking in a deep run.

cutthrout trout

All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time, prepare your gear, and master your techniques.

Besides the pride of grabbing a big catch, you feel good about standing against the elements with courage and resilience. The thrill of drilling through thick ice and setting up portable ice shelters creates memorable moments. 

Final Thoughts On Colorado Winter Fishing

In conclusion, Colorado makes an excellent winter fishing destination, combining diverse fishing opportunities with scenic landscapes and unique winter experiences.

icefishing at sunrise

You will love every moment here, from casting lines in frozen lakes to digging deep into ice-covered reservoirs. A fishing expedition at Colorado’s winter wonderland promises an unforgettable adventure.

So, stay warm and Happy fishing!

orange sun in sky

Sunshine Dilemma – SPF vs. UPF: What’s The Difference?

Most of us love waking up and seeing bright, beautiful sunshine waiting for us outside. That warming sun can provide endless opportunities for beach trips, hiking, and other fun outdoor activities. 

While thinking about the countless adventures you can have on warm, sunny days, it’s also worth sparing a thought for your skin; specifically, how to protect it.

kayak fishing at dawn

What’s So Dangerous About the Sun?

There must be a reason why we lather ourselves in sunscreen and wear sun hats and skin protection sleeves. It’s because the sun can be dangerous. However, not everyone understands how hazardous it can be and the repercussions of poor sun safety. 

fiery sun

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in skin, eye, and immune system damage. Sunburn and excessive UV light exposure can also result in skin damage, which might cause premature skin aging and even skin cancer

The Sun’s Ultraviolet Rays

UV radiation type chart

Earth’s atmosphere absorbs UVC (Ultraviolet-C) rays , so we don’t need to worry about those. However, long-term exposure to UVA (Ultraviolet-A) rays can cause wrinkling, aging, and skin elasticity loss.

UVB (Ultraviolet-B) rays can increase your risk of skin cancer compared to UVA rays. However, UVA rays may increase UVB’s damaging effects, like cataracts and skin cancer. 

CDC UV Rays graphic


Sun Protection Factor (SPF) vs. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

So, what’s the difference between SPF and UPF?

Well, let’s take a look at what differentiates them…

sun and clouds

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Sun protection factor is a rating included on sun protection products for skin, like sunscreen and lip balm.

This is because the SPF rating measures how much protection a product can provide against UVB radiation, the UV ray known to cause sunburn and contribute to a skin cancer diagnosis. 

SPF 50 sunscreen

Most SPF products like sunscreens and lotions are produced for the sole purpose of preventing sunburn. Whether you’re hiking or relaxing poolside, SPF products can be crucial to wear at all times. 

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

In contrast to SPF, the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is a rating for UV radiation that penetrates fabrics to get to the skin. It factors in UVA and UVB radiation, whereas SPF only factors in UVB.

UPF is something you might see mentioned on the labels of sun-protective clothing items like specific fabrics and hats. The higher the UPF rating, the less UV radiation can pass through the material.  Like SPF, UPF products are designed to prevent sunburn. However, they also aim to reduce the risk of skin damage. 

How to Protect Yourself From the Sun’s Harmful Rays

As much as we love spending time outside basking in the sun’s rays, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep ourselves safe when we do.

You can take a number of proactive measures to protect yourself and your family whenever you venture outside for relaxation or outdoor activities

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging effects. It’s also one of the most effective ways to prevent sunburn while reducing the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. 

However, what you use and how you use it matters in your bid to enjoy sun protection.

sunscreen in hand

Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed skin. Ensure it has an SPF rating of at least 30. Remember, the higher the number, the more protection you can enjoy.

Seeing broad-spectrum on the label can also give you peace of mind that the sunscreen can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays. 

Re-applying the sunscreen every two hours will help maintain its protective barrier. However, you’ll need to apply it more frequently if you’re sweating, participating in swimming or other water sports, or exposed to moisture in other ways. If you don’t like the feeling of sunscreen on your lips, purchase an SPF lip balm for total protection. 

Wear Protective Clothing

The less skin you expose to harmful UV rays, the more protected you can be. Alongside applying sunscreen to any exposed skin, you can also wear protective clothing.

Long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts with skin protection sleeves, pants, sunglasses, and hats can all be excellent options. You might also like to purchase clothing and accessories with tightly woven fabric or an ultraviolet protection factor rating. 

Seek Shade

Spending time in the sunshine can be fun, but you don’t have to spend all day in it.

Seek shade when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, which is typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Fortunately, seeking shade when you’re out and about can be easy.

woman with sunscreen on nose

Get Vitamin D In Other Ways

If your entire aim with being outside in the sunshine is to ensure you get enough vitamin D, consider obtaining it in other ways. You can obtain vitamin D through supplements, oily fish, eggs, and red meat. Some food producers also add it to other foods like plant milk and breakfast cereals. 

Final Thoughts on SPF vs. UPF

As much as we can enjoy seeing the sun when we’re participating in outdoor activities, it can be more harmful than you think. So the more you know about sun safety and protecting your skin, the smaller your risk of sun-related illnesses and damage might be.  

Remember to wear sunscreen an UPF protective clothing… and have fun outdoors!