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Invented in 1911, duck boots were originally designed to keep your feet warm and dry while maintaining a certain degree of flexibility during walking. The boots are a combination of work boots and rain boots, with the lower part of the boot made up of rubber, and the upper part made up of leather.

Duck boots are also sometimes referred to as Bean Boots after they were invented by the great outdoorsman, L.L. Bean. L.L. Bean originally created the duck boots because he wanted to combine the simplicity of a work boot with the leather of a casual boot.

Are they good for hiking? No, duck boots are not good for hiking. Although duck boots perform well in wet and muddy conditions, they are not designed for hiking long distances. Duck boots are ideal for casual walking and getting around a wet camp, but they lack sufficient stability and traction for traditional hiking.

It does, however, depend a bit on what your definition of hiking is. If you are planning on a 2/3-mile hike on flat terrain then duck boots should be fine. But, if you are planning on hiking 5+ miles on different terrains while ascending and descending at different velocities, then duck boots are a no-go.

What are Duck Boots Good for?

It’s possible that you could stumble upon duck boots at London Fashion Week, as they have been adopted by trendy fashionistas and have blown up on popular social media sites. But fashion aside, duck boots are ideal in certain scenarios and places.

Such as – a camping weekend away. Duck boots will keep your feet warm and dry and ensure that you’re not trotting around the campsite with soaking wet feet and mud-caked halfway up your trousers.

Or – your morning commute. There’s nothing worse than sitting in the office with a soaking wet pair of converse on, that will eventually dry when your shift comes to an end. Duck boots would be a worthy investment if you do live in a semi-wet place and walk to work.

Duck boots can also come in handy if you are going away on a European city trip. Whether it’s London, Amsterdam, or Paris, spending days walking around a city that could possibly be wet and cold require some warm shoes that will keep your feet dry.

Pros and Cons of Duck Boots

Here are some of the pros and cons of using duck boots:


  • Comfortable – Duck boots are comfortable. Comfort is achieved mainly because of the boot’s waterproof features which prevent and relieve your feet from wetness, dirt, and coldness that could potentially occur while wearing ordinary shoes.
  • Ease of use – Compared to other boots, duck boots are easy to put on and off because of the spacious toe box that gets tightened by the low shoelaces.
  • Waterproof – Duck boots are waterproof, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to walk on muddy and wet trails without worrying about your feet getting soaking wet. Getting your feet wet while hiking is uncomfortable and prolonged exposure to wet conditions can result in trench foot.


  • Fitting – The rubber sole of duck boots is designed to be spacious to compensate for the lack of breathability, and the laces are usually restricted to the leather upper part of the boots, making the boots hard to adjust lower down. This is not ideal for hiking because the constant movement of the feet will rub it against the inside and cause friction. In turn, this will generate heat causing your feet to sweat and blister while hiking over long distances.
  • Ankle support – Duck boots provide some ankle support, but the support is not sufficient for long hikes and walking over different terrains. Standard hiking boots will generally offer more support.
  • Traction – Duck boots and their soles are designed for wet and muddy conditions, but they are not designed for dry and jagged terrain. The boots will not have enough grip to clamber up rocks, handle uphill climbs, and scale rocky terrain.

An Alternative to Duck Boots

A good and reliable alternative for hiking is the Zamberlan 1996 Vioz Hiking Boots. They are waterproof and made with Gore-Tex waterproofing material – a breathable fabric and full-grain leather with Hydrobloc treatment. These boots also have 3D outsoles with good traction for climbing rugged and steep terrain and embarking downhill stretches.

They have a nylon collar for ankle protection and a flex system for easier forward and lateral movement. The Zamberlan hiking boots are perfectly designed for backcountry backpacking and hiking and would make a great alternative to duck boots.

Duck Boots for Camping

Sperry offers a reliable and visually pleasing range of duck boots and combines the duck boot concept and the traditional marine lifestyle of the Sperry brand. Sperry is famously known for inventing the iconic boat shoes, which are more popularly known today as Topsiders, and with over 80 years of experience in making shoes, they are one of the best of their kind in terms of quality and comfort.

An alternative to Sperry is the brand LL Bean. LL Bean is the original maker of the duck boot and they remain some of the best and most popular duck boots on the market today.


Duck boots should not be purchased with the idea of hiking, although, they do provide warmth and will keep your feet dry. They perform well in wet and muddy conditions, but the height, stiffness, and overall shape of the boot mean that they will likely become uncomfortable when ascending or descending which as a result will likely give you blisters.

If you’re looking for a shoe to wear around the campsite, then duck boots would be perfect, but for embarking on a hike longer than a few hours, I would say that duck boots are a big no.