The traditional “rain boot” is a classic footwear offering that’s fulfilled its role for many years. However, what began as a functionally-sound staple for outdoorsmen and workers, quickly fell to the wayside when newer, more formidable materials, textiles, and designs were put into play. One of these designs was none other than the duck boot, a stylish model that solved the mystery of unprecedented waterproofing during the early 1900s.
Invented and utilized by the founder of L.L.Bean, Leon Leonwood Bean, the original duck boot would find its way into circulation over 100 years ago. After its introduction in 1912, it was widely adopted by hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen who revered it for its water-resistant qualities, lauding its unique rubber design as the next step in evolution for waterproof shoes. Eventually, the utilitarian staple would become more refined in both aesthetics and construction, quickly becoming a mainstay among the more stylish, fashion-focused crowd who wanted to confront the elements in a more tasteful way. Now, over a century later, the duck boot is still thriving. Below, we’ve curated a list of our favorite offerings from around the industry, focusing primarily on capability, durability, and timeless class. Needless to say, the genre’s most lauded proprietors have been joined by a handful of up-and-coming outfits looking to make their name within the world of water-resistant footwear.
London Fog Ashford
London Fog plays an interesting role within the menswear industry. It’s lauded as a recognizable, premium proprietor whose affordable items can round out any outfit; unfortunately, that’s also the gripe that many fashion-forward guys have when it comes to the brand. Not only is the company’s gear regularly included in a bevy of high-end department store catalogs, but it’s also relatively inexpensive, leading people to question its integrity. That aside, the Ashford duck boot is one of the best offerings in the footwear industry, helping to bolster the brand’s reputation. This great-looking model features a 200-gram Thinsulate insulation for additional warmth, a seven-inch shaft, and a waterproof shell, helping style-savvy gentlemen to face the elements without breaking the bank.
Kamik Yukon 5
Kamik’s reputation as a centurial footwear company proceeds its aesthetically-pleasing offerings. Since 1898, the brand has been supplying the industry’s best boots to its Canadian audience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive to the country. No matter where you reside, you’ll be able to take advantage of the brand’s Yukon 5 duck boot, which offers versatile protection against rain, snow, sleet, and cold. Each example boasts an eight-inch shaft that’s insulated, waterproof, and durable, calling upon a moisture-wicking lining and leather upper to keep it functional and stylish. Channeling the spirit of the original duck boot, the Yukon 5 also features a custom-developed rubber sole, providing exceptional traction and grip on slippery surfaces.
UGG is another brand that has fostered an interesting reputation within the world of menswear. While the outfit is often associated with its large, insulated boots, it also creates some of the best duck boots in the genre. Dubbed the Zetik, these boots boast a waterproof, seam-sealed leather construction, as well as a comfortable UGGpure wool blend to provide unparalleled comfort in colder climates. To protect against obnoxious poodles and light rainfall, the boot also calls upon a vulcanized rubber outsole, supplying enhanced traction, and giving you peace of mind while navigating difficult terrain. Durable nylon laces and unique textile lining round out the Zetik for wearers who are looking for the perfect blend of comfort and capability.
Baffin Men’s Moose
Baffin might not be one of the most recognizable names in the footwear industry, but when it comes to expeditionary models that can face any type of terrain, climate, or temperature, they know what they’re talking about. The brand’s Moose duck boot is one such offering, bringing unique traits like a 100% rubber construction, slip-resistant outsole, and padded collar into the mix for avid adventurers who want to keep their feet protected from the elements. While many models call upon a mixture of different fabrics, textiles, and technologies, Baffin’s water-weary boot is one of the genre’s only full-rubber offerings, providing unparalleled utility while still looking the part.
LaCrosse Men’s Uplander
LaCrosse isn’t just a sport — it’s also a premium footwear company. The brand’s approach to boots is as timeless as they come, and with a lineage dating back to 1897, it’s safe to assume that their silhouettes are both informed and capable. Its duck boot model, known as the Uplander, plays to the strengths of the company’s centurial design, thanks to a 100% leather construction, large, 10-inch shaft, and a looped heel pull to make donning and doffing an easy affair. Like many of the shoes on this list, the Uplander is defined by its robust rubber sole, waterproof qualities, and contrasting trim, making it an attractive — albeit, tall — silhouette for seasonal wear.
G.H. Bass Mallard
G.H.’s Bass Mallard should give you an idea of what the shoe is meant for, but if you’re not an avid outdoorsman, fret not — they’ll still work great as a pair of everyday trekkers. Adopting one of the more aesthetically-pleasing designs on this list, the tasteful boot features a winterproof silhouette that’s complemented by genuine leather, rubber, and an internal fleece sock lining for unprecedented comfort. Function and fashion combine for true hybridization, thanks to the model’s subtle branding, clean lace structure, and pull-tap, providing wearers with a sleek, minimalist architecture that doesn’t overcompensate with complex principles. If you’re looking for a refined rubber model that’ll pair nicely for work or play, this is the perfect silhouette for you.
Sperry Avenue Duck
Sperry might be known for its boat shoes, but that doesn’t mean its duck boots are any less viable. The company’s flagship offering, known as the Avenue Duck, brings a handful of the genre’s finest characteristics to the forefront, thanks to its technical construction. A heavy-duty rubber heel, wavy outsole, and bespoke Wave-Siping technology help to provide unparalleled traction on a variety of wet surfaces, while a waterproof exterior, thermal lining, and protective seal help to keep your feet as dry as when you left the house, even in the midst of a moderate downpour. The best part? The Avenue Duck is equally as viable for a night on the town, thanks to its stylish demeanor. Instead of worrying about packing/carrying a change of shoes, you’ll be able to depend on these unique offerings throughout the day, saving you time, effort, and money.
POLO RALPH LAUREN Declan
It’s not often that we include POLO RALPH LAUREN on one of our lists, but when we do, it’s for good reason. Not only does the brand’s Declan duck boot deviate from the traditional aesthetic of the genre’s most prominent models, but it elaborates upon the style’s timeless qualities, bringing it into a more modernized realm. In place of the boot’s original rubber detailing, a unique bumper cupsole and grippy tread make their debut, complementing the Declan’s oiled-suede shaft. Bespoke clamshell stitching draws attention to the boot’s toe, causing viewers to marvel at the model’s premium leather upper, simplified lacing structure, and other, sneaker-like qualities.
Sorel Cheyanne Metro
Like many of the brand’s contemporary offerings, Sorel’s Cheyanne Metro duck boot is a personal favorite. It follows in the footsteps of our aforementioned boot, providing the timeless silhouette with an interesting aesthetic update that’s catered toward a more contemporary audience. As such, the Cheyanne Metro retains its classic composure, while implementing a formidable full-grain leather (or suede) upper, 100 grams of insulation, and a seam-sealed, waterproof construction that’s been adorned with an internal microfleece lining for increased comfort. On its exterior, a handcrafted, vulcanized rubber shell makes its debut, protecting its wearer’s feet from all manner of moisture and mayhem.
L.L.Bean ‘The Original’ Gore-Tex/Thinsulate
Any duck boot guide wouldn’t be complete without the masters of the genre, L.LBean. As the brand that pioneered the original duck boot, the timeless staple is still one of its most lauded shoes. Luckily, not much has changed over the years in terms of pure aesthetics. The boot’s materials, on the other hand, have been updated for the modern wearer. Calling upon a waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX lining, Thinsulate insulation, and a handsomely-realized full-grain leather upper, this all-original duck is the quintessential rain boot, acting as the functional progenitor for the genre’s most recognizable offerings.
The 15 Best Waterproof Boots For Men
Looking for increased wet-weather protection, but don’t want to settle on a duck boot? Take a look at our guide on the best waterproof boots for men, where we outline the genre’s finest offerings without constriction to a specific style.
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