Shoe enthusiasts will always be quick to point out that boots are a cut above normal footwear. They provide added protection from the cold and nasty elements, but with a stylish flair. One particular all-weather boot design is the duck boot.
Even though you do not own a pair, chances are you may have seen these already. They have been around for over 100 years. These days both men and women wear them not just for their functionality but also as a fashion statement. (Read How to Get Rid of Blisters on Toes)
Duck Boot Origins
The duck boots are interchangeably also known as the bean boots. Leon Leonwood Bean (of LL Bean fame) designed this part rubber, part leather (sometimes part canvas) shoe. Leon was an avid outdoorsman who realized his feet needed more protection, inspiring him to create the duck boot.
The result is a boot with a sealed rubber sole providing protection, paired with a leather upper for freedom of movement. Are duck boots waterproof? Absolutely! Are duck boots good for hiking? Well, that requires a more thorough answer.
I use my pair all the time when I want to feel totally secure about my feet. Duck boots for hiking are an excellent choice, especially in terrain that is more rugged or in bad weather. The only downside to these shoes is some models may lack traction.
The Cons of Duck Boots
Hiking duck boots are made to fit on the loose side for comfort. Unfortunately, the absence of a snug fit result in inadequate ankle support. Likewise, while the sealed rubber provides waterproof protection, there is compromised breathability. There is no surprise here since the rubber has no permeability.
This can lead to foot sweating, especially on longer hikes. The lack of ankle support can also be a major disadvantage when you traverse rugged and uneven terrain. Besides, as I mentioned earlier, the traction might not be the best, especially in slushy, muddy conditions. (Read What is the Difference Between Blister and Callus)
Hiking boots with their cleated under soles have a far better grip compared to duck boots. If you find yourself confronted with a long dry hike on rugged terrain, then maybe you should ditch the duck boots for hiking boots.
The Pros of Duck Boots
This boot design is arguably one of the best water shoes for men and women. This was the main reason why I purchased a pair, and they are unrivaled for that purpose. I also give these boots five stars for comfort since your feet are always dry.
They are also very easy to put on and take off, due mostly to the roomy design. The boot is also quite lightweight, making it a popular choice among women. They are also extremely easy to clean after a walk in muddy terrain, with a quick wipe doing the trick.
Furthermore, if you are looking for a fashion statement on the outdoorsy side, these boots exude a lot of attitude. Worn with a close-fitting pair of jeans, they look cool. Select the height you want as duck boots range from mid-shin to ankle height.
So Can You Hike In Duck Boots?
Well, the answer, I guess, is yes, but with a few limitations. It all depends on the situation and what you mean by “hike.” I would go for this shoe style on a brief (3-5 miles) and easy hikes. Longer treks exceeding 5 miles would perhaps require more specific hiking boots to provide comfort and safety.
A Final Word
I love duck boots for a variety of uses, even for hiking. However, it is important to reiterate that I do not use them on long-distance hikes and difficult hiking trips. Duck boots are, no doubt, very comfortable, easy to maintain, waterproof, and super lightweight.
While it may not be the best choice for a serious hiking journey, it is still a good boot to have in your shoe arsenal. I would not hesitate to tell anyone that you would not regret owning a pair. Mr. Leon Leonwood Bean certainly knew his onions when he designed the duck boot over 100 years ago.