The Best Ice Fishing Boots of 2023

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While bass anglers move from spot to spot with the simple tap of a trolling pedal, ice anglers rely on their own two feet. Sure, we can hop on a snowmobile or ATV to run longer distances. But drilling a series of holes along a drop off and then fishing back through each hole means leaning on your ice fishing boots.

Looking back at the bigfoot-like stompers I once donned during the hardwater season, I can’t help but shake my head now—each boot surely weighed in at 10 pounds. Given the excessive heft of these older boots, I realize now that I likely burned twice the calories necessary, like a Stairmaster workout in Chewbacca’s feet. Lots of stepping, slogging, and lifting myself from deep holes in snow and slush, extricating each massive boot with perhaps a thousand big steps each day. No wonder I stayed in such good shape back then. 

Thank the lord ice angling finally entered the modern world about a decade back, gifting us with light, lean, and warm boots actually designed to function on frozen water. Surely, there’s still a place for a boot that simply keeps toes warm while the angler parks his or her backside on a bucket for 10 hours straight. But I’m just as thankful that somewhere along the lines, someone realized ice angling for many folks involves highly aerobic activity. Just as a basketball player requires specialized sneaks, so too do the two million or so American ice anglers who brave extreme elements on every outing.

As you read the rundown of my best ice fishing boot recommendations, bear in mind that no one boot delivers every desirable ice fishing attribute. Consider, for example, the value of a lightweight boot for active “ice trolling,” a boot for extreme -20 below days, and perhaps even a pair of bigfoots for your bucket-bound buddies.  

How I Tested the Best Ice Fishing Boots

Ice Fisherman with a catch
The author with a slab caught through the ice. Bill Lindner

Over the course of decades, I’ve worn, praised—and occasionally cursed—nearly every boot brand imaginable. The best ice fishing boots to follow are based on nothing but “boots on the ground” ice duty—as many as six months per year and up to 60 hardwater fishing days in one winter. 

The testing criteria was based on fundamental ice-specific activities and how each boot performs. It must stay dry while drilling holes and absorbing water spray, slush, and deep snow. Feet must be as dry at the end of the day as they began. The fit needs to be right. Maybe not so snug as a sneaker, but certainly can’t feel like a set of loosely fitting 1980s moon boots. And, of course, if toes get nipped and frosty at any point during the day, it’s cause for concern. Finally, if it cracks in the cold or puts blisters on my heels, the boot goes bye-bye.

Thankfully, all the boot brands listed offer high-grade materials and meticulous manufacturing standards, most of them tested and crafted specifically for ice fishing—not snowboarding, sledding, skijoring, broomball, or casual walks in the woods. Ice fishing may, in fact, be the ultimate test of apparel, and as such, I can say with certainty that you simply cannot go wrong with any of the boots below. 

Best Ice Fishing Boots: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Torvi T -60 EVA

Key Features

  • Incredibly light average weight: 850 grams/1.8 pounds per boot
  • Lightweight/durable EVA boot exterior
  • Comfortable temperature range down to -60 C/-76 F
  • Removable boot liner built with eight-layer Arctivic system
  • Elastic upper enclosure locks out cold, snow and slush
  • Thick, non-slip boot sole protects foot from sharp ice edges
  • Imported from Latvia

Pros

  • TPE boot sole is tear-resistant
  • Worn and preferred by USA Ice Team anglers
  • Optimal combination of warmth, comfort, and minimal weight

Cons

When I learned my friend John Garcia, co-owner of P3 Plastics / Panfish Pursuers and among the leading edge ice anglers, had converted to Latvian-designed Torvi boots, I knew I had to try them. When he told me they were the choice of the USA Ice Team anglers, that sealed the deal. Turns out, Torvi boots are not only among the lightest and warmest winter ice boots available, but they also cost less than comparable brands, including several high-end European and Russian options.

Built with a super lightweight EVA exterior, substantial, high-traction TPE sole, and an eight-layer “warm sandwich” liner, the Torvi -60 EVA boot allows for active, always-warm wintertime performance. Totally waterproof, Torvis are made with no glued or sewn seams. The flexible EVA outer material moves with the angler to minimize foot and ankle fatigue, while the boot’s thick, impenetrable TPE sole protects the foot from the potential soreness of walking over sharp ice edges and heaves. 

If you’re an active ice angler who drills lots of holes, constantly walking across all types of snow, slush, and ice, Torvi boots belong on your feet. Word of caution: Torvis will only be available this year via P3 Plastics and will likely sell out fast.

Read Next: Best Heated Vests

Toughest Ice Fishing Boot: XtraTuf 15-inch Legacy NXT Ice Boot

Fishing Gear photo

Key Features

  • Glacier Trek Pro outsole provides traction on wet/slick ice
  • Insulation strategically placed around foot for comfort/warmth, including toes
  • Dual-density midsole for underfoot cushioning
  • 100 percent waterproof
  • NXT upper provides extra overlays in high-wear areas for extra durability
  • Triple-dipped latex neoprene rubber exterior resists oil/acid/chemical exposure and tearing
  • MSRP: $180

Pros

  • Among the most preferred boots by Alaskan anglers, guides, outfitters, and fishery workers.
  • Ideal for anglers with wider feet.
  • Wider boot opening for easy on and easy off

Cons

  • Slightly rigid in the ankle-to-foot area, where flexibility is preferred

XtraTuf continues to offer some of the best built, most comfortable and longest lasting boots in the fishing and hunting space. I’ve owned several pairs of different XtraTuf boots over the years and have always been impressed by their performance. The thick but comfortable exterior of the NXT Ice boot is a perfect match for operating around sharp icy edges and extreme cold. If I were an ice fishing guide (one of the most grueling jobs imaginable) this would likely be my go-to boot. 

Among numerous upgrades, the XtraTuf Legacy NXT features a dual density midsole for added underfoot cushioning. A form-fitting heel offers expanded room in the calf and ankle, while a triple-dipped, 100 percent waterproof shell resists cuts, tears, and abrasive chemicals. Glacier Tek Pro outsole provides excellent traction on many slippery surfaces, including glare ice. 

Read Next: Best Heated Gloves

Warmest Ice Fishing Boot: Korkers Polar Vortex 1200

Key Features

  • Comfort rated to -60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Customized traction with easy-change soles, including OmniTrax interchangeable sole system for slippery conditions
  • 1200 grams of 3M Thinsulate insulation for extreme cold
  • Six protective layers underfoot for added sole warmth
  • MSRP: $240

Pros

  • Removable and interchangeable soles. The boot comes SnowTrac rubber lug sole, but is compatible with seven other carbide studded sole options for 4×4 ice traction
  • BOA Fit System allows for easy on/off and the right fit – tension dial on upper ankle replaces traditional laces

Cons

  • At the top of the ice boot price range

Korkers Polar Vortex is an exceptional extreme weather boot with useful cold-climate features. If you’re an angler who prefers to sit in one spot for hours—or even if you’re a mover and a shaker—Korkers Polar Vortex provides nearly unmatched warmth. Valuable extras, such as Korkers’ interchangeable sole system offer added value and traction in varying conditions.

Backed by a 60-year tradition of crafting high-grade footwear—and according to friends, exceptional customer service—Korkers Polar Vortex is becoming one of the most popular choices among ice anglers living in the far north. A thick, premium aerogel frost barrier footbed offers six layers of underfoot protection, including a Thinsulate, EVA, and rubber outsole. 1200 grams of Thinsulate encapsulates the foot and ankle in dry warmth. The boot is also surrounded by a 100 percent waterproof, breathable bootie, combined with waterproof leather to keep feet bone dry. Korkers added a molded TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) toe cap for durability and abrasion resistance around the toe. 

Best Women’s Ice Fishing Boot: Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro

The LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro boots are the best ice fishing boot for women.

Key Features

  • Rated for Arctic climates, 30 to -70 degrees
  • 1600 grams Thinsulate Ultra insulation
  • Natural rubber over insulating neoprene exterior for durability, flexibility, and waterproofness
  • Adjustable neoprene gusset on boot rear accommodates different calf sizes and provides easy on and off.
  • Offered in women’s sizes 5 to 11
  • MSRP: $240

Pros

  • Extra comfortable jersey-knit liner—quick-drying and moisture wicking.
  • Thick, yet lightweight outsole enhances warmth and traction.

Cons

  • Outsole not specifically designed for traction on the ice.

For years, ice gear manufacturers mistakenly believed female anglers merely wanted apparel decorated in hot pink and other bright hues. While color continues to be a consideration for some, far more important are warmth, comfort, and performance in the field. According to my wife and other female anglers, the Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro checks all boxes.

With an average of 4.8 pounds per pair, these slip-on style boots won’t wear you out during extended footbound ice treks. For complete waterproofness, the Alphaburly’s nearly seamless rubber exterior acts like a wader, with a 15-inch height extending nearly to the lower knee.

Best for Active Ice Fishing: Norfin Klondike 2

Norfin Klondike 2

Key Features

  • Super lightweight EVA exterior
  • Removable 10mm triple layer insole (Thinsulate, heat reflecting aluminum foil, moisture-wicking polyester)
  • 100 percent waterproof
  • Among the lightest winter boots at approximately 4 pounds per pair (men’s size 10)
  • Dual, anti-slip retractable ice cleats 
  • Rated to -40 degrees
  • MSRP $199.99

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight boot reduces leg fatigue, especially valuable in deeper snow or slush
  • Sealed EVA exterior is totally waterproof
  • Retractable ice cleats add traction in moderately slippery ice 
  • Easy on, easy off

Cons

  • Sharp ice edges can affect foot comfort due to relatively thin boot sole 
  • Removable boot liner should be removed and dried out after every few outings, due to condensation

This boot brand transformed active, mobile ice fishing approaches for myself and my friends, cutting weight from double digits to approximately around 2 pounds each. In 10 winters, I’ve owned two pair of Norfins and still wear them on many of the coldest Minnesota days. They’re as easy to take on and off as a pair of loafers. The Norfins are especially comfortable, warm, and dry when paired with Cabela’s Deluxe Cold-Weather Wool Boot Socks.  

First imported to America about a decade ago, Norfin Boots and Norfin USA is a subsidiary of Latvia-based Salmo, one of the largest producers of fishing tackle and gear in Europe and Asia. Understandably, a company like Norfin would pioneer lightweight, functional, warm ice fishing boots, given Latvia and Russia’s centuries-old legacy of serious ice fishing.  

The boots’ hallmark feature—a pair of integrated, retractable ice cleats—remains a novel yet invaluable bonus, especially for fishing and functioning safely on clear glare ice without the addition of a slip-over cleat system.

Best Lace-Up: Baffin Snow Monster

Baffin

Key Features

  • B-Tek Heat lightweight, four-channel hollow-fiber insulation for breathability
  • D-Ring front lace fastening system and nylon locking snow collar to seal out elements
  • Icepaw design pads for improved contact-point grip on ice
  • Soft Thermaplush next-to-foot layer for warmth
  • Vaporized aluminum membrane for energy reflection and heat regulation
  • MSRP: $260

Pros

  • Hybrid lace system with easy-to-use D-ring fastening system
  • Flexible, multi-tiered upper section offers support and optimal give for all on-ice tasks.
  • Removable comfort-fit multi-layer inner boot system with moisture wicking, breathability and odor control

Cons

  • Relatively heavy at over 6 pounds per pair

A longtime leader in cold weather boots, Baffin has remained the choice of hardcore winter-activity enthusiasts, particularly popular in the far north environs of Minnesota, Maine, and across Canada. For anglers who prefer the customized fit and versatility of a lace-up boot, the Snow Monster offers a warm, dry, knot-free alternative.

Read Next: Best Ice Fishing Rods

How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Boot

Norfin ice fishing boots
Good ice fishing boots provide comfort and safety on the ice. Norfin

Choosing the best ice fishing boot is often more about matching the footwear to the way you prefer to fish. For example, if you fish fast and mobile you’ll want a different booth than if you sit for hours on a 5-gallon bucket. Perhaps you live on the fringe of the ice-belt, where a cold day merely touches the freezing mark and where slush and staying dry are major considerations. Or maybe you want a boot that’s comfortable, form-fitting, and lightweight while walking and drilling miles per day. If possible, go to a store or borrow boots from a buddy and put them on your feet before making a potentially $200+ purchase. 

Ice Fishing Socks 

Perhaps exceeding the value of boot choice itself, putting the right socks on your feet can dictate whether you’re miserable on the ice or warm, dry, and happy as a lark. For me, boot and foot bliss means Merino wool (avoid cotton at all costs.) On all but the coldest -20 degree Minnesota days, a single pair of Cabela’s Deluxe Cold-Weather Wool Boot Socks remains the gold standard. Filson Logger Thermal Socks are a top-notch alternative. Composed of soft 55 percent Merino wool, plus acrylic, Thermolite, and stretch nylon/spandex, these knee-highs are just thick enough to offer additional comfort while rarely cramping or crowding inside most properly sized boots. Beyond their warmth, dryness, moisture-wicking properties, and soft comfort, I appreciate a thicker sock that extends beyond just the top of my boots, negating problems with bunching, chafing, or the sock being pushed down my leg. (Nothing worse than short socks and boots that rub against your bare shins.)

While many anglers prefer a thinner moisture-wicking wool or polypropylene sock against the skin as a base layer, I’ve never found it necessary, so long as you’re willing to spend at least $20 on a good pair, like the two options above. One interesting option worn by friends is the XtraTuf Unisex Bama Sokket, which covers the foot only and is designed to protect against moisture and add another layer of thermal protection. 

Read Next: Best Wool Socks

Ice Cleats

Two of the boots detailed above contain integrated ice cleats—an invaluable, often necessary accessory. Performing basic on-ice tasks such as drilling holes can be downright treacherous, particularly on glare ice, and if you’re not equipped with some type of boot cleat. (Whatever you do, don’t lose one of your two boot cleats, as I’ve done, which prompts you to spin in circles, auger in hand.)

For most of us, on-ice traction means either a chain traction harness or stud-embedded or spiked straps—most of which slide over and grip the toe and heel of the boot via rubber fasteners. Studded cleat options include products from Frabill, Kahtoola and Eagle Claw—ideal for most conditions. Offering a variety of cleat options, Yak Trax Diamond Grip Ice Cleats are a reliable choice in chain-style cleats. They are effective but can form ice chunks around chains in some conditions. Spiked cleats like Yak Trax’s Traverse offer sharp, aggressive, sure-footed performance for extra traction. Regardless of your preference, most anglers carry at least a couple of pairs as a backup or for the inevitable forgetful buddy. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Ice Fishing Boots

Southern anglers often view ice fishing as slightly extreme, something northern folks do only as a desperate means of getting outside during endless winters. Admittedly, it can be a little uncomfortable for folks who aren’t properly outfitted for the cold and the punishing conditions. Oppositely, once you have the proper gloves, outerwear, and boots for the task and the climate, you forget how cold it is—and ice fishing becomes one of the most intriguing angling pursuits of all. Two million hardwater crazies and counting can’t be all wrong.



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