Between all that wet snow, sloshing water and hours of just being outdoors, ice fishing almost seems designed to freeze your feet. Enter the modern pac boot, combining the lessons of the past with advanced materials and designs. The following boots are waterproof and rated for the extreme cold, offering a variety of features for any hardwater adventure.
1. Bobcat K Zip (U.S.$177)
Key features: Oil-tanned leather upper, with four-way stretch neoprene expansion darts and heavy-duty zipper for easy one-handed removal; sewn-in liner combines Thinsulate and wool.
The promise: “Ten inches of waterproof comfort.”
2. Alaska Boot ($250)
Key features: Heat-shield footbed, and lightweight antimicrobial insulation made from charcoal and bamboo; multidirectional lugs on the rubber outsole.
The promise: “Proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane lets vapour out.”
3. Intrepid Explorer ($199.99)
Key features: Synthetic upper with built-in gaiter to keep out snow; removable midsole, footbed and felt liner, and multidirectional lugs on the rubber outsole.
The promise: “A furnace for your feet.”
4. Canuck ($79.99)
Key features: Made in Canada, lightweight design with traditional styling, including a lace-lock snow collar, moisture-wicking lining, removable Zylex liner and adjustable mid-foot laces.
The promise: “Brings life to our northern origins.”
5. Eiger ($204.99)
Key features: Rated to -100°C, with leather and insulated nylon uppers, and easy-to-fasten buckles; inside is an eightlayer liner, heat-reflecting core and cold-resistant polyurethane midsole.
The promise:“Tested at both the North and South poles.”
6. Bugathermo Techlite ($349.99)
Key features: Powered by a rechargeable battery, the push-button Omni-Heat system keeps the boots warm; leather and lightweight synthetic upper, and Contour Comfort footbed with odour-fighting technology.
The promise: “Experience unparalleled warmth and protection.”
7. Arctic Pro ($149.95)
Key features: Lightweight, flexible neoprene upper, stretch-fit top-line binding for snug fit on leg, instep with foam underlay, and high-abrasion natural rubber outsole.
The promise: “Keep warmth in and cold out.”
8. IceArmor ONYX (U.S.$149.99)
Key features: Lightweight and specifically designed for ice fishing, with a removable liner, cushioned midsole, two-piece high-traction rubber outsole and cut-out handles on the sides.
The promise: “100 per cent waterproof and breathable.”
Choosing cold-weather footwear often means finding the balance between flexibility and insulation that best suits your outdoor activity and local conditions.
Form: Traditionally styled ice-fishing boots, such as Canada’s iconic Sorel, have natural uppers with rubber lowers, a removable liner (the “pac”) and a lace-up front. They’re very warm, but often bulky with a loose fit. Synthetics are typically lighter, more flexible, snugger and easier to walk in.
Function: For maximum warmth and comfort, wear a high-quality fitted sock, covered by a thicker wool-blend sock. Always remove liners so they can dry, and avoid boots with steel toes, soles or shanks-the metal will freeze your tootsies in a flash.