11 Best Mens Duck Boots - LL Bean Boot Alternatives
Updated for 2018
The L.L. Bean Boot has been an iconic heritage boot for over 100 years. The “duck boot” was first introduced by L.L. Bean in 1911 as a hunting boot. It’s rubber bottoms helped keep feet dry and it’s leather uppers aided with traction and mobility. Over a century later it’s no secret why the duck boot design has so much staying power. Today other brands have joined the party and offer their own Bean boot alternatives.
Here is our list of the best men’s duck boots that carry the iconic duck boot style similar to L.L. Bean. If you are wondering who makes the best duck boots then this list should help you make your first duck boot purchase.
Best Bean Boot Alternatives
What stands out the most from the original LL Bean Boot design is it’s iconic silhouette. Bean boots stand tall above the ankle with it’s classic duck boot vamp that wraps around the bottom of the boot. This style cannot be mistaken for anything but a classic duck boot. Since growing in popularity other footwear brands have tried to imitate the duck boot look with each attempting to grab the crown for the best men’s duck boots. Although few can top the original, these brands do come close by adding exciting color combinations, updated style elements and the latest in footwear technology. Most importantly, these Bean boot alternatives protect your feet from getting drenched when dodging puddles during a downpour.
Schnee’s Forester Boots
Schnee’s Forester boots share many similarities to the original LL Bean boot. For one, both brands offer American made duck boots that have deep heritage roots in American manufacturing. Each pair of Schnee’s boots are handcrafted in Montana and the brand takes no shortcuts in quality and craftmanship. The Schnee’s Forester is uninsulated and is meant for warmer weather so your not going to want to wear these bad boys in cold winter weather. They do however perform beautifully in wet weather when you need some serious traction.
Sperry Top-Sider Decoy Duck Boot
When it comes to reliable rain boots, Sperry hits a home run with their Decoy duck boot. What makes the Decoy one of the best men’s duck boots is Sperry’s improvements to the overall duck boot design. The Decoy’s “duck” toe box is made of an EVA foam shell instead of the rubber found in most other duck boots. This change not only makes the boots much lighter but they also help with insulation. Unlike the original Beat boot, the Decoy duck boot is available in multiple color combinations to match your personal style. For more details on how the brands differ check out our full Sperry vs LL Bean duck boots comparison.
G.H. Bass & Co. Douglass Boot
The G.H. Bass Douglass is perfect for anyone looking for a cheaper LL Bean Boot alternative that doesn’t compromise on quality. The uppers are made of genuine leather and it’s waterproof rubber bottoms are handsewn for great durability. Although these boots mimic the classic Bean Boot style, they don’t come off as cheap knockoffs. The G.H. Bass Douglas includes all of the feature you have come to expect from a quality duck boot; waterproof construction, robust leather and a non-slip outsole for rainy days.
LaCrosse Uplander Men’s Duck Boots
LaCrosse offers a worthy Bean boot alternative with it’s 10” Uplander duck boot. These boots are made for cold wet weather and feature all of the hallmarks of a well crafted duck boot. The uppers are made of a rich oiled full grain leather. The leather itself is water resistant and when paired with it’s natural rubber bottoms the boots become 100% waterproof. These boots are non-insulated but when coupled with a warm pair of socks can be worn comfortably down to -0°F before needing a beefier winter boot. Considering it’s durable construction and premium materials the LaCrosse Uplander is one of the best men’s duck boots currently available.
Best Duck Boots for Winter
Duck boots are great for wet weather but sometimes you need a little extra protection for those uncompromisingly cold and snowy days. One major complaint about unlined duck boots is that the rubber toe box will do absolutely nothing to protect you from freezing temperatures. Luckily L.L. Bean offers thermal lined Bean boots, but what about alternatives? The good news is that there are plenty of brands that offer duck boots for the winter. Not only do they they offer the necessary wetness protection in the rain but they have the needed insulation to get through winter sin colder climates with ease.
Sorel Cheyanne Lace II Duck Boot
Sorel makes some of the best men’s duck boots and it’s no secret why. The brand specializes in winter boots that are meant to take on the elements head on and the Sorel Cheyanne II does just that. Just like L.L. Bean Boots, the Sorel Cheyanne features 200g Thinsulate lining that can withstand temperatures down to -25° fahrenheit. The boots feature a seam-sealed waterproof construction that protects your feet from the elements. We also like that the Sorel Cheyanne is available in multiple leather finishes such as black and tobacco brown in addition to the classic bean boot color of light brown leather and black rubber.
SchNee’s Hunter Insulated Pac Boots
Made to withstand harsh Montana winters, the Schnee’s Hunter boot is a of the best American made duck boots for cold-weather wear. Much like the Schnee’s Forester we reviewed above, the Hunter Pac boot is made with hand-selected leather uppers and a waterproof rubber vamp. The outsoles are made to take on even the toughest winters thanks to it’s cleated high-traction design. What makes these such good winter duck boots is Schnee’s serious insulation. The Hunter boot is comfort rated to -20°F of active wear. Inside the boot you’ll find a Thinsulate Ultra liner couple with wool felt insulation as well as a hand-made removable Cambrelle boot liner for extra protection from the elements. With features like these it’s no wonder why Schnee’s is considered one of the best manufacturers of Made in USA boots.
Frye Warren Duck Boot
Frye is known for their high quality boots and the Warren Duck Boot is no exception. Let’s just get this out of the way: this is one handsome boot. What sets the Frye Warren boots apart from other men’s duck boots is the lack of rubber vamps. Instead the Frye Warren features a rich contrasting leather vamp. The lugged outsoles on the Frye Warren make them duck boots on steroids. Not only can these boots handle rainy weather with ease by it’s rugged outsoles can also take on snow-filled winter weather like a champ. Speaking of snow, the Frye Warren are shearling lined to keep those feet and toes nice and warm when you need it most. This L.L. Bean alternative definitely is one of our favorite duck boots to make the list.
Kamik Yukon 6 Duck Boots
The Yukon 6 is Kamik’s take on the classic Bean boot design with some serious upgrades. Not only are these duck boots great for wet weather but their Thinsulate insulation allows for comfortable wear up to 0°F. These Kamik boots are made in Canada with the best materials and attention to detail. Kamik uses their own proprietary rubber in the soles that known for it’s strength, traction and flexibility. The outsoles are also thickly lugged for exceptional grip on ice and snow while the waterproof leather uppers allows for carefree wear even on the most miserable of rainy days.
Stylish Mens Duck Boots
Finding a pair of boots that are waterproof and still stylish can be a bit of a task. Luckily, stylish men’s duck boots do exist. These bean boot alternatives are perfect for commuting to work during a rain shower or for a night out on the town when you want to look your best. After all, who said duck boots have to be ugly? It’s time to step it up a notch with these stylish bean boot alternatives.
Wolverine Felix Waterproof Duck Boot
The Wolverine Felix is a beautifully crafted duck boot that fuses stylish menswear with the iconic duck boot design. More reminiscent of a heritage hunting boot than a modern rain boot, the Felix is built with both style and functionality in mind. Where the Wolverine Felix differs is in it’s vamp construction which is made out of leather instead of rubber like other men’s duck boots. Even with the lack of rubber the Felix is still waterproof thanks to it’s full grain leather and bonwelt construction. The Wolverine Felix runs big so it’s recommend to order a half size smaller for a proper fit.
Timberland Britton Hill Duck Boot
The Timberland Britton Hill is a unique boot that mixes modern city-style with elements of a classic duck boot. The boot itself has all of the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from a Timberland boot. The outsoles are made of gripstick lugged rubber for amazing traction in wet weather. Anti-Fatigue technology makes these boots a pleasure to walk in. And the uppers are made of waterproof premium full-grain leather. If you are looking for a unique and stylish mens duck boot that can be dressed up or down then the Timberland Britton Hill are worth a closer look.
Grenson Spike Duck Boots
Grenson elevates the classic duck boot to an entirely new level with their Spike duck boot design. If you are thinking that the Grenson Spike is the frankenstein of boots than you wouldn’t be too far off. But the design surprisingly works. In fact, these boots look downright amazing. The Grenson Spike is a blend of American heritage work boot design and classic duck boot elements. Grenson takes advantage of typical duck boot uppers and mixes a soft burnished suede with a vintage grain calf leather “duck boot” toe. The work boot influence can be seen with it’s unique white wedge sole and robust split welt. These boots aren’t going to be your workhorse winter duck boots but for a night out on the town these are close to perfect.
Duck Boot FAQs
What’s the difference between lineD and unlined duck boots?
Unlined duck boots are the most common type of duck boot. They built to keep your feet dry when out in the rain or walking on wet ground. Unfortunately, unlined duck boots don’t protect your feet from cold weather. This is where lined duck boots come in. Duck boots with lining add an extra layer of insulation so you don’t freeze your toes off when walking around in the snow or subzero temperatures.
Whether you choose a lined or unlined duck boot is up to you. Many people like unlined duck boots because they can be worn in warmer weather. Classic unlined duck boots are actually great for 3-season wear (fall, winter, spring) as opposed to just cold weather boots. When colder weather hits it’s easy to wear thick wool socks with for instant insulation.
ARE DUCK BOOTS WARM ENOUGH FOR WINTER?
Insulated duck boots make the perfect winter boot thanks to their waterproof design and great traction on wet ground. If you are in need of a serious winter duck boot then make sure to go with one that in lined. The most common insulation lining is Thinsulate is the most common insulation and can be found in the original LL Bean boot as well as the Schnee’s Hunter and Sorel Cheyanne Lace that we review above.
ARE DUCK BOOTS GOOD FOR SNOW?
Duck boots actually make pretty good snow boots. Our preferred duck boots for snow wear are models with lugged soles that can provide the needed traction. The Kamik Yukon 6 is a great example of a duck boot with some serious traction. It features a lugged rubber sole instead of the classic “chain link” duck boot sole design.
WHICH DUCK BOOT SHOULD I PICK AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO 6 INCH BEAN BOOTS?
If you would like to stick with Made in USA duck boots than the Schnee’s Forester is the best LL Bean Boot alternative. All Schnee’s boots are made in Montana and offer the same first-class craftsmanship as a heritage brand like LL Bean.
For a cheaper Bean boot alternative than G.H. Bass & Co. Douglass Boot is a great choice. These boots offer a lot of the same features as the original Bean boot but at a fraction of the price. Lastly, if you are on the hunt for an insulated bean boot alternative than we recommend the Sorel Cheyanne Lace because of it’s Thinsulate insulation and overall design.
Best socks to wear with bean boots:
A good quality wool sock is the best sock to wear with your new duck boots. We recommend the brand Wigwam. These socks are made in the USA and high quality.
HOW TO CLEAN BEAN BOOTS:
Once you purchase your new duck boots you going to want to keep them clean to extend the life of the boots. If you purchase a full grain leather duck boot such as the Frye Warren Low or Wolverine Felix then we recommend you follow our Leather Care Guide for how to clean the leather portion of your duck boots. For the rubber material you can simply use dish detergent and a toothbrush at home to scrub off dirt and debris. If you purchase duck boots with nubuck or suede portions then you will want to read our Suede Care Guide instead.