Are you a passionate ice fishing enthusiast? If so, you know that the activity may involve standing long hours in ice or even stepping into freezing water. With this in mind, no one wants his or her feet frozen by the weather or the ice.
If you have asked your friends about which pair of boots works for them, you may get conflicting information. One brand may work for one and be a waste of money for the other. In this tutorial, I will cover the Things to consider when buying ice-fishing boot to help you make a worthwhile purchase.
Importance Of Ice Fishing Boots
Why should you have boots specifically suited for ice fishing, you may ask? Well, in ice fishing you will be exposed to the wind and cold temperature. You will also have to walk on the ice; I don’t have to state the obvious, but I’m doing it anyway.
Can I use my ordinary boots for ice fishing? No, you cannot. Ice fishing boots are essential because:
- They provide your feet with insulation or warmth from the cold weather.
- The deep tracks and sturdy soles of ice fishing boots, help you to stay upright on the ice, i.e., they keep you from slipping.
- If you happen to step into the water, the boots contribute to keeping your feet dry.
What To Look For When Purchasing An Ice Fishing Boot?
Now that you are aware of the importance of having proper ice fishing boots during your fishing expeditions in winter, the next step is, knowing what to look for in an ice-fishing boot. The things you should consider are:
1. The Boot’s Insulation
For first-time ice fishing enthusiasts, picking the right boot can be a bit challenging. Since you know that you will be out in the frigid weather, you need to have every part of your body well insulated. So, ensure that your choice of boots has adequate insulation.
Different manufacturers produce various types of ice fishing boots. Some have their layer of insulation, built-in while others have removable liners. Most boots are made of wool or fleece. These materials help to keep your feet warm and dry, no matter how low temperatures drop.
2. How Waterproof Is The Boot?
It is common to step into freaking cold water when ice fishing. So how do you keep your feet dry at all times? It will depend on the waterproof properties of the boots that you wear. Bear in mind that once moisture makes its way to your feet, chances are you will end up with very wet feet indeed.
Always go for a boot that is 100% waterproof. It shouldn’t have room for water to seep in as you drill the ice or wade through the cold water. They will ensure that your feet stay dry throughout the fishing expedition.
3. Is Your Boot The Right Weight And Height?
For standing or walking long hours on the ice, you need to have lightweight boots. If you opt for heavy boots, then you compromise on your comfort and ease of walking. The size of the boot does not determine its weight.
Since you will be putting on thick socks, adding heavy boots to the mix will only slow you down. Ensure that your boots are spacious to enhance your comfort as you walk in them. It may be wise to carry the socks you will be wearing during the ice fishing expedition to the store with you.
The boot has to have enough room to accommodate your socks. Some anglers simply buy a size larger. Know what works for you. As for the optimal height of your boots, it is ideal to go for boots that reach your calf, especially when you are planning to go out on a day with packed snow.
4. What Is The Boot Made Of?
The material used to make the boot is essential to help you determine how long you can use the boots. Do you want to use your boots for a long time, or do you want to head back to the store for new boots after a few uses? Most ice-fishing boots that last a long time, have a base made of rubber.
It acts as a protective layer. The upper part of the boot is made of heavy-duty material. To ensure your comfort, find a boot that is soft inside. A comfortable boot will enable you to walk the ice with ease and for long hours.
Your socks will also determine which boots to buy. Several anglers complain of sweating feet after spending hours on ice. To prevent this, you can have different socks for getting to your destination and for the fishing expedition.
For your feet to stay dry, powder them before donning your ice fishing socks. Also, refrain from preheating your boots before heading out. It will lead to sweating of the feet. Ensure that your boots are not too tight and there is room for circulation of air.
You will also need to check if your boot has enough traction to make it suitable for walking on ice. Ice and snow are slippery; it is, therefore, easy to slip and fall if you don’t have enough traction on the soles of your shoes.
So how do you keep your boots from stinking after spending long hours on ice? If you notice that your socks and boots tend to stink when you remove them, consider switching them with an ice-fishing boot that has removable liners. The liners will help you let the air out so that you can release any moisture or odor that may have accumulated in your boots.
Also, consider investing in a dryer for the boots. When used correctly, it will promote the elimination of bacteria and even bad odor from the boots. It works better than warming them on a heat register.
Choosing The Right Socks To Go With Your Ice-fishing Boots
Both the ice-fishing boots and the socks you pair them with, work together to keep your feet warm and dry. Therefore, it is important to have the ideal combination of both. If your feet sweat in the socks, the moisture will lead to wet and cold feet.
Different anglers have different preferences for the number of socks to use. Some prefer multiple layers of socks while others simply prefer donning a single pair. Try out both techniques to find out what works for you.
If you choose the single sock, then you should consider investing in a pair of good wool socks. They will keep your feet warm and dry. Some anglers swear by them. If this doesn’t work for you, then you can add a poly liner sock to the mix.
You should wear the poly liner first, then your woolen socks. Ensure that the socks are waterproof to achieve dryness throughout the time you spend on the ice.
Another added feature could be a nice warm pair of heated socks. Heated socks are ideal for freezing temperatures. They have a battery attached to them, of low amperage. You could also buy fleece socks. They are known for their high insulation.
Before you settle for a particular size of ice-fishing boots, you need to consider how thick the socks are going to be, that you will wear with them. To allow enough room for your socks and feet, you could go to the store with your socks as you purchase the boots.
Try them on with the pair of socks and settle for a pair that fits comfortably. If you are buying your boots online, maybe choose a size bigger. If it still feels tight, do not worry, as the boots will get more snug with use.
Before you head out onto the ice or to the store to purchase ice-fishing boots, consider the outlined strategies above. An ideal boot should have adequate insulation to keep your feet warm from the cold weather outside. It should also have waterproof qualities.
Find a boot that is 100% waterproof, if you do not want to have wet feet. You may find yourself stepping into freezing water as you drill a hole or while idly walking around. When moisture makes its way to your feet, your fishing trip is pretty much over. Nobody can have a good time with soaked, ice cold feet.
Look at the material used in the making of your choice of boot. Is it durable or will you have to buy another pair soon after? Does it fit comfortably and does it have enough space to accommodate you, even when wearing thick ice-fishing socks?
Don’t shop blindly. Research your ice fishing boots before spending your hard earned money on them!