Antarctica Footwear

antarctica-footwear

The Antarctica footwear you take on your trip is very important.

In this detailed article we discuss the key characteristics to look for in a pair of Antarctica boots and thermal socks, as well as provide our own personal recommendations.

The first key point to note is that standard hiking boots are not suitable for Antarctic conditions. You will need to purchase specific cold weather Antarctica footwear, often called Bunny boots or Mukluks.

Proper Antarctica footwear will have very thick rubber or synthetic soles, a good layer of insulation (often removable), soft uppers and thick insulated insoles to prevent heat loss from the underfoot snow and ice. Your Antarctica footwear should have a solid and quick lacing system with flexible uppers that allow you to get the boots on whilst wearing several pairs of socks.

A key point here is that you don’t want your boots to be too tight as it’s the trapped air between layers that actually creates the warmth.

Your Antarctica footwear should be quite versatile, not cumbersome, as you’ll be wearing these on ice, snow rock and sand. Your boots will also be fine for any cold and rugged climate, not just Antarctica.

For a standard Antarctica trip you won’t need anything specialist, however, if you plan on doing an activity like climbing, then you’ll need a specific cold weather climbing boot.

Key characteristics to look out for in your Antarctica footwear

Sole

Antarctica is a wild wilderness and there are certainly no paved paths. Underfoot will be rugged. Depending on your trip itinerary, you could be walking on ice, snow, rock, mud, sand and grass. Therefore, a good sole on your boot is vital. The best soles have a high rubber count, however, synthetic soles are getting better. Make sure your soles have deep lugs for better grip and traction. Keep in mind though that the thicker the sole the more heavy your boot will be.

Weatherproof

No one wants wet feet on their walk, especially in Antarctica where this can be potentially dangerous. Luckily, water and wind resistant boots are pretty standard these days, but always make sure. GoreTex is usually a great waterproof material.

Fit

Getting the right fit is key. Blisters are an all to common affair, as are people who have not factored in sock thickness and find their boots constricting. Temperatures in Antarctica often drop below freezing and you’ll need to wear tow pairs of socks – one pair of thin under socks and one pair of thermal outer socks. Therefore, your boot fit will need to accommodate this.

When purchasing your Antarctica footwear, a good little tip is to push your toes to the front of the boots as far as they can go, if you fit your index finger down between your heel and boot then that is a good approximation. This is of course whilst wearing two pairs of socks.

Luckily, boots have moved on since the good old days and you don’t have to ‘wear’ them in for months before your journey. However, it is still critical that you give them a good going round before you turn up on your trip .Do not put your bots on for the first time whilst on your boat! All boots will take differing amount of time to ‘break-in’, this will usually depend more upon your feet shape than the boot itself.

Quality

This is an important characteristic when choosing your Antarctica footwear and takes into account much of what is mentioned above. Good quality does not necessarily mean the most expensive, often the price of quality only goes so far before you start paying for the name.

Firstly, good quality boots will have great ankle support. Particularly important in slippery conditions. As noted above, you’ll want a high rubber content in your soles, a durable and flexible lacing system and a quality waterproofing material like GoreTex.

Our Antarctica Footwear Recommendations

For good quality Antarctica footwear, we recommend the following.

The most popular boot for Antarctica travel is generally Bogs Classic High Waterproof boot. This boot is comfortable, warm and protects your legs on those wet zodiac landings that are all too frequent on your trip. However, these boots should only be worn in summer in the Peninsula region of Antarctica. They have a warm rating of up to -4 degrees Celsius.

If you feel the cold more than others, or if you’re thinking of tackling Antarctica in the colder months, then the best option is the Baffin Snow Monster all-weather boot. The Sorel Glacier Extreme Snow boot is also a great option. Both boots have a warm rating of up to -50 degrees Celsius. Please avoid trekking boots as your legs will get wet on zodiac landings if you are wearing them.

When on-board your ship, you can pretty much wear any footwear you want – even sandals!

Socks

Socks are almost as important as your boots. Depending on your boots, you’ll want to play around a little with what size socks fit really well with your boots on. Constricting can occur, especially when you’re wearing two pairs of socks. On-board your cruise you’ll be fine with just a medium weight sock, however, on your landings you’ll want to double up with your socks. Ideally, this means wearing one thin pair of comfortable liner socks underneath an outer thermal pair of hiking socks.

Make sure your thermal socks are seamless and made of a good quality wicking material. Avoid cotton like the plague! Some brands will cushion their socks, this a personal preference. Ragg Wool is definitely the best thermal sock material. For liner socks a good material is also polypropylene as it is very good for wicking moisture. We recommend purchasing at least 4 pairs of thermal socks and several liner socks on top of your standard socks. A great thermal sock is made by SmartWool. For liner socks we would recommend Bridgedale Coolmax Liners.

Antarctica Gear List Continued

Antarctica Clothing – From fleeces, to parkas and shell jackets.
Headgear and Gloves – Gear to keep your head and hands warm, as well as recommendations on Antarctica headlamps.
Bags and Daypacks – From the Antarctica kit bag to your general day-pack.
Other important accessories – Useful other Antarctica accessories

FAQ

If you have any further questions about Antarctica footwear, please just leave a note below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

Tags: Antarctica footwear, Antarctica shoes, Antarctica boots, Antarctica socks, Antarctica thermal boots

Leave a Comment:

9 comments
Anna Mergele says January 6, 2019

I am trying to find women’s boots for my trip to Antarctica in February. I have found the Baffin Women’s Snogoose Winter Boot and the Baffin Women’s Chloe Insulated Boot. Which pair would be better and why? Thank you

Reply
    Burnham Arlidge says January 7, 2019

    Hi Anna,

    Both are good options. The Chloe is essentially the more stylish version of the Snogoose. Although the Chloe looks better, the Snogoose is made from 900 Denier nylon waterproof material which is more robust than the Chloe suede leather. The lacing system on the Snogoose is slightly better also. Both are very warm and will get the job done in most cold situations. However, if you plan on trekking through deep snow, streams, mud etc, the snogoose will be the much better option. It’s not as pretty, but it’s a work horse. Sizing is slightly small remember, so you may want to go half a size up, especially as you’ll be wearing thick socks.

    Hope that helps!
    Burnham – Antarctica Guide Team

    Reply
L Armstrong says January 15, 2019

Please could you let me know if Sorel Glacier Extreme snow boots are waterproof enough above the ankle when getting out of zodiacs in Antartica and into water for a short distance to reach land. Thank you.

Reply
    Burnham Arlidge says January 22, 2019

    Hi there,

    The Sorel Galciers are water resistant, not water proof. You can’t really walk through water in them, they are designed more to deal with rain. However, you can still get away with using them in Antarctica – the zodiacs come very close in and you hardly ever walk through deep water (if ever).

    Cheers, AntarcticaGuide team

    Reply
Shubham says May 6, 2019

Love this site it is very different from other’s providing different information.

Reply
Stephanie says August 6, 2019

What do you recommend for mountaineering in Antarctica? Will the Baffin Snow Monsters work, or do I need a different boot?

Reply
    Burnham Arlidge says August 18, 2019

    Hi Stephanie,

    Depends what sort of mountaineering you mean? If you mean just general hikes over the ice, rock and snow during your cruise then the Baffin Snow Monsters will be perfect. However, for serious ‘climbing’ you’ll want a specialist boot with crampons.

    Thanks,
    Burnham – Antarctica Guide Team

    Reply
Mary Fernando says September 19, 2019

Could you please advise me on the of shoes to wear before putting on the Antarctica boots supplied say Poseidon Tours. There is no actual info in this topic but lots on the Boots. Grateful for any info as I am leaving for an Antarctica Expedition on 20 Oct 2019.

Reply
    Burnham Arlidge says September 23, 2019

    Hi Mary,

    Whilst you’re onboard the ship you can wear any comfortable shoes of your choosing (with warm socks). It’s only when you’re heading onto the ice that you’ll need your specialist boots. Some companies provide these, others don’t.

    Hope that helps.
    Burnham – Antarctica Guide Team

    Reply
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