TBT Gear: Bunny Boots

On keeping feet warm


– from Getty Images / iStock photo

Keeping the extremities warm in the cold weather, especially when stationary, is a challenge.

The body wants to maintain the core and head warm.  The feet and hands are secondary.

When moving, it is reasonably easy to keep both the hands and feet warm.

But what about when still? Hands are easy. Some bomber down mittens does the trick. Or some boiled wool mittens or even leather glove/liner glove combo if doing some tasks where down mittens are too delicate.

But feet when stationary? Ah. That is the rub.

What to do?


Variety of footwear shown for snowshoers and skiers on a full moon jaunt.

When snowshoeing, skiing,  hiking or mountaineering, there are some popular choices once in camp:

There are other options, of course,  but the footwear choices above are some of the most popular choices for most backcountry users.

But there is another choice if you find you are doing more basecamp type activities in the heart of winter: Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots (Type II) aka Bunny Boots.

So what are these Bunny Boots?


– from Bata

Virtually unchanged since the Korean War, the Bunny Boots are about the warmest boot you can find.

They are durable, waterproof,  not expensive if you find them and time it well,   and perfect when kicking back somewhere very cold.

To quote the link above:

The insulated white boot, called the white Mickey Mouse or “Bunny Boot,” is designed for wear in cold-dry conditions and will protect the feet in temperatures as low as –60° F. The boots have a seamless inner and outer carcass, direct molded sole, sealed insulation…

(Much like sleeping bags, I believe that quoted temperature is a survivability rating vs. comfort rating! Esp. when stationary.)

In essence? They are one ginormous and warm VBL boot.

Of course, the boots are not optimal in all conditions.

Some cons to Bunny Boots


Perhaps not the best slippers either?


Some downsides to Bunny Boots include:

  • Bulky and relatively heavy. Would not want to trek far in them.
  • Chafe too much on the calf or shin after extended walking.
  • If you walk around a lot, your feet will sweat. Only an issue you do not dry out your feet and socks at night.
  • If you like your backcountry wear to be more fashionable, these ain’t it!

Since I backpack with skis or will basecamp in winter, I do not need real winter hiking or snowshoeing boots.  I do like warm feet, however! I do use a pair of Kamiks for around town, driving to the trailhead, and my relatively short commute now that it is winter. I suspect that the temperature rating listed for these suede boots may be optimistic compared to the Bunny Boots.

So when to use Bunny Boots?


Perhaps when camped in these kinds of conditions?

The bunny boots are just the bomb for keeping the feet warm and dry in adverse conditions.

My feet are always cold. Where can I buy them ?!?!


Surplus store photo from eBay originally I believe.

Where to get? Bunny Boots may be found at your local surplus store. eBay surplus stores may have them in stock as well. Amazon has them available, too.  Bata made them originally. Other companies make them now.  These boots go for about $75 +/- when available in your size. Quite the bargain considering how warm they are of a boot.  Be sure to get the military issue ones and not the knock-offs.

Don’t need something quite as warm?  The Type I aka Mickey Mouse Boots found on eBay and similar are more in fashionable (!?)  black, are more likely available in your size and about $50.  They are rated to -20F vs. the -60F for the Bunny Boots.

Obviously, you are more apt to find the boots in your size when it is not winter. 🙂

If you want the absolute warmest boots and will be using them in certain conditions, consider getting a pair of Bunny Boots.

For a great write up on Bunny Boots and other cold-weather options, read this write up on Bunny Boots at Bull Moose Patrol. Some excellent winter advice at this website in general!

Disclosure: I purchased these ugly, worn looking but uber-warm boots with the funds I make from working in a beige box.

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Andrew Skurka
Andrew Skurka
7 years ago

Probably three-fourths of Alaskans have a pair of these. That tell you anything?

Steven Sheehy
Steven Sheehy
7 years ago

It’s not mentioned but you can go through the ice, soak your feet and keep going, you may want to pour coffee or what ever is in your thermos to warm that boot up though. They’ve been used for ascents of Denali, and extensive winter trips, popular with trapper and mushers alike, military still uses them with their white rocket skies, all and all their kind of miserable to walk, in more mushers have moved to a Loben style (wool felt) boot with NEOS over boots a lighter morcomfortabe but not as waterproof alternative. Mukluks are also still popular. Yes… Read more »

Bill Brokob
Bill Brokob
7 years ago

Takes me back. To memories of ice fishing in Michigan. I hate ice fishing, but I hate cold feet even more. Now you have me wondering where my Mouse boots went???

7 years ago


Great article! I’m packing for a BWCA trip later this week, and my Bunny Boots are in the duffel. I just watched a documentary about Iditarod muser Lance Mackey. It looks like he’s sponsored by Canada Goose (not cheap), as he’s fully decked out in their gear- except his feet. Yep, Bunny Boots. Also, thanks for the mention!