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We've purchased and tested 35 of the best women's rain boots on the market over the last 8 years, with the top 15 in this review. From thunderstorms to gentle spring showers to the muck of winter, our experts wore them in the soggiest conditions, walking into creeks for a water-depth test and slipping and sliding in slush to determine traction. In more rugged environments, a good pair of hiking boots can be more beneficial, so we understand that deciding on how to approach rainy-day footwear isn't the easiest. For you, we've put many pairs of boots through their paces.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 8, 2022, with two added pairs for comparison from Bogs and Sorel, as well as a retest of the most current version of our Editors' Choice, the Hunter Original.
Adjustable opening yields a custom fit and superb weather protection
Flexible shaft construction
REASONS TO AVOID
No insulation for snowy conditions
If a rain boot can have a legacy, this rendition of the Hunter Original holds that seat. Hunter makes a few versions of this boot, but we particularly like this one due to its back adjustments, which change the tightness or looseness of the shaft. It ranks high in weather protection thanks to its adjustable mouth and tall flood height. This model also scores high in comfort, traction, and style. It truly has it all, especially if you're looking for something functional and sleek.
The Hunter isn't very warm, but for many folks, warmth may not be a priority in more humid or warm climates. Plus, a nice pair of cozy socks can go a long way. The only true drawback of this boot is the price tag. Though, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for; so if you can shell out the cash, there's no question in our minds that this pair is of remarkable craftsmanship.
With all the qualities of a top contender, scoring well in comfort, traction, and style, the Kamik Heidi is a dream come true, especially because of the modest price tag. Coming in far cheaper than the competitive Hunter Original, the Kamik is the price of a typical low-top. Outfitted with high-quality tread and recyclable rubber, it is both flexible and fashionable. It scores almost as high as the top-rated models, with strong suits in comfort, traction, and style.
The disadvantages of the Heidi are the relative lack of insulation and foot support when compared to others. Still, it's a worthwhile purchase if you're looking for a dependable mild-weather boot with obvious function and flare. It is a deal that is hard to beat.
The Muck Boot Arctic Sport II Mid is quite an adventurous boot and fully adequate for winter conditions. The 5mm neoprene is also fleece-lined, altogether creating insulation that is rated for temperatures well into the negatives! While we didn't experience such extreme conditions, we felt no difference between standing in the snow, the icy river, or on dry land. Our feet were toasty no matter what. Traction is also a strong quality of this model, offering some of the best across a variety of technical terrain.
With a flood height of 11 inches, the shaft provides fairly average protection but not as extensive as taller models (though this model does come in a Tall). And since it is so specialized, it is basically a winter boot, which doesn't help you much if you're looking for a more traditional, casual slogger. Thus, the versatility in this regard is rather low for the Arctic Sport II. That said, if you live somewhere with a long cold and wet season, this could be a dream come true.
Oily/sticky residue out of the box yields an unaesthetic appeal at first
The women's XTRATUF Legacy model grew on us as time went on. The thick soles offer great foot support and long-lasting comfort, outperforming many of the other models in this metric. While working in outdoor environments, whether it be on a farm, on a boat, or in a garden, comfort is invaluable. Plus, as the name implies, these boots are certainly more than tough enough to withstand the onslaught of rugged duties.
The brown neoprene isn't unappealing, but these aren't the most stylish of the bunch either. This particular model offers some fun ocean-inspired prints on the lining in honor of the famous Alaskan Salmon Sisters, who have used these boots heavily on their commercial fishing boats. The main drawbacks are their relative performance on snow and ice, a slightly big fit, and overall weight. But depending on where you're living and working, many of these facets won't outweigh their hardworking and technical appeal.
The Bogs SweetPea is based on the classic Chelsea design with its short stature and nylon gussets. Without a distinct heel, the traction is ideal for flat surfaces. The stand-out perk of having this boot is the ability to pair it with virtually any wardrobe. It is also easy enough to pull on without having to fuss about stuffing your pants into a super tall boot.
The main critique of the SweetPea is its low overall weather protection due to its short shaft. The foot box is also much narrower than the rest of the boots we've tested so far. Still, these gripes aren't enough to keep us from wearing them all day, rain or shine. They've performed much better than other short boots in the group, and we love them for their casual, on-the-go appeal.
For this review, we began with market research, making a first cut of more than 60 models before further refining our selection to only include the best of the best. We purchased them and commenced testing, paying attention to critical performance standards along the way. We made objective measurements of things like weight and height and compared them to the manufacturer's advertised specs. We measured waterproofness by immersing the boots for hours and examining them for leaks. Finally, we wore them a lot — all day and in many environments, ranging from snow to pavement to river crossings. Everything we learned is distilled into this comprehensive review, which will surely be an asset in your search for a great pair of women's rainwear.
Our comprehensive testing was divided into five key metrics:
Weather Protection (30% of overall score weighting)
Comfort (25% weighting)
Traction (20% weighting)
Warmth (15% weighting)
Style (10% weighting)
This review of women's rain boots is led by Sara Aranda. Sara holds a writing degree and has tested and written about gear, such as trail running shoes, hiking shorts, and umbrellas in various capacities. An avid trail runner and climber herself, she is often traveling and has lived in places such as Yosemite National Park. Her more creative writing also encompasses experiences within the outdoors, adding to her overall experience as one of our testers. Currently based in and around the mountains of Colorado, Sara's own need for rain boots is a must.
Analysis and Test Results
The ideal rain boot is the one that is the most functional for the environment you spend your time in. Right out of the box, the look and size often leave the biggest impressions. But overall quality has the final word in how we select shoes. Thankfully, brands tend to be mindful of making technical and comfortable boots that are still aesthetically pleasing, which is to say, wearable in public.
With varying shaft heights from just above the ankle to just below the knee, these competitors range from simplistic to rugged in their designs. All consist of a multitude of materials, from vulcanized rubber to neoprene, which yield a range of flexibility and warmth. Depending on where you're going and what you're doing, we believe there is a boot for every scenario. Practicality and performance, however, remain the most important aspects for us.
While price does not influence performance or technical scoring, the relationship between affordability and overall quality is something we all pay attention to. The Danner Logger 917 GTX and Muck Arctic Sport II Mid are currently the most expensive pairs in our test group. That said, the Arctic Sport contributes great value when you consider longevity as a result of quality craftsmanship. On the other end of the price spectrum, the Sloggers Rain and Garden is one of the cheapest in our lineup. Despite how alluring the price is, their all-day comfort is severely lacking, which currently ranks them near the bottom of our performance list. The Kamik Heidi, however, is the perfect example of where high value doesn't have to also come with a hefty price tag. How each boot performs across all the metrics we've established helps determine the practical worth of their cost, and thus, their overall value.
This metric holds the most weight for obvious reasons. Inevitably, the tallest rain boots provide the best overall protection. Scores unfortunately shrink as shaft height decreases. Even with the aid of an umbrella, the taller the shaft, the more protection there is from sideways rain or puddle splashes. Throw on a pair of waterproof pants or gaiters over ankle-high boots, however, and you're all the more ready for anything. But who wants to do that all the time? In and of themselves, the boots in our review are critiqued on the ability to keep all the undesirables from soaking your lower legs. Slush, mud, snow, or icy river water — there are notable differences in how each boot protects the wearer, but, thus far, only one of the models has leaked on us in unintended places (like where the sole meets the upper boot).
Through rain and snow, river wading, and lab-like testing, the Hunter Original stands out in this metric thanks to its nearly 16-inch height and the adjustable circumference of the boot opening. With a circumferential range of 14-16 inches, the shaft is easily adapted to personal calf sizes for the best comfort, mitigating rain from entering from above. The XTRATUF Legacy also scores well in this metric, with a shaft height of 15 inches. In addition, these two models do not have handles or cutouts in their shafts, resulting in flood heights that are much harder to breach.
Consider the circumference of the boot relative to your own calf size. The wider the mouth is relative to your calf (even if they are tall boots), the more likely they are to collect water from above. On the other hand, the narrower the mouth, the more difficult it will be to wear bulky pants. Adjustable circumferences offer the best of both worlds.
For this metric, we consider any cutouts, zippers, and lacing in the boot design, such as the Bogs Neo-Classic Tall, which have rectangles cut as handles for easy carrying. Because of the cutouts, the flood height is lower than the overall height of the shaft, which impacts overall water and weatherproofing. While these handles aid their score for mobility and ease of putting them on, this weather metric takes priority (it is, after all, the fundamental principle of a rain boot).
In addition to handles, we always pay attention to other design features that could compromise waterproofing, like nylon gussets, tongues, laces, or seams at the edges of neoprene uppers. The Sorel Out 'N About III Classic Felt Duck has a tongue and lace design, for example. The tongue is only partially attached, significantly lowering the flood height to a mere 3.75 inches from the ground. This pair was also the first to fail our water immersion test, as water leaked into the boot from where the outsole meets the upper. Plus the laces readily soak up water and contribute to the risk of moisture entering the upper shaft. The Bogs SweetPea and Merry People Bobbi, on the other hand, have waterproofed gussets that maintain a flood height as tall as the shaft itself.
Keep in mind, however, this ranking only helps us visualize the extent of weather protection for each individual pair and, thus, does not necessarily imply a lack of day-to-day function and wearable quality. We're basically saying, the shorter the flood height, the greater the risk of wet feet.
Once we slip on a pair of rain boots, we expect enough support and comfort to wear them for fair amounts of time. This is our second most important metric. We consider how each model fits, feels, and whether or not it is easy to carry, pack for travel, put on, and take off. Each pair varies in construction, foot support, and pressure points, so we've created a focused assessment surrounding the good ol' tried and true: did we ever forget we were wearing them? If we found ourselves thinking about them often, we made sure to note why.
Quite a few of the boots share top scores for comfort. Having soft rubber typically means a smoother flex of the shaft with your leg as you walk, which is a must with taller models. While specifics of how each one performed vary slightly from one another, we've averaged all the smaller nit-picks together to determine their overall rank in comfort. The Kamik Heidi, for example, is fairly true to size and fits nicely around low-volume feet. The same mostly can be said about the Hunter Original except that the fit is a little trickier to nail. They are both reasonably easy to take on and off, and wearing them all day results in a satisfactory level of comfort. With the workaholic XTRATUF Legacy, however, comfort is brought to a whole new level as these boots are designed to provide substantial all-day comfort and arch support.
Stiff and inflexible rubber results in hot spots, pressure against the shin when walking, and sometimes the sensation of bagginess around the shin and calf, making boots feel unwieldy. Those with stiff construction fail to provide the highest standard of comfort, and, as a result, we often ended our test days with tired, achy, or aggravated feet. The Sloggers Rain and Garden boot gave our lead tester blisters on her heel after thirty minutes of walking around town but were nonetheless lightweight and okay to stand around in. The Danner Logger 917 GTX low-top boots are made with very stiff leather, which works decently well for the foot box but is less forgiving around the ankles. This shaft doesn't flex very well, causing the edges to dig into the legs when walking. That said, we hope and expect that the leather will soften with time.
With brands often offering whole shoe sizes only, it's difficult to customize a proper fit of the footbed and, thus, true comfort. Sadly, heel slippage is often to be expected with rain boots, but there are ways to mitigate this somewhat with sock thickness. Another thing we consider in this metric is whether or not a boot requires wearing socks that are taller than the shaft. Commonly, the mouth of the shaft is abrasive against bare skin. The Bogs Neo-Classic is a slight exception due to the softer neoprene, but tall socks are still recommended. Overall comfort is aided, too, with the Neo-Classic due to its use of rebound-cushioned insoles and lighter relative weight. The wide-mouthed XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boots have ample space around the lower shin and ankle, evading the shin-irritating issue altogether. No matter what, when going uphill or up a set of stairs, it's good to pay attention to the flexibility of the shaft and how much the heels lift, which can create troublesome blisters.
Whether working or playing outside, traction is high on the list of essential qualities a rain boot should have, almost as important as the waterproofing itself. This metric often competes with comfort and style, but there's little point in a product being completely weatherproof if you're slipping around and using your hands to steady yourself wherever you go.
All the boots that did well in this metric have a substantial tread design and enough flexibility in the soles for effective purchase across a variety of surfaces. For the Sloggers, traction is actually the pair's best attribute (besides style). Each pair has its nuances, however, such as the Heidi and SweetPea with their thinner soles. This offers ample sensitivity, a plus in our book, though this can lead to discomfort on surfaces with gravel and sharp rocks. The Muck Chore and Bogs Neo-Classic, on the other hand, provide decent traction but have a denser sole and a lack of flexible sensitivity, diminishing the ability to navigate uneven terrain as effectively as the top competitors.
The Danner Logger 917 is notable for its Vibram outsoles, which increase their all-terrain versatility. The Joules Molly Mid is an example of traction being a bit singular. It has a more pronounced heel that takes away from its surface area for possible traction. This boot is best suited for the flattest and least technical surfaces. It suffers on the ice, snow, and wet rocks, but then again, such situations might call for different footwear altogether (like winter boots). The same could also be said about the Merry People Bobbi and Sorel Out 'N About, which perform in line with how most fashion lifestyle boots tend to fare. Though, if you seek a boot to get you from your house to your car to the office building, any of the boots with average traction scores are undoubtedly adequate enough. This is why this metric conflicts in priority with comfort, as it really does depend on where you'll be walking.
This metric holds a fair amount of weight when determining overall scores but not nearly as much as the proceeding categories due to the nature of differing consumer locations and variable needs for warmth. Warmth can even be a bad thing altogether if you live in an already warm, humid locale.
Each boot is ranked according to how well it retained heat during general indoor use, across the snow, or on a casual rainy day. The warmest boots performed the best in the snow and the worst, of course, during hotter days with temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The leading examples are all three of the Muck brand boots (the Originals Pull On, Chore Classic Mid, and, especially, the Arctic Sport II), the Merry People Bobbi, and the Bogs Neo-Classic. All of these boots have added insulation for temperatures near or below freezing, but there is definitely variance. In the sun and in dry conditions, these pairs are often too warm.
The majority of our fleet has a more traditional amount of insulation, which is little to none. This means that boots like the XTRATUF Legacy, Hunter Original, and Kamik Heidi fail to hold in heat in the snow or an icy river. On the other hand, this also means these boots function quite nicely in places with continuous mild weather (or until you're ready to switch out for your winter boots). They're more likely to prevent your feet from overheating and sweating. If you're only looking for a pair to wear fun, thick socks with for spring and fall showers, we prefer models that have versatility across a range of temperatures as opposed to boots that might dominate one end of the spectrum.
A notable mention is the XTRATUF Ankle Boot with its Xpresscool lining, which helps ventilate your feet while maintaining warmth. During our river test, we could barely feel the sensation of cold while standing for several minutes. We also found that such breathable lining helps mitigate sweat build-up when temperatures rise. Another notable mention is the Danner Logger with its leather and added Gore-Tex lining. These quality materials are inherently warmer than rubber, but the lining construction also allows for better airflow to prevent the feet from overheating. Too, the Sorel Out 'N About is inherently warmer than standard rubber with its use of felt and suede.
Rain boots are already atypically warm as far as shoes go due to the very quality of being waterproof and having virtually no breathability. Consider this when shopping for a model with more pronounced insulation, as it could lead to sweaty, unhappy feet if you live in a warmer climate.
Style is one of the most subjective categories for ranking. We base each score on the out-of-the-box appeal, on the versatility of being both fashionable and practical, and on any cultivated opinions over time. In the end, we went with our gut reactions and the input of our peers. While being as objective as possible, this metric will inevitably remain a subjective reflection on our behalf.
The Hunter Original and the Kamik Olivia have slim profiles with added buckles, finger loops, and other molded accents. The Olivia looks the most like a traditional horseback riding boot. The Hunter is sleek and tall, with several color options available. These pairs are modest, classy, popular, and somewhat neutral.
The other tall or mid-calf models are remarkably varied. The Kamik Heidi stands out with its bright color and glossy finish, whereas the XTRATUF Legacy has a technical style built for the rough-and-tough outdoors. The Sloggers Rain and Garden Boot is the most eccentric of the bunch with endless yet fun pattern designs. Patterns might mean that there are fewer chances of matching a variety of outfits, however.
The Danner Logger is notable for its trendy leather appeal and clean lines (not to mention how well-made and luxurious it is). Similarly, the Sorel Out 'N About is a more urban-inspired take on the classic duck boot. The Joules Molly also ranks well due to the fun and unique hand-drawn prints. The Merry People Bobbi is notable for its fun color block combos and neoprene accent.
The wide XTRATUF Ankle Boot is also a bit more nostalgic of the classic Converse with its white midsole and, therefore, is more vintage and urban. The Muck models all utilize neoprene and rugged-looking cuts of rubber but still try to incorporate style notes like color, laces, or patterns, which is a nice touch to detract from their otherwise workhorse aesthetic. The Bogs Neo-Classic is fairly basic but can be considered aesthetic due to the way it is cut and how the lines between the rubber and neoprene are designed. Lastly, the style of the Bogs Sweetpea is admirably simple yet highly versatile. The earthier tones give off a more organic impression, and they also fit well in urban environments due to their more low-profile and incognito nature.
It's a delicate balance between style and function, and occasionally boots have prioritized fashion the most. Thankfully, our current testing group offers a fair variety of balance between the two modes, with only a few that might subjectively be deemed as catering strictly toward function (which, if you have to lean one way, function might not be a bad idea).
Fit is something we can never expect to be perfect with rain boots because they commonly lack half sizes. The fit will also vary depending on sock preferences, from those who prefer a snug foot box and a thin sock to those who prefer a roomy foot box and a thick sock. More often than not, boots will run too large or too small, which means you'll want to read up on the sizing charts most companies provide. Even then, weigh in with your own intuition, as manufacturers may suggest something you have no preference for, such as "those who are half-sizes, size up," when you are one to prefer a snug foot box and thin socks instead. With such variability, fit is not a metric we score on its own, but it does play a heavy role in comfort. Trial and error will be inevitable.
A couple of the models we tested provided an excellent fit for us, and it is no surprise that they are also top scorers in comfort, such as the Hunter, Kamik Heidi, XTRATUF Legacy, and Muck Arctic Sport. Those that happened to not fit as well include the XTRATUF Ankle Boots and Bogs Neo-Classic, which run rather large and wide (but maybe this is exactly what you need!), so fit was amiss from the get-go for us despite adhering to sizing recommendations or previous brand experience. Not nearly as bad, but still a notable fit concern, are both the Bogs SweetPea and Merry People Bobbi with their relatively narrow footbeds. Over time, however, the footbeds have broken in a bit, which is a plus for those who don't have particularly narrow feet. But, we feel that the Bobbi is far more constricting than the SweetPea, and less comfortable for long-term wear because of it. The Muck Chore Classic, with its neoprene bootie, runs rather small in our opinion, so fit is also snugger than we would like; and since we've tested three different Muck models now, we can say that we prefer sizing up if we are a half-size because of how snug the neoprene can feel. Lastly, the Sorel Out 'N About runs small, in our opinion, as the size 8 US we tested felt more like a size 7 in other brands.
We've found the best rain boots to be on the taller side, with flexible shafts and versatility in traction, warmth, and style. But we recognize that deciding on the perfect boot is a daunting task, from weighing in personal style preferences to reading as many reviews as humanly possible to inevitably finding out on your own. With all there is to consider, remember the fundamentals discussed in this article as to what we think makes a pair of rain boots so great: weather protection, comfort, traction, warmth, and (hopefully) a splash of style.
Our expert winter testers took to the trails, streets, and...
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