The Best Rain Boots for Men Review
In a market flooded with rain boots, which is the best pair? To find out, we took the 11 top products and put them through demanding tests to figure out which ones really stand out from the crowd. Over six long months, we tested them out in wet conditions, while working in our backyards, hiking stream beds and trails, around town, and even fishing. These products were subjected to temperatures ranging from 20°F to 75°F (-6°C to 24°C), as well as several measurements and tests, including ice water baths and walking on wet, algae-covered creek rocks. Read on to see how each product performed during our use and abuse!
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Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Best Overall Men's Rain Boots
Top Pick for Mild Weather
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Analysis and Test Results
Over six months in total, we got tons of use out of each pair of boots. Not limiting their use to rainy days, we wore them in lots of various conditions, from cold, snowy weather to warm and muggy summer days. This extensive amount of experience in each model provided the basis for our review. To supplement our usage, each model was subjected to tests we designed to push them to their limits in different performance areas. At the end of the testing period, we combined all the scores from our individual metrics, weighted appropriately, in order to come up with an overall score from 1-100, as seen in the chart below.
We created the individual metrics as a rubric to highlight and score performance amid our pool of competitors. Below, we explain what we were looking for in our metrics and which boots performed the best in each one.
Every product we tested is waterproof and we were fortunate enough to not experience any leaks in any of the models throughout our testing process. We found no real performance difference when comparing the all-rubber designs to those that used a combination of neoprene and rubber. In terms of waterproofing quality, we actually think that it comes down to personal preference when the materials' merits are weighed against each other. However, the different materials do provide varying levels of warmth and significantly different styles, so be sure to consider these aspects as well.
We tested each competitor by wading into streams and slogging through muddy puddles, so it's no surprise that models with higher shafts scored higher in this metric than the shorter models. Each product's score relied heavily on the height of the shaft, which we measured from the bottom of the outsole to the lowest point at the top of the shaft. Taller products scored higher and shorter models fell to the bottom. We also took note of any gaps at the tops of the boots (where rain or snow could sneak in), and we noted which models had top closure systems.
Additionally, we noticed that the boots with short shafts, like the Hampton, Strala, and Urban Farmer, don't have enough space to completely fit the pant legs inside the boot, thus it's easier to get the cuff of your pants soaked. On the other hand, these shorter shaft boots are ideal for men who want to wear their pants over their boots and avoid the "rain boot look."
When it comes to comfort we found that the products we tested had quite a range. Some models, like the Helly Hansen Midsund 2, have little or no cushioning whatsoever. Other models, like the Bogs Classic High - Men's, have very supportive, cushiony insoles. Others still are fitted with EVA midsoles for additional cushioning. Several models, including The Original Muck Boot Company Chore Mid, even have a supportive shank in the midsole. While wearing each of these models during our testing period, we were able to learn how each product's construction affected its overall comfort. Additionally, we also noticed that some of the models have a more pliable shaft than others, which affects overall comfort. Some models, like the Le Chameau Vierzon, had a very soft shaft that flexed and creased as we walked, while products such as The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport - Men's had a stiffer shaft that felt as though the top was pushing into our shins when we took a step forward.
If you really like a pair of boots, but wish they had a more comfortable footbed, consider buying an aftermarket insole to add some comfort to your soles.
One of the most comfortable products we tested was the LaCrosse Hampton, our Top Pick for Mild Weather Award winner, in part because it does not have a tall shaft that restricts movement. The short shaft is supple enough that it gave way as we walked through shallow streams and dewy fields, where footing was not entirely secure. And when we tested this model on sidewalks around town, we found that the shaft flexed in all the right ways so it never felt as though we were walking around with a leg cast on our feet. The Bogs Urban Farmer scored impressively low in this category. Despite its cushiony insole, the neoprene upper squeezed our ankles so much that our feet lost sensitivity and tingled.
If you're looking for a super comfortable pair of boots with a taller shaft, the Editors' Choice winning Kamik Icebreaker is an excellent option.
One of the more important aspects of any rain boot is its traction. Some have deep aggressive lugs, which make them ideal for loose terrain or muddy fields while others have more shallow grooves for flat surfaces. The Chore Mid and the Le Chameau Vierzon both have deep grooves that allow them to dig into mud and dirt for the best possible traction. Meanwhile, other boots tend to have a smoother and more even tread, offering a significant amount of surface contact, which makes them ideal for use in urban environments. The most surface contact possible on sidewalks means there is less chance that you'll slip and fall. However the smooth treads don't fair too well in mud or dirt, which makes them less than ideal over loose terrain.
The LaCrosse Hampton, the Tretorn Strala, and the Hunter Original Short all have smooth tread that lacks deep or aggressive lugs, making them a great choice if you only need footwear for use around town. Some models, however, make an attempt at being more versatile for use on loose ground and hard smooth surfaces. Our Editors' Choice winner - the Kamik Icebreaker - and the high performing Bogs Classic High, both have varied lugs and smooth portions of their treads. These models can be worn from muddy fields to hard sidewalks without fear of losing traction. Consider the sort of terrain you usually travel and let that guide which type of tread will best suit your needs.
The amount of warmth a rain boot retains is going to determine whether or not it's appropriate for cold or warm weather use. To test how cold these products can go, we made an ice water bath, slid our bare feet inside a pair, and submerged the boots to the top of the shaft. We timed how long it took before the cold feeling sank into our feet. Some products, like the Chore Mid, offer warmth and insulation, but also wick moisture away from the feet well enough to be used in warmer temperatures. Others, such as the Kamik Icebreaker which has a removable insulating liner and the Bogs Classic which relies on neoprene for insulation, are so warm that even the thought of using them in temperatures above 65 degrees makes us sweat. The Vierzon, Strala, Midsund 2, and Hunter models have either a thin liner or no liner at all, which makes them perfect for late spring or early fall use.
Products that scored in the middle of our score continuum offer a little more versatility - you can still use them comfortably in cooler conditions but they won't leave your feet roasting in warmer temps. If you live in a moderate climate or want to get more use out of your rain boots, then choosing a pair with a low to medium warmth rating is probably a good bet. Also, we found that the type of socks we wore played a large role in how hot or cold your feet are inside these products. Make sure you match your socks to the weather! Read more on choosing the right product for your climate in our buying advice guide.
As you're looking at the scores in our warmth metric, keep in mind that a lower warmth score might be exactly what you want.
Although most of the products we tested are designed primarily with function (protecting you from wet weather) in mind, that doesn't mean that you have to choose a model without any style. For that stylish pop, there is the Hunter Original Short, our most attractive model. If you want a less eye-grabbing model, then the LaCrosse Hampton (our Top Pick for Mild Weather) and the Tretorn Strala have a classy look that our testers found to be subtle and sleek enough that the crowds may overlook the fact that you have them on your feet.
However, not all the products we tested are what you'd called stylish. In fact, most are designed for more rugged rather than urban use. That said, several models crossed the boundaries between rugged work and casual wear, so be sure to check how each product scored in our style metrics and be sure to find one that meets your needs across the board. And speaking of our scores, style is certainly very subjective, so if a certain product stands out as stylish to you, trust your gut.
Unfortunately, thicker insulation generally leads to a bulky-looking, unattractive design. Be sure to consider where you're going to be wearing your rain boots before you buy.
Ease of Use
In this category, we considered the weight of each product as well as how easy it was to take each one on and off. To compare the weight, we weighed each pair on our own scale. Although the sizes of the products aren't all exactly the same due to differences in manufacturers, we based the weight off the pair that fit our size 11 feet (those with smaller feet will benefit from slightly lighter boots, but this gives us a relative comparison between products).
Some of the models we tested were pretty heavy, the Muck Boot Company Chore Mid and Bogs Classic High being the heaviest. It's no surprise then that the heavier the model, the more easily fatigued our testers became after wearing it for prolonged periods. As we tested these products, we found that heavy models were less convenient to use, especially since they tended to be clunky and cumbersome (like the Muck Boot Arctic Sport). On the other side of the coin, we loved wearing the 3-pound LaCrosse Hampton, but keep in mind that this model is so light in part because it has a short shaft.
Finally, some of the boots we tested have additional features to help with getting them on your feet. Several models had pull-on tabs that gave us something to tug on to get the on, but our favorite innovation was found on the Bogs Ultra Mid Rain Boot. This product has punched-out holes or handles on the sides of the shaft that make pulling it on an absolute breeze. When taking the boots off, we prefered to not have to use our hands. Some models had extra rubber ribs running an inch or two up the heel that are designed to help you peel the boots off with your feet.
Rainy days shouldn't stop you from heading outside. But, it helps to have adequate footwear for the conditions. We hope our in-depth analyses and descriptions of each model in our review proves helpful in your search for your next pair of boots. Remember to consider your specific needs when reading through our review in order to find the model that fits you best. Click on any model featured in this article to see its individual review, including how it fared in each metric. And if you want more help narrowing down the field of options, check out our Buying Advice article. Stay dry out there.
— Ross Robinson & Jared Dean
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