Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Stylish, lightweight
Cons: Not very warm, loose fit
Best Uses: Casual
If you are looking for a rain boot with a sleek, classic look, then the Hunter Original Short may be just for you. Although this product lacks in traction and comfort, it does provide adequate protection from the weather. Its inner liner isn't warm enough to hold off frigid temperatures, but it's ideal from mid-spring through mid-autumn. If you need a rain boot for the cold weather, be sure to check out our Top Pick award winner, the Kamik Icebreaker. The tread of the Hunter Original Short is also extremely limited to use around town. If you need a product that is great for off-road use, this model is not it; on the other hand, if you prioritize fashion over function, this may be just the piece you're looking for.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Hunter Original Short is a stylish rain boot that has provides a decent amount of protection from precipitation. However, it lacks the traction needed to be used in conditions with loose soil, mud, or sand. Additionally, the loose fit makes them difficult to use on uneven terrain. Since it lacks a liner, this product is more ideal for warmer temperatures, and is not suitable for winter use.
Although this product has a thick sole, its overall comfort could definitely use some improvements. While testing it on sidewalks and roads, we thought that it was comfortable enough to wear for some time. However, when we switched up the conditions, we found that in rough terrain, we could feel the rocks, twigs, and unevenness of the ground through the sole. This piece also lacks a removable insole for any added comfort, and the liner is thin and hardly noticeable at all. If you need a sturdy work boot that is comfortable on off-road terrain, check out the Kamik Lucas2. Or if you just need a comfortable and casual boot to keep your feet dry while you casually walk about town, check out the LaCrosse Hampton, our Best Buy award winner.
The Hunter Original Short's shaft measures 12.25 inches from the bottom of the sole to the top of the shaft. It's hardly tall enough to wear through deeps streams or deep mud pits, but it'll definitely work well if the deepest body of water you encounter is a puddle on a sidewalk. Additionally the top of the shaft is wide enough that it leaves a gap between the tester's leg and the shaft, which allows for debris and water to enter inside. If you need a product with a taller shaft, check out the Le Chameau Vierzon, which also has a gusseted shaft that cinches down to remove the gap at the top of the shaft. Hunter also makes a tall version of the short boot.
This rain boot has one of the thinnest liners we tested, comparable to the Le Chameau Vierzon. We found in our testing that the liner wasn't effective at retaining enough heat that we'd want to wear it in cold conditions. As we tested the boots in cold mountain streams, it didn't take long for us to notice the change in temperature. This model held enough warmth when used in conjunction with a thick sock, but otherwise if you need a really warm product, check out the Bog Classic High, or the Kamik Icebreaker.
The Hunter Original Short is, hands down, one of the most stylish boots we tested. The height of the shaft, along with the sleek all rubber construction, gives this piece a classic rain boot look. We also loved the rise in the heel, which we thought makes this model look like rubberized cowboy-boots. If your main concern is looking as sharp as possible while wearing rain boots, this is your best option. Only the Tretorn Skerry has a similar look but since it lacks the rise in the heel like the Hunter, it looks a little less refined.
This product's tread features lateral grooves; it doesn't have individual lugs, but rather a smooth surface broken up by shallow grooves. We found that this worked fine for some situations, like walking around town, or playing with your dog in a grassy park. However, the moment the ground becomes too slick with mud or loose dirt, the Hunter Original's ability to maintain significant traction is reduced. If you need something with deep and aggressive lugs, check out the Icebreaker or Vierzon.
Ease of Use
The Hunter Original Short has some well-placed pull tabs on the side of the shaft that make getting the boot on easy. However, the tabs are a little small, and don't offer as much of a grip as the Bogs Ultra Mid Rain Boot, which had massive handles punched out of the upper neoprene. This product is also one of the lightest rain boots we tested with a mid-height shaft, weighing 3 pounds and 14 ounces. It also has a slightly narrow profile, especially in comparison to the The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport - Men's or Bogs Ultra, which made it feel a bit more like wearing a pair of sneakers.
We found that this piece has a little room to spare in every direction. We could feel our feet move and slide around constantly. There is also a large gap between the top of the shaft and shin, and despite its side gussets, there's no real way to cinch it up. If you want a snug fit around your feet, check out the Bogs Classic or the Hampton. If you need a boot that can cinch down, check out the Vierzon or the Icebreaker.
The Hunter Original Short lacks the ability to really be used in serious working conditions. The tread is too smooth for off-road use, and is limited to casual around town use. If you want to look stylish while you walk your dog, this is a great choice. Also remember that these rain boots provide very little warmth, which may or may not be a positive for you.
Costing a hefty $140, we think that these boots fall short of truly being worth their price, unless you have deep pockets and desperately need a stylish and fashionable rain boot. We think they are great for around-town use, but they lack the versatility that some of their competitors offer.
Generally, the Hunter Original Short does protect your feet from getting wet in a heavy rain, but for anything more than that they fall short of the marks received by most of the other boots we tested. The one exception is, of course, style. This piece exhibits excellent style for a rain boot compared to the majority of the clunky looking boots we tested out.
Hunter Original Short - Women's, $135.
Hunter Original - Women's, tall version, $148.
— Jared Dean
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Most recent review: January 21, 2015
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