The women's Hunter Original is made well and highly functional. We found no blatant drawbacks other than the $160 list price and the fact that they run a little large. A mild-weather boot, this tall boot offers all the fundamentals of prized rainwear. The natural rubber has a matte finish, textile lining, and is handcrafted from 28 parts — maybe this is why the price is so high? The model had ample traction on wet ground, snow, and even on slippery grass. The style can either be deemed highly aesthetic or with mixed feeling, depending on the needs and preferences of the user. It wasn't as popular for a few testers, who fancied something more standard or techy. But we are pleased to award it Editors' Choice for consistent ranking above the others we tested.
High style and high class, the Original Back Adjustable Boots are capable of going off the beaten path.
The tallest in the fleet, the Original Back Adjustable measures 16 inches from the ground. The waterproof, natural rubber Hunter offers provides some of the best weather protection, especially with the adjustable circumference.
Having a rubber gusset allows you to cinch the boot opening closer to your calf (or vice versa), keeping out the rain or snow that may otherwise find its way into any gap. The circumference ranges from 14-19 inches. The shaft height also grants excellent weather protection, more so than all the other, shorter boots we tested.
Close-up of the adjustable gusset on the Original Back Adjustable.
We wore this competitor around town, in the snow, in the river, and, basically, wearing them all day posed no discomfort other than the tall shaft touching behind the knee when sitting down. The rubber itself is soft and flexible, and since the circumference is adjustable, accommodating for pants wasn't as difficult as it was for a few of the other boots. Our feet were not overly tired by the end of the day and while the footbed is rather narrow, the rubber is soft enough to flex with your feet and legs as you walk.
Weighing in at 3.58 lbs for a pair at size 7, these boots weren't the easiest to lug around and pack, but they didn't necessarily feel too cumbersome either. In regards to sizing, they run on the larger side, so it was recommended through user reviews to size down if you are a half-size. We found this to be an excellent recommendation. Too, they were easy to put on and relatively easy to take off as well, even without hands. The foot box is comparatively smaller than most boots, which lends to their lean look. The footbed does not come with removable insoles and if you have wide feet, the narrow foot box might not be as comfortable. Make sure to try on a pair, if possible.
A closer look at the lining and flexible rubber shaft of the Original Back Adjustable.
This model of the Hunter Original tends to come in a variety of matte colors, but always refer to the manufacturer's website for the current season's styles. The style we tested was the black grape rubber with a bright violet buckle, although this "black grape" color is more purple than it looks in online photos.
Since the shaft is so tall, we still found it to be a challenge to fit pants into the boot despite the option to widen the circumference. This means they are not as versatile as a shorter boot, but, if you're wearing skinny jeans and leggings, then the look is quite cute. Reviewers have expressed mixed opinions on the Hunter look, with the buckle, preferring something plainer or sporty. Having the rubber fold as you walk isn't the most flattering aspect of the Hunter, but the molding and subtle heel provide a nice feminine touch.
The stylish Original Back Adjustable.
The tread on these Hunters can be described as a "calendered outsole." The design consists of long lugs with mini, shallow zig-zags.
This surprisingly provided confidence in terrain such as snow, wet grass, inclines, and of course, across dry, flat surfaces. In the river test, however, when the rocks were slimy, the traction was that of an average boot. Overall, we were surprised to feel so confident when previous reviews found the traction to be a disappointment. This is likely due to the specific spread of boots the Hunter is being compared against. For example, the presence of higher scoring tread in the men's review resulted in a low rank for the brand.
This model is designed for general wear, and we wouldn't recommend hiking around in them. Regardless of their relative performance to the other boots, the traction isn't ideal for rugged, technical terrain. For average, casual use, these boots have been found to be highly reliable.
A look at the "calendered" outsoles of the Original Back Adjustable boots, which performed well across the board.
With no added insulation and a thin nylon lining, warmth was this award winner's lowest score.
This metric helps determine how well each contender retains warmth across a variety of temperatures. The Hunter did not excel in colder temperatures such as snow; these boots are just not made to withstand much more than average rain. Although the height of the shaft helped with exposure and general insulation, the main culprit for heat loss might be the fact that the foot box is very lean and close to the foot, transferring body heat through conduction. If long-term warmth and thicker insulation is a requirement, we recommend that you consider a winter boot instead.
The Original Back Adjustable in an icy river at the bottom of Dream Canyon, CO. While these boots are excellent at keeping moisture out, they aren't very warm. For many folks, that's actually what you want.
Coming in only whole sizes from 5-11, we dug through customer comments to gain insight. While the manufacturer states their boots run true to size, many users stated they may run large. Heeding this advice, we ordered a size down and purchased a size 7. Our lead tester prefers a snug foot box over that of something wider. Owning a larger amount of thin socks (versus thick), we were very satisfied with the size 7. If you are the opposite and want to wear thick socks and are contemplating custom insoles, you might consider sizing up instead.
Rubber just isn't the most comfortable footwear material, but the Hunter boots scored high in comfort.
With a very high list price, these are on the expensive end of the spectrum. But the handcrafted and molded construction is rather appealing and the brand is known for its trusted quality. The value of this pair is high.
Quality workmanship leads to a top-performing product in the women's Hunter Original boots.
The Hunter Original is a fine piece of craftsmanship. It's hard to argue against the top-notch quality of these boots. If you can afford it, there's no doubt in our minds that Hunter puts an exceptional amount of care and thought into each of their products. With a classic rain boot look, matte color, sufficient comfort, adequate traction, and an adjustable circumference, it's hard to ask for much more. Well, maybe a discount.