Hailing from Great Britain, the Hunter Original Adjustable earns our highest accolades once again. This particular rain boot is designed with the ability to adjust its boot opening circumference at the back. As the winner of our top award, it provides top-notch quality and performance. The most significant drawback, however, is perhaps its list price. While it's not a boot for all budgets, it's a very popular and worthwhile purchase. Thanks to impeccable weather protection, traction, and style, the Hunter Original continues to prove itself as a prime choice and one we heartily recommend.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 8, 2022, after retesting the most recent version.
Cons: More expensive, no insulation
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|Pros||Tall flexible shaft, comfortable, adjustable boot circumference||Well made, excellent traction, high comfort||Great foot support, flexible rubber, sufficient traction||Mid-height shaft, fashionable, substantial traction||Durable, trendy, lightweight|
|Cons||More expensive, no insulation||Somewhat bulky, expensive, can easily become too warm||Oily sheen out of the box, rubber changes color when wet, lack of insulation||Basic foot support, no insulation||Low weather protection, narrow footbed|
|Bottom Line||One of the best, this is a high-quality, stylish boot with excellent weather protection||A technical hybrid boot that performs the best in winter conditions, this model is more than superb if you're in need of heavy-duty insulation||Ideal for those working outside, this Alaskan boot was made to keep feet comfortable and dry||A very straightforward, elegant boot that is highly affordable and good looking enough to go from the garden to the coffee shop||This ankle-height boot is trendy and practical despite its short shaft|
|Rating Categories||Hunter Original Bac...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Xtratuf Legacy 15"...||Kamik Heidi||Bogs SweetPea|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Hunter Original Bac...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Xtratuf Legacy 15"...||Kamik Heidi||Bogs SweetPea|
|Weight per Pair||3.6 lbs (size 7)||3.0 lbs (size 8)||3.6 lbs (size 8)||2.7 lbs (size 8)||1.6 lbs (size 8)|
|Flood Height (from bottom of sole to lowest point of shaft)||15.6 in||11.0 in||15 in||12 in||4.75 in|
|Mouth Circumference||14-16 in||13 in||14.75 in||13.75 in||10 in|
|Lining/Insulation||Recycled polyester||Fleece Lined Neoprene||Nylon||Nylon||Textile|
|Upper Material||Vulcanized Natural Rubber||Rubber, Neoprene||Triple-dipped latex neoprene||Phthalate-free Synthetic Rubber||Textured rubber|
|Outsole Material||Natural Rubber||Rubber||Non-Marking Chevron Rubber||Synthetic Rubber Blend||Rubber|
|Insole||Latex Sponge Foam Insole with recycled polyester||Removeable EVA Insole||Breathe-O-Prene Insole||Removeable Kamik(R) Comfort Footbed||Max-Wick insole|
|Unique Features||Adjustable circumference, certified vegan, handcrafted||bioDEWIX dry footbed (plant based anti-odor & antimicrobial), insulated for "-40F to 40F", fleece lined||Chemical resistant upper||Recyclable||Anti-odor lining|
|Sizing Info||Runs large||True to size||Runs small||True to size||True to size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The women's Hunter Original is well-made and highly functional. We found no blatant drawbacks other than the list price and the fact that the fit might be tricky to nail for some wearers. A milder-weather option, this tall boot offers all the fundamentals of prized rainwear. The natural rubber has a matte finish, there is a recycled polyester lining, and each pair is handcrafted — maybe this is why the price is high? The Hunter has ample traction on wet ground, snow, and even on slippery grass, and the style has a chic aesthetic that continues to trend. We're confident the needs and preferences of most users will be met by this boot that consistently ranks above the others we've tested.
The tallest of the fleet, the Hunter Original measures nearly 16 inches from the ground. The waterproof, natural rubber (certified vegan) that Hunter offers provides some of the best weather protection in our review, especially with the adjustable circumference. The molded design leaves little to fail in the soggiest of circumstances.
Thanks to a rubber gusset and a buckle, you can cinch the boot opening closer to your calf if needed, keeping out any rain or snow that may otherwise find its way into a gap. The circumference ranges from about 14-16 inches. The shaft height, measured at 15.63 inches for the pair we tested, grants excellent weather protection, far more than the trending ankle or mid-height boots we've tested thus far.
We wore this competitor around town, in the snow, and in our local creeks. Wearing them all day poses no notable discomfort other than the tall shaft touching behind the knee when sitting down for any length of time. The rubber itself is soft and flexible, and since the circumference is adjustable, accommodating for pants isn't as difficult as it is for other models. Our feet were never overly tired, and while the footbed is on the narrower side of the spectrum, the rubber is soft enough to flex with the feet and legs as you walk.
Weighing in at 3.64 pounds for the pair of size 7 US we tested, these boots aren't the easiest to lug around and pack, but they don't necessarily feel too cumbersome either. In regards to sizing, we feel they run a little on the larger side, so it is recommended to size down if you are a half-size or if you prefer wearing thinner socks. Overall, the Hunter is relatively easy to put on and to take off as well (maybe with a little help from your hands). The foot box is comparatively smaller than most boots, which lends to a lean look. We foresee this being a possible fit issue for those with high-volume feet (and perhaps sizing up is actually better). If possible, trying on a pair is best. Lastly, the insoles have been updated over the years and are now made with latex sponge foam and recycled polyester.
The tread on these boots can be described as a "calendered outsole." The design consists of long lugs with mini, shallow zig-zags. It provided us confidence in terrain such as snow, wet grass, inclines, and of course, across dry, flat surfaces. In our river test, however, when the rocks were slimy, the traction was rather average.
Overall, we were surprised to feel as confident as we did in these, though keep in mind that our scores are comparative, meaning that each is awarded in regards to how the item performs against the rest of the lineup. There are certainly better-tractioned boots than the Hunter Original, but they may also not have as high weather protection or comfort.
This model is designed for general wear, so we wouldn't recommend hiking around the trails in them. Regardless of their relative performance to the other boots, the traction isn't ideal for rugged, technical terrain. For average, casual use, however, these boots are highly reliable.
With no added insulation and a thin, recycled polyester lining, warmth is this boot's lowest score. It's best to keep in mind, though, that this metric only helps determine how well each contender retains warmth in a variety of settings. The higher the score, the hotter they are, even during summer days.
The Hunter did not excel in colder environments with snow. They are just not made to withstand much more than average rainfall in a non-freezing setting. That said, the height of the shaft helps with cold exposure and provides general insulation. The main culprit for heat loss might be the fact that the foot box is very lean and close to the foot, easily transferring body heat through conduction. If long-term warmth and thicker insulation are top requirements, we recommend you consider a winter crossover or full winter boot instead.
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.
Since the shaft is so tall, we find it challenging to fit pants into the Hunter 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 or leggings, then the look is quite cute. Still, reviewers have expressed mixed opinions on the overall look, particularly in regard to the buckle — some prefer something plainer, and others, something sportier. Being so tall, it is a lot of rubber, and having the rubber fold as you walk isn't the most flattering aspect of this boot, though the molding and subtle heel provide a chic touch.
Coming in only whole sizes from 5 to 11, we dug through customer comments to gain insight. While the manufacturer states their boots run true to size, many users state they run large. Heeding this advice, we ordered a size down. Our lead tester prefers a snug foot box over that of something wider. Owning a larger amount of thin socks (versus thick), we are satisfied with our decision. If you are the opposite and want to wear thick socks and are contemplating custom insoles, you might consider sizing up instead.
Should You Buy the Hunter Original Back Adjustable?
With a list price on the higher end of the spectrum, these boots can be considered expensive. But the handcrafted and molded construction is very appealing, plus the brand is known for its trusted quality. We can tout that the value of this pair is high and worth the investment.
What Other Rain Boots Should You Consider?
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 them, there's no doubt in our minds that Hunter puts an exceptional amount of care and thought into each of their products. That said, if you're on a tighter budget, we do also love the Kamik Heidi. It's not quite as weather-protective but is comparable in every other metric. If you would prefer a crossover boot that can handle colder temps, the Muck Boot Arctic Sport II Mid is a great option to consider.
— Sara Aranda
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