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Hunter Original Back Adjustable - Women's Review

The best of the best, this model is a high-quality, stylish boot with excellent weather protection
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $160 List | $88.76 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Tall flexible shaft, comfortable, adjustable boot circumference
Cons:  High cost, no insulation
Manufacturer:   Hunter
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 18, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Warmth - 15% 5
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Hailing from Great Britain, the Hunter Original earns our highest accolades once again. This particular model is designed with the ability to adjust its boot opening circumference at the back. As the winner of our Editors' Choice Award, it provides top-notch quality and performance. The most significant drawback is its hefty list price. It's not a boot for all budgets, but it's popular nonetheless because of its impeccable weather protection, traction, and style.

Color Updates
Though this boot is no longer available in the purple shade we tested, there are still a variety of options to choose from. The basic black shown above is a staple color in Hunter's lineup.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The women's Hunter Original is made well and highly functional. We found no blatant drawbacks other than the high price and the fact that they run a little large. A mild-weather option, 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? It has ample traction on wet ground, snow, and even on slippery grass. The style is highly aesthetic, depending on the needs and preferences of the user. We are pleased to award it Editors' Choice for consistently ranking above the others we tested.

Performance Comparison


Classic  tall  and flexible -- a great combination for an ideal rain boot.
Classic, tall, and flexible -- a great combination for an ideal rain boot.

Weather Protection


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 in our review, especially with the adjustable circumference.


Thanks to a rubber gusset and a buckle, you can cinch the boot opening closer to your calf if needed, 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.
Close-up of the adjustable gusset on the Original Back Adjustable.

Comfort


We wore this competitor around town, in the snow, in the river, and 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 isn't as difficult as it is for other models. 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 pounds for a pair of size 7's, these boots aren't the easiest to lug around and pack, but they don't necessarily feel too cumbersome either. In regards to sizing, they run on the larger side, so it is recommended to size down if you are a half-size. The Original is 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 the 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.

Suitable for all-day wear  the softer rubber helps us move without complaint.
Suitable for all-day wear, the softer rubber helps us move without complaint.

Traction


The tread on these boots can be described as a "calendered outsole." The design consists of long lugs with mini, shallow zig-zags. This design provided 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 just 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 may certainly be better-tractioned boots than the Hunter Original, they just aren't represented in our current selection of well-rounded options.

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, however, these boots are highly reliable.

A look at the "calendared" outsoles of the Original Back Adjustable boots  which performed decently  though didn't blow us away.
A look at the "calendared" outsoles of the Original Back Adjustable boots, which performed decently, though didn't blow us away.

Warmth


With no added insulation and a thin nylon lining, warmth is this award winner'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.


This pair did not excel in colder environments with snow. They are just not made to withstand much more than the average rainfall in a non-frigid setting. That said, we do think the height of the shaft helps 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, easily 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 Hunter Original 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.
The Hunter Original 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.

Style


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 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 or leggings, then the look is quite cute. Still, reviewers have expressed mixed opinions on the overall look and the buckle — some prefer something plainer or sportier. It is a lot of rubber, being so tall, and 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. They are classically British.

The stylish Original Back Adjustable.
The stylish Original Back Adjustable.

Fit


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. 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 our decision. If you are the opposite and want to wear thick socks and are contemplating custom insoles, you might consider sizing up instead.

Rubber isn't the most comfortable footwear material  but the Hunter boots scored high in comfort nonetheless.
Rubber isn't the most comfortable footwear material, but the Hunter boots scored high in comfort nonetheless.

Value


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 and worth the investment.

Quality workmanship leads to a top-performing product in the women's Hunter Original boots.
Quality workmanship leads to a top-performing product in the women's Hunter Original boots.

Conclusion


The Hunter Original, our Editors' Choice Winner, 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. 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.

This ode to the traditional rain boot is worth the investment.
This ode to the traditional rain boot is worth the investment.

Sara Aranda