Hands-on Gear Review

Helly Hansen Midsund 2 Review

Price:  $65 List | $44.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Easy to use, good for warm weather
Cons:  Uncomfortable over extended periods of time, poor traction, lack style
Editors' Rating:   
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Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft):  12.5 in
Sizing info:  Runs 1 size large: order 1 size down
Weight of pair (sizes varying):  3lbs 14.9oz (size 10.5)
Manufacturer:   Helly Hansen

Our Verdict

The Helly Hansen Midsund 2 claims that it "effortlessly combines style, comfort, and weather protection." Naturally, we were excited to test this pair of rain boots out in the rain and around town. After testing the Midsund 2 for several months, we found that it was extremely easy to slide on and off, and that it fared much better than its insulated competitors when the weather turned warm. However, we failed to see the other claimed benefits of this rather basic rubber boot. Although we usually appreciate simplicity, this rain boot didn't stack up to the rest in our scoring metrics. We much preferred the Helly Hansen Veierland 2 which took home a Top Pick award for mild weather.

For better style, check out the award-winning Hunter Original Short. For more comfort, let us recommend the LaCrosse Hampton. And for the best weather protection, read about the The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport - Men's.



RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Rain Boots for Men

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ross Robinson

Last Updated:
Sunday
December 13, 2015

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The Helly Hansen Midsund 2, priced at $65, is your classic, uninsulated rubber rain boot. Measuring 12.5 inches tall and 3lbs 15oz, it is the lightest of the mid-calf boots in this review. Relative to the other competitors, it also has the greatest circumference at the top of the shaft at 18.75 inches, which makes it very easy to pull on and off. On the flip side, this large gap provides a lot of space for raindrops to fall inside the boot. Its lack of insulation makes it perfect for conditions that combine wet and warm, but not so great when the temperature dips down low. Overall, this classic style rain boot didn't impress much when saddled next to the higher-tech designs of the other competitors in this review.

Performance Comparison


The non-insulated Midsund 2 performs better in warmer weather than cold and lacks decent traction on wet rocks.
The non-insulated Midsund 2 performs better in warmer weather than cold and lacks decent traction on wet rocks.

Water Resistance


The 12.5 inch height of the Helly Hansen shaft brings it up to mid-calf on our six-foot tall reviewers. That was tall enough to protect our legs against rainy day splashes and most potholes, but not for wading in water or a good ol' creek stomp. This product has the largest opening at the top of the shaft of any model in our review, measuring 18.75 inches in circumference, which makes it very easy for us to tuck the leg of our pants into the boot. However, it also created a large area for rain to get in, resulting in wet pant bottoms in heavy rain. If you need to head into deeper waters and don't need any insulation, check out the Le Chameau Vierzon.

The huge gap between our shins and the shaft provided plenty of room for stray rain drops and debris to get inside.
The huge gap between our shins and the shaft provided plenty of room for stray rain drops and debris to get inside.

Comfort


The Midsund doesn't offer a lot in this category, especially in comparison to some of the other models we tested with much more cushioning. The insole is only a thin, removable layer of foam, under which lies the thick gum rubber outsole. While this isn't initially uncomfortable, we found that standing for extended amounts of time in this boot to be something we didn't want to do. Additionally, without a steel shank, it isn't appropriate to use to push a shovel into the ground while doing yardwork. Also, the heel slides up the shaft with each step so that it felt like the boot was constantly falling off our feet. On the positive side, the wide opening at the top of the boot prevents the shaft from annoying our shins as we strolled through the rain. For greater comfort in an non-insulated model, check out the Hunter Original Short.

Without a thick sole or internal shaft  we could uncomfortably feel the edge of the shovel under this model.
Without a thick sole or internal shaft, we could uncomfortably feel the edge of the shovel under this model.

Traction


The outsole of the Helly Hansen model feature a basic checkered design, with deep lugs under the heel and shallower ones in the front. In our tests, this product had good traction when walking in mud, on wet grass, and on pavement. On hard uneven surfaces, like wet rocks in a creekbed, these boots performed very poorly. Also, we found that cleaning out the grooves on the bottom of this product to be the most difficult of all models. For better purchase on wet, algae-covered rocks, we preferred outsoles with more variation in the grooves and lugs, like on the Bogs Classic High - Men's and the Bogs Ultra Mid Rain Boot.

We weren't overwhelmed by the purchase provided by the outsole of the Midsund 2. We also found these grooves to be the most difficult to clean out the mud and gunk.
We weren't overwhelmed by the purchase provided by the outsole of the Midsund 2. We also found these grooves to be the most difficult to clean out the mud and gunk.

Warmth


Without any insulation in this rubber boot, the Midsund 2 doesn't provide a lot of warmth. In our ice water test, it only took one minute and 45 seconds for our bare feet inside this pair to feel the cold set in. That said, if you're looking for a late spring/summer/early fall rain boot, this product will keep your feet from cooking and sweating, unlike the heavily insulated Kamik Icebreaker and The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport.

Style


We liked the flashy highlights on the bottom of all four matte color options offered for this boot. Sitting in our foyers, this boot does look pretty stylish. However, once on our feet, we found the very wide shaft to be an unattractive feature that negated the look of the cool colors. One reviewer commented that they looked like wearing "big rubber bags" on their feet.

Do these make my feet look big? Umm...Yes.
Do these make my feet look big? Umm...Yes.

Ease of Use


With its wide mouth opening at the top of the shaft, the Midsund 2 swallowed up our feet easily. It does feature pull-on tabs to assist in this process, but we never found that we needed them (unlike other models in this review with the same feature). Just as they are easy on, they are easy off. Furthermore, they are the lightest of the middle and tall boots featured in this review, weighing in on our scales at three pounds and 15 ounces. Simple to slip on and off, and not feeling like a brick on the bottom of our feet was enough for this product to score highly in this metric.

The Midsund 2 earned its highest score in ease of use. Thanks to its wide mouth opening, it is very easy to put on and take off.

This piece barely even needs hands to slide them on and off.
This piece barely even needs hands to slide them on and off.

Fit


The Helly Hansen boots didn't fit the feet of our reviewers very well. At the time of this review half sizes were available (they have since been discontinued), but even after going a half size down from our normal size, our heels still swam inside the back of the boot. The ball of the foot felt great, though, and the less spacious toebox fit better than the heel, making it difficult to discover what size would actually fit the whole foot. We recommend sizing this boot down if you are a half size. If you're not a half size, you may want to try these on it person to determine if you can stay true to size or need to order down.

Best Applications


Every once in awhile, you need a pair of boots that you can get completely filthy in the mud and rain and not think twice about them. For those times, and other short jaunts in warm, rainy/muddy conditions, we think this rubber rain boot will serve you very well. However, we don't recommend using these boots for prolonged use, as they will become uncomfortable after several hours of wear.

This model gets good traction in loose soil and isn't afraid to get a little dirty.
This model gets good traction in loose soil and isn't afraid to get a little dirty.

Value


At $65, the Helly Hansen boots are the cheapest pair featured in this review. If you just need a pair of boots to occasionally tromp through a muddy backyard in warmer temperatures, these present a pretty good value. However, when considering that this product only scored impressively in one of six metrics, it was difficult to find much value in this product.

The Helly Hansen's tread isn't ideal for walking through slippery creek beds.
The Helly Hansen's tread isn't ideal for walking through slippery creek beds.

Conclusion


The simple design of the Helly Hansen Midsund 2 unfortunately didn't win us over throughout the reviewing process. It reminded us of a throwback product that completely disregarded that the modern designs can work much better. The wide shaft opening that makes this product easy to use also reduces its ability to protect your pants and feet from the rain (plus it negatively affected the boot's style). Furthermore, its lack of tread and comfort negatively affects the amount of situations it can be used in, as well as how long you are willing to wear them. For wet conditions beyond the backyard, we recommend checking out some of the other models in our review.

Tread carefully on slick rocks in these boots or else you'll end up on the ground  or worse  in the creek.
Tread carefully on slick rocks in these boots or else you'll end up on the ground, or worse, in the creek.

Ross Robinson

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Most recent review: December 13, 2015
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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