The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Hunter Original Tall Review

While Hunter Boots have a lot of history, these were not the most utilitarian boots in our test.
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Price:  $150 List | $108.19 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Fits well, unique looks
Cons:  Impractical for intense use, relatively uncomfortable
Manufacturer:   Hunter Boots
By Richard Forbes ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 12, 2018
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Traction - 20% 3
  • Warmth - 10% 3
  • Ease of Use - 10% 3
  • Style - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Hunter boots have been around for over 150 years, and while their dedication to handcrafting their boots with natural rubber is impressive, we did not find that the Hunter Original Tall performed better than average in our grueling series of tests. Their high shaft height and unique styling weren't enough to compensate for their lack of comfort, traction, and functionality. These boots are sold mostly based on their looks, and there are significantly more functional and cost-effective options.


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Price $108.19 at Amazon
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$64.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Fits well, unique looksWell insulated, ideal comfort, and easy to take on and offExtremely warm, grippyHighly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great tractionAffordable, well-insulated, great traction
Cons Impractical for intense use, relatively uncomfortableLower shaft height, less tractionToo warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and offLooser fit, lacks insulationNot as comfortable as other models
Bottom Line While Hunter Boots have a lot of history, these were not the most utilitarian boots in our test.The Ultra High boot will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable even on the longest, coldest, and wettest days.The Arctic Sport will keep you warm when all else fails, though they'll be way too warm in normal conditions.This workhorse boasts a very fair price for such a rugged boot.While we loved many of the innovative aspects of these boots, we wish the boot had more support underfoot for all day comfort.
Rating Categories Hunter Original Tall Bogs Classic Ultra High Arctic Sport Baffin Enduro Kamik Icebreaker
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
5
Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
3
10
0
7
10
0
6
Traction (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Warmth (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
4
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
Style (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
7
Specs Hunter Original Tall Bogs Classic Ultra... Arctic Sport Baffin Enduro Kamik Icebreaker
Weight of pair (lbs), size 13 5.42 lbs 5.76 lbs 5.74 lbs 5.49 lbs 4.58 lbs
Flood Height (in inches - from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft) 16.9 in 12 in 17.6 in 16.3 in 14.3 in
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining/Insulation Woven nylon lining 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech insulation Fleece Synthetic Moisture wicking removable Zylex liner
Circumference (inches) 17 in 17 in 15.25 in 17.5 in 16.5 in
Upper Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber with waterproof adjustable nylon collar
Insole Cushioned footbed Aegis antimicrobial contoured insole EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed and 2mm thermal foam underlay Gel-Flex shock-absorbing heels and midsoles 11mm Zylex insole
Outsole Traditional calendered outsole Siped self-cleaning non-slip rubber MS-1 molded outsole Rubber TRACKER synthetic Rubber
Unique features Natural latex, handcrafted, calendared outsole Easy to put on due to handles, easy to take off due to heel studs, neoprene shaft Neoprene shaft, thick insulation, and aggressive outsole Aggressive outsole Drawstring, Zylex liner
Sizing info Order next size up Order next size up Order next size up Order your true size Order next size up

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hunter Original boots are "name-brand" rain boots (and the brand was established in 1856). But beyond the name, styling, and handcrafted natural rubber, these boots deliver pretty standard performance for a rubber boot. Measuring 16.9 inches tall and weighing in at 5.42 lbs, these boots lack insulation, which makes them more useful in warmer weather. And while this is hard to quantify, these boots were extremely floppy and did not provide much support. Overall, we weren't impressed by these boots when comparing them to the products that were designed with function first and form second.

Performance Comparison


While these boot's strongest suit is their looks  they performed adequately during our wading and traction tests.
While these boot's strongest suit is their looks, they performed adequately during our wading and traction tests.

Water Resistance


With a 16.9-inch shaft height, these boots have the second-highest shaft height in our test. However, the Hunter boots far more flexible rubber made them feel much less protective against splashes, a feeling accentuated by their larger circumference at the top of the shaft (17"), which felt like water might slosh in the top.

While they kept our feet dry  they definitely didn't keep our feet warm in the cold Puget Sound.
While they kept our feet dry, they definitely didn't keep our feet warm in the cold Puget Sound.

Comfort


The Hunter boots are very squishy, but not in a supportive way. They feel like we're standing on a stack of rubber, not like we're cushioned. And while they came with an insole, it's flexible and thin enough to be almost entirely cosmetic. The fit was snugger than several of the other competitors, so the Hunters didn't flap around on our feet as much as looser options, but this was not as important an issue as their relative lack of support underfoot.

An insole shouldn't do this...
An insole shouldn't do this...

Traction


The Hunter boots don't have much traction when compared to the other boots in the test. They feature "traditionally calendered soles", which, as far as we can tell, means they roll the rubber on large metal rollers (calendars) to make a sheet of rubber, which they then trim with heated knives to give it three-dimensional shape. In our tests, we found that this process didn't create much traction. The sharply cut heel piece helped grab the ground as we went down wet grass and muddy hills, but when we went up the hills (on our toes), the heels couldn't come into play, and the Hunters did not hold well. They had even less traction on snow and ice.

We slipped around a fair amount in the Hunter's on snow and ice.
We slipped around a fair amount in the Hunter's on snow and ice.

Warmth


The Hunter boots are not insulated and provide no warmth beyond the sock we were wearing. During the ice water test, our bare feet felt the cold immediately, and we were uncomfortably cold after 30 seconds.

These boots did not keep the cold out  though when paired with a thick enough sock  they were bearable.
These boots did not keep the cold out, though when paired with a thick enough sock, they were bearable.

Style


The Hunter boots are designed to look a certain way. Our fashion consultants significantly disagreed on this boot. We found that the women universally liked them, while the men were a little more uncertain about their molded styling. However, the men in our test almost all tend toward the Carhartt/utilitarian aesthetic, which does not work with these boots. Ultimately, if you like their looks, get them and don't listen to us!


Ease of Use


Hunter boots are relatively frustrating to use, as their tightly cut ankle means they're difficult to get on. You have to sit down, grab the flexible top of the shaft and tug them on. And they're too flexible to kick off, so you have to grab the heel and wrench them off. They're a far cry from larger circumference boots that you can just step into and go.

They would always get stuck on our heel when we were taking them off.
They would always get stuck on our heel when we were taking them off.

You may find, after some use, that a whitish powder will appear on the outside of your boots. This is called the "bloom" and is a normal occurrence for natural rubber. While it's not bad for your boots at all, Hunter sells a cheap boot buffer to help clean your boots should you want to get it off, or you could just soap them off and then rub in some olive oil.

This buckle doesn't do anything...
This buckle doesn't do anything...

Fit


The Hunter boots fit with our size 12 feet with a half-inch of room and are comfortable for our D width feet without being too snug. We expect they'd measure in at a D width: they would not have enough room for a wide foot. And they fit far more snugly on the ankle than any of the other boots (besides the XTRATUF Legacy 15"), which is nice because they don't flap around, but frustrating because the rubber pushes into the front of our ankles as we walk in them.

While the Hunters were fine for casual stream wading  we didn't feel secure enough in higher stress situations.
While the Hunters were fine for casual stream wading, we didn't feel secure enough in higher stress situations.

Value


The Original Tall are handcrafted natural rubber. If you like the looks enough and want to have a rain boot that looks a certain type of way, they may be worth that much to you. Multiple women who we met wearing ours around Seattle told us that they'd all gotten several years of winter use out of them, so they're durable (under typical urban use).

The Hunters' relatively smooth sole didn't do it any favors in our traction tests  but its good looks and all-round decent performance have kept it popular for 162 years!
The Hunters' relatively smooth sole didn't do it any favors in our traction tests, but its good looks and all-round decent performance have kept it popular for 162 years!

Conclusion


The Hunter Original Tall boot is designed for those who want to own a piece of history, and for those who like the way they look. The boot is handcrafted and built using old-school methods and natural rubber. Their 16.9-inch shaft height means they'll provide a fair amount of water resistance, but due to their other limitations (relatively uncomfortable, too squishy to trust on rough terrain, lack of traction and insulation), we do not recommend them for most people.


Richard Forbes