Hands-on Gear Review

Tingley General Purpose Knee Boot Review

Price:  $18 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, good traction
Cons:  PVC rubber smells bad, loose fit, thin insole, uncomfortable
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight of pair (size 13):  5lbs 12oz
Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft):  16.75 in
Lining/Insulation:  n/a
Manufacturer:   Tingley

Our Verdict

The General Purpose Knee Boot was Discontinued in July, 2015
If there is an odd product out in this review, it's the Tingley General Purpose Knee rain boot. None of the boots we tested really compares to this one. It's a heavy boot made of PVC rubber, and it comes at a very cheap price. It has decent traction on the soles, though it lacks any insulation, making it a poor choice if you find yourself in a cold climate. Additionally, one of the first things we noticed when we pulled the Tingley General Purpose out of its packaging was the intense smell of PVC rubber wafting out of the box. During our testing period, we discovered that if you need a rain boot for a dirty job, this is the best option because of how easy it is to just hose off. And since it's so inexpensive, it's not a big deal if it gets covered in unmentionable sorts of waste and filth. However, if you aren't working in gut-wrenching conditions, check out the Bogs Classic High - Men's, our Editors' Choice winner.


RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Rain Boots for Men

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jared Dean

Last Updated:
Sunday
July 26, 2015

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Hands-On Review


The Tingley General Purpose is a durable rain boot made out of PVC rubber. It's one of the heaviest products we tested, but it also has one of the highest shafts, allowing you to wade into streams, or walk through mud pits without worrying about the depth. Unfortunately, it's designed with work rather than style or comfort in mind, and it's pretty obvious.

We tested the Tingley while fishing. It's tall 16.75 inch shaft allowed us to wade out a good distance to cast into further into the streams.
We tested the Tingley while fishing. It's tall 16.75 inch shaft allowed us to wade out a good distance to cast into further into the streams.

Comfort


The Tingley General Purpose doesn't look like it would be very comfortable, and it's not. Our main tester found that the rain boot fit quite loosely. The rubber around the heel stretched after being worn only a few times, which made it more difficult to keep on our feet. Additionally, it doesn't have a liner to help wick away moisture, and after a half an hour of using it on warm days our feet felt sticky with sweat. We also found that the lack of a liner meant that when it was in contact with our skin, it felt like it was going to rip out all of our hair. The insole is one of the thinnest and poorest of all the products we tested. We definitely would have liked some more cushioning and support in the footbed. If you want a comfortable model, check out the LaCrosse Hampton or the The Original Muck Boot Company Chore Mid.

The Tingley has an extremely thin insole that adds marginal cushioning  and no support. We wished they had a beefy insole.
The Tingley has an extremely thin insole that adds marginal cushioning, and no support. We wished they had a beefy insole.

Water Resistance


This product has the third highest shaft off all the pieces we tested, measuring in at 16.75 inches from the bottom of the sole. Our testers found this to be a great if you're going to be wading through mud or water whose depth may be dubious. However, despite the advantage of having a tall shaft, the model fits loosely around the calf, leaving a large gap for water and debris to enter. If you need a tall rain boot that has a small gap at the top, check out the Le Chameau Vierzon which has buckles to cinch down the top of the shaft to your calf or the Kamik Icebreaker that uses a lace around the top of the shaft to close the gap.

The PVC rubber that the boot is made of is waterproof  but unfortunately it has a strong and less than pleasant odor that never fully goes away. Mixed with sweaty feet and you have a recipe for a potent stink bomb.
The PVC rubber that the boot is made of is waterproof, but unfortunately it has a strong and less than pleasant odor that never fully goes away. Mixed with sweaty feet and you have a recipe for a potent stink bomb.

Warmth


Although models without liners have their place in the summer season, this model doesn't have an insulating liner or a liner merely to add some comfort. When we tested the Tingley General Purpose in some cold mountain rivers we found that the frigid water was able suck the heat right through the PVC rubber almost instantly. On a hot summer day, the cold penetrating through the boots feels nice, but most of the products we tested that had liners are able wick away moisture. If you're out in warmer weather, this model simply doesn't breathe as well as its competitors and collects moisture easily.

Style


Our testers think that this model doesn't have much to offer in the way of the style. We think it looks like the type of rain boot you'd find on the feet of fisherman walking around a wharf or workers spraying don the floor of a slaughterhouse. We don't think that it's a very good looking boot to wear out on the town for the sake of fashion. The most stylish products we tested include the Tretorn Skerry, the Hampton, or the Hunter Original Short.

The Tingley won't help you win any fashion contests  but it's PVC construction will keep your feet dry when you're hard at work.
The Tingley won't help you win any fashion contests, but it's PVC construction will keep your feet dry when you're hard at work.

Traction


This model's rubber soles have a simple design that offers little traction in dirt, mud, and loose soil. Shallow grooves that cut across the bottom of the tread aren't deep enough to really dig into loose earth. However, when we tested them out on slippery surfaces, such as rocks on a stream bed, we found that the sole had enough surface contact to cling to the rocks and smooth pavement. The thick sole, however, makes it difficult to feel what it is you're stepping on, which can result in misjudging the security of where you step, and potentially cause you to stumble and fall.

The tread of the Tingley has wide but shallow grooves  and lacks aggressive lugs. It works well on flat smooth surfaces  like concrete  and the grooves allow for water to drain out from underfoot. The shallowness of the grooves makes the boot less than perfect for use in off-road situations.
The tread of the Tingley has wide but shallow grooves, and lacks aggressive lugs. It works well on flat smooth surfaces, like concrete, and the grooves allow for water to drain out from underfoot. The shallowness of the grooves makes the boot less than perfect for use in off-road situations.

Ease of Use


This pair is one of the heaviest we tested, weighing 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Putting them on is simple because of how large the circumference of the shaft is at the top, but unlike the Hunter, or the Bogs Ultra Mid Rain Boot, there are no straps or pull tabs to help pull them on. We also noticed that if you're not wearing socks, or your pants bunch up, the feel of the PVC rubber against the skin is extremely uncomfortable. The feeling is even worse if the inside of the rain boot gets wet from either being submerged in water, or because your feet sweat in them through the day. Not to mention that footbed stretches and becomes loose as it's used, making it feel like it's going to slip off your feet. For a product that is lightweight and significantly more comfortable, check out the Hampton.

Fit


As we've said above, the fit of the Tingley General Purpose is very poor. It is shaped more like a generic symmetrical mold than an asymmetrical footbed. This is pretty apparent as our feet slid around inside the boot and it became just as much of a mental effort to keep it on as it was a physical effort. The rain boot feels like it just hangs off the top of our feet as we step. Of all the products we tested, this is one of the worst fitting. If you want a model with a snug fit, check out the Bogs Classic, or the Hampton.

These rubber boots has some good traction on hard surfaces. Here Jared testes out the boot on some stones on the side of a river.
These rubber boots has some good traction on hard surfaces. Here Jared testes out the boot on some stones on the side of a river.

Best Application


The Tingley General Purpose rain boots are best suited for working in environments where you may encounter the kind of filth that you don't want to get on your feet or on an expensive pair of neoprene boots. Essentially, it is the prime example of a work boot designed with drudgery in mind. We found multiple online reviews where they had been used for tasks such as farm work and work in slaughterhouses. If you need something more for style and pizzazz and not necessarily work, check out the Skerry or Hunter Short Boot.

Value


At $30, the Tingley General Purpose is the cheapest of all the products we tested. If you need a work/rain boot that you wouldn't mind putting through the worst sorts of dirt and grime, this is the model for you. You won't worry about ruining the PVC rubber, and a hose easily takes off the worst filth that can collect on them. However, they lack insulation and comfort, so unless you are finding yourself in the dirtiest of dirty jobs, you may be better off spending the extra cash for a pair with some cushioning, lining, and stylish appeal. The Kamik Icebreaker is the best performing product and it has an inexpensive price tag, which is part of why it comes highly recommended.

Testing the Tingley out in a nearby stream.
Testing the Tingley out in a nearby stream.

Conclusion


The Tingley General Purpose offers decent waterproofness for a very cheap price. If you want a product that you don't mind ruining, this is a great choice. However, it fits poorly, and the tread isn't versatile enough for off-road use. Not to mention that the boot is very uncomfortable, and has a lingering smell of industrial PVC rubber. And they aren't very stylish at all; in fact they are a bit of an eyesore. But at $30, if you need a beater pair of rain boots for working in fields full of cow pies, then these are a great choice.

Jared Dean

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Most recent review: July 26, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (1.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 50%  (1)


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