Best Rain Boots for Women of 2021
|Price||$164.95 at Amazon||Check Price at REI|
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|$79.73 at REI|
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|$49.99 at Amazon||Check Price at REI|
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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||Cozy neoprene, decent traction, versatile|
|Cons||High cost, 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||Heavy, some shin rubbing, mild heel lift|
|Bottom Line||The best of the best, this model 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||A convenient, cute, and somewhat low-key boot with classic neoprene comfort and warmth|
|Rating Categories||Hunter Original Bac...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Xtratuf Legacy 15"...||Kamik Heidi||Muck Boot Originals...|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Hunter Original Bac...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Xtratuf Legacy 15"...||Kamik Heidi||Muck Boot Originals...|
|Weight per Pair (lbs)||3.6 lbs (size 7)||3.0 lbs (size 8)||3.6 lbs (size 8)||2.7 lbs (size 8)||3.8 lbs (size 8)|
|Flood Height (inches from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft)||16 in||11.0 in||15 in||12 in||9.50 in|
|Mouth Circumference (inches)||14-19 in||13 in||14.75 in||13.75 in||13 in|
|Lining/Insulation||Knitted Nylon||Fleece Lined Neoprene||Nylon||Nylon||Neoprene|
|Upper Material||Vulcanized Natural Rubber||Rubber, Neoprene||Triple-dipped latex neoprene||Phthalate-free Synthetic Rubber||Rubber|
|Outsole Material||Natural Rubber||Rubber||Non-Marking Chevron Rubber||Synthetic Rubber Blend||Rubber|
|Insole||Multilayered Sponge Insole||Removeable EVA Insole||Breathe-O-Prene Insole||Removeable Kamik(R) Comfort Footbed||Removeable Insole|
|Unique Features||Adjustable circumference||bioDEWIX dry footbed (plant based anti-odor & antimicrobial), insulated for "-40F to 40F", fleece lined||Chemical resistant upper||Recyclable||bioDEWIX dry footbed (plant based anti-odor & antimicrobial), insulated for "subfreezing to 65F"|
|Sizing info||Runs large||True to size||Runs small||True to size||True to size|
Best Overall Rain Boots for Women
Hunter Original Back Adjustable - Women's
If a rain boot can have a legacy, the Hunter Original holds that seat. Hunter makes a few versions of this boot, but we particularly like this one due to its back adjustments, which change the tightness or looseness of the shaft. It ranks high in weather protection thanks to its adjustable mouth and tall flood height. This model also scores high in comfort, traction, and style. It truly has it all, especially if you're looking for something functional, sleek, and cute.
Th Hunter isn't very warm, but for many folks, warmth may not be a priority for humid spring, summer, and fall rainstorms. Plus, a nice pair of cozy socks can go a long way. The only true drawback of this boot is the price tag. Though, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for; so if you can shell out the cash, there's no question in our minds that this pair is of remarkable craftsmanship.
Read the review: Hunter Original Back Adjustable
Best Bang for the Buck
With all the qualities of a top contender, scoring well in comfort, traction, and style, the Kamik Heidi is a dream come true, especially because of the modest price tag. Coming in far cheaper than the competitive Hunter Original, the Kamik is the price of a typical low-top. Outfitted with high-quality tread and recyclable rubber, it is both flexible and fashionable. It scores almost as high as the top-rated models, with strong suits in comfort, traction, and style.
Disadvantages of the Heidi are the relative lack of insulation and foot support when compared to others. Still, it's a worthwhile purchase if you're looking for a dependable mild-weather boot with obvious function and flare. It is a deal that is hard to beat.
Read the review: Kamik Heidi
Best Winter Crossover
Muck Boot Arctic Sport II Mid
The Muck Arctic Sport II Mid is quite an adventurous boot and fully adequate for winter conditions. The 5mm neoprene is also fleece-lined, altogether creating insulation that is rated for temperatures well into the negatives! While we didn't experience such extreme conditions, we felt no difference between standing in the snow, the icy river, or on dry land. Our feet were toasty no matter what. Traction is also a strong quality of this model, offering some of the best across a variety of technical terrain.
With a flood height of 11 inches, the shaft provides fairly average protection but not as extensive as taller models (though this model does come in a Tall). And since it is so specialized, it is basically a winter boot, which doesn't help you much if you're looking for a more traditional, casual slogger. Thus, the versatility in this regard is rather low for the Arctic Sport II. That said, if you live somewhere with a long cold and wet season, this could be a dream come true.
Read the review: Muck Arctic Sport II Mid
Best for Working Outside
Xtratuf Legacy 15" - Women's
The XTRATUF Legacy model grew on us as time went on. The thick soles offer great foot support and long-lasting comfort, outperforming many of the other models in this metric. While working in outdoor environments, whether it be on a farm, on a boat, or in a garden, comfort is invaluable. Plus, as the name implies, these boots are certainly more than tough enough to withstand the onslaught of rugged duties.
The brown neoprene isn't unappealing, but these aren't the most stylish of the bunch either. This particular model offers some fun ocean-inspired prints on the lining in honor of the famous Alaskan Salmon Sisters, who have used these boots heavily on their commercial fishing boats. The main drawbacks are their relative performance on snow and ice, a slightly big fit, and overall weight. But depending on where you're living and working, many of these facets won't outweigh their hardworking and technical appeal.
Read the review: XTRATUF Legacy 15"
Best for Style and Warmth
Bogs Amanda Plush
With high style and added warmth, the Bogs Amanda Plush brings a fresh hybrid to the table. Laces and a tongue add to the allure without compromising the waterproofing of the shaft. Standing 10.5 inches tall, easy-carry handles are classic for the brand and useful, though they do diminish the flood height. Overall, this feminine boot is clearly the best option if you desire style and a little extra warmth.
Comfort, traction, and overall weather protection are rather average as compared to the rest of our lineup. The weight of the Amanda is on the heavy side as well, despite it being of the mid-height class. Yet, we feel that this model is worthy of a recommendation for how versatile the look is and the warmth they provide for colder environments, such as having to briefly wade through snow to get the mail.
Read the review: Bogs Amanda Plush
Best for Ankle-Height
The Bogs Sweetpea is based on the classic Chelsea design with its short stature and nylon gussets. Without a distinct heel, the traction is ideal for flat surfaces. The stand-out perk of having this boot is the ability to pair it with virtually any wardrobe. It is also easy enough to pull on without having to fuss about stuffing your pants into a super tall boot.
The main critique of the Sweetpea is its low overall weather protection due to its short shaft. The foot box is also much narrower than the rest of the boots we've tested so far. Still, these gripes aren't enough to keep us from wearing them all day, rain or shine. They've performed much better than other short boots in the group, and we love them for their casual, on-the-go appeal.
Read the review: Bogs SweetPea
Why You Should Trust Us
This review of women's rain boots is led by Sara Aranda. Sara holds a writing degree and has tested and written about gear, such as trail running shoes, hiking shorts, and umbrellas in various capacities. An avid trail runner and climber herself, she is often traveling and has lived in places such as Yosemite National Park. Her more creative writing also encompasses experiences within the outdoors, adding to her overall experience as one of our testers. Currently based in and around the mountains of Colorado, Sara's use of rain boots is a seasonal requirement.
For this review, we began with market research, making a first cut of more than 60 models before further refining our selection to only include the best of the best. We purchased them and commenced testing, paying attention to critical performance standards along the way. We made objective measurements of things like weight and height and compared them to the manufacturer's advertised specs. We measured waterproofness by immersing the boots for hours and examining them for leaks. Finally, we wore them, a lot — all day and in many environments, ranging from snow to pavement to river crossings. Everything we learned is distilled into this comprehensive review, which will surely be an asset in your search for a great pair of women's rainwear.
Related: How We Tested Rain Boots for Women
Analysis and Test Results
The ideal rain boot is the one that is the most functional for the environment you spend your time in. Right out of the box, the look and size often leave the biggest impressions. But overall quality has the final word in how we select shoes. Thankfully, brands tend to be mindful of making technical and comfortable boots that are still aesthetically pleasing, which is to say, wearable in public.
With varying shaft heights from just above the ankle to just below the knee, these competitors range from simplistic to technical and rugged in their designs. All consist of a multitude of materials from vulcanized rubber to neoprene, which yield a range of flexibility and warmth. Depending on where you're going and what you're doing, we believe there is a rain boot for every scenario. Practicality and performance, however, remain the most important aspects for us.
While price does not influence performance or technical scoring, the relationship between affordability and overall quality is something we all pay attention to. The Hunter Original Back Adjustable and Muck Arctic Sport II Mid are currently the most expensive pairs in our test group. Yet, these model also contribute great value when you consider longevity as a result of quality craftsmanship. On the other end of the price spectrum, the Sloggers Rain and Garden boot is one of the cheapest included. Despite how alluring the price is, their all-day comfort is severely lacking, which currently ranks them at the bottom of our performance list. The Kamik Heidi, however, is the perfect example of where high value doesn't have to also come with a hefty price tag. How each boot performs across all the metrics we've established helps determine the practical worth of their cost, and thus, their overall value.
This metric holds the most weight for obvious reasons. Inevitably, the tallest rain boots provide the best overall protection. Scores shrink as shaft height decreases. Even with the aid of an umbrella, the taller the shaft, the more protection there is from sideways rain or puddle splashes. Throw on a pair of waterproof pants or gaiters over ankle-high boots, however, and you're all the more ready for anything. But who wants to do that all the time? In and of themselves, the boots in our review are critiqued on the ability to keep all the undesirables from soaking your lower legs. Slush, mud, snow, or icy river water — there are notable differences in how each boot protects the wearer, but, thus far, none of the models have leaked on us in unintended places (like where the sole meets the upper rubber).
Through rain and snow, river wading, and lab-like testing, the Hunter Original stands out in this metric thanks to its 16-inch height and the adjustable circumference of the boot opening. With a circumferential range of 14-19 inches, the shaft is easily adapted to personal calf sizes for the best comfort, preventing rain from entering from above. The XTRATUF Legacy also scores well in this metric with a shaft height of 15 inches. In addition, these two models do not have handles or cutouts in their shafts, resulting in flood heights that are much harder to breach.
For this metric, we consider any cutouts or zippers in the boot design, such as the Bogs Amanda Plush, which have rectangles cut as handles for easy carrying. Because of the cutouts, the flood height is lower than the overall height of the shaft, which impacts the effective water and weatherproofing. While these handles aid their score for mobility and ease of putting them on, this weather metric takes priority (it is the fundamental principle of a rain boot). In addition to handles, we always pay attention to other design features that could compromise waterproofing, like nylon gussets, tongues and laces, or seams at the edges of neoprene uppers. The Amanda Plush also has a tongue, but thankfully it is attached to the rest of the rubber outsole. The Bogs SweetPea does have a gusset, but it is partially protected by rubber in addition to the fabric itself being treated to be waterproof, maintaining a flood height as tall as the boot itself.
Keep in mind, however, this ranking only helps us visualize the extent of weather protection for each individual pair and, thus, does not necessarily imply a lack of day-to-day function and wearable quality. We're basically saying, the shorter the flood height, the greater the risk for wet feet.
Once we slip on a pair of rain boots, we expect enough support and comfort to wear them for fair amounts of time. This is our second most important metric. We consider how each model fits, feels, and whether or not it is easy to carry, pack for travel, put on, and take off. Each pair varies in construction, foot support, and pressure points, so we've created a focused assessment surrounding the good ol' tried and true: did we ever forget we were wearing them? If we found ourselves thinking about them often, we made sure to note why.
Quite a few of the boots share top scores for comfort. Having soft rubber typically means a smoother flex of the shaft with your leg as you walk, which is a must with taller models. While specifics of how each one performed vary slightly from one another (such as the synthetic fur lining of the Bogs Amanda Plush feeling cozier than the thin nylon lining of the Hunter), we've averaged all the smaller nit-picks together to determine their overall rank in comfort. The Kamik Heidi, for example, is fairly true to size and fits nicely around the foot. They are also easy to take on and off, and wearing them all day results in a satisfactory level of comfort, but just a tad less than the workaholic XTRATUF Legacy.
Stiff and inflexible rubber results in hot spots, pressure against the shin when walking, and sometimes the sensation of bagginess around the shin and calf, making boots feel unwieldy. Those with stiff construction fail to provide the highest standard of comfort, and, as a result, we often ended our test days with tired and achy feet. The Sloggers Rain and Garden boot gave our lead tester blisters on her heel after thirty minutes of walking around town but were nonetheless lightweight and okay to stand around in. Sometimes, design features can be a detriment to comfort, such as the neoprene and shaft-height combination of the Muck Originals Pull On Mid. The lip of the 9.5-inch shaft touched our shins when walking due to the rigidity of the shaft, and despite there being neoprene padding on the boot and long socks on our legs, the shorter shaft height wore on us — a few long walks and our lead tester had shin bruises. The Muck Chore Classic Mid is made with even stiffer and heavier rubber, weighing down the feet to an extent that also isn't ideal for all-day wear.
With brands often offering whole shoe sizes only, it's difficult to customize a proper fit of the footbed, and thus, true comfort. Sadly, heel slippage is to be expected, but there are ways to mitigate this somewhat with sock thickness. Another thing we consider in this metric is whether or not a boot requires wearing socks that are taller than the shaft is. Commonly, the mouth of the shaft is abrasive against bare skin. With the Bogs Amanda Plush, we found the tongue design to be irritating to the shin if our socks weren't tall enough, even though the faux-fur lining helps prevent abrasion on the calf. Ankle-height boots typically don't have this problem since the circumference is much larger than the ankle and lower-leg, such as the wide-mouthed XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boots. Again, when going uphill or up a set of stairs, it's good to pay attention to the flexibility of the shaft and how much the heels lift, which can create troublesome blisters.
Whether working or playing outside, traction is high on the list of essential qualities a rain boot should have, almost as important as the waterproofing itself. This metric often competes with comfort and style, but there's little point in a product being completely weatherproof if you're slipping around and using your hands to steady yourself wherever you go.
The top performers for traction are the Hunter Original, Kamik Heidi, and Muck Arctic Sport II. Notable runners-up are the XTRATUF Legacy, UGG Shaye, and the Sloggers Rain and Garden. All the boots mentioned above have a substantial tread design and enough flexibility in the soles for effective purchase across a variety of surfaces. For the Sloggers, traction is actually the pair's best attribute (besides style). Each pair has its nuances, however, such as the Heidi with its thinner sole. This offers ample sensitivity, a plus in our book, though this can lead to a drawback in comfort on surfaces with gravel and sharp rocks. The Muck Chore, on the other hand, provides decent traction but has a dense sole and a lack of flexible sensitivity, diminishing our ability to navigate uneven terrain as effectively.
The Joules Molly Mid is an example of traction being a bit singular. Having a more pronounced heel takes away from the surface area of possible traction. We found that this boot is best suited for the flattest and least technical surfaces. It suffers on the ice, snow, and wet rocks, but then again, such situations might call for different footwear altogether (like winter boots). If you seek a comfortable boot to get you from your house to your car to the office building, any of the boots with average traction scores are undoubtedly adequate enough. This is why this metric conflicts in priority with comfort, as it really does depend on where you'll be walking.
This metric holds a fair amount of weight when determining overall scores, but not nearly as much as the proceeding categories due to the nature of differing consumer locations and variable needs for warmth. Warmth can even be a bad thing altogether if you live in an already warm, humid locale.
Each boot is ranked according to how well it retained heat during general indoor use, across the snow, or on a casual rainy day. The warmest boots performed the best in the snow and the worst, of course, during hotter days with temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The leading examples are all three of the Muck brand boots (the Originals Pull On, Chore Classic Mid, and, especially, the Arctic Sport II), as well as the Bogs Amanda Plush. All of these boots have added insulation for temperatures below freezing, but there is some variance. In the sun and in dry conditions, these pairs are, of course, far too warm.
The majority of our fleet has a more traditional amount of insulation, which is little to none. This means that boots like the XTRATUF Legacy, Hunter, and Kamik Heidi fail to hold in heat in the snow or an icy river. On the other hand, this also means these boots function quite nicely in places with continuous mild weather (or until you're ready to switch out for your winter boots). They're more likely to prevent your feet from overheating and sweating. If you're only looking for a pair to wear fun, thick socks with for spring and fall showers, we prefer models that have versatility across a range of temperatures as opposed to boots that might dominate one end of the spectrum.
A notable mention is the XTRATUF Ankle Boot with its Xpresscool lining, which helps ventilate your feet while maintaining warmth. During our river test, we could barely feel the sensation of cold while standing for several minutes, less so than with the extra-lined Amanda Plush. We also found that such breathable lining helps mitigate sweat build-up when temperatures rise.
Style is one of the most subjective categories for ranking. We base each score on the out-of-the-box appeal, the versatility of being both fashionable and practical, and on any cultivated opinions over time. In the end, we went with our gut reactions and the input of our peers. While being as objective as possible, this metric will inevitably remain a subjective reflection on our behalf.
The Hunter Original and the Kamik Oliva have slim profiles with added buckles, finger loops, and other molded accents. The Olivia looks the most like a traditional horseback riding boot. The Hunter is sleek and tall, with several color options available. Modest, classy, popular, and somewhat neutral.
The other tall or mid-calf models are remarkably varied. The Kamik Heidi stands out with its bright color and glossy finish, whereas the XTRATUF Legacy has a technical style built for the rough-and-tough outdoors. The Sloggers Rain and Garden Boot is the most eccentric of the bunch with endless yet fun pattern designs. Patterns might mean that there are fewer chances of matching a variety of outfits, however.
The UGG Shaye has an elegant, simple look. It, along with the Kamik Heidi and Bogs Amanda Plush, were the highest scorers in this metric thanks to their modern, chic design. But the Joules Molly come in close behind due to their fun and unique hand-drawn prints.
The wide XTRATUF Ankle Boot is a bit more nostalgic of the classic Converse with its white midsole and, therefore, is more vintage and urban. The Muck models all utilize neoprene and rugged-looking cuts of rubber but still try to incorporate style notes like color, laces, or patterns, which is a nice touch to detract from their otherwise workhorse aesthetic. Lastly, the style of the Bogs Sweetpea is admirably simple yet highly versatile. The earthier tones give off a more organic impression, and they also fit well in urban environments due to their more low-profile and incognito nature.
It's a delicate balance between style and function, and occasionally boots have prioritized fashion the most. Thankfully, our current group offers a fair variety of balance between the two modes, with only a few catering more toward function (which, if you have to lean one way, function might not be a bad idea).
Fit is something we can never expect to be perfect with rain boots because they commonly lack half sizes. The fit will also vary depending on sock preferences, from those who prefer a snug foot box and a thin sock to those who prefer a roomy foot box and a thick sock. More often than not, boots will run too large or too small, which means you'll want to read up on the sizing charts most companies provide. Even then, weigh in with your own intuition, as manufacturers may suggest something you have no preference for, such as "those who are half-sizes, size up," when you are one to prefer a snug foot box and thin socks instead. With such variability, fit is not a metric we score on its own, but it does play a heavy role in comfort.
A couple of the models we tested provided an excellent fit for us, and it is no surprise that they are also top scorers in comfort, such as the Hunter, Kamik Heidi, XTRATUF Legacy, and Muck Arctic Sport. Those that happened to not fit us as well include the XTRATUF Ankle Boots, which run large and wide, so fit is amiss from the get-go despite adhering to sizing recommendations. Not nearly as bad, but still a notable fit concern, is the Bogs SweetPea with its relatively narrow footbed. Over time, however, the footbed has broken in a bit, which is a plus for those who don't have particularly narrow feet. The Muck Chore Classic, with its neoprene bootie, runs rather small in our opinion, so fit was much more snug than we would have liked; and since we've tested three different Muck models now, we can say that we prefer sizing up if we are a half-size because of how snug the neoprene can feel.
We've found the best rain boots to be on the taller side, with flexible shafts and versatility in traction, warmth, and style. But we recognize that deciding on the perfect boot is a daunting task, from weighing in personal style preferences, reading as many reviews as humanly possible, to inevitably finding out on your own. With all there is to consider, remember the fundamentals discussed in this article as to what we think makes a pair of rain boots so great: weather protection, comfort, traction, warmth, and a splash of style.
— Sara Aranda