To help you find the best women's rain boots of 2019, our team analyzed over 60 top-trending boots, then purchased 12 models to test side-by-side over several months. Our testers went out in the rain, and even snow, to test the merits of each one. We focused on critical measurements and key performance standards, such as shaft height and holistic design. Weather protection, traction, warmth, and stylistic appeal were held as top priorities. Ranked according to their cumulative performances, the gritty details on how each model stacked up against rain, mud, and all-day urban wear are laid out below.
The Best Rain Boots for Women of 2019
|Price||$120.95 at Amazon|
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|$49.94 at Amazon||$84.95 at Amazon||$114.28 at Amazon||$99.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Tall flexible shaft, comfortable, adjustable boot circumference||Mid-height shaft, fashionable, substantial traction||Elegant, sufficient weather protection, wide circumference||Great foot support, flexible rubber, sufficient traction||Stylish, easy to carry, insulated|
|Cons||High cost, no insulation||Basic foot support, minimal insulation||No insulation, run a bit large||Oily sheen out of the box, rubber changes color when wet, lack of insulation||Plush lining comes off, not as tactile|
|Bottom Line||The best of the best, this model is a high-quality, stylish boot.||A very straightforward, elegant boot that is highly affordable.||A stylish rain boot that still covers all the basics.||A techy rain boot made for the hardworking outdoorist.||For those who wish to add extra warmth and style to the wardrobe.|
|Rating Categories||Original Back Adjustable||Kamik Heidi||UGG Shaye||Xtratuf Legacy 15" - Women's||Bogs Amanda Plush|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Original Back...||Kamik Heidi||UGG Shaye||Xtratuf Legacy 15"...||Bogs Amanda Plush|
|Shaft Height (from ground to top of shaft)||16 in||12 in||13.75 in||15 in||10.5 in|
|Weight (for pair tested)||3.6 lbs||2.7 lbs||3.1 lbs||3.6 lbs||3.3 lbs|
|Mouth Circumference||14-19 in||13.75 in||15.5 in||14.75 in||13-14 in|
|Upper||Vulcanized Natural Rubber||Phthalate-free Synthetic Rubber||Rubber||Triple-dipped chemical resistant latex neoprene||Rubber|
|Outsole||Natural Rubber||Synthetic Rubber Blend||Rubber||Non-Marking Chevron Rubber||Rubber|
|Insole||Multilayered Sponge Insole||Removeable Kamik(R) Comfort Footbed||Removeable Lamb wool, sheepskin insole||Breathe-O-Prene Insole||Removeable EVA Insole|
|Sizing info||Runs large||True to Size||True to Size||Runs Small||Runs large|
|Size we tested||7||8||8||8||8|
Hunter Original Back Adjustable - Women's
If any 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 ranked high in weather protection thanks to its adjustable mouth and tall shaft, and also scored high in comfort, traction, and style. This award-winner truly has it all, especially if you're looking for something functional, sleek, and cute.
This boot isn't very warm, but for most folks, that's not a concern for Spring, Summer, and Fall rainstorms. Plus, a nice pair of cozy socks can go a long way inside the Hunter Original. The only true drawback is the price tag. 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, the Heidi is flexible and fashionable.
Disadvantages were the lack of insulation and foot support when compared to the others. It's truly a worthwhile purchase if you're looking for a dependable mild-weather boot. It is a deal that is hard to beat.
Read the review: Kamik Heidi
Top Pick for Working Outside
Xtratuf Legacy 15" - Women's
The Xtratuf Legacy model grew on us as time went on. They have the thickest soles, which offer the greatest foot support and long-lasting comfort for the day, outperforming many of the other models in this sense. 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 tough enough to withstand rugged work.
The brown neoprene isn't unappealing, but they aren't the most stylish in the bunch, either. This particular model offers a fish or octopus print 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"
Top Pick for Ankle-Height
The Bogs SweetPea is based on the Chelsea look 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 with fitting your pants.
The main drawback is its low overall weather protection, due to its short shaft. The footbox 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. They scored much higher than the other short boots in the group, and we love them for casual, rainy days around town.
Read the review: Bogs SweetPea
Top Pick 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 appeal without compromising the waterproofing of the shaft. Standing 10.5 inches tall, easy-carry handles are classic for the brand.
Comfort, traction, and overall weather protection are rather average as compared to the group we tested, however. 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 Top Pick for how versatile the look is and the warmth they provide for colder environments.
Read the review: Bogs Amanda Plush
Why You Should Trust Us
This review of women's rain boots is led by OutdoorGearLab contributor Sara Aranda. Sara holds a writing degree and has tested and written about gear, such as harnesses, trail running shoes, and backpacks in various capacities. An avid climber and trail runner, she has lived and worked in Yosemite National Park for five seasons, has attended outdoor industry events such as Outdoor Retailer, and has written about outdoor experiences for Alpinist Magazine and The Climbing Zine, among others. Currently living 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 of rain boots before further refining this selection to only include the most promising offerings. Once we knew which boots to test, we ordered 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 submerging 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 rain boots.
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, aesthetic appeal and sizing often leave the biggest impressions. Style and overall quality certainly play a huge influence on how we select shoes, and thankfully, brands tend to be mindful of making technical and comfortable boots that are still aesthetically pleasing.
With varying shaft heights from the ankle to just below the knee, these competitors ranged from the simplistic to the more technical designs. All consist of a multitude of materials from vulcanized rubber to neoprene which yielded a range of flexibility and warmth. Practicality and performance, however, remained important deal-breakers.
While price does not influence performance or technical scores, the relationship between affordability and overall quality is something we all pay attention to. Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Hunter Original Back Adjustable, is currently the most expensive pair of our test group. They also provide great value when you consider their longevity as a result of quality craft. Our Best Buy winner, the Kamik Heidi, is the perfect example of where true value doesn't have to also come with a steep price tag. How each boot performs across all the metrics we've established helps determine the overall practical worth of their cost.
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 are critiqued on the ability to keep out all the undesirables, whether it be slush, mud, snow, or icy river water. While differences exist in how each boot protects the wearer, no model leaked on us.
Through rain and snow, river adventures, and in lab-like testing, the Hunter Original is a winner in this metric thanks to its 16-inch height and the adjustable circumference of the boot opening. With a range of 14-19 inches, the shaft is easily adapted to personal calf sizes with ease and comfort, preventing rain from entering from the top. The Xtratuf Legacy also scored well in this metric with a shaft height of 15 inches.
In this metric, we also had to consider any cut-outs or zippers in the boot to help carry or pull on the boots, such as the finger holes in the Crocs Jaunt Shorty. The Bogs Amanda Plush boots have rectangles cut for handles. Because of the cut-outs, the height of effective waterproofing decreases — which, of course, influences the overall weather protection score. While these handles aid their score for mobility and ease of putting them on, this weather metric still weighs more heavily; it is the fundamental principle of a rain boot. In the case of the ankle-height Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot, the non-waterproof zipper diminishes the weatherproofing to the mere height of the rubber footbed. Because of this, the Sperry ranked low. Keep in mind, this ranking only helps us visualize the extent of weather protection for each pair and, thus, does not imply a lack of function or quality.
The second most important metric is the ability to maintain comfort throughout the day. We consider how each model fits, feels, and whether or not they are easy to carry, pack, put on, and take off. Every pair varies in construction, foot support, and pressure points, which requires a combination of focused assessment and 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 legs as you walk. The top-ranking contenders fit and felt the best overall. While specifics of how they performed vary slightly from one another, such as the synthetic lining of the Joules Wellibob feeling cozier than the nylon lining of the Hunter, averaging all these smaller scores together is what ultimately allows us to conclude scores. The Kamik Heidi is another high scorer for comfort. They fit well, are easy to take on and off, and wearing them all day results in a satisfactory level of comfort, but just a tad less than, say, the Xtratuf Legacy.
In some models, stiff and inflexible rubber results in hot spots, pressure against the shin when walking, and the sensation of bagginess or of being unwieldy. These competitors fail to provide the highest standard of comfort, and as a result, we often ended our test days with tired and achy legs and feet. Even though the Crocs Jaunt Shorty are short, the resin they are molded from is firm enough to dig into the shins if going uphill. The Sloggers Rain and Garden boot gave the lead tester blisters on her heel after thirty minutes of walking, but were lightweight and fine to stand around in. With brands only offering whole shoe sizes, it's difficult to customize a proper fit of the footbed, and thus, true comfort.
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 found to be 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.
Style is one of the most subjective categories for ranking. We based each score on the out-of-the-box appeal, the versatility of being both fashionable and practical, and on any cultivated opinions over time. We also sent pictures to friends and asked them to provide feedback. In the end, we compared these scores to our own, and voila. While being as objective as possible, this metric will inevitably remain a subjective reflection.
The Hunter Original and the Kamik Olivia have slim profiles with added buckles, finger loops, and other molded accents. The Olivia looks the most like a black horseback riding boot. The Hunter is sleek and tall, with several color options available.
The other tall or mid-calf models are remarkably varied. The Kamik Heidi stands out with its deep red 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 the fun pattern designs, but this also meant it had fewer chances of matching a variety of outfits.
The UGG Shaye has an elegant, simple look. The Shaye, along with the Kamik Heidi and Bogs Amanda Plush, were the highest scorers in this metric thanks to their modern, chic design.
The Crocs Jaunt Shorty is in a class of its own and reminds us of boots from children's bedtime stories. The also-wide Xtratuf Ankle, however, is a bit more nostalgic of the classic Converse with its white midsole and therefore, more vintage or urban. The Joules Wellibob has a taller heel and synthetic fur lining, which we felt gave off a more feminine vibe. Lastly, the style of the Bogs Sweet Pea is admirably simple, yet highly versatile. The earthier tones give off a more organic impression and 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 certain boots seem to prioritize fashion the most. We found the Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot to be such a case. The Duck Boot is unfortunately made with a detached tongue and a non-waterproofed side-zipper. Due to this design, it invariably had the shortest effective shaft height and the least amount of practical weather protection of the bunch. As one of the most "trendy," these boots were lined with micro-fleece, had rawhide uppers and lacing. Interestingly enough, the rawhide laces did not tie into a bow and seemed to only be for the aesthetic appeal. Cute in their own way, we wish their waterproofing was a little more thorough. Similarly, the Bogs Amanda Plush has laces that also seem to be rather functionless, except the tongue is attached in their case.
Whether working or playing outside, traction is high on the list of important qualities a rain boot should have, almost as important as the waterproofing itself.
The top performers for traction are the Hunter Original Back Adjustable, Kamik Heidi, and Sloggers Rain and Garden Boot. Notable runners-up are the UGG Saye, Xtratuf Legacy, and the Kamik Olivia models. All the boots mentioned above have substantial tread design and enough flexibility for effective purchase. The Heidi has a thinner sole, offering ample sensitivity, though this led to a drawback in comfort on surfaces with gravel and sharp rock.
This metric often contends with comfort and style, but there's little point in a product being completely weatherproof and cozy if you're slipping around and using your hands to steady yourself. Take, for example, the Joules Wellibob. Having a more pronounced heel takes away from the surface area of possible traction. We found that it is suited best for the flattest and simplest surfaces. It suffers on the ice, snow, and wet rocks, but then again, those situations might call for different footwear altogether (like Women's 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 decent traction scores, even the Joules, would be an adequate pair.
This metric holds the least amount of weight when determining overall scores due to the nature of differing consumer locations and variable needs for warmth.
Each boot is ranked according to how well they retain heat during general indoor use, across the snow, or on a casual rainy day. The warmest boots perform the best in the snow and perform the worst, of course, during hotter days with temperatures ranging from (approximately) 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The leading examples are the Bogs Amanda Plush and Sperry Saltwater, the Bogs having insulation for temperatures below freezing. In the sun and dry conditions, these pairs are, of course, too warm.
The majority of our fleet have 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 and 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). 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 the insulated Bogs Amanda Plush, surprisingly. We also found that such breathable lining also helps mitigate sweat build-up when temepratures rise.
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. The fit is not a metric we score on its own as this plays heavily into the comfort metric.
A couple of the models we tested provide an excellent fit for us, and it is no surprise that they are also top scorers in comfort, such as the Hunter and Xtratuf Legacy. Those that happen not to fit us as well include the Crocs Jaunt Shorty which has a wide footbed and stiffer rubber, creating opportunities for pressure points or inflexibility when on variable terrain. Not nearly as bad, but still a notable fit concern, is the Bogs SweetPea with its narrow footbed. Furthermore, both the Crocs and Xtratuf 6" Ankle run large and wide, so fit is amiss from the get-go despite adhering to sizing recommendations for those without wider feet.
Deciding on the perfect boot is a daunting task, from weighing in personal style preferences and reading as many online 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 makes a pair of rain boots so great: weather protection, comfort, style, traction, and warmth.
— Sara Aranda