A classic item in mudrooms, garages, and patios, women's rain boots come in overwhelming numbers and styles. Our team analyzed over 60 boots, then purchased 11 of the top models to compare side-by-side over several months. Our testers went out in the rain, and even snow, on soggy days to test the merits of each model. We focused on critical measurements and performance areas, such as differing shaft height and design, with weather protection, traction, warmth, and good looks as top priorities. Ranked according to their cumulative performances, read on for the gritty details on how each model stacked up against rain, mud, and all-day urban wear.
The Best Rain Boots for Women
|Price||$144.95 at Amazon|
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|$49.95 at Amazon||$84.95 at MooseJaw|
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|$125.00 at Amazon||$33.71 at Amazon|
|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||Inexpensive, stylish, great weather protection|
|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||Stiffness, no insulation|
|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.||A simple, yet stylish boot, both practical and affordable.|
|Rating Categories||Original Back Adjustable||Kamik Heidi||UGG Shaye||Legacy 15"||Kamik Olivia|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Original Back Adjustable||Kamik Heidi||UGG Shaye||Legacy 15"||Kamik Olivia|
|Shaft Height (from ground to top of shaft)||16 in||12 in||13.75 in||15 in||14 in|
|Weight (for pair tested)||3.58 lbs||2.71 lbs||3.08 lbs||3.61 lbs||3.6 lbs|
Hunter Original Back Adjustable - Women's
If any women's rain boot can have a legacy, the Hunter Original is it. Hunter makes a few versions of this boot, and we like this one with the back adjustments best to effectively change the tightness or looseness of the shaft. It ranked high in weather protection due 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 quality.
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 since the price tag reads $50. 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 with a glossy appeal.
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. For the second year in a row, the Heidi is our Best Buy winner. It is a deal that is truly 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 all 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 states, these boots are certainly tough enough to withstand a beating.
The brown neoprene isn't unappealing, but they weren'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 were only above-average performances on snow and ice, a slightly big fit, high weight, and a relative lack of warmth. 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 tested. These gripes weren't enough to keep us from wearing them all day. They still scored higher than the other short boots in the group, and we love them for rainy days around town.
Read the review: Bogs SweetPea
Analysis and Test Results
The ideal rain boot is the one that is the most functional for the environment where you spend your time. 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 aesthetically pleasing.
With varying shaft heights from the ankle to just below the knee, these competitors ranged from simplistic to more technical designs. All consist of a multitude of materials from vulcanized rubber to neoprene, yielding a range of flexibility and warmth. Practicality and performance, however, remained important deal-breakers. Read the How We Test section for more details on our testing process.
While price does not influence performance or technical scores, affordability is something we all pay attention to. Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Hunter Original Back Adjustable ($160), is the most expensive pair of our test group; unfortunately, these boots are imported from the UK, so if you're buying them directly from the manufacturer, there's a potential for high shipping costs as well. If something at the other end of the price range is more your speed, the Kamik Heidi scored second-highest, yet retails for over $100 less than the Hunter.
This metric held the most weight for obvious reasons. Inevitably, the tallest rain boots provided the best overall protection. Scores shrank as shaft height decreased. 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 ready for anything. But who wants to do that all the time? In and of themselves, the boots were critiqued on the ability to keep out all the undesirables, whether it be slush, mud, snow, or icy river water. While there exist differences in how much each boot protects the wearer, no model leaked on us.
Through rain and snow, river adventures, and in lab testing, the Hunter Original is a winner in this metric thanks partly to the circumference of the boot opening. With an adjustable 14-19 inches, this award winner easily adapted to our calf sizes with ease and comfort, preventing water from entering from the top. It's also the tallest boot we tested, as measured from the floor. The Xtratuff Legacy also scored well in this metric.
We had to consider any cut-outs in the boot shaft for hands or fingers to aid in the carrying or donning of the boots, such as the finger holes in the Crocs Jaunt Shorty. In addition, the Bogs North Hampton boots has two rectangles cut for handles. The North Hampton has an excellent, snug fit about the calves, but, we echoed concern found across other internet reviews due to the handles diminishing the effectiveness of the boot height from 14.5" to 11" — which dropped their overall weather protection score. While these handles aided their score for mobility and ease of putting on, this weather metric still weighs more heavily as it encompasses the fundamental principle of a rain boot.
The second most important metric is the ability to maintain comfort throughout the day. We consider how each model fits and feels, and whether or not they are easy to carry, pack, put on, and take off. Every pair varied in construction, foot support, and pressure points, which required a combination of focused assessment and the good ol' tried and true: did we ever forget we were wearing them? And if we found ourselves thinking about them often, why?
Quite a few boots shared top scores for comfort, as shown in the chart above. Yielding the ability to smoothly flex with your legs as you walk due to softer rubber, these contenders also fit and felt the best overall. While specifics of how they performed varied slightly from one another, such as the neoprene of the Bogs North Hampton feeling cozier than the nylon lining of the Hunter, averaging all these smaller scores together is what ultimately allowed 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 resulted in a satisfactory level of comfort.
In some models, stiff and inflexible rubber resulted in hot spots, and, in two cases, felt baggy and unwieldy despite wearing thick socks. These contenders failed to provide the highest standard of comfort, and as a result, we had tired and achy feet at the end of the day. Even though the Crocs Jaunt Shorty are short, the resin they are molded from was firm enough to dig into the shins if we were 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.
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 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 of a handful of outdoor enthusiasts, where the most technical and straightforward looking boot can surprisingly yield a rather stylish appeal, like the Xtratuf Legacy.
The Hunter Original and the Kamik Olivia have relatively 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 were remarkably varied. The Kamik Heidi stood out with its deep red and glossy finish, whereas the Bogs and the Xtratuf shared a technical and sporty style built for the rough-and-tough outdoors. The Sloggers Rain and Garden Boot was the most eccentric of the bunch with the fun polka-dot design, but this also meant it had fewer chances of matching a variety of outfits.
The Bogs North Hampton has been a long-time functional favorite with the matte-black neoprene, glossy toes, and cut-out handles. In contrast, the UGG Shaye has a fashionable yet simple look. The Shaye, along with the Kamik Heidi, were the two highest scorers in this metric thanks to their modern, chic look.
The shortest rain boots also varied considerably in style. The most fashionable are the Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot with its unique, laced upper. Crocs are in a class of their own. The Crocs Jaunt Shorty remind us of boots from children's bedtime stories. They are very bold and wide, which, in their short nature, felt and looked like clown shoes to some. Nonetheless, they are straightforward and classic for those who genuinely enjoy the brand. Lastly, the style of the Bogs Sweet Pea is admirably simple, yet highly versatile. The darker tones gave off a more organic impression and fit well in urban environments due to their 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. This reminded us of the popular urban style of undone laces. Cute in their own way, we wished their waterproofing was a little more thought-out.
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.
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 Bogs North Hampton. It appears to be a sporty boot but has the traction that seems to relish 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, the Bogs, or any of the boots with decent traction scores, like the Crocs Jaunt Shorty, would be an adequate buy.
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 gription. The Kamik 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 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 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 performed the worse, of course, during the warmest days with temperatures ranging from (approximately) 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The leading example was the Bogs North Hampton with insulation rated down to 5F (we found that a more realistic rating might be down to 20F).
The majority of our fleet has a more traditional amount of insulation, which is little to none. This means that boots like the Xtratuf, Hunter, and Kamik failed to hold heat in the snow and the icy river test. On the other hand, this also meant these boots would function quite nicely in places with continuous mild and warm 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.
The 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 sizing charts most companies provide. Even then, weigh in 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 separately, so read each individual review for specifics on how every boot fit and felt, and how the fit played a role in determining the overall comfort scores.
A couple of the models we tested provided an excellent fit for us, and it was no surprise that they are also top scorers in comfort, such as the Hunter and Bogs North Hampton. Boots that did not fit us as well were the Crocs Jaunt Shorty which has stiffer rubber, creating opportunities for pressure points or inflexibility when on variable terrain. Not nearly as bad, but still a notable fit concern, was the Bogs SweetPea with its narrow footbed. Furthermore, the Crocs ran very large and wide, so fit was amiss from the get-go despite adhering to sizing recommendations.
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 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. Of course, consider the price tag, but also make sure to check out our Buying Advice for an appropriate and affordable pair.
— Sara Aranda