Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Rain Boots of 2024

We tested men's rain boots from Bogs, Muck Boots, Kamik, and more in all kinds of wet weather and temperature ranges to help you find the perfect pair
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Best Rain Boots Review (Some of our favorite boots in the Spring 2024 test!)
Some of our favorite boots in the Spring 2024 test!
Credit: Richard Forbes
By Richard Forbes ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024

The Best Rain Boots for 2024


Since 2014, we've bought and tested 39 pairs of rain boots. We purchased the best 18 we could find for this review and put them through their paces. From wading through freezing creeks to slipping and sliding in muck and rainy weather, our experts have found the best boots for whatever sloppy conditions lie ahead. We carefully measured flood heights and weights and tested insulation efficacy in an ice-filled tub to see how capable these boots were. We then scored each one based on its performance to help you find the right pair of boots for your needs and budget.

While there's some overlap between men's and women's boots, we've got the best women's rain boot review by female reviewers here. If you're spending a ton of time out in the wet, take a peek at our reviews of the best rain pants, the top rain jackets, and best umbrellas. And, because comfy socks are nearly as important as your rain boots, check out our favorite hiking socks!

Editor's Note: We updated our rain boot review on June 12, 2024, to share more recommendations in our award section.

Related: Best Rain Boots for Women

Top 18 Rain Boots - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 18
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
Price $160 List
$135.00 at Amazon
$220 List
$213.72 at Amazon
$60 List
$44.48 at Amazon
$180 List
$146.75 at Amazon
$154.77 at Amazon
Overall Score
81
66
68
78
68
Star Rating
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Pros Great traction, adjustable fit, everything we want in a bootGreat looks, extremely warm and comfortable, versatileHighly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great tractionExtremely weatherproof, decently lightweight, great tractionHeavy duty workboot, great traction, good warmth
Cons A bit pricy, cushioning in midsole is slightly lackingExpensive, included wool insole can be too warm for all conditionsLooser fit, lacks insulationPretty pricey, thin-feeling underfootThe handle hole means they're a lot less weatherproof than they could be, fit a bit loose
Bottom Line These boots are just about perfect for most applications and perform excellentlyWhile admittedly pricey, these good-looking boots can do it allThis workhorse boasts a very fair price for such a rugged bootThese boots performed highly in every test we threw at them, and we're confident they'll keep you dry and happyThese are solid workboots if you want the handle-hole for ease of use!
Rating Categories Bogs Workman Blundstone Thermal... Baffin Enduro The Original Muck B... Bogs Bozeman Tall
Weather Protection (25%)
7.0
3.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Warmth (15%)
9.0
8.0
3.0
9.0
9.0
Wearability (15%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Bogs Workman Blundstone Thermal... Baffin Enduro The Original Muck B... Bogs Bozeman Tall
Weight per Pair (size 13) 5.11 lbs 2.93 lbs 5.49 lbs 4.72 lbs 4.65 lbs
Flood Height (inches from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft) 14.75" 6.70" 16.30" 18" 11"
Mouth Circumference (inches) 16" 9.75" 17.50" 18.75" 17"
Lining/Insulation 7.5mm Neo-Tech waterproof insulation Thinsulate Synthetic 5mm neoprene 7mm Neo-Tech waterproof insulation
Upper Material Neotech/Rubber Leather + Elastic Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Material BioGrip slip resistant outsole TPU Outsole Rubber Rubber BioGrip chemical and slip resistant outsole
Insole Modular Algae-based EVA footbed Removable sheepskin insulated insole Gel-Flex shock-absorbing heels and midsoles EVA algae-based EVA footbed
Unique Features Seamless Construction to reduce weight + Heel Lock Cushioned Midsole Aggressive outsole Breathable air mesh lining Seamless Construction
Width Options Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular
Sizing info Order next size up Order next size up Order your true size Order next size up Order next size up


Best Overall Men's Rain Boot


Bogs Workman


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 7.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Warmth 9.0
  • Wearability 9.0
Flood Height: 14.75" | Weight per Pair: 5.11 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely weatherproof
Perfect fit
Great traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey

Of all the boots tested, the Bogs Workman boots were among our favorites. They're nearly perfect, as shown by our metrics (they ranked near the top tier for comfort, traction, and warmth). We appreciate all the little details wrapped up in this pair: the heel collars, the modular insoles, and the handy heel studs that allowed us to kick them off after a long day. With heavy-duty lugs and a supportive insole, these boots are comfortable enough to wear even for long periods. While the first model we tested (over a year ago) had some waterproofing issues, this latest version appears to have resolved those issues.

One of our favorite features on the Workman boots may be a deal breaker for some. It has a collar sewn into the boot that wraps around the Achilles tendon and holds it in place. While we enjoy the security the heel-lock setup gives us, some may find it uncomfortable. It should also be noted that these boots are not comfortable in warm weather (above 50°F), as their heat-retaining capabilities make them quite warm. All in all, these would be it if we could only have one pair of rain boots. We also like The Original Muck Boot Company Wetland, which scored higher for weather protection, although we found them a hair less comfortable.

Read more: Bogs Workman review

The Bogs Workman boots have stayed our top choice for years, and are perfect for almost anything you throw at them, including wading around in the river on a spring afternoon!
Credit: Richard Forbes

Best Bang for Your Buck


Baffin Enduro


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • Comfort 6.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Warmth 3.0
  • Wearability 8.0
Flood Height: 16.25" | Weight per Pair: 5.49 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
High flood height
Solid construction for rough terrain
Deep lugs for traction on all surfaces
REASONS TO AVOID
Flimsy insole
Not warm

Close your eyes and imagine yourself wearing a rain boot. You're probably picturing something similar to the Baffin Enduro. With a height of 16.25 inches, the Enduro's rubber shaft and solidly lugged outsole will keep you warm and dry in even the wettest and worst conditions. Because of their large circumference, you can easily slip into and out of these boots, and their price-to-performance ratio is unbeatable.

The Enduro is uninsulated, so you'll want to wear thick socks in cold weather. We don't love the included insoles, so if you're going to be wearing these often, we recommend finding a more structured insole. We could happily spend entire days wearing these boots once we mastered our sock and insole game. They even kept us comfortable throughout a 14-hour workday. We recommend this boot if you want the best price and don't need the most deluxe insulated option. If you want an affordable insulated boot, take a look at the Kamik Icebreaker.

Read more: Baffin Enduro review

The Baffin Enduro boots are perfect for playing in the mud while on a walk!
Credit: Richard Forbes

Best for the Worst Weather


The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 9.0
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Traction 9.0
  • Warmth 10.0
  • Wearability 6.0
Flood Height: 17.6" | Weight per Pair: 5.74 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Most insulated boots we tested
Highly protective (high shaft height)
Impressive traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Snug and a bit difficult to pull on and off
Too warm for most situations

The The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport takes inclement weather seriously. They are a workhorse of a boot, neoprene-wrapped and warm enough for extreme conditions, and they had some of the best traction of any boot we've tested. The high shaft and tighter calf on these boots make us feel confident when sloshing through cold water; nothing is getting in these babies!

We love the Arctic Sport boots, but they're quite uncomfortable when you're just strolling around town on a warm fall day. Our feet began to sweat immediately when we wore them in temperatures above 40°F. While the tighter shaft keeps the warm air in, you'll have to reach down to put them on and take them off. Most people do not need a boot as burly as these, and we would not recommend them to everyone. However, if you spend lots of time in truly harsh conditions (heavy rain, driving snow, and freezing temperatures), this boot is top dog. For a more comfortable boot that's easy to pull on and off, take a look at the Bogs Classic Ultra High.

Read more: The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport review

If you want the utmost in water and weather protection, go with the burly Muck Boot Arctic Sport boots!
Credit: Richard Forbes

Most Stylish


Blundstone Thermal Chelsea


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 3.0
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Traction 5.0
  • Warmth 8.0
  • Wearability 9.0
Flood Height: 6.7" | Weight per Pair: 2.93 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Solid performance
Great looking boot
Great for cool temperatures
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive

If you want your rain boots to do double duty — to keep your feet dry in the wet and look good — the Blundstone Thermal Chelsea is a great choice. Its cozy sheep's wool insoles and Thinsulate lining will keep your feet warm despite chilly weather, and they perfectly balance between workboot (with their heavy-duty outsole and seam-sealed leather) and stylish boot (with their premium hand-crafted leather.)

The only drawback to these boots is that they're not as tall as some of the other options in our test. If you need a boot with a shaft higher than 10 inches, this boot is not going to cut it. Otherwise, if you're looking for a stylish boot with few drawbacks, the Blundstone Thermal is the way to go. If you're looking for a casual, around-town boot but can't quite swing the price of the Blundstone, you might like the Kamik Lars Lo.

Read more: Blundstone Thermal Chelsea review

rain boots - the thermal blundstones in our test are some of the most comfortable...
The thermal Blundstones in our test are some of the most comfortable waterproof low boots out there.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Best Deck Boot


Huk Rogue Wave


54
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 3.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Traction 6.0
  • Warmth 5.0
  • Wearability 6.0
Flood Height: 6.5" | Weight per Pair: 3 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Well-cushioned
Comfortable around town
Good traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Fiddly to get on
Outsole can hold dirt/rocks

While they are not the best-known deck boots, our testers found that the Huk Rogue Wave boots outperformed some of the most popular deck boots, especially in their comfort tests. The Huk boots were reliably comfortable for hours of heavy use, with their cushioned and supportive midsole, and featured a better tread pattern for multi-surface traction.

These boots had a few minor issues: we found these boots (like all the low boots in our test) were a little fiddly to get on, and the outsole tends to hold onto dirt and small rocks, making the boots hard to clean. These are not a go-to pick for severe weather but are perfect for lighter rain, runs to the mailbox in a rainstorm, and less intense conditions. Overall, these boots were a top choice when we headed out on chores and errands around town. Another deck boot option is the XTRATUF 6" Ankle Deck Boot or the Bogs Kicker Chelsea Neo. If you're looking for a rain boot with a little more kick, you might check out the Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport.

Read more: Huk Rogue Wave Review

The Huk Rogue Wave boots feature great grip for balancing on slick surfaces.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Best Crossover Rain Boot


LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate


54
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection 4.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Traction 4.0
  • Warmth 8.0
  • Wearability 4.0
Flood Height: 8" | Weight per Pair: 3.91 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Classic aesthetic
Great durability
Warm and cozy
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Lacking traction

LL Bean boots have been around for over 100 years (since 1911), and generations of Northeasterners have grown up wearing them, as they're warm, protective, and durable. The company has made hundreds of variations of the original model, and we chose to put the LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate boots to the test and were impressed with both how stylish and capable they are. As a result, these are a great crossover shoe, as they're a perfect blend between the stylish lower boots and the more rugged work boots. They are warm and comfortable, and most importantly, in a rain boot, they keep water out.

Our biggest qualm with these boots is that we wish they had a slightly more incised outsole — the cable pattern does a decent job but isn't as grippy as some of the more serious workboots. Also worthy of note, the insole of these boots is not the most impressive or comfortable. However, if you need a boot that looks and performs great, we highly recommend this one from LL Bean. If you need something with a little more grip, you may like the Bogs Workman.

Read more: LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate review

rain boots - these boots are worthy of their classic reputation.
These boots are worthy of their classic reputation.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
81
Bogs Workman
Best Overall Men's Rain Boot
$160
Editors' Choice Award
78
The Original Muck Boot Company Wetland
$180
75
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
Best for the Worst Weather
$180
Top Pick Award
68
Baffin Enduro
Best Bang for Your Buck
$60
Best Buy Award
68
Bogs Bozeman Tall
$160
66
Blundstone Thermal Chelsea
Most Stylish
$220
Top Pick Award
66
Bogs Classic Ultra High
$150
64
Kamik Icebreaker
$80
62
Kamik Forester
$70
55
XTRATUF Legacy Series 15"
$150
54
Huk Rogue Wave
Best Deck Boot
$110
Top Pick Award
54
LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate
Best Crossover Rain Boot
$259
Top Pick Award
50
Bogs Sauvie
$100
47
Kamik Lars Lo
$80
45
Sperry Cold Bay Chukka
$90
45
Hunter Original Tall
$150
44
Bogs Kicker Chelsea Neo
$100
43
XTRATUF 6" Ankle Deck Boot
$105

rain boots - sometimes field testing involves getting your feet wet.
Sometimes field testing involves getting your feet wet.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Why Trust GearLab


Every time we update this review, we start with market research: hours of reading, assessing the competition, and surveying all the new boots released each season. Once we've identified the most promising new models, we buy them at full price and thrash them. We practice the vaunted scientific method and create hypotheses for each boot before we test them. With our hypotheses in mind, we test the boots over several months. At this point, many years in, we've spent over 800 hours testing, wearing, and measuring various rain boots. Some tests, such as warmth, are best assessed in our high-tech lab, where we submerge the boots in a bathtub filled with ice cubes and monitor their internal temperature with bare feet. Other tests, such as comfort, are assessed by wearing the boots in various conditions over long days. We do our best to slog around in every type of weather we can find in the Washington Cascades and Western Montana Rockies (which means we get a lot of rain and damp cold). At the end of our test period, we take our findings for each boot and write them up to share what we've found.

Our comprehensive tests are divided among five rating metrics:
  • Weather Protection (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Comfort (25% weighting)
  • Traction (20% weighting)
  • Warmth (15% weighting)
  • Wearability (15% weighting)

Our main rainboot tester is Richard Forbes. Richard spends his time adventuring across the great Pacific North-wet and the cold northern Rockies, both of which are ideal for his rain-boot-oriented lifestyle. Every day is a new opportunity to get outdoors, and he often finds himself wearing rain boots in ridiculous testing situations (from “approach rain boots” to “rock climbing rain boots” to "whitewater rain boots"). He has not yet tried climbing anything harder than 5.7 in a pair of rain boots, but while guiding a few summers ago, he saw a tween exhaustedly slogging toward Camp Muir in a pair of Bogs at 9,500 feet on the side of Mount Rainier, and he was both inspired and worried (for the tween, the boots were doing well).

Richard has worked as an environmental journalist, farmer, ecological researcher, collaborative facilitator, “footwear retail specialist”, conservationist, outdoor guide, and storyteller worldwide and reluctantly admits he might be a gearhead, which means he spends about the same time researching gear as actually using it. He's embarrassed by this, but at least he doesn't keep what he finds to himself: how to choose your next boots.

The crossover Hunter Boots - casual or work boot?
The crossover Hunter Boots - casual or work boot?
Ice bath test time!
Ice bath test time!
We loved the way the liner felt as we put these on - like a wool...
We loved the way the liner felt as we put these on - like a wool sweater for our feet.
Testing to see which boots are tough enough to hold out.

Analysis and Test Results


Soggy feet are almost guaranteed to ruin your day. Throughout our tests, we consider each boot's weather protection, all-day comfort, grip, traction on wet ground, warmth, and overall wearability, writing detailed notes along the way. For every performance metric, we rank each boot from 1 to 10 (with one being the worst). Then, we weight each score to show the value of each category — for example, most folks believe that weather protection matters more than warmth, so we give weather protection a heavier weighting. Let's be clear; we're not trying to give absolute ratings because we haven't personally worn all boot models in existence. Instead, each value is relative to every other boot in the review.


Value


While we don't incorporate pricing into our scoring system (as prices constantly change), we know cost is important. However, we'll always describe the general price range of each boot and write about whether we think each one is worth its price. After an absurd number of hours in rain boots, we are certain: more expensive rain boots almost always look and feel better while lasting longer. In other words, you generally get what you pay for. But this goes both ways — if you don't wear rain boots often or don't spend much time in nasty weather, you may not need the priciest option.

rain boots - for the money, the kamik forester boots are a great, well-insulated...
For the money, the Kamik Forester boots are a great, well-insulated buy.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Do you need to pay more for the ultra-protective Muck Arctic Sport, or do you want a boot that bucks the trend and works perfectly despite its lower price, like the Baffin Enduro? If we're talking straight dollars vs. performance, the Enduro (uninsulated), the Kamik Icebreaker, and the insulated Kamik Forester are the best value boots in the test.

rain boots - lugging around 30+ lbs of boots for testing is a great workout.
Lugging around 30+ lbs of boots for testing is a great workout.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Weather Protection


Rain boots must be water and weatherproof; otherwise, what's the point? The world of waterproofing can get surprisingly complicated if you get into it (dive in for a few hours by researching hydrostatic head testing), but we define waterproof practically. Something is “waterproof” if we can stand in water up to the top of the shaft for 10 minutes and not get wet feet. We've tested these boots' weather protection by wading in the chilly Clark Fork River of Western Montana, the Puget Sound on a blustery 25°F day, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River on a month-long river trip, the Yakima and Snoqualmie Rivers as they flow out of the snowy Cascades, and in the Atlantic Ocean on the Maine Coast. When boots leaked (as a few did), we had a bad time, so we were always thankful for the boots that worked.


We put each boot into all manner of waterways, from creeks and ponds to the ocean, literally all over the United States (at this point, we've tested in every region of the Lower 48, as rainboots come on every single trip we go on). Our final test is a standardized ten-minute wade. Almost all the tested boots are waterproof except the Bogs Sauvie model. For all waterproof boots, we assign scores as a function of boot flood height, measured as the lowest point at which water can enter. Any boot that isn't waterproof gets docked severely.

rain boots - gotta make sure they&#039;ll keep the water out!
Gotta make sure they'll keep the water out!
Credit: Richard Forbes

With their impressive 18-inch high shaft, the Muck Boot Wetland boots eke out the win in the weather protection category, their height preventing accidental splashes and easily protecting your feet from rain, deep water, and dumping snow.

rain boots - if you know you&#039;ll be out in a lot of water, rain, or snow, these...
If you know you'll be out in a lot of water, rain, or snow, these boots are a solid buy.
Credit: Richard Forbes

We tried fly-fishing in the high-shafted Baffin Enduro boots and only got water in them when we chased some trout into a deep pool. The Arctic Sport are the second-highest boots (just under half an inch shorter than the Wetland) and are significantly warmer than all other boots in the test, with their microfleece lining.

rain boots - fly fishing in the baffin enduro in a mountain stream east of the...
Fly fishing in the Baffin Enduro in a mountain stream east of the Cascade Crest.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Our tested boots feature a variety of shaft heights. Pick your boots based on your intended use — the different boot heights will lend themselves to different uses. This list is in order of height:

Calf-height Boots (16" or higher)
  • Muck Boot Wetland
  • Muck Boot Arctic Sport
  • Hunter Original
  • Baffin Enduro

Mid-calf Boots (approximately 12" to 16" tall)
  • XTRATUF Legacy 15"
  • Bogs Workman
  • Kamik Icebreaker
  • Kamik Forester
  • Bogs Ultra Classic High
  • Bogs Bozeman Tall

Crossover Height
  • LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate

Low Boots (lower than 7")
  • Blundstone Thermal Chelsea
  • Bogs Kicker Chelsea Neo
  • Huk Rogue Wave
  • Kamik Lars Lo
  • XTRATUF 6" Ankle Deck Boot
  • Sperry Cold Bay Chukka
  • Bogs Sauvie

A caveat about the low boots: they're practical as long as you won't get into deep water, as some are only waterproof to a few inches. But low boots like the XTRATUF Deck Boots or the Huk Rogue Wave come into their own if you'll be using them on strolls through town when there's soggy (but not inclement) weather. Low boots obviously won't keep you as dry as a taller boot, but they're generally more comfortable in more casual use cases.

rain boots - testing rain boots at dawn on a farm outside seattle.
Testing rain boots at dawn on a farm outside Seattle.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Comfort


Our testers are lucky enough not to have any major foot problems but sometimes get sore feet like most people. Our comfort tests are designed to replicate long days on your feet, so we wear each boot for hours on concrete and other hard surfaces. Ultimately, our tests let us know which boots to buy when you know you'll be wearing them for long days (the Bogs Workman and Blundstone Thermal Chelsea, among others) and which boots you won't want to wear for more than an hour (sorry, Hunter Original Tall).


77% of Americans experience foot pain (as found in a 2014 study), and 51% of Americans say they have to adapt their activities due to foot issues. However, this same study shows that only 25% of people take the time to address their foot health.

For some reason, people tend to ignore foot pain and assume that it's somehow inevitable. Let's be clear: foot pain can be solved. It can be complicated, but it's worth taking the time. Help us change the stats! If you suffer from foot pain, take this category seriously. Rain boots (and shoes in general) aren't supposed to hurt you, and some of the models we tested are truly comfortable to wear. Consider supplemental insoles, and if you've got a lot of trouble with your feet, please see a doctor or physical therapist; both will help dramatically. Take it from us; happy feet will improve your life.

A boot's material plays a big role in overall comfort. Leather boots generally feel more comfortable because leather breathes better, tends to weigh less, and breaks in, molding to your feet. Leather's drawback is that it's less durable than a thick rubber boot. And while you might think all “rubber boots” are equal, we've found a fair amount of variation after wearing so many different boots. We don't have degrees in rubber chemistry (though if we'd spent the last eight years better, we probably could have gotten at least one Ph.D.), but here's what we know. Boots made with foamed neoprene uppers (Bogs Classic Ultra High and Bogs Sauvie, among others) stretch and bend perfectly when walking on rough surfaces.

In contrast, boots with fully rubber uppers tend to buckle against the ankle when on the same terrain. And while we don't know all the scientific terms to describe the different types of rubber, we know that there's a difference in ankle comfort between stiffer rubber boots (like the Baffin Enduro which bends in and pushes at the front of our ankles) and higher quality rubber-like the more flexible XTRATUF Legacy 15" material, which flexes smoothly across our feet. But the thicker your socks, the less you'll notice these issues. Finally, the LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate boots blend the flexibility and comfort of leather (on the top) and the waterproof durability of rubber (on the bottom), which worked impressively well.

rain boots - the ll bean boots are both waterproof and flexible, thanks to their...
The LL Bean Boots are both waterproof and flexible, thanks to their hybrid rubber/leather construction.
Credit: Richard Forbes

To test for comfort, we spent 20+ hours in every boot, prioritizing long stints (over 5 hours) and time on harder surfaces to ensure the test was as difficult on our feet as possible. Insole construction is an important variable, as there's a lot of variation in insole sturdiness and thickness. Some boots have thick, cushioned insoles like the Bogs Classic Ultra High and the Bogs Sauvie. One pair of boots, the Blundstone Thermal Chelsea, went even further and added sheepskin to the top of their insoles, which makes them positively plush. We're disappointed by other boots' flimsy offerings (come on, Hunter Original boots!), which means they don't fare well in the comfort ratings. The Kamik Forester and Icebreaker are odd, featuring bulky removable liners without insoles (and can't fit aftermarket insoles). They're very nice and warm but don't have much support underfoot.

The amount and quality of insole in each boot makes a huge difference.
The amount and quality of insole in each boot makes a huge difference.
Not all insoles are created the same. Each one has a different level...
Not all insoles are created the same. Each one has a different level of comfort to offer.
A comfortable insole can make all the difference in the world for your hard-working feet.

Our testers have high arches and generally wear Superfeet Green insoles for general use (these were our favorites from our best insole review). Once we'd finished testing the standard insoles, we'd often put Superfeet in our favorite pairs, making the boots more comfortable. Depending on your arches (and how exhausted your legs feel after a whole day on your feet), consider talking to a doctor or footwear specialist about whether you'd benefit from a pair of supplemental insoles. They make a big difference for us.

rain boots - the superfoot insole couldn&#039;t fix every boot, but it did make...
The Superfoot insole couldn't fix every boot, but it did make hard-to-wear boots a bit more manageable.
Credit: Richard Forbes

For testing, we also wear rainboots during our general day-to-day lives. They come along as we go to grad school, work, grocery shopping, and voyaging up into the mountains every few days. The Bogs Workman and Blundstone Thermal Chelsea lead the pack in comfort thanks to their snug fit around the ankles, which minimizes the sloppy fit we find in some other boots. Other particularly comfortable boots include the Bogs Classic Ultra and the LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate.

Stiff-shafted rubber boots can be uncomfortable, and it helps to wear thick socks. Otherwise, they can cut into your shins as they buckle when you bend your ankles, like the Enduro, Hunter Original Tall, and the XTRATUF Legacy Series 15".

rain boots - the bogs ultra classic high (left) is a great boot for a cold morning.
The Bogs Ultra Classic High (left) is a great boot for a cold morning.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Weight also plays a big role in comfort. Have you heard the idea (popular among ultralight backpackers) that a pound on your feet equals six pounds on your back? Lighter boots (especially the Blundstone Thermal Chelsea and XTRATUF 6" Ankle Deck Boot) are more comfortable for long days but generally less protective, leading to an obvious trade-off. Ensure you're doing the calculations — do you need the extra protection? You'll feel a lot less tired with a lighter option.

Some boots are also mysteriously heavy — why does the uninsulated Baffin Enduro weigh more than the burly and heavily insulated 17.6 inch Arctic Sport? And even more mysteriously — how did Bogs make the Workman 15% lighter than the Bogs Ultra Classic while adding more insulation and a burlier outsole? We know they credit their “seamless” technology, but we suspect some magic may be involved.

rain boots - the blundstones are so light that they float!
The Blundstones are so light that they float!
Credit: Richard Forbes

Let's also be clear that comfort and warmth can be overlapping and competing variables. Depending on the weather, you may need extra insulation to be comfortable, but remember: in warm weather, too much insulation makes things sweaty. And while we'll cover this more in later sections, you can always change the insulation by changing up your socks (up to a point). However, we want to keep each metric as separate as possible, so we'll discuss how insulation affects general comfort in the warmth section below.

rain boots - the xtratuf ankle deck boots were uncomfortably flexible, making us...
The XTRATUF Ankle Deck boots were uncomfortably flexible, making us feel every stone underfoot.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Traction


We generally don't wear rain boots when there's nice weather. Rain boots are for nasty conditions when comfy sneakers aren't enough. And when it's nasty, it's generally slippery, so the best boots need to keep you up and on your feet, not slipping around and making a scene. Some boots feature deep-cut lugs that grab muck and snow easily, like the Bogs Workman, while others have less textured outsoles better suited for flat pavement and casual use like the XTRATUF 6" Ankle or the Bogs Kicker Chelsea Neo boots.


We test our boots in various unstable conditions: soaking grass, mossy wood, sucking mud, slippery asphalt, rocky riverbeds, (shallow) lake beds, and on ice and snow. The Arctic Sport is a clear leader with its mega-studded sole, allowing us to feel secure no matter the surface. The Baffin Enduro and Bogs Workman also perform impressively well in this category, thanks to their heavily lugged outsoles.

rain boots - the enduro boots have particularly good traction even in snow, due...
The Enduro boots have particularly good traction even in snow, due to their aggressively studded outsole.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Casual boots are easy to recognize — they have shallow (or no) lugs on the outsoles and less flexible rubber. As a result, casual boots do noticeably worse during traction tests. While wearing less grippy boots, it was harder to stay upright on ice, snow, and mud. In particular, our wet grass hill-running test lets us separate the slippery wheat from the grippy chaff. The low-scoring XTRATUF Ankle boots and Hunter Original boots made us look like beginner skiers (as we skidded awkwardly down hills), while grippier boots made us feel like we were wearing crampons.

rain boots - this photo illustrates the obvious difference between the low-grip...
This photo illustrates the obvious difference between the low-grip XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boots (top) and the extremely grippy and studded Original Muck Boot Company Wetland boots (bottom).
Credit: Richard Forbes

Warmth


We love to get into the literature thanks to our scientific background, so we spent a few riveting hours reading scholarly articles about warmth and workboots. Who knew — there's a devoted segment of the scientific community committed to learning about feet and ergonomics (which studies people's efficiency while working). According to this literature, feet get colder than other body parts for three reasons:

1) The feet feature lots of surface area without having much mass
2) Feet are extremities, which means they get less priority than your core and your brain

3) The feet contain no big muscles to produce heat during exercise, just lots of fiddly tendons and ligaments

Maybe it's just us, but we love learning about how the human body responds to cold stress.

Too long; didn't read: Your body doesn't care about your extremities as much as your internal organs, so your feet will get cold if it's cold outside. We realize this isn't news, but getting the scientific take is nice.


As a result, insulated boots make a big difference, especially during active work, when your body heat (thanks to your mitochondrial inefficiency) gets caught and contained by the boot. We looked at another study that measured foot temperatures during cold exposure which stated that, according to Sweden's version of OSHA, cold conditions make work significantly harder, and that over 70% of cold injuries are caused to the hands and feet. In plain English, many people get cold feet when they're out in the cold, which is unpleasant. We realize the references might be excessive, but the point of all these citations is to prove that you need to take your foot warmth seriously.

rain boots - the bogs ultra high are delightfully warm in snow.
The Bogs Ultra High are delightfully warm in snow.
Credit: Richard Forbes

To bring it back to practicalities: where will you wear these boots? How cold does it get there? Make your purchase primarily with that assessment (and boot height) in mind. We've lived nationwide and needed to prioritize different types of boots in each place.
  • Coastal Maine = cold and pretty wet
  • Suburban Pennsylvania = not that cold, pretty wet
  • Southern Appalachia = not that cold, pretty wet
  • High-mountain Colorado = extremely cold but not that wet
  • Western Montana = extremely cold and pretty wet
  • Western Washington State = not that cold, extremely wet
  • Southern Arizona = you probably don't need rain boots, but don't let us stop you.

Once you've thought about your intended climate and your intended use cases, keep reading.

rain boots - there&#039;s nothing better to slip into than an insulated rain boot...
There's nothing better to slip into than an insulated rain boot after a chilly day of ski touring at -20 degrees F!
Credit: Richard Forbes

The warmest boot isn't always the best, as rain boots are generally bad at releasing heat since rubber does not breathe well, which is partly why it's so protective. If you want to wear the ever-toasty Arctic Sport at 60°F fall sports games, prepare for sweaty feet. However, if you wear those same boots in foot-deep snow at 15°F, you'll stay comfortable thanks to these boots' almost knee-high microfleece-lined neoprene.

If you know you'll never see snow or cold temps in your boots, go with an uninsulated model like the Baffin Enduro or the XTRATUF Legacy 15" — your feet will thank you when you're doing chores on warm and wet fall days. If you want the best of both worlds, go with the Bogs Bozeman Tall, Bogs Workman boots, or the Wetland boots, all of which are warm enough for snow use but also tolerable (though not wonderful) in warmer temps.

rain boots - decisions, decisions: how warm is it? do we want to wear sandals or...
Decisions, decisions: how warm is it? Do we want to wear sandals or boots?
Credit: Richard Forbes

Boot material makes a big impact on warmth/breathability. Rubber boots don't breathe very well. While leather tends to be more breathable, both leather boots currently in our test have additional insulation (the Blundstone Thermal Chelsea and the LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate). As a result, neither is ideal above 50°F.

rain boots - that shearling wool feels great against cold feet!
That shearling wool feels great against cold feet!
Credit: Richard Forbes

To compare boot insulation, we did warmth tests in an ice bath with 20 lbs of ice and a half-pound of salt to lower the freezing point of the water. We wore each pair without socks (to keep things standardized and properly uncomfortable), then submerged each pair of boots as deeply as we could without water getting in (slightly less deep than the measured shaft height). We kept track of the time from initial immersion until “the cold set in” — a temperature that we tried to standardize, which meant that our bones started feeling sad. We warmed up our feet in between tests with jumping jacks. We set a cut-off time at 20 minutes so we wouldn't have to sit with our feet in an ice bath for too long (though only one boot has ever made it to 20 min — the Arctic Sport). This test was about as hard on the boots (and our feet) as it could have been — we were sitting still, so our feet cooled down quickly in the less insulated boots. We prioritized the ice-water test in the scoring, but we also tested boots in real-world situations — in the rain, snow, ice, sleet, graupel, and every other type of cold precipitation. Ultimately, we considered each boot's ability to keep us warm during these practical tests when determining overall scores.

rain boots - we can&#039;t say that the ice test was our absolute favorite, but it...
We can't say that the ice test was our absolute favorite, but it told us a lot about how warm each pair truly is.
Credit: Richard Forbes

The boots with the lowest scores did not keep our feet warm at all and almost instantly cooled our feet to discomfort. Those models were the Hunter Original Tall and XTRATUF Legacy 15" boots, both of which feature thin rubber and no insulation. Their low scores in this category are not disqualifying, though — poor insulation makes them strong candidates for use in reliably warm and wet weather. On the other side of the spectrum, the Arctic Sport is the reigning champion and lasted 20 minutes in the ice test. The Bogs Workman came in second and kept our feet warm enough until 18 minutes into the ice bath. The Kamik Forester was another standout for warmth.

Boots closer to the middle of the range are the generalists — generally comfortable in various ambient temperatures but not great at extremes. Remember, our ice-water test is designed to be easily standardizable and hard on the boots, but it's unrealistic. We hope you never have to wear your boots without socks (it's uncomfortable), and socks dramatically affect a boot's insulation. If the boots you want didn't do well in our warmth test, you can always put on a thicker sock (as long as you sized the boot appropriately).

With heavy mountaineering socks, we could wear uninsulated boots like the XTRATUF Legacy 15" down to 25°F, as long as we don't have to stand still for extended periods. So if you're looking to stretch a boot into a wider temperature range, socks can make the difference

Wearability


For our 2024 test, we pivoted this section, which used to be “Style”. But obviously style is subjective, so we decided to go with “Wearability”. Basically, Wearability accounts for all the small things that make us like a boot or not. This includes style, ease of use, small features we love, and whether we can kick them on easily.


For style, most boots go the practical route (most blatantly, the rubbery and pebble-patterned Baffin Enduro boots, which pair easily with our oil-stained Carhartt overalls). Some boots, especially the low leather options like the classy Blundstone Thermal Chelsea pair easily with most clothes and are much more reasonable when the weather's not too bad, and you're just wearing them out and about. The LL Bean 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate boot is an impressive blend of workboot and style icon, while other boots, like the Hunter Original Tall, seem to be designed only as fashion statements.

rain boots - a classy and high-performing boot, the blundstone thermal is worth...
A classy and high-performing boot, the Blundstone Thermal is worth its high price tag.
Credit: Richard Forbes

For ease of use, we're thinking about how much fiddling the boots make us do. The XTRATUF 15" boots are difficult to get on due to their flexible rubber and relatively narrow collar width, while our favorite Bogs Workman boots are simple - just step into them and walk out the door. And while laces, like on the Sperry Cold Bay Chukka, can make sure a boot feels snug, they also catch debris, which dings their wearability score a bit.

It&#039;s hard to tell they&#039;re rain boots and not just shiny Chelsea boots!
It's hard to tell they're rain boots and not just shiny Chelsea boots!
We love splashing through puddles in pseudo-dress shoes
We love splashing through puddles in pseudo-dress shoes
These boots have very different looks and we appreciate both.

We're also thinking about the little things - does the Baffin Enduro have a nice heel stud to help us kick it off? Yes. Do the Xtratuf Ankle boots and the Huk Rogue Wave outsoles catch and carry around pebbles and dirt, making a mess? Also yes.

rain boots - while the sperry cold bay chukka boots look great, any muck or crud...
While the Sperry Cold Bay Chukka boots look great, any muck or crud tends to get caked into the laces. We tend to prefer non-laced boots for any gritty work.
Credit: Richard Forbes

Sizing + Fit


We are footwear nerds. We take sizing and fitting shoes extremely seriously, and we spend many hours choosing our shoes based on fit, from backpacking boots, climbing shoes, ski boots, trail running shoes, to approach shoes, and even casual shoes like flip flops. But the truth is that you probably don't need a super technical fit from your rain boots, so save your fit obsessing for the technical gear.

rain boots - the water distortion makes these boots look like clown-shoes - we...
The water distortion makes these boots look like clown-shoes - we promise they're not that ridiculous looking.
Credit: Richard Forbes

But if you're a tricky case, or if you just like talking and thinking about boot fitting, let's talk through some terms we've learned in our years of research:
  • Foot Size: This is the length of your foot, measured from the back of your heel to the end of your longest toe (which is not always your big toe, depending on your foot shape). There are a variety of sizing standards, but most people in the US default to their “Brannock Size.” These measurements have annoyingly nothing to do with inches or even centimeters, though other countries (like Japan) have more sensible metrics.
  • Foot Width: This is the width of your forefoot, measured across your foot, beginning at the inside of your first metatarsal head (the bump on the inside of your forefoot). Brannock sizing describes widths with letters (Super-narrow AAAA, AAA, AA, A, B, C, etc., to extremely wide EEEE). D width is generally considered the standard width for men, and E or EE means wide. We recognize that this also makes very little sense, but just go with it.
  • Foot Volume: How much foot material do you have? This is determined by your bone structure and the height of your foot — do you have a high-volume foot or a low-volume foot? This is more of an informal spectrum — footwear shops don't have a way to easily measure this, but it's a good variable to keep in mind. If you often get heel blisters (like our testers do), chances are you have low-volume feet. And if you often have trouble fitting into shoes, you probably have wider, higher-volume feet.
  • Arch: We don't want to get annoyingly complicated, but you actually have three arches (medial, lateral, and transverse). However, when people talk about arches, they're generally talking about their medial arch. You can have “higher” or “lower” arches, but this doesn't matter too much when it comes to your rain boots, and we don't want to get too far into this. If you experience significant arch pain or struggle with plantar fasciitis, please go see a doctor, research foot strengthening exercises, and/or think about supplemental insoles (with the help of a footwear expert).

In general, don't wear shoes (or rain boots) that match your measured “foot size.” Your feet change size as you stand on them, and you also want extra room for thicker socks. So try to go up a half-size (or if there aren't half-sizes, go up a full-size — bigger shoes are better). And shoe sizes are complicated, so don't expect them to be consistent from brand to brand (or even model to model).

Our reviewers get US size 13s for every model except the Baffin Enduro (which our research suggested runs larger than average, and we've been happy with a size 12). All our boots fit pretty well. To be clear about what we're working with, our head tester has almost exactly US size 12 feet (though one is slightly longer than the other) and has a standard D width. These measurements are from a Brannock device, which can be found in most any American footwear store. We generally wear 13s to ensure a healthy amount of toe space while keeping enough room for thick socks or added insoles (socks and additional insoles generally add warmth and comfort).

rain boots - a large part of our year is spent carrying rain boots from one...
A large part of our year is spent carrying rain boots from one testing ground to another.
Credit: Richard Forbes

If your feet are on the narrower side, take a look at the Bogs Sauvie or the XTRATUF Legacy 15" (which feel just a bit narrower than standard). And if your feet are truly wide (EE or wider), the Bogs Workman features modular insoles that let you make the boots wider if needed!

rain boots - we call this one &quot;test boots on driftwood.&quot; submitting to the...
We call this one “Test Boots on Driftwood.” Submitting to the curator of the Seattle Art Museum for possible inclusion...
Credit: Richard Forbes

Conclusion


If you spend a lot of time in wet and chilly weather, you owe it to yourself to get some rain boots. And if you haven't tried a pair on since the miserable days of clunky childhood galoshes, we promise that things have really turned around. There are some great boots out there; give one of these a try. And, if you need a great pair of shoes geared towards water sports, we've tested the best men's water shoes, too.

Richard Forbes