Product Review: Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots

About two years ago, everyone I knew gave me a Dover Saddlery gift certificate for Christmas. I pooled the gift cards and purchased a pair of Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots. I’d read on various blogs about how great the boots were- durable, comfortable, even a little stylish! I was excited to have a good pair of mud boots to wear out to the barn; my poor cowboy boots were taking a lot of abuse and my last pair of cheap rain boots had finally sprung a leak.

Imagine my crushing disappointment, then, when my lovely boots arrived and were too narrow for my calves! I have fairly wide calves; all of my riding boots are wide or extra wide. However, I wasn’t expecting a pair of rubber rain boots to be narrow enough that my boyfriend’s arm could barely fit in them. Rain boots are meant to be worn, presumably, outside pants like jeans. With socks. Unlike breeches, which are form fitting, jeans can add some extra bulk to a leg. I was absolutely crushed. I didn’t return the boots; instead, I shoved them under my bed (like an adult), brought them out periodically, and whimpered in sadness when they still didn’t fit onto my bare legs.

Now, let me deter the review for a moment to gripe about Dover’s website. I can’t find the Hunter boots on their website at the moment, but I assure you that two years ago, they were there. Dover also lacked a size chart for the boots, or any notation that the men’s and women’s boots weren’t sized differently in the calf. (My boots actually have “Men’s Size 8/Women’s Size 9” printed on the inside.) So when I ordered the boots, I ordered a men’s size 8 in hopes the calf would be more generous. I never returned the boots because I didn’t want to order an alternative boot and was still somewhat miffed over the glove incident. Hunter’s website at the time didn’t list calf sizes; happily, it currently does.

Anyway. Fast forward to about a month ago. Rainy season is upon us in Oklahoma; the barn where my horses live has terrible drainage, as does my workplace. I am dreading another winter of muddy, wet cowboy boots. I dream of grossly expensive Dubarrys. I notice my jeans are a little looser than they used to be, so because I am a glutton for punishment, I drag the Hunters from under my bed and attempt to shove my oversized calves inside. They fit. They fit. Not in that glamorous loose way that pretty people in style blogs wear them, but in a kind of tight but functional way. A victorious way. (How’d I lose weight, you ask? No idea; I eat a lot of vegetables and tofu and walk approximately 20,000 steps a day.)

Now that my Hunters fit (only under skinny jeans, mind you), I wear them any time the weather is wet. And that’s been pretty frequently over the last month or so.

Genuine Hunters, aren’t I cool?

They are very comfortable; I am regularly on my feet and moving in my boots from about 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM. I teach riding lessons in them, muck stalls in them, and walk horses to and from pastures in them.

Side view from the manure pile.

The buckles on the outside of the boots are solely decorative. They do not adjust the fit of the boot. The buckle on the left boot tore off while I was tugging the boot on one day; it has not affected me whatsoever. 

Good in manure.

The rubber is pliable and flexible, which is nice. I can sit at my desk and drive my car without the ankle area of the boot irritating me.

Good in mud.

While the shaft of the boot is fairly narrow, the foot of the boot is very roomy. I have plenty of room to wiggle my toes and can wear my thickest wool socks without a problem.

Good underwater.
The boots have no lining, so when my feet get cold, they stay cold. I recommend wearing thick socks if you’re going to be slogging through a significant amount of water or snow. 
Dirty boots.

Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots
Sizing: Foot roomy; shaft narrow.
Comfort: 5/5
Durability: 4/5; I feel like the buckle that popped off shouldn’t have popped off.
Value: 3/5; while these are a good, solid pair of rain boots, they also cost around $100. My last pair of cheap rainboots was $25 and lasted for about three years. By that standard, these boots need to last me more than 12 years!
Cool Factor: 5/5; I’ve gotten compliments on them from random strangers at my favorite sandwich place, so that makes them pretty cool in my book.

What do y’all do for rain boots? Hunters? Another brand? Has anyone tried the wider-calf Hunter boot, the Huntress?