The Best Rain Boots for Men
What pair of rain boots will best keep you warm and dry in the rain and mud? To find out, we bought 11 of the best models and considering 40 top models available today. We then spend five long, wet and mucky months testing them in the field and the lab. We worked them in the backyard, hiked stream beds and trails, wore them around town, and took them fishing. These products experienced temperatures ranging from 20°F to 75°F (-6°C to 24°C), as well as several measurements and tests, including ice water baths and walking on wet, algae-covered creek rocks. And we did it all to keep you dry out there.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
|Displaying 1 - 5 of 11||<< Previous | View All | Next >>|
Analysis and Award Winners
Updated June 2017
It might be summer, but we're still keeping tabs on wet weather wear. We've got a new Top Pick for Weather Resistance: The Muck Boot. We also reformatted the review to make it easier to find which model performs best in the metrics you care about. We currently don't have a best buy award winner because our Editor's Choice is the highest performing AND one of the least expensive products.
The Icebreaker is an exceptional boot, appropriate for use in a variety of environments and conditions. Not only for rainy days, we also love this boot on cold-weather camping and climbing trips, too. It received high scores across our board of metrics, especially in comfort and warmth. It keeps your feet plenty warm on those wet, nasty days and its inner removable liner will add some plush cushioning all around your feet. This does, though, make it inappropriate to wear when temperatures rise. The Icebreaker's tread is also versatile, with a mixture of deep lugs for traction in soft ground and some larger lugs for high surface contact when you're back on concrete and pavement. Compared to the other heavy duty, insulated models in this review, this pair is the lightest of its type. Additionally, it features a drawstring around the top of the shaft so you can cinch down the top of the boot to prevent debris from entering and keep heat from escaping. Plus, our Editors' Choice Award winner is the second least expensive model of them all, costing only $65! This product would have ALSO won Best Buy Award, had it not taken top honors.
Superb value and traction
Warm liner that wicks moisture
Low style score,
too warm for mild weather
Read Full Review: Kamik Icebreaker
Top Pick for Mild Weather
The Hampton performed best in temperate climates. It doesn't have excessive insulation, which makes it ideal across many temperatures. Its short shaft helps make it one of the most comfortable products we tested. It fits snugly and the EVA foam midsole offers enough cushioning that you won't even want to take them off. The tread is also one of the smoothest of all the products we tested, ideal for use around town or camp, but it lacks enough traction to be used in heavy-duty off-road situations. The Hampton is lightweight, too, and slides on and off like butter. Lastly, it's sleek yet discreet style keeps your footwear from standing out on rainy days in the city. If you need a comfy, easy to use, and stylish rain boot to wear around town on days when the skies look foreboding, the Hampton is an excellent choice.
Comfortable, supportive, relatively stylish
No protection above shin
Read Full Review: LaCrosse Hampton
Top Pick for Water Resistance
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
If water resistance is your top priority, get the Muck Boot. While it's a bit of a pain to get on and off, once on, it offers unparalleled water and errr, muck, protection. It's also incredibly warm. We didn't think it was that stylish but then again, if you are putting these to the test, style probably isn't a priority. You've got work to do, and these will help get it done.
One of the warmest boots tested
Highest water resistance score
Heavy and hard to get on and off
Not very stylish
Read Full Review: The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
Analysis and Test Results
Over six months in total, we got tons of use out of each pair of boots. Not limiting their use to rainy days, we wore them in lots of various conditions, from cold, snowy weather to warm and muggy summer days. This extensive amount of experience in each model provided the basis for our review. To supplement our usage, each model was subjected to tests we designed to push them to their limits in different performance areas. At the end of the testing period, we combined all the scores from our metrics, weighted appropriately, to come up with an overall score from 1-100, as seen in the table above.
Every product we tested is waterproof and we were fortunate enough to not experience any leaks in any of the models throughout our testing process. We found no real performance difference when comparing the all-rubber designs to those that used a combination of neoprene and rubber. Regarding waterproofing quality, it comes down to personal preference the materials' merits. However, the different materials do provide varying levels of warmth and significantly different styles.
We tested each competitor by wading into streams and slogging through muddy puddles, so it's no surprise that models with higher shafts scored higher in this metric than the shorter models. Each product's score relied heavily on the height of the shaft, which we measured from the bottom of the outsole to the lowest point at the top of the boot. Taller products scored higher and shorter models fell to the bottom. We also took note of any gaps at the tops of the boots (where rain or snow could sneak in), and we noted which models had top closure systems.
The Muck Boot Arctic Sport came out on top. Other boots were as weather resistant in light rain and shallow puddles, but the Arctic Sport excelled in the deeper water and tougher conditions. If you value keeping dry in the worst conditions, it'st the boot to get and the winner of our Top Pick award. Just behind it is the Le Chameau Vierzon which has a .75" shorter shaft.
Additionally, we noticed that the boots with short shafts, like the Hampton, Strala, and Urban Farmer, don't have enough space to completely fit the pant legs inside the boot. Thus it's easier to get the cuff of your pants soaked. On the other hand, these shorter shaft boots are ideal for men who want to wear their pants over their boots and avoid the "rain boot look."
The products tested had quite a range in comfort. Some models, like the Helly Hansen Midsund 2, have little or no cushioning whatsoever. Other models, like the Bogs Classic High have supportive, cushiony insoles. Others still are fitted with EVA midsoles for additional cushioning. Several models, including Muck Boot Chore Mid, even have a supportive shank in the midsole. While wearing each of these models during our testing period, we were able to learn how each product's construction affected its overall comfort. Additionally, we also noticed that some of the models have a more pliable shaft than others, which affects overall comfort. Some models, like the Le Chameau Vierzon, had a very soft shaft that flexed and creased as we walked, Muck Boot Arctic Sport] had a stiffer shaft that felt as though the top was pushing into our shins when we took a step forward.
If you like a pair of boots, but wish they had a more comfortable footbed, consider buying an aftermarket insole to add some comfort to your soles.
One of the most comfortable products we tested was the LaCrosse Hampton, our Top Pick for Mild Weather Award winner, in part because it does not have a tall shaft that restricts movement. The short shaft is supple enough that it gave way as we walked through shallow streams and dewy fields, where footing was not entirely secure. And when we tested this model on sidewalks around town, we found that the shaft flexed in all the right ways so it never felt as though we were walking around with a leg cast on our feet. TheBogs Urban Farmer scored impressively low in this category. Despite its cushiony insole, the neoprene upper squeezed our ankles so much that our feet lost sensitivity and tingled.
If you're looking for a super comfortable pair with a taller shaft, the Editors' Choice-winning Kamik Icebreaker is an excellent option.
One of the more important aspects of any rain boot is its traction. Some have deep aggressive lugs, which make them ideal for loose terrain or muddy fields while others have more shallow grooves for flat surfaces. The Chore Mid and the Le Chameau Vierzon both have deep grooves that allow them to dig into mud and dirt for the best possible traction. Meanwhile, other boots tend to have a smoother and more even tread, offering a significant amount of surface contact, which makes them ideal for use in urban environments. The most surface contact possible on sidewalks means there is less chance that you'll slip and fall. However, the smooth treads don't fair too well in mud or dirt, which makes them less than ideal over loose terrain.
The LaCrosse Hampton, the Tretorn Strala, and the Hunter Original Short all have smooth tread that lacks deep or aggressive lugs, making them an excellent choice if you only need footwear for use around town. Some models, however, make an attempt at being more versatile for use on loose ground and hard smooth surfaces. Our Editors' Choice winner - the Kamik Icebreaker - and the high performing Bogs Classic High, both have varied lugs and smooth portions of their treads. These models can be worn from muddy fields to hard sidewalks without fear of losing traction. Consider the sort of terrain you usually travel and let that guide which type of tread will best suit your needs.
The amount of warmth a rain boot retains is going to determine whether or not it's appropriate for cold or warm weather use. To test how cold these products can go, we made an ice water bath, slid our bare feet inside a pair, and submerged the boots to the top of the shaft. We timed how long it took before the cold feeling sank into our feet. Some products, like the Chore Mid, offer warmth and insulation, but also wick moisture away from the feet well enough to be used in warmer temperatures. Others, such as the Kamik Icebreaker which has a removable insulating liner and the Bogs Classic which relies on neoprene for insulation, are so warm that even the thought of using them in temperatures above 65 degrees makes us sweat. The Vierzon, Strala, Midsund 2, and Hunter models have either a thin liner or no liner at all, which makes them perfect for late spring or early fall use.
Products that scored in the middle offer a little more versatility - you can still use them comfortably in cooler conditions, but they won't leave your feet roasting in warmer temps. If you live in a moderate climate or want to get more use out of your rain boots, then choosing a pair with a low to medium warmth rating is probably a good bet. Also, we found that the type of socks we wore played a significant role in how hot or cold your feet are inside these products. Make sure you match your socks to the weather! Read more on choosing the right product for your climate in our buying advice guide.
As you're looking at the scores in our warmth metric, keep in mind that a lower score might be exactly what you want.
Although most of the products we tested are designed primarily with function (protecting you from wet weather) in mind, that doesn't mean that you have to choose a model without any style. For that stylish pop, there is the Hunter Original Short, our most attractive model. If you want a less eye-grabbing model, then the LaCrosse Hampton (our Top Pick for Mild Weather) and the Tretorn Strala have a classy look that our testers found to be subtle and sleek enough that the crowds may overlook the fact that you have them on your feet.
However, not all the products we tested are what you'd called stylish. In fact, most are for more rugged rather than urban use. That said, several models crossed the boundaries between rugged work and casual wear, so be sure to check how each product scored in our style metrics and be sure to find one that meets your needs across the board. And speaking of our scores, style is certainly very subjective, so if a certain product stands out as stylish to you, trust your gut.
Unfortunately, thicker insulation leads to a bulky-looking, unattractive design. Be sure to consider where you're going to be wearing your rain boots before you buy.
Ease of Use
In this category, we considered the weight of each product as well as how easy it was to take each one on and off. To compare the weight, we weighed each pair on our scale. Although the sizes of the products aren't all the same due to differences in manufacturers, we based the weight off the pair that fit our size 11 feet (those with smaller feet will benefit from slightly lighter boots, but this gives us a relative comparison between products).
Some of the models we tested were heavy, the Muck Boot Company Chore Mid and Bogs Classic High being the heaviest. It's no surprise then that the heavier the model, the more easily fatigued our testers became after wearing it for prolonged periods. As we tested these products, we found that heavy models were less convenient to use, especially since they tended to be clunky and cumbersome (like the Muck Boot Arctic Sport). On the other side of the coin, we loved wearing the 3-pound LaCrosse Hampton, but keep in mind that this model is so light in part because it has a short shaft.
Finally, some of the boots we tested have additional features to help with getting them on your feet. Several models had pull-on tabs that gave us something to tug on to get the on, but our favorite innovation was on the Bogs Ultra Mid Rain Boot. This product has punched-out holes or handles on the sides of the shaft that make pulling it on an absolute breeze. When taking the boots off, we preferred handless operation. Some models had extra rubber ribs running an inch or two up the heel that help you peel the boots off with your feet.
Rainy days shouldn't stop you from heading outside. But, it helps to have adequate footwear for the conditions. We hope our in-depth analyses and descriptions of each model in our review proves helpful in your search for your next pair of boots. Remember to consider your specific needs when reading through our review to find the model that fits you best. Click on any model featured in this article to see its review, including how it fared in each metric. And if you want more help narrowing down the field of options, check out our Buying Advice article.
— Ross Robinson & Jared Dean
Table of Contents
You Might Also Like