Time to take the plunge and buy rain boots? After extensively researching 49 products, we purchased 10 for rigorous testing. Two and a half months and 300+ hours later, we waded through rivers, ponds, and the Puget Sound, through temperatures down to 20 degrees, to find the best boots for any situation. We measured boot heights and weights, sat for hours in an ice-filled bathtub, and quantified a variety of metrics, from water resistance to style, to help you make your decision. Whether you're looking to keep your feet dry on the farm, the boat, or your morning commute, this review will point you towards a solid boot that won't let wet feet get you down.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Updated February 2018
To kick off 2018, we've updated our rain boot review to bring you the latest and greatest, so you'll be toasty and dry during the upcoming rainy season. The Bogs Classic have taken home our Editors' Choice, while the The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport snags the award as our Top Pick for Inclement Weather. At $55, we've awarded the Baffin Enduro as our Best Bang for the Buck, while the Bogs Carson is our Top Pick for Style and Mild Use.
Best Overall Model
Bogs Classic Ultra High
The Bogs Classic Ultra High is a phenomenal boot, comfortable enough to wear on any surface for hours at a time, and insulated and waterproof enough for miserably cold and wet conditions. And while they may not be the most fashion-conscious boots, the unique handles and heel studs will make this boot so easy to slip on and off that it's hard to go back to boots without these features. From full 10 hour workdays on solid concrete to wading through rivers, cragging, and car camping, these boots kept our testers' feet warm and comfortable. And when the soggy Seattle winter settled in, we kept these boots by our front door, ready for whatever weather we might find.
Easy to take on and off
Warm and insulated
Less than perfect traction
Lower shaft height due to the handles
Read review: Bogs Classic Ultra High
Best Bang for the Buck
The Baffin Enduro is the quintessential rainboot. It provides a thick waterproof rubber shaft up to 16.25 inches, and a variably lugged outsole to tackle any surface you might find. Due to their 17.5 circumference shaft, they're easy to take off and put on, even while standing up. And thanks to their rugged construction, they compliment any utilitarian outfit. While these boots lack cushioning, we've spent over 14 hours straight in these boots without any issues.
High shaft height
Stiff construction can handle rough terrain
Solid traction on all surfaces
Read review: Baffin Enduro
Top Pick for Inclement Weather and Water Resistance
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
If you need the Arctic Sport boots, you'll know. Other boots in the test will be more practical for everyday use, but for those who need uncompromising warmth, comfort, and water resistance, this boot is ideal. There's something wonderful about slipping this boot (in the cold weather) and knowing that no matter what you find, your feet will be comfortable and warm. And if you expect to spend a lot of time on ice, check out the Arctic Ice from the same company, as it features a unique new outsole to give you traction on wet ice.
Warmest boots tested
Highest shaft height
Best traction tested
Tight and difficult to put on and take off
Too warm for most situations
Read review: The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
Top Pick for Good Looks and Mild Use
Even though the Bogs Carson barely look like a rain boot, they'll keep your feet warm and dry in any reasonable city condition. You won't have to worry about anyone commenting on your footwear not fitting any occasion, due to their desert boot inspired silhouette, and their solid outsole will help you keep your balance, even in mud and snow. If you're a bit of a dirtbag like us, you might even find yourself wearing these boots when it's not wet, just because you like their looks (and because you don't really have dress shoes).
The most subtle rain boots in our test
Comfortable for long days
Low shaft height
Snug ankle means they're hard to get on
Read review: Bogs Carson
Analysis and Test Results
Having wet feet can ruin your day, no matter whether you're mucking out a stall, harvesting carrots in the rain, or walking to the store. For over two and a half months, our testers wore these ten pairs of rain boots in all the conditions they could find within a three-hour radius of Seattle, WA. And throughout these tests, we kept painstaking notes on a variety of metrics to quantify which boots were best. Based on these scores (and their respective weighted values), we calculated overall scores (1-100) as seen in the table above, which will help you numerically compare which boots are the best for you.
Rain boots are defined by their water resistance, and for the second year running, all our tested boots were waterproof. This was a huge relief, as we tested water resistance in the Puget Sound on a blustery 25° F day, and wet feet would have been truly miserable (as we forgot to bring extra socks). All boots, regardless of whether they were foamed neoprene or more traditional rubber, withstood water all the way up to their tops. However, these differences in construction provide different insulation, rigidity, and aesthetics, all of which will be discussed in later sections.
We tested each boot in a variety of waterways, from streams and rivers to lakes, across Washington State. The final test involved a standardized five-minute wading test in the Puget Sound. As all boots were waterproof, we assigned scores as a function of boot height (and/or to the lowest point at which water can enter the boot).
With a 17.6 inch shaft height, the Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport easily wins the water resistance category, and with its relatively snug top fit, allowed us to comfortably wander around in relatively deep water (over a foot deep) without concerns. The second highest boots are the Hunter Original Tall (3/4" shorter), though, with their larger circumference shaft and their lighter-duty construction, we didn't trust these boots as much when they were exposed to waves or splashes.
Our test featured a variety of shaft heights, from boots that reached the top of our calves (at roughly 17 inches tall), to mid-height boots (roughly 12 inches tall), and also included two short boots (the Bogs Carson and the LaCrosse Alpha Muddy) which at around 6 inches tall came just over our testers' ankles. These low boots were stressfully low during our immersion testing (we were worried about any and all waves and splashes) but they were perfect for jaunts through soggy Seattle, when we didn't need to pay any attention to puddles (as we would in normal shoes).
For those who plan to spend full days in their rain boots, comfort is non-negotiable, and thanks to our years of experience on various farms, we knew exactly how to test the boots. Ultimately, through our comfort tests, we identified which boots we could wear for 10+ hours (the Bogs Classic Ultra High and Kamik Icebreaker) and which boots we wanted to stop wearing after 10 minutes (in particular, the RK Boot).
Shaft construction also played a large part in comfort, as more flexible foamed neoprene (Bogs Classic Ultra High and Original Muck Boots Company Edgewater II) won't buckle as much and push in against shins and ankles, while more rubbery boots (XTRATUF Legacy 15" and Hunter Original) took some getting used to.
To test for comfort, we spent 20+ hours in every boot, intentionally prioritizing long stints in boots (generally 5 hours+) and time on concrete and other hard surfaces to ensure the test was as hard on our feet as possible. There's a wide range of insoles (and lack thereof), and we tested the boots with the provided insoles extensively. Some had thick, cushioned insoles like the Bogs Classic Ultra High, while we were disappointed by other boots (which didn't even have insoles, just hard plastic - come on, RK Boot). In the interest of controlling as many variables as possible, we also supplemented with a hardier Green Superfeet insole.
We all have higher arches, and the Superfeet allowed us to ignore how insoles (and lack of adequate arch support) change the feeling of a boot, and to determine precisely how much comfort each boot can deliver for day-in and day-out comfort. We also wore these out and about during our daily lives, during everything from shopping at our local grocery store to car camping and cragging up in the Cascades.
The Bogs Classic Ultra High easily led the pack in comfort, especially when paired with a supportive insole. They fit like neoprene gloves, minimizing the loose fit we found in other boots (the Original Muckboot Edgewater II and RK Boot). Other comfortable boots include the Kamik Icebreaker, the Bogs Carson and the Baffin Enduro with a supplementary insole.
We were disappointed by some of the stiffer, more rigid boots, as they were more uncomfortable underfoot and tended to jab into our shins as their shafts bent. The RK Boot scored particularly poorly due to its lack of an insole and because we struggled with how inflexible it was. However, stiffer boots were not always terrible, as the Baffin Enduro boots are relatively stiff (and did buckle somewhat), but were comfortable underfoot, potentially due to their "Gel-flex midsoles."
It's also important to remember that comfort and warmth can be overlapping variables. As we intended to keep each metric as separate as possible from the others, we'll cover the essential ways that insulation affected general comfort in the warmth section below.
Rain boots are designed for use in rough, uncomfortable conditions, and it's important that they keep you up and on your feet, not rolling around in the mud. Some boots prioritized deep, ridged lugs that gripped mud and snow easily (the Original Muckboot Company Arctic Sport and Baffin Enduro), while others featured minimal outsoles better suited for flat pavement and urban use (the Hunter Original Tall and Original Muckboot Edgewater II).
We tested all boots on wet grass and mud, in river beds and the ocean, and on ice and snow. The Original Muckboot Company Arctic Sport took the lead again with its heavily studded outsole, allowing us to feel comfortable no matter the surface. The Baffin Enduro and Kamik Icebreaker also performed well in our traction tests.
The lowest performing boots were characterized by shallowly lugged outsoles, and while wearing them, we found our feet slipping on ice, snow, and mud. In particular, the wet grass hill-running test separated the wheat from the chaff: our feet slid all over in the low scoring Edgewater II, while the better performers made us feel like we were wearing crampons (in a good way).
However, through all our traction tests, we never found ourselves falling over completely, so even the lowest performing boots weren't too terrible.
Warmer boots aren't always better, as our testers realized during warm weather tests. No boot we tested was pleasant to wear much above 60°F. Instead, it's essential to consider the worst conditions you'd reasonably expect to encounter and choose boots accordingly. Depending on what you need out of a boot, there's something glorious about comfortably wading through foot-deep snow in 15°F (with windchill) in a fully insulated boot. The Original Muckboot Company Arctic Sport was an easy Top Pick for such conditions, as its microfleece-lined neoprene reached almost to our knees.
To accurately compare boot insulation, we conducted warmth tests in an ice bath with over 30 lbs of ice and a pound of salt to lower the freezing point of water. Wearing each pair without socks, we submerged the boots to the top of the shaft and recorded the time from initial immersion until the cold set in. We then did jumping jacks between boots to get our feet back up to comfortable temperatures before testing the next pair. We set an arbitrary cut-off time at 20 minutes so we wouldn't have to sit with our feet in an ice bath for an entire day. And while we prioritized the ice-water test in the scoring, we also used these boots in snow, ice, and other cold conditions, and incorporated each boots' ability to keep us warm into their overall scores.
For context, the boots with the lowest scores did not manage to keep our feet warm at all, and almost instantly cooled our feet to discomfort (Hunter boots, RK Boots, and XTRATUFs). The RK Boot's particularly low score is due to their lack of an insole, which meant that our feet were fully surrounded by instantly-uncomfortable cold rigid plastic. Other boots with insoles, no matter how slight, meant our bare feet had some protection from the chill.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Original Muckboot Company Arctic Sport managed to keep our bare feet warm until our 20 minute cutoff time. The Bogs Ultra Classic High scored the second highest, keeping our feet warm enough until 15 minutes in.
Boots in the middle of the scoring range were reasonably comfortable in a wide variety of ambient temperatures, while high scorers were difficult to wear above 45°F. And the lowest scoring boots were generally the most comfortable (warmth-wise) in the warmest weather but didn't do enough for our feet in the cold. Do keep in mind that our ice-water test was designed to be both standardizable and hard on the boots, but it may not be entirely realistic. It is unlikely that you will be wearing yours without any socks, and socks can dramatically increase a boot's insulation.
With thick mountaineering socks, we could even wear fully uninsulated boots (like the XTRATUF Legacy Series) down to 25 degrees, as long as we were exercising and not standing still.
While rainboots generally prioritize function over all other concerns, our testers (and fashion consultants) did find certain rainboots to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Most boots went the utilitarian route (most obviously the rugged Baffin Enduro, which pairs well with some oil-stained Carhartts), but some boots (especially the classy Bogs Carson) were much more subtle for urban use.
To get some objective idea of the stylishness of each boot, we asked a panel of friends to rank the boots from worst to best, based on whether they'd be happy to wear them out and about during a general day. These style scores were then averaged, though it's important to recognize that certain boots were controversial (in particular, the Bogs Carson, which earned rave reviews from all but one very dismissive consultant, and the RK Boot, which did far better than this tester thinks it should have), and ranked far differently depending on each consultant's aesthetic. Our most esteemed consultant was a New Zealander, where the rainboot (there called a "gumboot") is the national footwear and shines to its fullest potential when paired with rugby shorts.
Remember, this style assessment is only a guide, not an ultimatum - wear whichever strikes your fancy!
Ease of Use
This may not seem like an important metric, but after 280+ hours in rain boots, we truly appreciated the boots that were easy to get on and off.
The Editors' Choice Bogs Classic Ultra High blew all the other competitors out of the water with its handles and heel studs. It's surprisingly helpful to be able to carry your boots with the handles, and we read at least one review where someone attached these boots with a carabiner to the outside of their packs.
Other boots with wider circumference shafts were also easy to slip on and kick off. The low boots were the most difficult to put on, especially the Bogs Carson, which required testers to use their fingers like shoehorns to force their feet through the somewhat constricting top of the boot. We also had trouble putting on and taking off boots with snugger shafts and ankles (in particular the XTRATUFs and Hunter Boots), as we couldn't just step in and out of the boots (one of our favorite parts of rain boots) but instead had to sit down (or risk falling over) to finagle our heels in and out of the boots.
Since rain boots will pretty much always end up dirty, we also tested how easily we could hose off each boot. We found that almost all of them were extremely easy to rinse off, with two exceptions - the Xtratuf and the Baffin Enduro.
Both these boots, especially the Xtratuf had spaces in the outsole where gravel and other hard objects could get lodged and needed to be picked out with pliers or pried out, or the boots would make annoying clicking noises as we walked around. If you are mainly spending your time on boat decks, this might not be a big deal, but we found it frustrating.
Sizing + Fit
As footwear geeks, we take sizing and fit seriously, and spend way too much time finding the perfect fit for our many backpacking boots, climbing shoes, ski boots, trail running shoes, approach shoes, (we could go on…) But the truth of it is that you don't need a super technical fit out of your rain boots (unless you're doing some ridiculous stuff), so don't worry too much about it unless your feet are particularly tricky to fit.
We'll discuss specific sizing information in the individual reviews, but here are some general comments. Our reviewers went with size 13s for every model but the Baffin Enduro which is bigger than it should be. And all our boots fit relatively well, except for the LaCrosse Alpha Muddy, for which we should have gotten a smaller size, as they run huge. Our reviewers have exactly size 12 feet, with a D width (measured with a Brannock device, which are in any footwear store), and went with 13s as we wanted a bit of toe space and room to wear thick socks.
So measure your feet with a Brannock, and for most of the boots, go a size up. And width-wise, if your feet are C or D or even E, you'll be fine in any of these options. If your feet are on the narrower side, take a look at the Bogs Carson (which run narrower) and the XTRATUFs (which run just a bit narrower than standard). And if your feet are truly wide (EE or wider), you might be able to get away with the LaCrosse Alpha Muddy (as we found it ran quite wide), but none of these may work without some pinching.
If you're looking to keep your feet dry in wet and cold weather, rain boots are perfect. And while you might think rain boots are guaranteed to be uncomfortable and clunky, our testers found that our test encompassed a wide variety of boots. Read on through our individual boot reviews for all the specific details, and if you're overwhelmed and want to talk basics, head on over to our Buying Advice article article.
— Richard Forbes
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.