I tested 10 pairs of men’s rain boots by wading into the Hudson River and walking in the rain – here’s how they stacked up

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Best rain boots - someone wearing rainboots in

  • When getting from point A to point B means sloshing through mud, there’s a rain boot for the job.
  • We’ve gathered together fashionable, utilitarian boots to keep your feet dry in wet weather.
  • Look good and stay dry with these waterproof boots.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Wet weather may be inevitable, but suffering through it with wet feet in squishy footwear doesn’t have to be. A superior rain boot or a waterproof boot (along with a good raincoat) can turn a dismal day trudging through the rain into, if not a fun experience, at least one that won’t ruin your mood and leave you with damp socks. Beyond that, you don’t have to look like Paddington Bear when you go out in the rain, since there are many fashionable options to suit your personal style while still staying dry.

How I tested rain boots for this guide:

Besides wearing the boots while walking in the rain (the things I do for my job!) I also tested them by wading into the nearby Hudson River until the boots were submerged to the boot’s collar or until water seeped inside (again, the things I do for this job!). For more details on testing, see our explainer slide below.

Here are the best rain boots for men in 2021:

XTRATUF Rubber Deck Boot

Best Rain boots - XTRATUF Rubber Deck Boot

XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boots are completely waterproof, slip resistant, and have a moisture-wicking liner. Trusted by folks in the Alaskan fishing industry, these boots will keep your feet dry in the heaviest rains. 

XTRATUF has been around for more than 60 years and made its reputation among Alaska’s fisheries and docks, earning their Legacy ankle boots the nickname “Alaskan sneakers.” 

The XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boot is made from hand-layered neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber, for a completely waterproof boot (note: these aren’t meant for commercial applications). The only way you’re going to get your feet wet is if the water is deeper than the top of the boot. While testing them during a rainstorm, the water beaded off the surface and my feet stayed completely dry. The outsoles, made from slip-resistant chevron rubber, worked well on muddy surfaces and when scrambling over wet boulders. Because they’re made of neoprene, the boots aren’t as breathable as leather, but they’re lined with a moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial lining called Xpresscool that helps keep your feet cooler on warm days.

The biggest surprise was how comfortable they were. I walked more than five miles in these straight out of the box with no issues. They’re light, around one pound, and feature a front and back pull-on tabs to help get your feet in and out of them. They don’t come in half sizes. I normally wear a 9.5 so sized up to a 10 as recommended by the brand, and they fit well. 

Ankle Deck Boots (small)
REEF Voyage Boot LE

The best rain boots - REEF Voyage LE

The REEF Voyage LE is a waterproof and extremely lightweight boot that has you covered if you’re caught in a rainstorm in the city or traversing a stream on a day hike. 

REEF, the beach brand started by two Argentinian brothers in the 1980s, is best known for its sandals, but the company also makes great boots. 

The REEF Voyage Boot is a chukka style ankle boot that is both stylish and great for wet weather, or the beach when it’s not raining. Made from waterproof full-grain leather, it also has a rubber cupsole—a type of outsole made from a single piece of rubber that’s very flexible—and has good gripping ability in wet conditions. Unlike many of the boots I tested, water doesn’t noticeably bead on the leather’s surface, but it doesn’t penetrate the material deeply, nor does it affect the leather’s color or texture once dried. I found these boots to be fully waterproof both while testing them in a rainstorm and at the river’s edge. Water seeped into the boots where the tongue meets the shaft once I went deeper into the water. If that happens, no worries, these boots dry really fast—about an hour with the cork insoles removed. 

The Voyage boots are very comfortable straight out of the box—I’ve worn them on several 5+ mile excursions with no foot trouble. They’re incredibly lightweight at just 15.4 ounces, but still provide decent ankle and arch support thanks to what the brand calls ‘Swellular Technology,” comprised of three layers: a soft foam deck, a slightly firmer midsole, and the aforementioned rubber outsole. They also have a soft corduroy lining.  

These boots fit true to size. No additional or special care is required to help maintain the boot’s waterproofing, according to a company rep I spoke with, and the brand offers a one-year guarantee against manufacturer’s defects. 

Voyage LE (small)
Sperry Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot

Best Rain boots - Men's Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot

Sperry has been making footwear for wet conditions for 90 years and the brand’s Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot marries classic looks with functionality so you can look good and also keep your feet dry.

These are sophisticated enough for running around the city on a rainy day, but are hardcore enough for fishing or other outdoor activities. 

The shaft is made from a waterproof quilted nylon with a tongue that’s attached for its entire length to prevent water from seeping in (known as a bellows tongue or gusseted tongue in footwear terminology). Below, a waterproof rubber shell keeps your feet dry. No water made it into the boots when I walked into the river with them. When I tested them on a very rainy walk, water beaded off the surface and kept my feet completely dry. The lugged rubber outsoles kept me from slipping in muddy conditions. 

I found the Sperry Nylon Duck Boot to be comfortable for long walks, five or more miles. The lining is soft and they fit true to size. Because the boots are partially quilted and the shell is rubber, these may not be suitable for hot summer wear, but are definitely good for spring, fall, and mild winters.

Men’s Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot (small)
Danner Vertigo 917

Vertigo 917 Java

The Danner Vertigo 917 are super lightweight, feature a Gore Tex liner, and are handsome enough for a night out but rugged enough for a day hike. 

Danner, the Oregon-based heritage boot brand, has been keeping feet warm and dry since 1932. The company’s Vertigo 917 Boot goes beyond utilitarian needs (though it provides that too) with an aesthetically handsome style that still keeps your feet dry in the rain. 

The Vertigo 917 has a waterproofed leather upper and features a 100% waterproof Gore-Tex liner that’s breathable, so your feet stay dry whether from water or your own sweat. The lower portion of the tongue has a mesh liner layered over a waterproof membrane attached to the shank to help regulate your temperature and to keep water from seeping in. I found them to have very good traction on wet surfaces. They have a Vibram XS Trek outsole—Vibram is an Italian company that sets the standard for rubber soles with gripping ability—that provides stability and traction. It should be noted that these boots cannot be resoled. 

I’ve taken these on five-mile in-town walks and on longer day hikes. There was a short break-in period—they rubbed at the ankle bone on my first five-mile walk in them—but by the third wear they had become very comfortable. These are flexible and extremely light—35 ounces for the pair—making them great for longer treks. They have a removable OrthoLite Footbed with three layers for maximum cushioning and support. They fit true to size and are nicely designed for easily getting them on and off. 

 A brand rep advised me that the leather’s protective coating will eventually wear off so apply Danner’s Waterproofing Gel when you notice the leather beginning to darken.

Vertigo 917 (small)
Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid

The best rain boots - Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid

 The Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid has you covered in the wettest, muddiest conditions while remaining comfortable. 

The Original Muck Boot Company is the go-to work boots for both farmers and gardeners of all stripes working in muddy, damp, slippery conditions. The company’s Originals Pull On Mid is a workhorse of a boot that will keep your feet dry and comfortable for all-day wear. 

The Originals Pull On Mid is made from hand-layered rubber over a neoprene bootie. I wore these mid-calf-length boots while working in the garden over several days and on a 2.5 mile walk in a heavy rain. When testing them out, water beaded off the surface well and when I waded out into the Hudson, the boots were completely waterproof. The only way water is getting in is if it goes over the top. They provided good traction in muddy conditions. 

The first time I wore them they rubbed against my calf, a problem solved by tucking my pants into the boots. Longer socks would also solve this problem. They were very comfortable—the boots have molded footbeds with a layer of memory foam. The boots were easy to get on and off thanks to the tab at the back. These don’t come in half-sizes, so I opted for the next size up as recommended by the brand. They felt a bit big, so I wore them with thicker socks to fix the problem and they were fine. Because they’re made from rubber, they don’t breathe as well as leather, but I didn’t find them unduly hot while working outside in 70 degree weather. My feet didn’t noticeably sweat in them. The footbeds are both antimicrobial so they don’t stink and moisture wicking to help keep your feet feeling dry. You can get away with four season wear depending on your climate.

Pull On Mid (small)
Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460

Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460s

Look cool and keep your feet dry in the Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460s, which are fully waterproof and incredibly comfortable. 

Bring a little rock-and-roll to your rainy day excursions with the Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460 boots. These boots surprised me twice. The first time was when I took them on a five-mile walk straight out of the box. These are solidly made boots that weigh in at 1.14 ounces each but are remarkably comfortable. They’re amply cushioned at the collar and on the tongue. The soles are also very cushiony. They don’t call them “Air Wair” for nothing (the company’s brand since the 1960s) since the soles are air-cushioned. 

The Waterproof 1460 has the same look as the originals (the logo tab on back, iconic yellow stitching, grooved sidewalls, DMS tread) but also feature “Drywair,” a proprietary waterproof membrane that keeps moisture out but is breathable enough to keep your feet from perspiring. They also have a twin heat-sealed welt and a gusseted tongue that keeps water from seeping in. My second big surprise with these Dr. Martens came when I waded out into the Hudson in them. No water got in. None. The outsoles provided great gripping ability in muddy, slippery conditions. 

Dr. Martens don’t come in half-sizes, so I sized down to a 9 per the company’s advice and they fit perfectly. They only come in black in a waxy, oil-finish called Republic WP. They’re easy to clean too. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth. My only quibble with these boots (a tiny one) was the length of the laces. I’m a double knotter and the shortness of these laces didn’t really allow for this.

Waterproof 1460s (small)
Le Chameau Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot

Le Chameau Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot

The Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot by Le Chameau is a classic Wellington-style rain boot that has thoughtful details for an elevated experience. 

Le Chameau, a French heritage brand, has been keeping the feet of farmers, hunters, and anglers dry and comfortable for nearly 100 years. The Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot is a classic calf-length wellington-style rubber rain boot with a ton of nice details that elevates it above the competition. These boots are handcrafted from the company’s Chamolux rubber that starts with Grade A rubber from Vietnam that’s mixed with some secret ingredients to produce the famously soft, supple and fully waterproof boot material. 

The thoughtful details include a soft polycotton, tartan patterned jersey lining, an adjustable waterproof gusset with snap-fastening buckle for a perfect fit, and shock-absorbing dual-density outsoles with a shank reinforcement board for better stability and arch support. The outsole is abrasion resistant and provides traction on uneven, slippery surfaces. 

The Vierzon is a four-season boot, depending on your climate (they are rated for temperatures down to 0°C and are comfortable for use during warmer months thanks to the quick-drying lining that helps wick away sweat. These boots, like all the company’s products, come with a two-year warranty and free shipping in the U.S.

Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot (small)
Rockport Mid Moc Waterproof Boot

ROCKPORT Men’s Waterproof Mid Moc Boot

The Rockport Mid Moc is good-looking, super comfortable, and fully waterproof, to boot. 

Rockport is known for casual, comfortable footwear that’s made for walking. The Mid Moc Waterproof Boot is true to the brand. Made from a full-grain waterproof leather, they are really comfortable, good-looking, and will keep your feet dry on a rainy-day hike. 

I’ve worn these on in-town walks and day hikes of at least five miles, and from day one I had no foot issues. They have a nicely cushioned collar and tongue, and an EVA footbed that provides good support and helps prevent foot fatigue. They also provide excellent ankle support. 

These are seam sealed, have a gusseted tongue, and a waterproof insole. They kept my feet dry, both while hiking in the rain and during river testing. It should be noted the gusseted tongue only goes up about two-thirds of the way, so water can seep in if the water is deeper than that. The boots also have anti-microbial and moisture-wicking footbeds. The thick rubber outsoles provide good gripping power in slippery conditions. These boots fit true to size.

Mid Moc Waterproof Boot (small)
Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot

Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot

The Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot wears like a sneaker, looks like a cross between a Chelsea boot and a duck boot, and is made from premium materials to keep your feet dry no matter the conditions. 

Huckberry has made its reputation with products that are equal parts cool, innovative, and well-made, so it’s no surprise their All-Weather Chore Boot ticks off all these boxes and more. This is a hybrid between a Chelsea boot and a duck boot with a waterproof full-grain leather upper, rubberized leather rand at the heel, and Vibram outsole that provides traction in slippery conditions. 

The interior has a waterproof lycra membrane that’s breathable so water won’t get in, but sweat will evaporate to help keep feet dry and comfortable. The uppers have sealed seams and are joined using waterproof cement and glue. The rand at the back and toe cap help protect against tears and abrasions.

These fit like a sneaker, with a cushioned insole and EVA midsole that provide great shock absorption. Pull tabs at the back and elastic at the sides (like traditional Chelsea boots) make for easy on and off. These fit true to size.

All-Weather Chore Boot (small)
Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot

Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot

The Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot has a reinforced composite nano toe, will keep you comfortable during long shifts, and dry if caught in the rain. 

Brunt is a new direct-to-consumer brand that’s quickly becoming a goto workwear staple. The Perkins is a tough full-grain leather work boot. Designed for the worksite, it’s got a reinforced composite nano toe and shank (the long thin piece of material in a boot that sits between the insole and outsole and provides support). These are fairly light for reinforced-toe work boots, weighing in at around two pounds each. Traditional steel-toe work boots can be as heavy as 4.5 pounds. The boots have double stitching at key areas that tend to wear faster and durable toe caps and heel guards. The Perkins meet the ASTM International standards for safety toe work boots. This international standards organization provides technical standards for a variety of products and materials. 

The Perkins is also very comfortable. I wore these working in the yard and around the house and walked 2.5 miles in them with no foot issues. There was no break-in time required. The Perkins features a rubber foam midsole, a three-layer removable insole, and extra padding at the collar. 

These boots performed well in normal rain conditions thanks to triple-layer waterproofing. Water beaded off the surface and my feet stayed dry. In the river, no water seeped in via the seams. The boots don’t have a gusseted tongue so water can seep in through there, but these aren’t meant to be used to slog through the Hudson and will definitely keep your feet dry in most situations. They took about 10 hours to dry out inside. The Perkins also have heavy-duty outsoles that prevented me from slipping in muddy (even oily) conditions. They fit true to size and have a cool feature that lets you adjust the boot width from regular (D) to a wider fit (EE).

Perkins Waterproof Work Boot (small)
How I tested rain boots for this guide

I tested these rain boots for comfort, breathability, ease of getting in and out of them, how well they grip in slippery conditions, and, of course, how they stood up against water. I walked and/or hiked in each of them at least twice, sometimes more, for at least 2.5 miles (in most cases twice that distance) at a time during rainstorms. I submerged them in puddles as well as wading out into the Hudson River in them. In the case of the Muck Boots and Brunt Work Boots, I used them while working in my yard and doing chores around the house. 

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We tested 3 styles of Hunter boots in varying weather – here’s what you should know about sizing, fit, and performance

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Hunter rain boots review 4x3
  • A pair of fully waterproof, durable, and comfortable boots is a must during the rainy season.
  • Hunter boots, famous for its Original Tall Boot ($150) was created in 1856 and makes a variety of styles.
  • We tested three pairs of Hunter boots on the rainy streets of New York City and shared our reviews.

Hunter boots are a ubiquitous sighting on rainy days. Come gentle sprinkles or torrential downpours, you can expect to see a few pairs of these short and tall boots splashing through streets, no matter where you are.

The funny thing about Hunter’s rubber rain boots is that they have quite a simple design, yet they’re still so recognizable and iconic. An easy way to differentiate them from other brands is the Hunter label at the front opening of the boot, or by their rich color and glossy finish.

The history of Hunter boots

Hunter rain boots review_The history of Hunter boots

The classic boots have a rich history, going back to 1856. In Scotland, an American named Henry Lee Norris founded the North British Rubber Company (which later became Hunter) and made boots using a new patented process that created more durable rubber products. During both World Wars, the company was commissioned to create boots for soldiers.

In 1955, Hunter created the Original Green Wellington, otherwise known as the Original Tall Boot. The versatile, comfortable, and durable handcrafted style is still the brand’s most popular shoe.

Other than the Original Tall Boots, Hunter now makes a variety of boot styles for men, women, and children. It has also expanded into outerwear and bags.

The materials

Hunter rain boots review_The materials

Hunter Boots are made from natural latex rubber that’s flexible and waterproof – and sourced from sustainable and ethical plantations in China and Southeast Asia.

Another reason to shop with the company is that it recycles old boots in the UK and donates fully functional boots to local nonprofits, particularly those that help victims of political conflict or natural disasters.

You can find Hunter boots at Nordstrom and Amazon, as well as the Hunter website. Something you should consider when you’re deciding where to buy them is the warranty policy. If you buy directly from Hunter, your boots are covered by a two-year warranty.

Here are our reviews after trying 3 pairs of Hunter rain boots:

A pair of adjustable, fashion-forward rain boots

Hunter rain boots review_Women's Refined Slim Fit Adjustable Short Gloss Rain Boots Black

These slick black boots are the perfect look for a rainy day, and I appreciate that they have fewer rubber layers so they feel particularly lightweight. They do the simple job of keeping my feet dry, and the adjustable strap at the top can be tightened for added protection against serious downpours.

But they’re not the most comfortable to wear. I got my standard size (9), and my heel rubs up against the back of the shoes while I walk. I’d consider sizing up, especially if you plan to wear them with socks thicker than your everyday pair, but Hunter currently only offers full sizes. If you’re an 8.5 or even an 8, these may be the perfect fit for you. For me, I’ll probably stick to my Everlane rain boots – despite how much heavier they are. -Mara Leighton, Insider Reviews senior reporter

Refined Slim Fit Adjustable Short Gloss Rain Boots (small)

A pair of classic canary yellow boots

Hunter rain boots review_Original Short Waterproof Rain Boot

When all the dreary days of winter seem to blend together, sometimes all you need is a pop of color to brighten your day. At least, that was my reasoning behind choosing these yellow boots that would also help me stand out from a pack of black-clad New Yorkers.

The color, durability, and comfort of the boots make me instantly excited to trek through the rain, even though this California girl generally hates any precipitation. They feel sturdy, but they’re not too heavy, and the outsole has a secure tread.

You should be fine with your usual size. I found while wearing my normal socks that there was a good amount of wiggle room, so once weather conditions really become dire, you’ll be able to wear thick socks to stay warm. If you have thick calves, you should consider these shorter boots versus Hunter’s classic tall style. Tall boots can sometimes be difficult for me to take off, but I could put on and take off the pair above easily without worrying about being stuck in them. -Connie Chen, Insider Reviews senior reporter

Original Short Gloss Waterproof Rain Boot (small)

A pair of insulated boots to keep your legs really warm

Hunter rain boots review_Hunter Original Tall Insulated Rain Boots

As far as warmth goes, these boots are all you need for a cold, wet day – they even work well in the snow. I put a pair of shearling insoles in mine for added softness and warmth around my toes, but the faux-shearling liner keeps my legs perfectly cozy. As far as insulation goes, I’ve literally walked on the beach in a 30-something degree day while letting ocean water lap over the boots, and my feet stayed perfectly warm and dry.

One thing to note about sizing, though, is that Hunter’s tall boots have pretty narrow calves. I have this pair in a wide-leg size, which the company no longer makes, but they do have a shorter mid-calf pair that works well even for wide calves.

Another thing to note is that the rim of the boots may hit the back of your thigh a bit as you go up and down the stairs. I’m a little over 5 feet tall, and this is an issue I have with any stiff knee-high boots, but if you’re any taller than 5-foot-3-inches, you should be fine. Overall, these are a really warm upgrade to Hunter’s OG tall boots. -Sally Kaplan, Insider Reviews deputy editor

Original Tall Insulated Rain Boots (small)

Shop all Hunter boots at Nordstrom or on the Hunter website.

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