HUNTER Rubber Boots: An Honest Review

Let’s cut to the chase, $100 rubber boots are an incredible extravagance. As you can see, my boots are still in pristine condition because I haven’t had the guts to wear them to the farm yet.

The rubber of the Hunter Boot is soft and buttery, much more flexible than my other pairs of rubber boots. I chose the matte “Military Red” instead of “Red”, “Hunter Red” or “Red Gloss”. The closest thing I can compare it to color-wise is the plastic lid on a 2020 jar of cashews from Costco, if that serves you. I was concerned that the other three reds would be too bright, but now I wish I had kicked it up a notch! “Red” really lights my fire, “Hunter Red” is my favorite shade and “Red Gloss” would certainly turn heads, though I’m not sure how well the gloss finish would hold up to farm use.

My mistake was ordering the “Tall” version. I have large calves and boots are often a struggle because of this. HUNTER labels their mid-calf boots as “short” boots which is confusing because their truly short ankle boots are also labeled short. I obviously should have spent more time figuring this out. You can see in this photo that my right boot looks almost normal, but the left boot has an awkward bulge around the ankle. My right calf is still small from months of being in a cast, but my left calf is too large for the narrow opening and is pushing the boot down. Particularly bad because that is one of the common break points on my rubber boots from the rubber constantly flexing back and forth. I probably would have been better off with the “Original Short” in “Red Gloss”.

Those are all fit issues that you may not have. I can say that I had only seen a few women wear Hunters in America. All I knew was that HUNTER rubber boots were revered and they had been around for over 100 years.

Having my own became my 2020 Mother’s Day wish. When I unwrapped them I learned a lot about the company. HUNTER was founded in 1856, and they hold a British Royal Warrant as a supplier of Waterproof footwear to the Queen and her husband. They are obviously proud of that fact, but as Americans it’s hard to appreciate what a big deal a rubber boot is in Britain.

I had red rubber boots as a little kid and then went 20 years without even trying on a pair until I moved to England in 2008. In England, if you like the outdoors you will constantly have wet feet if you don’t own a pair of rubbers! Got your attention? In England rubber boots are called ‘rubbers’ or ‘wellies’….I had to work so hard with my pre-school children to get them to say ‘wellies’ only. I knew we were eventually moving back to the U.S. and didn’t want them embarrassing themselves or us. My absolute favorite pair is regular black with a cloth collar. I would wear them on one-mile walks through the woods. I have finally worn them to the point they leak, but they fit so well I leave them at the Greenhouse as a back-up pair. I bought them in England and don’t think I’ll ever find a pair just the same. A girl can dream though!

This grey pair also has a place on my shelf because they are attractive and affordable enough that I have had the guts to wear them. Even though it has a non-functioning zipper which is a shameful piece of dishonesty, it is a very practical color with a little style thrown in for free.

You can see that they are 2″ shorter than the HUNTER boots, so not actually a mid-calf, but not so long that they bunch up around the ankle. They also have a back seam-cover that is only 3/4″ while the HUNTER boot has a 1-3/4″ seam-cover.

It sports something practical the HUNTER doesn’t have though. The grey pair have pull off bumpers at the heels save you the trouble of finding a boot jack to pry off your clay-covered boots. In the above photo you can see the bumper to the left of the Watermark. Below you can see how the bumper makes removing your boots so much easier. However, the greys don’t have near the tread that the HUNTERs do.

All in all, a pair of HUNTERS is a chance to own a British status symbol…which makes it a great gift for a budding homesteader! Just be aware of some of the fit issues. If you choose to go with a less expensive rubber boot, consider how the pattern and finish will ‘patina’ with real use. Boots that have designs printed on the outside might wear off oddly and gloss may scuff oddly. Choosing a pair with the design under the clear rubber protects the design and creates a bit of a ‘jewel’ appearance on your feet. Like my cute garden clogs.

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