In addition to wearing all the products on a regular basis, Fenn conducted a series of head-to-head tests to closely compare all the test pieces. To ensure their weather protection, she submerged all the rain boots in the bathtub for more than two hours and checked each for any water leaks. When she discovered a potential leak in one boot, she ran it through a series of more in-depth tests and discovered that it was not actually fully waterproof. She also devised a slippery rock obstacle course to test traction. Located in a nearby creek, the obstacle course included low- and medium-angle stones, as well as algae-covered rocks and moving water. Finally, to test warmth, Fenn filled a bucket with ice-cold water and submerged her feet into the water while wearing each pair of boots. Since the majority of the review took place in late spring and early summer, this was the most effective testing method. She waited to see how long it took for her feet to feel the chill of the ice water and then rated each product accordingly.
Once she had completed all the field tests, Fenn weighed each product and measured the height of the shaft and the circumference of the boot opening. Since most of the models in the review did not leak, weather protection was largely based upon the height of the shaft and the size of the gap between the shin and the rim of the boot where water could drip or splash in. Weight had a notable effect on the comfort scores; in fact, the lightest boot earned some of the highest comfort scores, while the heavier products suffered a bit in the category. Lastly, Fenn polled more than a dozen women on the style of each product, averaging their opinions to generate the final style scores. At the end of the review, OutdoorGearLab presented the Tretorn Kelly with its Editors' Choice Award, the Kamik Heidi with its Best Buy Award, and the Bogs Women's Classic High with its Top Pick for Cold Weather Award. The remainder of this article will include additional information about each of these award-winners.
The Editors' Choice winner is made of PVC-free natural rubber and features a minimalist design. It doesn't have the molded detailing that some of the more stylish boots had, but it still earned decent scores in the company's style metric. The shaft measures 14 inches, making this product a “mid-height”
This glossy, mid-height boot took home OutdoorGearLab's Best Buy award. Although it's only $50, the Kamik Heidi proved to be waterproof, stylish, and had good traction. It earned the lowest scores in comfort and warmth, in part because its synthetic rubber shaft is unlined. Even though it's not very warm, Fenn points out that this could be a plus for some customers. Women who live in warmer climates simply don't need added warmth from their rain boots. The testers appreciated that this product comes in many bright colors, and that it has some molded detailing across the toe box and ankle for a little added interest. The Best Buy award winner comes highly recommended from OutdoorGearLab's testers.
Bogs Women's Classic High
This product earned the Top Pick for Cold Weather Rain Boot. Comprised of neoprene and rubber, it is comfort rated into the negative temperatures. Although OutdoorGearLab did not test it in extreme cold conditions, the Bogs Classic High kept testers' feet warm in several surprise spring snowstorms. This product offers plenty of support and its supple neoprene upper easily moves with the legs. It's a perfect option for women who endure cold, snowy, and/or muddy springs, as these boots are much easier to clean off than a textile winter boot. Although it's short on style, the Bogs Classic High is an excellent option for a workhorse boot that will keep you warm and dry.
Headquartered in Cheyenne Wyoming, OutdoorGearLab LLC strives to create world’s best outdoor gear reviews. The company’s website is a free resource for people who participate in activities such as hiking, climbing, backpacking, and camping, or who simply love the outdoors. OutdoorGearLab Gear Editors across the country test outdoor equipment side-by-side and publish the results in comparative reviews. Products receive scores across a range of weighted categories, competitors are ranked, and awards are given to top-performing products. See more at http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/