The products in the review preparing for a traction test.
- July 17, 2014
-- In its recent review, OutdoorGearLab released a buying advice guide for the best women's rain boots
. Written by Gear Editor, Amanda Fenn, the article offers advice based on months of testing and research. Fenn has written reviews of several other types of women's footwear for the website and brings her insights to this new article. She begins the guide by discussing the different applications for rain boots, winter boots, waterproof hiking boots, and flip-flops, pointing out that the non-lace-up, rubber products in this review are not suitable for technical pursuits and are better saved for around town. That said, the review did include several cold weather models. Consumers may wish to use these models rather than a pair of winter boots when dealing with mud and slush, since the textile uppers on winter boots can be difficult to clean. Many pairs of winter boots also lace up, which gives them a more customized fit. Likewise, waterproof hikers still offer weather protection (but aren't as tall as other boots), and they are appropriate for more technical outings. Finally, Fenn reminds consumers that very few of the products in the review are breathable, but all of them do offer some level of warmth. If you often experience warm rain, sometimes the best option is to just wear flip-flops.
After establishing this basic break-down, the buying advice continues with a discussion on climate. Fenn recommends that consumers think about their typical precipitation and the average temperatures. Those who live in highly precipitous areas should seek out a model that offers good weather protection and comfort, as this will allow the wearer to use them all day long. Women who only foresee using their rain boots a few days per month in the spring and fall can get away with choosing a pair that is less comfortable, and instead focus more on factors like style. The article goes on to explain that some models offer too much warmth for mild climates, and it encourages women to think critically about the weather patterns in their areas.
Another important consideration is fashion vs. function. As mentioned above, women who live in extremely rainy areas will view their boots as a necessity, while many other will view them as a cute accessory. Fenn recommends that women think about whether they want an “around-town”
boot or an “around-the-
house” outdoor chore boot. Those who need a rugged work boot for chilly days should consider the Top Pick for Cold Weather, the Bogs Women's Classic High. This more rugged product earned lower points in OutdoorGearLab's style metric, but received props in traction, warmth, and weather protection. Similarly, the Sloggers Rain and Garden Boot is easy to slip on and off for chores around the yard, but isn't very warm or stylish. Fenn points out, however, that just because a boot is somewhat stylish does not mean that it's not functional. Because rain boots are designed more as around-town footwear, women can have the best of both worlds. The Tretorn Kelly earned mid-level style scores as well as good marks in traction and weather protection.
The article wraps up with an explanation of fit. For the most part, rain boots come in whole, rather than half, sizes, and most don't have laces, which can make fitting them a little challenging. Most of the models in this review slipped a bit in the heel when walking. There's no real way around this except to opt for either a lighter weight boot, or to choose a well-fitted lace-up boot. The products that Fenn tested varied in footbed width and height. She details each model's fit in each of the individual product reviews. For more information, be sure to reference these articles.
OutdoorGearLab LLC is a company headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dedicated to creating world’s best outdoor gear reviews, the company performs side-by-side testing of outdoor gear and publishes the results in comparative reviews. Each product is scored across a range of weighted categories, competing products are graded, and top performing products receive awards. The company’s web site http://www.outdoorgearlab.com
, is a free resource for people who love the outdoors and participate in activities such as hiking, climbing, backpacking, and camping.