This is Worth the Hype, where our writers and editors put popular products to the test to see if they are, in fact, worth the hype.
As the adage goes, April showers bring May flowers. And while this may very well be true, April showers also bring a lot of mud. With more time to be outside, now is a great time to invest in a wearable, durable, and fashionable pair of rain boots.
It goes as no surprise that the Brits have perfected boots for rainy weather. That, paired with their love of outdoorsmanship and a bit of prestige dressing, means that I trust whatever is coming out of the United Kingdom when it comes to rain-ready garments.
Without compare, Hunter Boots stand up to the test of what makes a functional – and fashionable – rain boot.
A Military History
Like a waxed Barbour jacket or a Burberry trench, Hunter Boots are connected to a military past. While the Wellington boot proper can be traced to the Duke of Wellington in the 1850s as a modified hessian boot for sporting, it wasn’t until the First World War when the design became a standard part of the general population’s dress.
The muddy trenches of war-torn Europe resulted in the need for a water-repellent, sturdy boot with a high line up the calf to protect against the elements. The resulting boot, the new iteration of the Wellington, fit the needs of the military, and by the end of WWI, over one million boots were on the ground and stamped with the now-ubiquitous Hunter logo. This would cement the brand as the preeminent rain boot manufacturer of England.
By the 1940s, the Wellington had become popular among the civilian class for its fairly economical price point, its sturdiness, and its water repellency compared to leather boots, which had been more common at the time. By the mid-century, they were the de rigeur uniform for everyone from school kids splashing in mud puddles to the working class. In fact, part of the charm of Hunter Boots is that they transcend social and economic classes. The late Queen Elizabeth and current monarch, Charles, are both fans of the brand (both giving Royal Warrants to the company), but one would as likely see a humble gardener in a pair, too.
As Fashionable as Ever
It’s rare for a brand with over 160 years of history to remain in an upward trajectory with no end in sight. Part of the appeal of Hunter is that it’s a brand with heritage that simply does design well. While there are occasional color and pattern changes and new products added (even the occasional collaboration, like with Target a few years ago), there’s no denying that the simple, bulky design in a neutral palette somehow appeals to a wide swath of the population.
Styling a pair of Hunter Boots is incredibly easy and doesn’t require much thought. Because of the bulk of the shoe, try to avoid wearing skinny jeans, as it’ll look a bit cartoonish. I usually add a bit of layering on top (such as a jacket or even a thicker sweater) to counterbalance the weight on my feet. As long as you keep the palette of the overall look neutral and the tone casual, you can incorporate Hunters relatively easily into your existing wardrobe.
Best of all, they really do last for ages. I’m still rocking a pair I bought nearly a decade ago, and while there are a few scuffs and scrapes, they’re still as comfortable as ever and my feet are grateful for the water repellency when I’m out mucking in the garden on a rainy morning.
- Variety of styles to choose from with the most popular being the Original Tall Boot
- Buckle adjustment at top of boot
- Waterproof with polyester lining
- Crafted from a vulcanized rubber with a matte finish