Hunter Youth Rain Boots, big kids sz 4. From left to right: w/ tights, jeans, and tights w/ fleece socks
Jackets from left to right: H&M, Gap, and Burberry (all old)
In the realm of functional, waterproof boots, Hunter is one of the oldest brands that come to mind. The company has a long withstanding history of keeping feet dry and protected (including those of soldiers fighting in flooded trenches during both world wars), and claims the following benefits in its classic wellies:
- watertight design made of vulcanized natural rubber
- quick-drying woven nylon lining
- cushioned insole for arch support and an orthopedic fit
These claims must have some substance, as Hunter boots are loved by farmers to fashionistas alike. I recently picked up a pair of Hunter womens wedges, but cautioned against wearing heels/wedges (even rubber ones) on icy days. Although chunkier flat boots may look less stylish on petite women, it's a small sacrifice to make for safety.
Hunter Youth Boot, in big kids sz 4, 6+ colors (free shipping & returns)
The womens Original Tall is Hunter's most renowned boot, but for women with shorter calves or very small feet, the Youth boot may be a better option. When I tried on the Original Tall, the shaft hit right at my lower knees and dug in with every step. In comparison, the Youth Original felt much more comfortable. Some differences between the Hunters Women Original Tall vs. Youth boots:
- Sizing: 5 to 11 womens vs. 1 to 6 youth (the 6 youth allegedly converts to a sz 38 womens). Whole sizes only for both. See this kids size conversion chart (second chart down, on the left) for more info.
- Shaft height: 16" inch womens vs. 12.5" youth (not including the ~1" heel). Height will vary with sizing. Womens height was measured on a sz 8, and youth height was measured on a sz 4.
- Shaft circumference: 15" womens vs. 14" youth.
- Reflective patches on the youth only. These were designed to keep kids safe and are great for that purpose. I know many adults who don't mind them, but am personally not a fan. Instagram and Facebook friends suggested solutions ranging from a Sharpie marker, to nail polish or spray paint. I did a small test spot with a Sharpie, but have yet to commit to that route.
- Retail price: $135 womens vs. $75 youth for the boots. Womens fleece liner socks start at $30 vs. $20 for the youth.
I also tried on the Womens Classic Short, which are shorter but wider in the shaft (10" height and 15" circumference) than the youth, and felt truncating on me. Over the holidays, I ended up getting the Youth with fleece socks using a one-time Bloomies coupon thanks to Elle. If interested, keep an eye out for friends & family events or online promos, which sometimes do not exclude Hunter.
Feelin' like Santa Claus in the youth fleece socks, size Medium (to fit Youth 4 - 6)
With the fleece socks folded over:
I wear size 5 to 5.5 in womens shoes, and decided on a youth size 4 (converts to womens sz 36). There's some wiggle room both in the length and width of the boots, but fit just right with the thicker fleece socks on. I love how warm and toasty these sock inserts are, making these rain boots suitable for even cold and snowy days.
Shaft-wise, the 12.5" height works well for my legs, although I wouldn't mind an inch taller. The circumference is roomy on me from the sides, but this is the case with most boots. I initially thought the side tabs would be functional for pulling in the calf width, but they don't hold at all. I later saw on Hunter's website a note that the tabs are for design purposes only. The fleece socks do help create a closer fit, and also conceal the upper reflector patch.
Side view, without vs. with fleece socks:
One last note about Hunter boots - as you can see, there is some white film starting to form on these boots. This is called "blooming" and is supposedly part of the rubber's natural oxidation process. You can leave it as-is, or wipe off with a warm, slightly damp cloth and finish with a dab of oil (optional).
Readers - Please share any insight on shopping kids versus adult styles for weather-proof footwear!