Guide to Buying Hunter Boots

guide to buying hunter boots

Hunter Boots (See other styles here) / Barbour Jacket (Old, similar here, here and here) / Madewell Tote (Free monogramming for a limited time!) / Hudson Jeans / Daniel Wellington Watch (c/o) / J.Crew Chambray Shirt and Pearl Earrings / Kate Spade Sunglasses (Old, but love this similar pair from Tory Burch!)

I love getting e-mails from readers. I may not be the best at responding in a timely fashion–seriously, hit me up again if it’s been a month, haha–but I love it. Connecting with people is the number one reason I love blogging, after all.

Anyway, I get a lot of e-mails about Hunter boots, whether in regard to size, style, fit or finish. And as we’re in the middle of “April Showers,” I figured that it’s the perfect time to post about the topic. So, without further ado, below are my tips for buying Hunters!

1. If in between sizes, go a half size down. I typically wear a size 7.5 in shoes, but I wear a (U.S.) 7 in Hunter boots–and have the right amount of room in them, even with the Welly Socks. If I wore a 7, however, I’d probably stick with the 7. (Hunter boots only come in whole sizes, by the way.)


Tall Matte / Tall Glossy

Short Matte / Tall Glossy

2. Decide whether you like the “Tall” or “Short” boots. I’m 5’5, for reference, and am wearing the Original/gloss boots in “Tall” and “Short” in the below photos. (Note: the pink boots are no longer available. However, they’re still available in kids. Scroll down to read sizing advice.)

hunter tall vs short

The shaft height of the “Tall” boots is 16 inches, and the shaft height of the “Short” boots is 10 inches. (Break out a measuring tape and decide! Calf circumferences are the same.) I think the tall version looks a bit better on me, but I find them to be annoying if the rain stops and I have to lug them around the city all day. The shorter boots are also a lot easier to get on and off.

Huntress boots

3. Consider the “Huntress” version if you have wide calves. The Huntress features a larger calf circumference–16.5 inches compared to the Original’s 15 inches–and its shaft is 14 inches, which is two inches shorter than the Original’s height. It’s also a bit roomier in the ankles, and has a straighter cut.

Adjustable back boots

4. The adjustable back version is a great alternative for wide calves. It has the height of the Original boot, but a calf circumference that expands from 15 to 17 inches. It also comes in the matte finish.

red glossy hunter boots chicago blogger-29

5. Choose the glossy or matte finish. I’ve owned both, and I like the glossy finish the best, as I feel like the glossy version doesn’t “bloom” as much as the matte version. (See below for explanation.) But it’s a personal preference, for sure.

6. Realize that your boots will likely acquire a white, powdery film at some point. But don’t worry. It’s normal. It’s called “blooming,” and it’s high-quality rubber’s way of defending itself against the elements. To restore your boots to their original finish, you can use Hunter’s Rubber Boot Buffer Spray or–my favorite–a dab of olive oil on a paper towel. (Rub it on your boots, and it’ll leave ’em looking brand new. Just use sparingly.)

Packable “Tour” boots

7. Consider the packable “Tour” version if you’re on-the-go often. I go through the dilemma nearly every time I’m about to board a plane (unless we’re going somewhere tropical): Should I bring my Hunters? The answer is almost always no, as they’re really rough to lug around when it’s not raining. But on a couple of occasions, I’ve been completely miserable as a result of that thinking. (Ten days of rain in Ireland will do that do you. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!) Anyway, the “Tour” version is nearly identical to the Original boots, as they’re only a half inch shorter in the shaft and an inch wider in calf circumference–and just as durable. (Frankly, the only reason I don’t own them is because I had a gift certificate to a store that carried the Original boots.) But they roll up, and are much lighter! They also come with a little drawstring bag for packing. (Watch a video of the magic here!) They come in matte, too.

hunter boots zipper

Zipper boots

8. Consider the zipper version if you find slip-on boots to be annoying. I love my boots, but I must admit that getting them off isn’t a picnic. It’s an impossible feat while holding a miniature dachshund, at least! The “Original Slim Zipper” boot makes the process easier, though. And don’t let the name fool you, as they aren’t any slimmer than the Originals. They have the same fit, but feature a hidden zipper along the outside.


hunter boots kids vs women 1

9. Consider the kids’ version–$75 compared to $148! If you wear a size 7.5 or smaller, you’re one of the lucky ladies eligible to save mucho monies by going with the kids’ boots. (So many fun colors, too!) On an adult, they’ll look like a cross between the Tall and Short versions, depending on how tall you are. (The shaft is 12 inches high, compared to the Tall’s 16 inches and the Short’s 10 inches. And the calf circumference is 14.5 inches, compared to the Tall’s–and Short’s–15 inches.) But for $75, woo-hoo! They come in matte and silver, too. Make sure to select “Big Kids,” and see the above size chart.

10. Realize that Hunters aren’t winter boots. Like, really realize that. I’ve been known to slip ’em on in the dead of winter for a quick walk around the block with Noodle, or to take the garbage out. But Hunter wellies are not warm, and I’ve paid the price way too many times when I forgot that little fact due to pretty Pinterest photos. They’re fall/spring boots, even if you pair them with the socks.

11. The socks help. They’re not going to magically turn Hunters into boots you can wear in 20-degree weather, but they’re something. And boy, are they adorable. Especially these!


(Looking for true winter boots? I hope not, at this point. But try Sorel if you are. Warmest boots ever. And check Sorel’s website if Nordstrom is sold out. Their inventory usually lasts a bit longer.)

12. Buy from a retailer that provides free shipping and free returns, because the above is a lot to take in. My favorite is Nordstrom!

Have additional questions–or insight? Leave your comments below! :)

Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-16 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-1 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-19 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-8 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-34 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-20 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-10 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-15 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-25 Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-38Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-22Red Hunter Boots Tall Glossy-26

  • This was very helpful Kelly. A few years ago I bought these ALDO rain boots that I LOVED, just a basic black pair that I got so much used out of but now they’re falling apart and it’s time to invest in a new pair of rain boots. Think next fall I’m going to go with a tall navy pair!


    • Oooh so exciting! I love the navy pair. Probably should’ve gone with those myself, as they’re a bit more versatile! :)

  • Nicole Peters

    Thank you for this post! This was extremely insightful. I have had my eye on the Hunter boots for awhile now, but I just wasn’t sure yet. Also, I assumed I would wear them in the winter too – glad I know the truth! Thanks again. Happy Hump Day, Kelly!!

    • So glad you found it helpful, Nicole!

      Yeah, definitely don’t wear them as winter boots. Pinterest lies, hehe.

  • Monica Giddings

    Great post Kelly!! I have the packable tall hunters and love them! Another great company for wellies is Joules, lots of fun prints as well as solid colors. You can find them at tack stored like Dover Saddlery and Smartpak. I get compliments on both my Hunters and Joules wellies :)

    • Monica,

      AH! The Packables are definitely on my list. (Navy?!)

      Joules boots are absolutely adorable. Have you seen the pair with the BOWS? #adore


  • Skyscrapers and Palm Trees

    I’ve never been able to get a pair of Hunter rain boots but I did not know they had Huntress, totally need to try those one before all the rain goes away!

    Thank you!


    skyscrapers & palm trees

    • Alex,

      Yeah! Such a great alternative. Also look into the Adjustable Back version. :)

  • Skylar Hutcheson Blannin

    This was so helpful! I had no idea about the kid size conversion — what a bargain! I happened to find a similar conversion for J Crew kid –> women’s shoe sizes too. While they won’t have heels or anything, this could be good for buying cute sandals for summer!

    • Whoa, REALLY? I never considered Crew Cuts shoes! You’re blowing my mind right now!

      Did you find it on the J.Crew site?

      • Skylar Hutcheson Blannin

        So I did some further investigation, and it looks like a 7.5 women’s is a 5 or 6 kids. Most girls’ shoes only go up to a 5. So, if you tend to be a 7 or 7.5 in j crew, a 5K would probably work. However, if you tend to be a 7.5/8, the 5K would be a bit snug. It might be worth a shot though — the kids’ shoes are 20-40% cheaper than women’s, and I saw some cute flats and sandals!

        • Skylar,

          THANK YOU! I’m either a 7 or a 7.5 in flats, depending on the brand–and I typically wear a 7.5 in J.Crew shoes. WOO! This is so exciting! Thank you so much for doing the research!


  • I love your red Hunters and you are spot on with this guide! I have a great giveaway up on my blog, I hope you’ll check it out!

    Wishes & Reality

  • I LOVE my red huntress boots. at 4’11” they’re the perfect height on me and they’re actually really easy for me to slip on and off.

    • I LOVE that they’re easy to slip on and off. My tall boots give me a little trouble. (Short ones are good!)

  • Holly

    Hi Kelly! Are you wearing the Tory sunglasses you tagged the other day? Whatever you’re wearing looks a little bigger than the sunnies and is so cute and flattering! I have a small, oval face so I’m always on the hunt for a great pair of sunglasses that actually fit. Another rain boot brand which I love and is SOOO comfortable is Le Chameau. I live in mine in the spring and fall due to gardening, walking my pup, etc. Don’t know how I lived without my rain boots!

    • Hi Holly!

      I’m actually wearing an old pair of Kate Spade sunglasses called the “Rory.” Sadly, though, they’re really old and no longer available. I love the Tory Burch version! They look so similar! :)

      Thank you so much for the Le Chameau recommendation! I will definitely have to look into those! xoxo

  • I’ve had Hunters for years and didn’t know the olive oil trick, thanks for sharing!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  • Great advice! So many answers to questions I didn’t even know I had (they have matte and glossy?!)!

  • Anna B

    Hi. I’m going to buy a pair of short Hunters, but I can’t decide for the life of me which finish (glossy or matte) to get. I’ve read so many conflicting opinions about each! Your suggestion to use olive oil to get rid of the blooming sounds like it would work on the glossy boots, but would it also work for the matte ones? Anything you can tell me would be super helpful!

    • Hey, Girl! :)

      I love both glossy and matte, but I think glossy is prettier. :) If you’re looking for a really casual, frolicking-in-the-woods look, then I’d say matte. But if you’re looking to wear them with cute outfits, I’d go glossy! The matte is more outdoorsy, in my opinion.

      The olive oil trick works on both glossy and matte — so don’t worry about that!

      Hope that helps!!


  • Keri

    Hey Kelly!

    Great advise. May I ask is your jacket Burberry? I love it!


  • Misty G

    My 13 year old daughter is wanting some for Christmas and I read your complete article and learned all the information while I waited for, and still am, Hunter’s Live Chat to ask them measurement and fit information that you covered! Plus, you added a lot of personal experience that makes it very helpful. Thanks for the review and being so thorough!

    • Misty,

      Thank you so much for your kind note! :) This truly made my night. Hope your daughter loved her boots! xoxo!

    • Misty,

      Thank you so much for your kind note! :) This truly made my night. Hope your daughter loved her boots! xoxo!

  • This was SUPER helpful! Thank you :)

  • kathy

    Hi! My daughter just received a pair of red glossy Hunters in size 6, but they slip on her heel, even with thick socks. We are hoping the size 5 won’t be too small. Thanks for the info.

    • Oh no! What size is she usually? They definitely run a little big; I recommend going a size down if she’s in between sizes normally. :)


      • kathy

        Usually a 6, I think. We ordered the 5 today…..we are hoping:)
        They are such cute boots. You look great in yours, too!

        • Thanks, Kathy! Fingers crossed for you… Sounds like the 5s will fit perfectly if the 6s were slipping off!

      • kathy

        Usually a 6, I think. We ordered the 5 today…..we are hoping:)
        They are such cute boots. You look great in yours, too!

  • Jessiemoon

    this was very informative & helpful!!

  • Jessiemoon

    this was very informative & helpful!!

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  • Karina

    Thank you for all the info! I’m so torn with my Hunter’s. Got them for my birthday and they fit big, went and exchanged them for a whole size smaller and they feel snugged. Not sure what to do and mean while it’s been raining cats and dogs…
    Love your bag! Where did you get it???!!

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  • Tina

    Hi Kelly This is so helpful, I want to buy my best friend some Hunters for her birthday and shes petite so i think the Kids will be best. I just wanted to check, when you say the shaft is 12 inches, is that measuring from the sole of the foot or does that include the heel? i just want to make sure they wont be too short. Thanks xx

    • Hi Tina! :) So glad it was helpful. It includes the heel! So from the back heel of the boot all the way to the top is 12 inches, and the “tall” boots are 16 inches.

  • Tina

    Hi Kelly This is so helpful, I want to buy my best friend some Hunters for her birthday and shes petite so i think the Kids will be best. I just wanted to check, when you say the shaft is 12 inches, is that measuring from the sole of the foot or does that include the heel? i just want to make sure they wont be too short. Thanks xx

  • Thanks for the helpful article Kelly! However, you know how you wrote for no. 4 “The adjustable back version is a great alternative for wide calves”… would the adjustable ones be also helpful for those that have very skinny calves considering that they’re adjustable or do you recommend just the original ones? Can you please help recommending? I’m quite short and also have skinny calves so I’m not sure which ones I should get. :/

    • Hey, Girl!

      No, I would recommend the original ones. They have a smaller shaft circumference. I have very small calves as well (and riding boots usually look huge on me), but the originals work GREAT for me!

      Hope this helps!

      • Hey Kelly,
        Thank you so much for your help! I think I’m ready to buy a pair now! :D

  • Msz O

    Thanks so much for all of this great info! I just bought a cute pair of kids sunset/hay boots in size 5 and PRAYING that they fit (they were Final sale & only $66.99!)

  • Claudia

    Thank you for your article! soo helpful! I was wondering, are yours military or pillar box red??

  • Rachel

    This article was so helpful! Which Hunter socks do you recommend? Are some warmer than others?

    • Hi Rachel!

      I actually don’t think any of them are that warm. :( But then again, I live in Chicago and it’s super cold here, haha. I would say that most are warm enough for the fall and spring, but not winter.

      I do have a few pairs though, just because I think they’re so cute! I have the original fleece ones and the sweater-like ones.

      Hope this helps!

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