red and black

rubber boots

The not-quite-famous red boots are now mine, gifted from my friend Jeff, who wore his navy Hunter rain boots last weekend on a cold, muddy camping trip with friends, who, he said, were envious that he could stomp blithely through puddles fetching Frisbees while they ruined their shoes and drenched their pants in stretches of water up to mid-calf. In Northwest muck seven or more months of the year, quality rubber boots become a solid investment.

It's not as if I needed two pairs of tall rain boots, especially headed into the dry season, but I'm hoping for a heap of Chinese-red, vermillion-wrapped luck. I had an extra pair of Ugg insoles lying around (not that I wear Uggs, but wool insoles warm the feet and provide extra cushioning in rain boots, if one has the foot room), so now both pairs are wool-lined and cozy, ready for next fall's hikes or maybe some summer gardening. I did say the garden was full of weeds.

But real latex rain boots don't have to be purchased full-price new, as a quick eBay search will reveal. The red Town & Country boots were found gently used at Salvation Army a couple months ago for $10, a tenth of their cost new. Compare that deal with my black Hunter Originals purchased new from Zappos for $100 several years ago, soon after I moved to Portland from California, though the Hunters have since gone up in price to $125.* Both brands are made in China. (Does that shocking coincidence mean extra luck?)

*Note: As an FYI for anyone shopping for rubber boots, the Town & Country boots are looser in the calf and tighter in the foot for me than the Hunter boots in the same size. Another difference, in the Town & Country boots, the adjustable strap isn't just decorative but functional. And as a tip for those with high arches, Jeff says putting one's hand down into the front of the boot on the shin and using the other hand to pull on the heel will help slide the boot right off, compared to minutes of frustrated tugging on the sole. 

Edited 6/21/12 to add: The red boots didn't end up fitting me as well as the Hunter boots, and I really didn't need two pair of rain boots, so I passed them back to Jeff to sell next fall. In other words, the red boots are still on offer. Contact Jeff if interested, even if his eBay store doesn't show the listing. They're women's size 7. 

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