The Perfect Rainboots

So many brands, which one is best for you?

Allow me to start off by confessing that I wasn't really into rain boots. I didn't understand the appeal, nor did I know how much use I'd really get out of them.

I was wrong.

Rainboots are so versatile, comfortable, and chic. Yes, chic. Perfect for Autumn and Spring walks, a quick run to the local corner store, or playing with children. Once you have them, you wonder what took you so long to get a pair. They add functionality and quirk to your outfit.

And since I needed a new pair in my wardrobe, I did a little digging for a pair that would suit my eco-fashion pledge.

Here's what I found:

Most cheap rainboots are made with PVC. While there's actually nothing wrong with PVC on the surface, there are a couple of things that make it a problem: it doesn't biodegrade, it's difficult to recycle, and the manufacturing of it produces a dioxin, which is quite nasty, toxic, and well, essentially given the amount of PVC we are currently producing, the less new PVC we can produce, the better. And because PVC comes from oil refinement, it's made from a non-renewable resource.

So what to buy?

Here are 3 brands that I would consider:

  1. Aigle

This French purveyor of rain boots has a wide selection, depending on activity and lifestyle. They also make the boots in France, out of natural and recycled rubber, and stay true to their traditional methods and craftsmanship. There's something enduring and lovely about a company that stays true to its heritage. Plus, the boots are beautiful.

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2. Hunter

Probably one of the most popular boots on the market; iconic in its history with ties to rockstars and royalty alike, Hunter boots are also made the old-school way, of rubber. They are no longer made in Scotland (label says they are now made in China) and I couldn't find any information on their sustainability practices on their website. They come in many, many styles and colours, including special sizes for narrow and wide calves. I can't aptly comment on their quality because I've never owned a pair, but there are plenty of reviews out there, some positive, some negative. It seems they are receiving poor reviews around their quality, waterproof seal, and durability. I would talk to experts at your local store, and read the reviews before purchasing, given that you would be spending $165 CAD on a pair.

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3. Le Chameau

Another Frenchy boot brand that has maintained its local traditional methods, manufacturing process, and stands by its technology and quality is Le Chameau. Probably one of my favourites of the group when it comes to traditional methods, attention to detail, and style. These Vierzon boots are adjustable at the calves. The only downside is trying to find a pair in Canada. Plenty of options in the bigger US cities though. And Kate Middleton uses them for her country walks.

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4. Kamik

How did I just learn about this company? These boots are made in Canada, and the company stands by it's offer to recycle your boots when you are finished with them (unless you plan on donating or reselling them). I really appreciate it when a company builds time and resource into recycling its own goods. It implies that they see their part in the lifecycle of their product as much longer than the usual out-the-door, out-of-mind operating model we see today. Quite a few styles and colours to choose from, and seemingly quite light and comfortable to wear. And because they are made of a new synthetic rubber, created by Kamik, they are built to have all the properties you want in a rain boot (lightweight, durable), and are totally recyclable by the company. I popped into a local store where I purchased my own pair from this brand, and the storekeeper swore they are the most reliable boots she's owned, and she's tried many brands. Today is my first day wearing them.

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