Hunter boots are completely waterproof and fairly comfortable for slogging around in puddles and mud. They were intended for English people who spend time farming, riding, hunting, fishing, and gardening. They've been chic in the US for a few years now, appearing in various colors ands styles on at least half the women on Newbury Street on any rainy day. While they may be a passing trend in the rest of the country, New Englanders will probably always stick with them because we have such lousy weather.
The problem with Hunters is that their rubber exteriors "bloom," leaving a waxy, white residue that's unsightly and tricky to remove. This may be due to temperature changes, but it happens as my boots sit in the closet. It's just a characteristic of rubber, if you ask me, and some boots have more of it than others. Hunter sells products to remove bloom, but it never occurs to me to look for them when I'm passing a shoe store. As years have gone by and I've kept forgetting, I've focused on other, homemade solutions.
When we last left my boots, they were in the kitchen, absorbing yet another coating of olive oil. Here they are (Hunter's Cece style) before and after that application of oil:
Oil fixes the problem but it's temporary — the bloom will return in a couple of days, with a vengeance, whether the boots are worn or not.
My boots have a matte finish, which I thought would be less susceptible to bloom, but I was wrong. My boots love to bloom. I was going through a lot of olive oil. I read online that products for cleaning car interiors were also useful for Hunters. And then I forgot about it.
I wore my blooming boots quite a bit when we were in rainy Maine last month, and finally remembered to visit the hardware store in Southwest Harbor to see what they had. I came out with this:
I hesitated to use it, but when I got tired of my boots looking horrible, I polished them with a couple of Armoral wipes. Voilà:
No more bloom — and that was more than a week ago. A new issue, which you might have spotted, is that my boots have a shinier finish now. It's less evident in person, and they aren't as screaming-shiny as the high-gloss Hunter styles, at least. I preferred the more subtle, matte finish but I can settle for some shine in exchange for no more ugly bloom.
You can get Armoral wipes practically anywhere that sells car care products, or so they tell me. If you try them, please let me know how they worked for you.