Waterproof Shoes for Walking in the Rain

Keeping Your Feet Dry on Rainy Walks

Walking Through Puddle in Rain
Walking Through Puddle in Rain. Mike Harrington/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Dry feet make a huge difference in walking comfort, especially when walking in the rain. Waterproof shoes are widely available, although you pay a premium for them. You can also waterproof your shoes or boots yourself with a simple treatment.

Waterproof Athletic Shoes and Boots

Gore-tex lined boots and shoes are available in most brands of boots and trail shoes. This liner allows sweat moisture to escape while keeping out water from the outside.

Both of those actions help keep your feet dry. You will usually pay an extra $30 or more for this feature compared with the same boot or shoe without the liner. They maintain their waterproof qualities for a long time, as long as they don't get too worn or get any tears. Include a pair of Gore-tex lined lightweight trail shoes in your walking gear, saving them for the truly rainy days. Look for GTX after a model name for waterproof shoes.

  • Brooks Ghost GTX: This lightweight shoe is good for walking fast in the rain. Unfortunately, this model comes only in regular widths rather than wide as well as regular. It comes in men's and women's versions.
  • New Balance 910 Gore-tex: This waterproof trail running shoe will give you better stability on wet trails. It comes in wide as well as regular widths, and in men's and women's versions. It is lightweight, flexible, and flat as a good walking shoe should be.

    Wellington Rubber Boots

    Wellington-style rubber boots are acceptable for shorter, slower walks. They are not designed for brisk walking for fitness. You need to ensure you have a good fit as otherwise your foot will move around in the boot and you can get blisters or even black toenails. Ensure that a rubber boot has enough support and is flexible in the forefoot.

    Rubber boots can retain heat and moisture, which can contribute to forming blisters. In cold weather, they may not be insulated enough and your feet will be clammy and cold.

    If you can't walk with a natural motion, you should only use rubber boots with caution. If you often must take your dog for a walk despite the weather, or you just want to make it from your ride to your workplace with dry feet, these may work for you.

    Overshoes

    You might try wearing a waterproof overshoe over your regular shoes. The advantage is that you know how your shoes fit, and presumably you are wearing ones that work well for you. The drawback is that most overshoes are not designed for fitness walking. Like rubber boots, they are meant to keep your feet dry on shorter, slower walks. You will be weighted down and slowed down while wearing them. Plus, your feet may get wet from your sweat being trapped inside the non-breathable overshoe. That will leave you more at risk for blisters.

    Sealers and Treatments

    For leather shoes or boots, it can be cost-effective to buy a treatment such as Sno-Seal and some welt/seam guard. Treat your footwear to make them more water-resistant. For footwear made of nylon, spray your shoes with a waterproofing fabric treatment such as Scotchguard or Tectron.

    This does a less-thorough job, but it can reduce some of the wetness or make it take longer for the rain to penetrate.

    Single-Use Plastic Items to Cover Your Shoes

    What can you do in a pinch when you want to waterproof your shoes? Save the free disposable shower caps that many hotels give you and use them to make a shower cap shoe cover. They work fine for one use, and can be used for some rainy half marathons.

    Although newspaper delivery is becoming more rare, if you still have access to plastic bags that they place the newspapers in, those can also be used as shoe covers or foot covers. You can either wear them over the shoe or slip them over your socks before you put your feet in your shoes.

    However, the bags keep foot sweat inside your socks and you end up with feet almost as wet as if they got soaked with the rain. A waterproof, breathable shoe is better as it allows sweat to be wicked away.

    Another solution in a pinch is duct tape. Wrapping your shoe upper with duct tape will keep out most the rain, but it will also seal in your sweat. Duct tape over the sole of your shoe may also reduce traction, so use with caution.

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