Best Waterproof Boots Reviewed For Quality
Spring is a season filled with life, fall filled with color and winter filled with exhilarating temperatures (a.k.a. cold) and snow. Then there are the in-between seasons that no one really talks about but we all know exist – damp, grey pre-winter; slushy, melty pre-spring; muddy, chilly post-autumn. You know those seasons. When you have to wonder what to put on your feet. Will it be wet & cold, muddy & damp, slushy & sunny? What oh what will you wear on your feet?
Sure, spring is when nature begins to bloom again. But spring is also when ice turns to wet mush and when rain can fall in bucketfuls from the sky for weeks on end and you can have snow and slush at the same time! Aside from spring, wet weather can also happen in winter, summer, or autumn. If you’re not equipped with the proper clothing and footwear, it’s hard to go out and enjoy anything, whether it’s hiking or working or simply running errands. Thankfully, there are certain steps you can take to gear up for the wet season and keep yourself dry and protected – starting from your feet.
- Sperry Top-Sider Saltwater
- Insulated Shell
- MuckBoots Scrub
- Superior Comfort
- Servus PVC Work Boots
- Adjustable height
When it comes to waterproof boots, what’s best for you will depend on your conditions. If all you’re looking for is something that’ll keep you dry from the car to the grocery store, a good-looking pair of ankle-high boots would be ideal for you. These would keep you nice and comfortable without sacrificing style. On the other hand, if you’re the adventurous type, there are other priorities. Trekking through the mountains or walking through streams would require something much sturdier that provides good traction, shock absorption, and excellent heat retention. Don’t overlook the value of a waterproof winter boot either Our list of best waterproof boots have everything ranging from ankle-high chukkas to hiking boots so that you can be well-equipped for any occasion.
10 Best Waterproof Boots
1. Sperry Top-Sider Saltwater
With a non-marking outsole made of thick rubber with indentations, these boots ensure traction on wet and dry surfaces alike. Thanks to this, you'll never have to worry about slipping and sliding on the floor after walking into a building from the pouring rain.
The inside of these boots is insulated with a micro-fleece lining that will keep your feet comfortable despite the raging weather outside. In addition, it's amazing at retaining heat and makes them suitable for deep winter climate that falls below 30 degrees Celsius.
Cost and Value
These rain boots fall in the middle of our price range compared to the other products on our list. With considerations to their high-quality and their abundance of positive reviews, we think it's an excellent bargain!
- Micro-fleece lining
- Thick rubber sole
- Good traction on wet surfaces
- Excellent for deep winter climate
- Not suitable for snow
- Weight is on the heavy side
2. MuckBoots Scrub
Whether you’ve been pulling weeds in your garden, changing the oil on your car or doing home repairs, when you’re done, simply rinse the boots off and you’re good to go. That’s it. All it takes to care for the boots is a little water or a damp cloth.
Comfort in a rain boot
Rainboots and mud boots can be very uncomfortable. They usually come with minimal lining to separate your foot from the rubber and a minimal footbed. Not so with the Scrub. It features a moisture-wicking, breathable lining, a rubber-reinforced foot and a comfortable shaft for additional warmth.
Cost and Value
These boots are priced in the low range relative to our list. It’s a great performer for the price though and much more comfortable than traditional rain or mud boots. It’s waterproof, dry, easy to slip off and on, and comfortable for a very reasonable price.
- Very comfortable
- Fully waterproof
- Great workboot
- Easy to care for
- Low calf design
- Less durable
3. KEEN Elsa
Leather is fairly waterproof, breathable and durable. These boots are leather lined for comfort and breathability but also for their protection from the elements. Slog your way home through freezing rain and slush and arrive dry, warm and happy, the way it’s meant to be.
Rubber gives excellent traction on most surfaces. It can harden and become slick in cold conditions but the tread on the Elsa will ensure that no matter the temperature outside, the boot will grip the ground.
Cost and Value
This boot is priced in the upper low range for boots on this list. For the small investment, you are getting a very waterproof boot for the slush, freezing rain and wet snow conditions that come with most winters in the Northern Hemisphere. Staying dry means staying warm and comfortable as well.
- Leather lining
- Synthetic rubber foot
- Stylish textile shaft
- Rubber sole
- Breathable winter boot
- Little insulation
4. Danner Mountain 600
When walking for long periods of time, stiff, heavy shoes are a nightmare. These hiking boots have a flexible midsole and are lightweight, ensuring that you can move easily and stay protected at the same time.
Unlike other durable boots, these won't leave your feet stiff and aching at the end of the day. They are designed to
Cost and Value
These boots fall towards the high end of our price range, but they're nowhere near the most expensive. Their durability definitely renders them a worthy investment.
- Flexible midsole
- Lighweight cushioning
- Good for recreational use
- Rugged look
- Not suitable for extremely rocky terrain
5. Servus PVC Work Boots
What? Can you change the height of the shaft? Well, yes, when you have a formed guide built into the shaft of the boot, the top can be folded in or out to change the height of your boot. It is possible, in fact, it’s a done deal. In one boot, you can have a mid-calf height or a full calf height in just a few seconds.
Arch and heel support
It’s very hard to find a rubber boot that is steel toed. It’s even harder to find one that has arch and heel support for protection, shock absorption, and comfort. Check the price again – it’s totally happening.
Cost and Value
This is the least expensive member of our line-up. Your eyes are not deceiving you – the price is very, very low. For the almost pocket-change price, you get a waterproof boot with a steel toe for work, a cushioned insole, adjustable shaft, flexibility and chemical resistance. Have we mentioned the cleated outsole, contoured heel cup, reinforcement at stress points and rating for electrical hazards? No? Well, this boot has all of that.
- Extremely low price
- Cleated outsole
- Adjustable shaft
- Chemical resistance
- Flexible sole
- Could be more durable
6. Kamik Hunter
If there’s one thing that Kamik knows, its how to build a cold weather boot. The company was born in the extremes more than 100 years ago and has never forgotten their heritage. The removable insulating liner in the boot will keep your feet warm and comfortable to -40F and the top gaitor closure will keep the snow and slush from seeping over the top of the boot.
A winter boot is rather useless if it fails to provide traction on snow and ice and in slushy, slick conditions. The synthetic outsole on this boot is meant to provide solid traction in these conditions and more.
Cost and Value
This boot is priced in the lower range which represents excellent value in a cold weather, waterproof boot that can adapt to work in warmer conditions. It also has good traction in most cold weather conditions and is rated to be warm to temperatures colder than most people will ever experience.
- Reasonable price point
- Removable liner
- Upper closure
- Rated to -40F
- Sizes run narrow
7. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III
Though the ankle shaft has a snug fit, the material is flexible and provides the support needed for unstable terrain.
The midsole and upper of these boots are flexible enough to keep you comfortable, yet rigid enough to ensure stability on slippery surfaces.
Cost and Value
With regards to their excellent quality, these shoes are surprisingly affordable and are definitely worth your consideration for this upcoming winter.
- Ideal for hikes
- Short break-in period
- Traps warmth
- Good traction
- Not too fashionable
- May not fit wide feet
8. Danner Mountain Light II
Featuring a high-cut, fill grain leather upper, these boots are sure to keep your ankles well protected on a harsh rocky terrain. A fiberglass shank also provides good arch support.
This model includes a stitched-down sole that is easily replaceable after long-term use. As well, the full grain leather upper is sturdy and offers amazing durability.
Cost and Value
The price tag on these ones might scare you away, but it's important to keep in mind their quality. These boots are designed to last for years of hard use.
- Easily replacable sole
- Nylon linings
- Good ventilation
- Ankle protection
- Arch support
- Tongue is not continuous
- Narrow toe
9. Merrell Moab Polar
This model features a lightweight midsole that provides excellent shock absorption, rendering them suitable for long hikes while carrying heavy packs.
The interior lining is made of soft fleece and is designed to preserve heat. A breathable suede upper helps to circulate air through the boot.
Cost and Value
These boots sit on the low end of our price range but don't mistake that for lower quality. These are of great value for all the features they offer.
- Removable insole
- Shock absorbent
- Fleece lining
- No lace locks
- Not suitable for warmer winters
10. Bogs Classic Ultra Mid
With rubber sponge on its internal midsole, these boots offer excellent cushioning and warmth. These can be worn in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a clean, simple design and a variety of practical features, these boots can be worn around the yard, in the snow, or even just in the streets.
Cost and Value
It's not often that you find boots of high-quality at such a reasonable price. With over four hundred five-star ratings, it seems as though they're definitely worth the money.
- Spacious fit
- Handles for easy pull-on
- Rubber spronge midsole
- Reasonably priced
- On the heavier side
- Wide at the top
When it comes to waterproof boots, what ultimately makes them great against rain or snow is their materials and their manufacturing process. But it’s also crucial to consider additional features such as grip if you’re hiking in the wild, or heat retention if you’re going out freezing cold weather. Evaluating what you need for your conditions is always a good idea. This way, you know how to pick a pair that’s best suited for you. That’s why our list includes a variety of boots designed for different occasions — so that regardless if it’s spring, autumn, winter, or even summer, you can step into the new season on the right foot.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Waterproof Boots
Quality of Materials
When evaluating a pair of shoes, the quality of the materials is very important as it determines the durability, comfort, and practicality of the shoes. For example, even if a pair fits perfectly on your feet, they may not be of value if they won’t last long enough to see the next season. Likewise, a pair of durable shoes is useless if their materials render the shoe uncomfortable. A balance of all these features is what you want to look for.
- Leather – One of the best material for any kind of shoe is leather. It’s a highly durable and flexible material made from animal skin and rawhide (mostly cattle). Leather is often used because it can be decorated and altered for anything type of footwear ranging from designer shoes to work boots. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. However, the material itself does not do well when mixed with water. Too much water would wet the material, and leave it stiff and hard after drying. But if so, then why are so many of the boots on our list made with leather? The good news is, leather can be treated with specific techniques to improve its resistance against water. Not only would they keep your feet dry, but would also maintain some of their suppleness which offers more comfort. In addition, their lifespan is increased in the treatment process, which makes them more durable so that one pair can serve you well for a long time.
- Synthetic Fabrics- Another type of material often used in waterproof boots are synthetic fabrics. These are textiles made from man-made materials instead of natural materials, which means they are more easily altered to suit different needs. Some common examples are nylon, polyester, spandex, and latex. When used in shoes, these provide more ventilation and are much lighter in weight. Certain chemicals can also be added to them to make them waterproof, as well as increase their durability. However, what makes these second to leather is that they don’t offer as much protection from the cold. So although synthetic fabrics are great for everyday footwear, if you’re going to be trekking in freezing weather, it may be better to opt for the leather.
- Rubber – Rubber is the superstar in the well-known Wellington boots. This material is incredibly waterproof and is guaranteed to provide serious protection against rain and mud. When used in footwear, it is highly durable and can last for years regardless of how frequently you wear them. However, one con is that it can sometimes crack out of the blue. You could prevent this to a degree if you avoid leaving them on the heater to dry.
High-top boots may seem uncomfortable at first, but they offer many features that can help you in the long run. They offer better ankle support than low-top boots when it comes to hiking. If they have a snug fit, they can also you with more stability that is needed when walking on unstable terrain.
Aside from that, they’ll also cover more of your feet and ankles which provides more protection against water. For example, if you’re stepping into a puddle or a shallow stream, (whether by accident or on purpose), a high-top boot would allow you to step in deeper. When wearing a low-top boot, on the other hand, you risk getting water in through the top of the boot.
But despite this, low-top boots tend to be more stylish. If you’re mostly just going to be out in the streets on rainy days and don’t plan to step into puddles any time soon, a pair of ankle-high chukkas may be more suitable for you.
People often underestimate the likelihood of slipping, as well as the severity of the injuries that it can cause. In fact, slips and falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries. In the long run, those hospital fees can really add up, and you also put yourself at risk. And when walking around in rain or snow, your chances of slipping are even higher. That’s why it’s crucial to consider the bottom of your shoes, even though you might be more worried about the rain that’s falling on top of them.
When it comes to good grip, the outsole of a shoe determines everything. One thing to look out for is the pattern on the outsole. These shapes will help your shoes grip onto the floor and onto wet surfaces. Although any shape is better than no shape at all, certain shapes such as circles are more effective than others such as hexagons. This is because in theory, what causes a shoe to resist grip on a wet surface is its ability to disperse the liquid on that surface. A circle can disperse water rapidly while a hexagon can sometimes create a barrier that prevents its dispersion.
Something else to consider is the depth and the distance between these shapes on the outsole. If the grooves are too narrow, the shoe may trap liquid beneath the sole and increase your chances of slipping. Likewise, if there the grooves are not deep enough, the liquid won’t be able to disperse quickly enough. A pattern that is three millimetres deep and at least two millimetres wide is therefore ideal.
However, do keep in mind that just as the tires of a car will wear out over time, the depth of the grooves of the pattern on the outsole can also become more shallow over time. This would decrease the grip and increase the risk of slipping and falling. It’s a good idea to check the bottom of your shoes if you have been wearing them for a long time. If the pattern has been worn down, or if you’ve been noticing a decrease in the quality of the grip, it may be time to get a new pair.
Depending on where and when you’re planning on wearing your waterproof boots, you may want to take heat retention into consideration. It’s important to ensure that your feet stay warm when out on long hikes or in freezing winter weather. Who likes to have freezing toes, after all?
But aside from the discomfort, not being equipped with the proper heat-retaining footwear could seriously affect your performance. You’ll be distracted and prevented from enjoying your hike. In addition, cold can actually harm you if you’re not prepared or it. It can numb your feet and seriously damage the skin if you’re exposed to it for too long. Not only that, but it’s harder to feel what you’re stepping on when your feet are numb. This could lead to slipping when walking on unstable terrain and may lead to serious injuries.
The key to serious heat retention would be a lack of ventilation. The icy wind should be sealed out and your body heat sealed in. Cutting off this air flow ensures that your feet can stay nice and warm regardless of the conditions outside.
However, if you’re not going out hiking any time soon, your needs would be slightly different. In spring or autumn weather, a lining of soft fleece would most likely suffice in providing warmth. Wearing boots designed for serious winter cold would cook your feet alive, so in this case, air flow should be a priority. This leads us to our next criteria…
Certain waterproof boots have a hard time allowing air to flow through them. Leather and rubber don’t provide much ventilation, which may cause sweat or smell to accumulate in the boot. You may be kept dry from the rain, but you’ll be soaked in perspiration!
When picking out a pair of boots, it’s a good idea to check the lining. A lining made of a lighter, breathable material like synthetic fabrics would help to dissipate sweat and odor. Likewise, a shoe lined with a material like fleece would not provide good ventilation. They may provide excellent heat retention, which would be ideal in freezing cold weather but would lock moisture in during warmer weathers and prevent the perspiration from leaving the shoe.
For those wondering how a fabric can be both breathable and be waterproof, it’s a matter of quality of the material. We answer this question more in-depth in the FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which is more waterproof, leather or rubber?
A: Natural leather is not waterproof and can easily be ruined if it gets wet. However, after being specifically treated, it can be made waterproof. But since its quality is highly dependent on the manufacturer, the amount of protection they offer can vary. Rubber, on the other hand, is already extremely waterproof without needing to be altered. It is, therefore, safer to pick rubber over leather, as the quality of their resistance against water doesn’t depend on the manufacturer.
But that doesn’t mean you should distrust leather altogether. If a pair of boots has high reviews and is made by a reputable manufacturer, chances are they’re pretty waterproof.
Q: How are boots both breathable and waterproof?
A: The answer to this question lies in the material of the shoes. There are two types of waterproof-breathable materials out there, the first of which is coating materials. These are basically just fabrics coated in a protective layer that renders them waterproof. They are often cheaper, lighter, but also less breathable. The second type of material is membranes. Membranes themselves are waterproof without needing to be modified. So if ventilation is a priority for you, it’s a good idea to look out for a pair of boots made with one of these materials.
Q: Is there a difference between waterproof and water-resistant?
A: There is a slight difference between these two terms. Waterproof signifies that something is entirely protected against water. This means that it would never get wet and would never allow water to pass through. Shoes that are waterproof are ideal for walking through puddles or streams.
A water-resistant material, on the other hand, means that the material can resist water only to a certain degree. If exposed to too much water, it can get wet and will allow water to penetrate. However, if you are not in need of heavy protection, a pair of boots that are water-resistant will likely do the job for you.
Q: Which waterproof boots should I buy?
A: Although there are certain desirable aspects of a shoe that are universal, such as good durability and proper structural support, the vast majority are things that are subjective. This means that what’s best will depend on you, your foot, and your conditions. For instance, a lot of cushioning may be an asset for somebody who frequently hikes while carrying a heavy pack. The padding would help to attenuate the shock created when the foot meets the ground. On the other hand, more cushioning means a tighter fit, which can be a nightmare for somebody with wider feet.
With that said, it’s still a good idea to take a look at others people’s reviews to help you make your decision. This can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of quality. However, things such as comfort and practicality will vary from person to person, so keep in mind not to rely too much on product reviews.
Q: Is there a way to make shoes waterproof?
A: In fact, if you’re up for the challenge, there are certain ways to make shoes waterproof. The methods will vary depending on the material you are using. There are fabric waterproofing sprays that work well with canvas shoes and allow them to keep your feet dry and also prevent them from getting stains. Not only is this effective against wet weather, but can also save you the need to wash them very often, as they are more protective against mud, water, and dust alike. There are also different sprays for suede that will prevent the suede from getting destroyed when coming in contact with water.
If you don’t want to use any spray, there are other methods as well. In fact, just a piece of solid beeswax can do. For canvas shoes especially, you simply need to cover the shoe with it and use a hairdryer to fix it into your shoe. As you blow on the fabric, it should gradually return to its original color. That’s how you know the beeswax has worked its way into the fabric and has made it waterproof.
You can use these methods to waterproof leather or hiking boots as well. However, you’ll need to make sure to clean your shoe thoroughly, taking care to remove all the dust and dirt accumulated on the shoe with warm water and soap. Be careful not to get the leather too wet, as it might dry and become stiff and discolored. Next, polish the shoe with a clean piece of cloth. Then you can use a waterproofing product based on the instructions provided. It’s a good idea to check out others’ reviews on any waterproofing products that you plan to use. This way, you can choose wisely and purchase a product that’s high quality.
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