- Rain boots don’t have to be ugly.
- We did the research and testing to find the best rain boots that are both good looking and functional.
- For all-weather durability, a reasonable price point, well-designed construction, and a comfortable fit, you can’t beat the cute Sperry Top-Sider Saltwater Rope Emboss Neoprene Rain Boots.
Chances are, you’ve likely been caught in rainy situations because you weren’t equipped with proper footwear. It is why rain boots are an essential part of your shoe closet. They may not be the kinds of shoes you’ll need to wear every day (or, at least, we’re hoping they won’t need to be), but it’s ideal to be prepared with a solid pair for when unsavory wet weather hits.
There are plenty of rugged, workwear-style rain boots on the market that may be better suited for the likes of outdoor workers or those who live in, say, tropical storm-prone areas. But for the purposes of this particular guide, we’re focusing on rain boots for the everyday woman.
For instance, the following water-resistant shoes are great if you need to get from home to the office or run an errand around town, but they may not be ideal if you need to sludge through knee-deep mud or cross shallow rivers. Consider the specific purposes your rain boots need to serve before deciding on a pair to buy.
In general, rain boots are tricky to review and there are no “perfect” styles. Rain boots are inherently uncomfortable, given their non-breathable materials – your feet will inevitably sweat if you have them on for too long, or they will feel damp if your socks happen to get wet. Some styles include a thick insulating lining or lambswool insoles, which may require you to size up if things feel tight. There are also styles that don’t include any lining, which means you will have to figure out how thick you plan to wear your socks, which will also determine the sizing of your shoe.
Some styles look more chicly versatile, others are more practical. All this is to say, you need to figure out your personal preferences and how you plan to wear your boots before you buy a pair.
If attractiveness is a top priority and you reside in a climate where you need to ward off only the occasional light showers, there are stylish booties and sneakers with waterproof uppers that may satisfy your needs, without going the full-on “rubber boot” route. Look for styles that call themselves “waterproof,” such as the Blondo’s Liam Waterproof Suede Bootie ($130, at Zappos). We’ve included one of these waterproof styles in our guide for reference.
But for those of you who are looking for something more functional and substantial made with sturdier materials, there is sure to be a pair that speaks to you in this guide ahead.
Here are the best rain boots you can buy in 2019:
- Best rain boots overall: Sperry Top-Sider Saltwater Rope Emboss Neoprene Rain Boots
- Best ethically made rain boots: Everlane Rain Boots
- Best lightweight rain boots: Sam Edelman Tinsley Rain Boots
- Best rain boots for serious rainfall: Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots
- Best rain boots that aren’t rubber: Timberland Women’s Nellie Lace Up Utility Waterproof Boots
- Best for wider calves: UGG Sienna Boots
- Best luxury rain booties: Aquatalia Tilly Weatherproof Booties
Malarie Gokey contributed to this article. Updated on 09/06/2019 by Remi Rosmarin and Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added options for luxury rain booties (Aquatalia) and wider calves (UGG).
The best rain boots overall
The Sperry Top-Sider Saltwater Rain Boots are durable after years of wear, well-designed for rain, and work effortlessly into the winter months.
I speak from personal experience when I say that Sperry makes great rain boots – I’ve been wearing my pair for almost five years now, and they still keep my feet perfectly dry in the rain.
You’ll see that this “duck shoe” design from other brands like L.L. Bean and Sorel, and each company offers something slightly different from Sperry. For instance, L.L. Bean offers a resole program, and Sorel’s boots have better traction if you plan to go hiking. But Sperry’s boots have the advantage of an affordable price in the $100-$120 range, and these Saltwaters can’t be beat if you’re in need of a simple shoe that keeps your feet dry as you go around town.
The boots come in a wider width, which is good for those of you who have wider feet, but it’s important to note that some buyers with narrower feet sized down to get a better fit. Sperry’s boots also have a micro-fleece lining for a layer of warmth, a cute and handy side zipper for quicker wear and removal, and a “wavy” outsole design that Sperry says is ideal for “ultimate wet/dry traction.”
For snowy days, a decent six-inch shaft is great for walking through snowstorms with confidence. But for me personally, I love a boot that looks just as stylish as it is practical in unpredictable weather. The hardest part will likely be deciding which color to get.
Pros: Comfortable, durable for snow, many color options
Cons: People with narrower feet may find these too big
The best ethically made rain boots
Everlane’s rain boots are ethically made of real rubber to protect your feet, and they look so cool no one will know you’re wearing rain boots.
Everlane makes lots of great shoes and clothing, and its rain boots are no exception. Five women on the Insider Picks team – myself included – tested these boots out during a nasty Polar Vortex in New York City, and we loved them. We’ve worn them in many other rain and snow storms since, and they’ve held up very well.
Everlane’s new rain boots are made of soft, flexible real rubber that bends with you as you walk. When I have them on, they just feel like super comfortable shoes – not clunky rain boots. The traction on the bottom sole is key for slippery wet surfaces that can be treacherous like stairs and the subway platform.
These boots actually look cool, too, which isn’t something I thought I’d say about rain boots. I ordered my normal boot size – 8 – and they were slightly big, which I liked because I can wear thick socks with them. The rise of the boots is fairly short, though, so you need to judge puddle depth carefully or risk wet feet.
Like all Everlane pieces, the rain boots are also ethically made in a factory with good labor practices, so you can feel good about the boots on your feet. – Malarie Gokey
Pros: Made ethically, transparent pricing, real rubber, well made, stylish, comfortable, fun colors
Cons: Not tall
The best lightweight rain boots
- Sam Edelman
With a chic design and low price point, the Sam Edelman Tinsley rain boots are a favorite among fashionable women because they look like an ankle bootie.
If you’re looking for a pair of stylish rain boots that won’t break the bank, Sam Edelman’s Tinsley rain boots will do the trick. Given that Sam Edelman is a purveyor of trend-forward apparel and accessories, the Tinsley is likely to be one of the chicer and more aesthetically-pleasing types of rain boots you’ll come across.
With its Chelsea boot-inspired silhouette and monochromatic all-black color, the Tinsley is ideal if looks and pricing are top priority factors. After all, we know that rain boots aren’t the sexiest kinds of shoes to wear.
Like many ankle boots, the Tinsley have stretchy elastic side panels and a pull-on back tab. These boots have a cute, one-and-a-half-inch low heel and a rather impressive five-inch shaft, which makes this a capable boot in the likes of shallow slush.
But be aware: Buyer reviews most complained about the sizing of the Tinsley. Since there are no half sizes available and the shoe runs on the narrow side, those with wider feet found this shoe uncomfortable. If you’re considering this style, you may want to order both up and down in two sizes if you’re somewhere in-between, and return the one that doesn’t work.
Also consider the thickness of your socks or inserts you might want to include, which may ensure a better overall fit.
Pros: Stylish silhouette, comes in both glossy or matte finish
Cons: Customers with wider widths found this style too narrow, no half sizes available
The best rain boots for serious rainfall
The Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots are as iconic as they come with a generous 16-inch shank and durable latex construction that can handle anything.
These Hunter rain boots are another cult favorite amongst the fashionable set, especially as a summer music festival outfit staple when outdoor events become wet and muddy. Given that these Wellington-style boots have a rise of 16 inches and are constructed out of a substantial latex upper and rubber sole, the Hunters are a lifesaver when it comes to torrential rain or snowfall.
Without a doubt, they can get you through deep puddles, slippery mud, inches of snow, and downpours with nonchalance. If you reside in a climate where rain falls more often than other areas, or if the winters are particularly brutal with blizzards, the Original Tall Rain Boots are a solid option to consider for days when the big guns need to come out.
Given their sheer height and thick materials, it should come as no surprise that these boots are a bit on the heavier side. They weigh about five pounds, which isn’t too bad considering they work extra-hard to keep most of your bottom leg dry, but they may not be the most comfortable footwear for all-day wear.
The boots are ones you slip-on and slip-off, which means that those with wider calves will want to take note of the 15-inch opening. Some reviewers have noted that the boot was too tight around the shaft. On the flip side, those with very narrow calves should also note that too much space around the opening is an unwelcome invitation for rain or snow to fall through. Luckily for you, Hunter offers other styles of this same boot, some with shorter shaft lengths.
Pros: Great for heavy rain and snow, other shaft lengths available, many color options
Cons: Customers with wide calves may find the shoe too tight, style runs slightly big
The best rain boots that aren’t rubber
Timberland’s Nellie Lace Up Utility Waterproof Boots are a fantastic and durable option if you don’t care for the “rubber rain boot” aesthetic and want a practical style that works for year-round weather.
When researching for this shopping guide, the top brands that kept coming up were ones that carry a legacy for their workwear-approved status. One such brand is Timberland, which is a company that innovated the waterproof workwear boot in the mid-’60s by directly attaching the soles to the uppers without stitching – thus, removing any small openings where moisture could potentially seep in.
Furthermore, Timberland is well-known for its use of waterproof nubuck leather, which is finely sanded cattle leather that begets that fine-grain, suede-like texture you see on the wheat-colored heritage Timberland styles. Nubuck is far more durable and stronger than suede because it comes from the outer hide. With decades of trust behind this company, it’s no surprise that a sleeker iteration like the Nellie Lace Up has found newfound fans.
This particular style is exclusive to Macy’s, and it is chosen simply for its impressively sleek and streamlined design, modified from the chunkier, classic men’s version, although other variations are available. The boots have a thick, one-inch heel made from the brand’s heavy-duty lug outsole that offers strong grip and traction fit for rain- and snow-based outdoor work.
The sole is also constructed with the company’s “anti-fatigue technology,” which means the midsole offers phenomenal support for people who are on their feet all day. Linings and footbed covers are made of a breathable mesh material, which relieves feet from over-sweating.
Though the Nellie is a hardworking style, the company recommends that customers actively take care of the boot’s materials to further preserve the shoe. Care instructions are available on the Timberland website, for those who are interested.
Pros: Doesn’t look like a rain boot, exceptional support, ideal for outdoor work and durable in snow
Cons: Requires care and upkeep to make the shoe long-lasting
Best for wider calves
The UGG Sienna Boots have a wider calf and easy pull-on style, making them a great option for all shoe sizes.
With over 1,000 five-star reviews on Zappos, the Sienna Boots were an easy addition to this list. A thick rubber sole gives these a classic, chunky rain boot feel that’s perfect for stomping through puddles. The waterproof rubber upper hits about mid-calf, so be careful if you are splashing around, as the rest of your leg may easily get wet.
The rubber upper is relatively wide, making it a great option for those with wider calves. Given that most rain boots are made of stiff rubber, which is not particularly stretchy, it can be difficult to feel comfortable if the calves don’t have enough give. Many reviewers note that this is the first pair of rain boots they have felt fit both their calves and feet well. Additionally, many suggest sizing down if you are between sizes.
In classic UGG fashion, the insole is lined with sheepskin. This will add some softness, but don’t expect that much warmth. If you want to wear these in place of snowboots on a cold day, you should layer a pair of thick socks underneath.
At $70, these are a fair price for all that you’re getting. Durable rubber, soft sheepskin, and a range of fun colors to choose from make these an easy choice for anyone. – Remi Rosmarin
Pros: Good for wider feet and calves, affordable, warm, lots of color options
Cons: Not that tall, stiff rubber
The best luxury rain boots
The Aquatalia Tilly Weatherproof Booties are trendy with their suede bootie style, but a weatherproof finish makes them perfect for rainy days.
Rubber rain boots are probably the most appropriate choice when it comes to trekking through a downpour and getting home with dry feet. But, they can really put a damper on a great outfit.
Aquatalia makes boots that don’t sacrifice on style or practicality. The brand uses exclusive weatherproofing and stain-resistant technology to inhibit water penetration and prevent stains from forming. The suede is soft and supple, but repels water, and resists salt and other agents from the sidewalk that can cause discoloration, making it just as good for rain as it is for light snow and dirt. In the end, you get a boot that looks nothing like a rain boot, but will protect your feet from water just as well.
The Tilly boasts a chunky block heel for a lift that you can actually walk in, which also bodes well in giving you a boost above puddles. The boot’s suede upper has a fitted look, which is very of-the-moment, but also means you likely won’t be able to layer thick socks underneath. The range of neutral colors make this pair perfect for fall.
While these shoes are undeniably pricey at $450 a pair, buyers say they have lasted them multiple seasons. They praise the pair for striking the balance between fashion and function, though many also note that the slim calf is not for everyone. – Remi Rosmarin
Pros: Chic style, made from high-quality materials, weatherproof finish
Cons: Expensive, run slightly small
Check out our recommendations for the best umbrellas
A rainy day can ruin your plans, your outfit, and your mood, but with a great umbrella in your hands, rain need not put a damper on the day. The Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella is our top pick because it’s impressively rugged given its small size and affordable price tag.
We also recommend the Hunter Mustache Bubble Umbrella, because its clear design lets you stay dry and see where you’re going, even when the rain is blowing sideways.
If you’re looking to save money on your umbrella, the $24 Totes Compact NeverWet Umbrella is a great option because it’s lightweight and compact.
Those of you who want an umbrella to take with you on vacations and trips should grab the Samsonite Windguard Auto Open Umbrella. It is compact, capable, and reliable even in windy conditions.
Sometimes you just need a bigger umbrella, and the G4Free Automatic Double Canopy Golf Umbrella is just the ticket with its wide canopy and sturdy build.
However, if you need an umbrella that can handle 55mph winds, get the BLUNT Metro Travel Umbrella. It’s truly remarkable.