For many, a good pair of rain boots are a staple for the springtime: They can shield your feet from unexpected puddles and the dreaded walks to work in rainy weather, and they ensure you’re not running around with uncomfortably wet shoes even when you have an umbrella on hand. Rain boots differ from your typical snow boots because they’re usually completely crafted with waterproof materials like rubber and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). And you won’t have to sacrifice style for functionality: They’re available in a variety of silhouettes, including sleek Chelsea boots to complete a chic outfit or tall boots that feel reminiscent of your childhood pair.
SKIP AHEAD How to shop for good quality rain boots | Are rain boots worth it?
If you’re looking to commit to a new pair of rain boots, we spoke to experts about what makes a good rain boot and how to shop for the best one. We also compiled expert-recommended and staff-favorite picks for women to shop now.
Best rain boots for women in 2023
Below, we gathered expert-recommended rain boots and Select staff favorites to consider across a variety of brands and price points. Each of the following boots are made from waterproof materials like rubber and PVC.
Hunter Women's Original Tall Rain Boots
Hunter rain boots are a favorite among Select staff, and I’ve found them to be a reliable brand that I can slip on whenever the rain starts to pour. The brand’s most recognizable style, the Original Tall Boots, are made from waterproof rubber and come with a high-grip rubber outsole and polyester lining along the inside to help keep your feet both dry and comfortable, according to Hunter. Since I walk everywhere, I love this version because they’re tall enough to keep water from splashing on my pants during particularly long or hurried walks. The boots are available in either a matte or high-gloss finish and offered in 10 different colors, including white, green and yellow. They’re also personalizable, allowing you to add your name to the front of each boot.
Hunter Women's Play Short Rain Boots
If you’re not a fan of a tall rain boot, Hunter’s Play Short Rain Boots — a favorite among Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin — sit just above the ankle, according to the brand. They’re made from 100% natural rubber and have a flatter platform sole for more comfort and versatility. This option is offered in a variety of colors and styles, including mauve, red and purple.
Bernardo Addison Rain Boot
Samantha Brown, a celebrity stylist based in New York, recommended Bernardo rain boots because “they are a perfect blend of style and function.” The Bernardo Addison Rain Boot features a synthetic waterproof rubber upper and a slight platform synthetic sole with a 1.25-inch heel. It comes in four colors: Black, Dusk, Amber and Royal Pine.
Bogs Neo-Classic Tall Boots
“This boot doesn’t bend easily in the mid arch, [which] will provide more shock absorption and result in less foot pain, such as arch pain and heel pain,” said Dr. Miguel Cunha, a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. Bogs Neo-Classic Tall Boots are made from 100% waterproof natural rubber and are constructed with waterproof insulation for use in snow and colder weather, according to the brand. These boots also include a flexible insole that the brand says can adapt to your foot width, and it offers cushioning to provide more comfort throughout the day. Cunha is also a fan of the shoe’s moisture-wicking liner, which “allows your feet to stay dry and avoid a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria,” he said.
Kate Spade Puddle Rain Booties
I recently received the Kate Space Puddle Rain Booties as a gift and have been loving them as a more fashionable solution for rainy weather. These boots are made from PVC rubber and zip at the side to help you easily slip them on and off. I find them to be extremely comfortable and I’m a big fan of the 2.25-inch heel — I can wear these boots casually throughout the day or style them with a chic outfit when I’m out with friends. The Puddle Rain Booties also come in a variety of colors, including black, dark blue, brown and red.
Jeffrey Campbell Cloudy Waterproof Chelsea Rain Boot
These platform Chelsea rain boots have a pull-on style, a 1.5-inch heel and a 1-inch platform, which Cunha said he prefers over a flat boot. He noted that the heavy treads of this boot can help avoid slips and falls, while the wide toe box can accommodate the toes and avoid aggravating the feet. “The insole is removable and a great option for replacing with custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis sufferers,” he added.
Hunter Women's Tall Insulated Rain Boots
Unlike Hunter’s Original Tall Rain Boot, the brand’s insulated rain boot is designed for cooler climates and has a vegan Shearling fleece lining for warmth and dryness. The boot can be worn in temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit and has a slip-resistant sole that can help avoid slips and falls, according to the brand. However, “this boot is only good for short periods of time since the material is not breathable and promotes a moist environment, which is a perfect combination for breeding foot conditions like mold, fungus, bacteria and wart viruses,” said Cunha.
How to shop for good quality rain boots
A good rain boot should not only be completely waterproof, but it should also be easy to slip-on without creating a seam or gap that might allow water to get in. To help you determine the best rain boot for your wardrobe, our experts suggested looking at the type of material the boot is made from, its comfort level and the shaft height.
Rain boots are most commonly made from 100% waterproof rubber or PVC — you may see some boots on the market labeled as “water-resistant” since they’re crafted with synthetic materials like patent leather, but they won’t usually hold up to heavy rains or submersion in water as rain boots would. Cunha noted that rain boots made with thicker rubber will last longer and retain their shape over time, while PVC may be prone to cracking and losing its shape.
The height of the boot and how it sits on or around your calf can be an important factor when considering style and comfort. The shaft is measured from the top opening rim of the boot to the arch and helps support the ankles and calves while preventing water from infiltrating into the boot, according to Cunha. He noted there are three main styles of rain boots to consider:
- Low shaft rain boots extend 6 inches above the arch to provide moderate coverage of the ankles and allow for freedom of movement. Brown recommended considering a lower style rain boot since it may be more comfortable to keep on through a whole day.
- Moderate shaft rain boots extend 8 inches to 10 inches midway up the calf to provide better coverage for wetter conditions.
- Tall shaft rain boots extend 12 inches up to just below the knee. This height is more suitable for walking through a muddy stream or creek than shorter options, Cunha noted.
Comfort and traction
Experts recommended looking for a rain boot that is comfortable and provides traction to avoid slipping. “A comfortable rain boot should have a wide toe box that is rounded and won’t crowd your toes with a thick cushioned midsole that doesn't bend easily in the mid arch. This will provide more shock absorption, and in turn, will result in less foot pain such as arch pain and heel pain,” Cunha said.
Cunha said he prefers rain boots with a slight heel less than 3/4 inch can be better for you than shoes that are completely flat since it takes the stress off the Achilles, which can help with the alignment of your posture, ankles, knees and spine. A completely flat boot can affect your gait and posture, “which can lead to a tremendous amount of stress placed not only to the foot but to the rest of the body,” he added.
Are rain boots worth it?
There are plenty of benefits to purchasing a rain boot: They’re designed to be waterproof so they shouldn’t incur any damage when they get wet, and they’re also very easy to wipe clean if you splash them with mud.
However, one of their biggest limitations is that rain boots aren’t always the most comfortable shoe to wear, especially in cold weather. “Rain boots are meant to keep you dry when walking through bad weather, but they’re usually not meant to be worn all day as the materials aren’t very breathable,” Brown said. “They don’t provide warmth, so be sure to add wool socks when going through any snow,” she added.
To make them more comfortable, Cunha recommended adding custom-made orthotics, especially if you need extra support. “Rain boots can be hard on your feet and I don’t recommend wearing them all day because the majority of them do not offer the proper shock absorption, arch support and cushioning,” he noted.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Samantha Brown is a professional personal stylist and celebrity stylist based in New York.
- Dr. Miguel Cunha is a podiatrist, foot and ankle surgeon and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City.
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