Shoes For Rainy Days

December 15, 2014

Shoes for Rainy Days

We’ve been suffering through some pretty bad storms here in San Francisco. When the weather is this wet, you need to reconsider your shoes, as going out with the wrong pair can literally leave you with cold feet for the rest of the day. From the easy-to-do to the expensive-but-stylish, here are seven footwear options that will help you weather the storm.

  • Leather Boots: If it’s only sprinkling out, you can probably get away with your regular leather footwear. Just add a thin layer of wax polish to help make them a little more water resistant (I use Saphir and Lincoln). For workboots, try Obneauf’s LP. Also, choose shoes with rubber soles, as leather soles wear down quickly when they’re wet and grinding on hard concrete.
  • Suede Boots: You wouldn’t think it, but suede shoes are great for the rain. Just add some kind of protectant. I use Allen Edmonds’ Waterproofing spray, but have also heard good things about Tarrago’s Nano Protector. To see how effective this stuff is, check out this video (seriously, it’s like magic).
  • Sneakers: Converse has a rubber version of their classic Chuck Taylors this season, and a much more expensive collaboration with the English raincoat maker Hancock. For a little DIY, check out this Archival Clothing video on how to wax canvas sneakers at home (the product they’re using is Otter Wax)
  • Wellingtons: Wellingtons are tall rubber boots, mostly meant for wear in the countryside, but I also find them practical in the city on truly wet days (the height helps prevent water from slashing up your legs). Check out Le Chameau, Hunter, Aigle. With a pair of these on, you’ll never have to fear stepping into a deep puddle again.
  • Duck boots: LL Bean’s Maine Hunting Boots (aka Bean Boots) have been endlessly copied (Lacrosse, Sorel, and Brooks Brothers to start). And for good reason – they’re easy to wear with a range of casual clothes, and are great for the rain or snow. Orders for Bean Boots are on backlog until March, but you can find them on eBay. For baller versions, check out these boots by Nigel Cabourn. For a frugal alternative, take a look at Cabela’s.
  • Shell cordovan: Shell cordovan is incredibly dense, so it’s naturally water resistant. Alden and Carmina are good sources for shell cordovan boots, but in the last couple of months, Meermin has offered a much more affordable alternative. Just note, shell often spots with water, which means you’ll have to brush them out after every wear. Use a horsehair brush after your shoes have had time to dry for a day or two.
  • Galoshes: For when you actually have to wear dress shoes, consider getting a pair of galoshes, which you can slip on over your nicer footwear. I keep a pair at the office, just in case of emergencies. Tingleys offers something pretty basic and simple, while SWIMS offers something a little more stylish. Choose brown for brown shoes, black for black shoes, and blue if you wear blue raincoats. Orange goes with nothing, but they can add a little cheer to a rainy day.

(Pictured above: Le Chameau Chasseur and LL Bean Boots)