Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for the best rain boots

People complain when the weather's wet, but rain shouldn't cause you too much trouble if you're properly attired.

Rain boots are vital for keeping your feet dry and warm, but which is the right pair for you? You'll find all kinds of options out there, and it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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If you've ever endured the misery of spending a day with wet feet, you undoubtedly understand the benefit of rain boots.

Who uses rain boots?

Who are rain boots for? Rain boots are for anyone who prefers to keep their feet dry in wet conditions, whether it's in the city, country or anywhere in between.

"If you want to make sure your chosen rain boots are the appropriate length, look at the shaft measurement, which is generally measured from the arch, and compare it to your own leg measurement."

Let's examine some of the reasons why people wear rain boots:

  • People wear rain boots to keep their feet dry when it's wet out. After all, nobody likes walking around with soggy feet all day. You might wear rain boots to work and then change into regular footwear when you get there. Or, you might just wear your boots all day.

  • If you walk in muddy areas — perhaps while exercising your dog or hiking — rain boots don’t just keep your feet dry. They also prevent mud and puddle water from splashing up your pant legs. Plus, they're easy to wipe clean afterwards.

  • Rain boots are often worn by farmers or others who keep outdoor animals. Trekking through a soggy field to visit your cows, chickens, or horses is a much more pleasant experience when your feet are dry.

  • People often wear rain boots at outdoor festivals and other large outdoor gatherings if the weather is wet.



Rain boots come in various lengths. Classic rain boots stretch most of the way up your shins, stopping a few inches beneath your knees. But there are shorter options that come to mid-calf or just over the ankle, too.

People of shorter-than-average height should be careful with full-length rain boots. If they’re too long, they might cut into the backs of your knees when you’re walking.

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Did you know?
Rain boots aren't just for outdoor enthusiasts. They’re also useful for city dwellers who need to get from point A to point B in wet weather.


Rain boots are usually worn with thick socks, so they tend to be a bit roomy. As such, if you're a half size, we recommend that you round your size down instead of up.

Because rain boots are designed to be pulled on and don't have laces, the fit can feel a bit strange at first, but you'll soon get used to them.

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Expert Tip
Rain boots can be fashionable as well as functional. Try showcasing them with your favorite outfit, or go for a pair with an interesting color or pattern.


Since you'll probably be wearing your rain boots in wet, muddy, or otherwise slippery conditions, you want them to have good traction so you don’t trip and fall.

We recommend that you opt for a pair of rain boots with good tread. And the truth is, not all rain boots have good tread. If you go for a pair that isn’t recognized for its tread, try to examine the treads in person or check out customer reviews first.

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For your safety
Avoid rain boots that are designed more for fashion than function. Boots with poor tread and little traction aren’t safe or practical.

Inner soles

During our product research, we noted that most pairs of rain boots have thin inner soles. Some exceptions exist, but most leave something to be desired in this area.

The problem is this: cold transfers from the ground up to your feet. When you’re wearing sub-par inner soles, your feet feel even more of that cold. What’s more, if you're walking long distances, you might suffer some discomfort due to a lack of cushioning.

This is not a major problem, however. If you choose, you could get a thick, comfortable pair of inner soles and insert them in your rain boots.

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Expert Tip
A good pair of inner soles can make your rain boots warmer and more comfortable.


Another factor to consider is lining.

Most rain boots are completely unlined. This means your feet could grow quite chilly while wearing them.

If you look carefully, however, you’ll find some excellent lined rain boots available that will help keep your feet and lower legs warm. For instance, the popular manufacturer Kamik makes some comfortable lined rain boots for women.

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Expert Tip
If your rain boots are unlined and you're concerned about getting cold, consider getting a pair of boot liners or rain boot socks.


You’ll find a beautiful array of colors and patterns on the rain boot market. These range from solid muted tones like black, green, and navy to brightly colored patterns with flowers, zig zags, and more.

The color you choose is likely to depend on personal preference and whether you plan to wear them around town or simply on hikes or dog walks.

"If you're looking for a striking pair of rain boots, check out the The SAK’s large menu of fun colors and patterns."


People come in all shapes and sizes, so what fits one person snugly could gape around the legs of another.

If you have slim calves, look for boots with adjustable straps, as these can greatly improve the fit.

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For your safety
An adjustable strap on the side of your rain boots will help you achieve a comfortable fit around your calves. But buyer beware: some boots feature straps that don’t actually do anything — they’re just for show.


The price of rain boots varies significantly from one brand to the next. You may see one pair for $30 and another for $150.

In terms of durability, a $30 pair of rain boots might last you just one or two winters. But a $150 pair might linger for five winters or more, depending on how often you use them.

  • If you're just going to wear them to and from work on the odd days when it's pouring rain, a cheap pair of rain boots would probably suffice.

  • If you're going to wear them every day for walking your dogs or mucking out your horse's stall, a costlier pair is more likely to withstand this heavy-duty wear and tear.

  • Although we don't suggest spending more than you can afford, a cheaper pair of rain boots would deliver false economy in the end, as they're likely to give out much sooner than a slightly more expensive pair.
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If you get cold feet when wearing your rain boots, look for a thick pair of quality thermal socks.


Q. Are rain boots easy to get on and off?
Rain boots are fairly loose fitting, so they shouldn't be too much of a challenge to get on, as long as they're the right size. However, many rain boots do have special loops or tabs to help you pull them on easily.

Pulling the boots off could pose a bit of a challenge, especially if they’re muddy and you don't want to touch them with your hands. If you plan to tromp around in the mud frequently, we recommend getting a bootjack.

Q. Do I need to wear special socks with my rain boots?
While there's no rule as to what socks you should wear with your rain boots, they're often sized with the assumption that you’ll be wearing thicker socks. So, if you wear thin socks, your rain boots are likely to swamp you a little.

Not to mention, your feet will get cold wearing thin socks with rain boots, especially if the boots are unlined.

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