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What are Waterproof Shoes?

Daniel Liden
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Waterproof shoes are shoes designed to keep water from reaching the feet. Some people wear waterproof shoes because they have jobs that involve being outdoors in wet conditions for extended periods of time, while others like to keep a pair of such shoes around just to be prepared. Such shoes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes; some are small and light and resemble tennis shoes, while others come in the form of knee-high boots. Some are also intended to be used in cold weather and are well-insulated to keep the feet warm and dry.

Materials that repel water, such as rubber, are often used in waterproof shoes to prevent water from saturating the materials that make up the shoe. In some cases, the entire shoe is made out of such materials, while in other cases only the inner lining is made out of waterproof materials. Some individuals prefer to wear waterproof overshoes, which are essentially waterproof covers for shoes. They can, however, be awkward as they are seldom perfectly fitted for an individual's shoes. Whether the waterproof part is inside or outside the shoe, the goal is to keep the feet dry and prevent the shoe from sustaining water damage.

There are many kinds of waterproof shoes used for many purposes. Some resemble tennis shoes and are made to be worn casually on rainy days or on muddy trails. They are not, however, suitable for water that is more than a few inches deep, as the water would simply run over the top of the shoes at the ankle. Waterproof boots, which are often knee-high, are made for wading in deeper water and ensuring the feet remain dry. These are often used in swamps and other muddy, wet environments.

Waterproof shoes and boots are also very important for those who spend a great deal of time in the snow or ice. When snow and ice melt and saturate shoes and clothing, there is a significant risk of hypothermia and frostbite; waterproof shoes, then, are important to prevent this. Such waterproof shoes often have a thick, warm lining to keep the feet warm at the same time. People who spend a great deal of time in cold, wet conditions, such as ice fishermen, particularly appreciate this. If they did not have footwear that was resistant to such conditions, they would be unable to spend hours out on the ice without suffering some harm.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden , Former Writer
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.

Discussion Comments

By myharley — On Nov 12, 2011

I try to keep a nice pair of waterproof shoes on hand. If the weather is wet, rainy or snowy, I don't usually wear my good shoes, but will wear a pair of waterproof boots. I will change into my good shoes once I get to work.

When I am dressing casual, I don't mind wearing a pair of waterproof shoes. I happened to come across a great clearance sale a few months ago, and bought a pair of Clarks waterproof shoes.

I love these because they are a casual shoe that look great with jeans and are perfect to wear on the weekends when the weather is bad.

They also have a fleece type lining to keep the inside of my feet warm and toasty. This works great as long as the snow or rain is not too deep.

By bagley79 — On Nov 11, 2011

I think about wearing waterproof shoes more often in the winter than I do any other time of year. I have ruined several pairs of good shoes that have a salt ring on top of the toe from all the salt that is used on the streets.

While I am thankful for the salt so the streets are not icy, it does not help out my shoes at all! It is hard to find ladies waterproof shoes that look nice without spending a fortune on them.

What I have found that works for me is to take my shoes and make them as water resistant as I can. I use a water resistant polish that not only creates a seal on my shoes, but also helps keep them shiny.

I make it a point to do this several times during the winter and have been able to save many pairs of shoes this way.

It's not quite the same as buying a pair of waterproof shoes, but I think it serves the same purpose.

By shell4life — On Nov 11, 2011

My husband used to live in the snowy northeastern part of the country. He worked in construction, so he had to be outdoors even when the ground was wet or covered under feet of snow.

He has a pair of the tallest waterproof boots I have ever seen. They go nearly all the way up to his hips! Since he is six feet tall, this is a lot of rubber.

He said that he has had to work in snow over two feet deep, so this type of boot was the only kind that would protect him. They are not very comfortable. Wearing these is like wearing pants with rubber legs all day.

By lighth0se33 — On Nov 10, 2011

In the summertime, I don't want to wear big clunky overshoes or warm boots. I needed some slip-on waterproof shoes with exposed heels.

I did a search online for waterproof shoes for women. I found some decorative shoes that matched several of my outfits, and I bought them.

The material is super thick, but since the back is open, my feet get plenty of air and don't get too hot. I wear them on rainy days when the pavement on the sidewalk and parking lot is riddled with puddles.

As long as I don't step in a deep hole, my feet stay dry. The shoes are stylish enough that I don't feel self-conscious about my appearance when I wear them in public.

By seag47 — On Nov 09, 2011

@kylee07drg – Waterproof boots are also awesome for walking in the snow. I live in an area with a mild climate, so I didn't own any. Last year, we had an uncharacteristically cold winter, and we had eight inches of snowfall in one night. The weatherman predicted that more would fall before the season was over, so I decided to look for some boots.

I wanted some cute ones that were made for women. I knew I might have to wear them to work, and I didn't want to show up in dress pants and a nice blouse with ugly black rubber boots.

I found a pair that had pink soles and a strip of pink rubber around the toes and along the top. They were white and covered in black spots.

I wore them while walking in the yard and sledding down a slope. I also wore them to work when the snow cleared off enough for me to drive there. They looked so cute with my black leggings and pink sweater, and they kept my feet totally dry.

By kylee07drg — On Nov 09, 2011

I remember wading in a stream with waterproof rubber boots on when I was ten years old. My older friend who lived on the land with the stream had a pair of these boots, and my mother told me I would have to wear some if I wanted to wade in the water.

These boots came up to my knee. They were totally impermeable, so I stayed dry. They also protected my feet from any broken glass that may have been on the bottom, and this was another reason my mother required that I wear the boots.

By oasis11 — On Nov 08, 2011

@SauteePan -Crocs are more affordable in my opinion and they usually have sales on their shoes.

Also, they tend to have a wide variety of styles of shoes. Most of the styles are casual but they also contain dressy waterproof shoes and even a few orthopedic shoes as well.

I think that the best thing to do is to try on both pairs of shoes and see what style suits you best. I really like the idea of wearing comfortable waterproof shoes especially on rainy days when there are tons of puddles everywhere.

By SauteePan — On Nov 08, 2011

I used to think that only the Crocs line had waterproof shoes because they are so well-known for their slip on mules with the holes in them that were initially created for boating.

But there are a wide variety of waterproof shoes that don’t even look like they are waterproof. Merrill makes a lot of waterproof walking shoes that look just like hiking sneakers. These are great for walking in the snow, but they are not cheap.

A typical pair can run about $100 and a pair of waterproof boots by this brand can range from $100 to $200, but I have to say that they are really stylish.

The kids waterproof walking shoes start at about $60 and can go to well over $100 which is a little steep. I was looking into getting some of these waterproof shoes for my family because of a winter trip that I was planning, but since the shoes are so expensive I want to be able to have my family wear them outside of the vacation.

Daniel Liden

Daniel Liden

Former Writer

Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
Learn more
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