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.