Shoes for the Rain: What to wear when it’s wet

shoes for the rain

So, it’s raining. And it doesn’t look it’s going to stop anytime soon. What on earth are you going to wear on your feet?

Obviously the answer to this question will depend on a lot of things: who you are, where you live, what you’re doing that day and, of course, exactly how much rain we’re talking about. You don’t need to get out the rubber boots for a summer shower, for instance, but you probably won’t want to ruin those new suede stilettos, either. What’s a girl to do?

Here are four of my go-to shoes for wet weather: I’d love to hear your suggestions, too!

1. Cheap patent flats

shoes for the rain: Ballet flats

Ballet flats leave the top of your foot exposed, so they’re obviously not ideal in real downpours, but in light showers, say, I swear by my good ol’ cheap patent flats: patent uppers tend to repel water better than many other fabrics, they generally come in a range of bright colours (good for cheering you up on a dull day), and as long as you don’t go jumping into any puddles, they’ll keep your feet pretty dry, too. Yours don’t have to be cheap, obviously, but if they are, at least it won’t matter too much if they do start to fall apart from too much moisture.

(If the weather’s not too wet, you can substitute patent heels here: they’re reasonably waterproof, look better than rain boots, and if they have a small platform, they’ll keep you up above any rogue puddles…)

2. Jelly shoes

OK, go ahead and laugh all you want to, but what could be more appropriate on a wet day than a pair of rubber shoes? Ones like the Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon shoes in the illustration will obviously not keep your feet totally dry (Melissa sell lots of closed-toe versions which will, though), but hey: skin dries, and won’t get damaged by a bit of rain, unlike suede or leather, say, which could easily be ruined in a downpour. If you don’t want to have to dry off your toes when you get to where you’re going, there are lots of closed-toe versions which offer more coverage.

shoes for the rain

(All styles available at the Melissa website)

3. Waterproofed leather boots

I’m not a big fan of wearing boots in the summer, but sometimes needs must, and if your weather is particularly wet, you’ll want to go for shoes that completely cover your foot, and ideally some of the leg, too. Leather isn’t waterproof on its own, but there are lots of products on the market which allow you to add a waterproof coating, either by spraying it onto the leather, or rubbing it in. (It’s a good idea to do this to new boots anyway, to make them last longer.) Most decent shoe stores carry a range of waterproofing products: Sarenza, for instance, has an entire page of them here.

4. Wellies/rain boots/gum boots/whatever you want to call them

I’m stating the obvious here, but when it gets really wet out, you can’t beat a good pair of Wellington boots. Luckily, there are lots of different styles of rain boot available these days: you can find them in just about every pattern and colour under the sun, with or without heels, and in both ankle and knee-length styles. You can also buy them everywhere from supermarkets to designer clothes stores. I currently have a pair of ancient rubber riding boots, left over from when I used to take horse-riding lessons as a teenager, but I’m seriously considering investing in a pair of Hunters: I have a feeling I’m going to be needing them!

wellington boots

Make sure you avoid…

Suede, canvas and satin. They all look fantastic on shoes, but are all very easily ruined in the rain. Be particularly wary of canvas: yes, they’ll dry quickly, but get them wet and the dye will leak out onto your skin – trust one who knows!

So tell me: what do you wear on your feet when it rains?


  • Doc Martens. Also when it snows, and when there’s mud, and basically whenever the weather demands indestructible shoes.

  • I am the same. A good ole pair of Docs always work in bad weather. I have only recently gotten a pair of rain boots, my mom gave them to me since I now live where there is lots of mud and rain at times. These have come in handy while taking out the puppy, but I would NEVER wear them in public!

  • I just bought a pair of bright red hunters and I absolutely love them, they look very cute! I’ve already jumped around in puddles like a little kid, hope no one was looking…

  • I can’t stand wellies. I feel I can’t move my foot properly, and that my feet can’t breath (I can’t stand being warm on my feet). I’ve tried every time, but I always end up with unused wellies.

    In the summer/spring/autumn I use either patent flats or my oldest pair of flats I don’t care about, in the winter I use water-proofed leather boots. Having wet feet is for some reason preferable to me to having warm feet.

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