Is it just me or do rain boots ruin most good outfits? I don’t know what it is about them that bugs me so much. Perhaps it’s their ultra-rounded toes that looks like something a cartoon duck would sport. Or their weirdly gaping circumference. Or their inherently utilitarian nature. Or the fact that, whenever I walk out of the house wearing rain boots, I know full well in my heart that my outfit would look SO MUCH BETTER if I were wearing my yellow suede driving moccasins. Probably all of the above.
Either way, I recently decided that unless it was raining so hard that the streets of New York were moonlighting as a veritable slip n’ slide, I would eschew traditional rain boots in favor of a compromise: water-friendly shoes — an admittedly nebulous footwear category. I determined it should include leather shoes that have a substantial rubber and/or vulcanized sole, rubberized leather shoes, PVC shoes, shoes with a wooden heel and rubber sole, patent leather shoes and rubber shoes rendered in silhouettes that aren’t explicitly intended for rain wear. If you care to join me in this rain-boot avoidance scheme, I did a market sweep for shoes that fall into this category and, in my opinion, are fun to look at, from $68 to $585. Keep scrolling to take a gander — and tell me your go-to inclement weather footwear in the comments.
These babies are 100% rubber, which I suppose means they qualify as more waterproof than water-friendly, but their penny loafer shape constitutes an appealing middle ground that a traditional waterproof rain boot does not. In terms of styling, I would love to pair them with knee socks, a plaid pinafore dress and a chunky sweater from Fe Knits for no reason except that I saw one on Jenny Walton’s Instagram Stories and wanted to be inside it immediately.
I just looked up “brogue” on Google out of curiosity and learned that it is “a strong outdoor shoe with ornamental perforated patterns in the leather,” which is about as specific as it gets. This pair from Melissa is indeed a “strong outdoor shoe” in that they are made out of PVC which is basically soft plastic. Like Tupperware for your feets! I’d personally wear these with crew socks, a midi skirt and a tucked-in cardigan.
I was going to call these brogues, too, so thank G I looked up that definition on Google before accidentally perjuring myself. I’ve been obsessed with Camper shoes every since I used them for my tourism style-inspired shoot this summer and realized they are the perfect marriage of super functional and chicly weird. These would look so cool with raw dark denim high-waist pants and a white button down layered over a black turtleneck, huh?
Elizabeth turned me onto the brilliant idea that is wearing wooden-heeled, rubber-soled clogs in the rain and I owe her my rainy day joy for that. I have one of the classic low-to-the-ground pairs but I’m eyeing this hunter green ankle boot style simply because I haven’t seen anything else like them and that is one of my favorite qualifiers for purchase. The fact that they are on sale currently doesn’t hurt — and neither does my fantasy of wearing them with leggings and an oversized houndstooth blazer.
Don’t these boots look like the coziest thing this side of hygge? I feel like putting them on would be the equivalent of drinking a hot chocolate with my back against a fireplace, or snuggling under a duvet fresh out of the dryer. They’re the kind of distinctively multicolored item that would surprisingly go with everything, but for some reason (please don’t ask me why) I’m eager to pair them with slightly cropped khakis, a form-fitting neon green long-sleeved top and a cropped jacket. What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants, and this heart wants a hypothetical outfit that will really stand out on a rainy sidewalk.
Bless patent leather for looking fancy but staying hearty, you know? I’m hard-pressed to think of a better all-weather party shoe material. These gems from Carel are ready and waiting to rescue your festive ensembles when the inevitable intersection of party season and slightly-too-cold-for-rain-to-turn-into-snow season arrives. Bonus points if you wear them with sparkly tights.
I love these boots so much I want to eat them. I realize that they’re not a freshly-born infant or a towering ice cream sundae so according to social convention I’m not supposed to admit I want to consume them, but it was the first thing that came to mind and I’m an honest writer who refuses to delete. Okay? Okay. They’re definitely in the echelon of an investment purchase, but if they go on sale and I manage to scoop them up I guarantee I’ll wear them with tie-dye socks that slightly peek out at the top.
Last but not least, a water-friendly cowboy boot for the maximalists among us (hi). With heart cutouts, crystal trim and overall bubblegum pinkness, this pair is not for the faint of personal style and that is precisely why I love them. I truly believe they could singlehandedly (bootedly?) cheer me up on a rainy morning, which counts for a lot. I don’t know what I would wear them with but I’m inclined to say everything.
Your turn! Share any and all water-friendly footwear recommendations below.
Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.