Running to stay active and to enjoy the outdoors in a self-challenging way has picked up the track. More and more people are routinely running as their main sport of choice, at least while in town and not on a getaway. But how can you commit to your running goals when the weather can quite literally put a damper on it sometimes? With high-tech gear, of course: as long as you have a pair of the best waterproof running shoes on, you can keep going come hell or high water.
The best part about it? That such water-resistant shoes are the perfect companion while on a nature trip, too. You’re not restricted to using them during your urban explorations and jogs. Instead, take them along to your outdoor getaways and you’ll see that the shoes have enough grit to maintain flawless performance and comfort levels.
In this guide on the best waterproof running shoes, we’ll first take a look at the top 5 options on the market right now. Our favorite or top picks will be highlighted, as well as the best option for people on a tight budget. We’ll cover at least one perfect pair for everyone and give you details on what’s so great about them, as well as what could be improved.
Following the run-down of best options, we’ll then look into the main features you need to pay attention to when shopping for weatherproof running shoes. Last, but not least, a few frequently asked questions will get answered, just to clear the air in case there’s any confusion left. We hope that at the end of our guide, you’ll be ready to run and keep running in all circumstances. Let’s go!
How To Choose Waterproof Running Shoes – Buying Guide
Still not sure what to choose from our above list of the best waterproof running shoes? Here are the main features you need to pay attention to when shopping for such shoes.
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Support And Comfort
As with all kinds of sports shoes, including hiking shoes or regular all-purpose running shoes, comfort should always come first. If your pair of desired shoes don’t provide you with proper comfort and sole support, they can be the toughest and most water-resistant shoes in the world, but they’re still no good. But how can you tell if you’re not a shoe expert yourself?
Here are the most common phrases to look for when reading about the shoes you’re considering: sole support, Styrofoam or just ‘foam’ comfort, any copyrighted or branded fabric name when describing the sole, Vibram sole, molded, shock-absorbent, and so on.
The main takeaway you need to remember is this: there are certain types of fabrics that are specially designed to provide the sole support you need. These are all synthetic, usually foam-based, and often come with branded names. The best waterproof running shoes need to fulfill two functions: to absorb shock well and to hold your foot gently in a tight but weightless grip.
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All of the best waterproof running shoes are made from specially designed synthetic materials that can provide optimal running performance and keep the elements away from your feet. In case you’re concerned with the environmental impact of synthetic materials, don’t worry. The top sports and outwear companies recycle much of their materials and their products are also built to last, which means you’ll need to replace them rarely.
Mesh and foam are the main two quality materials you can expect to find in a good waterproof running shoe. Nylon is also a common choice among the fabrics list of the best-performing sports shoes, especially water-resistant ones. Just read the product description carefully and try to identify the best qualities we mentioned above.
It also helps if the shoes you’re considering have good reviews, too, of course, not just empty claims about being ‘reinforced’ and so on. Still unsure whether to trust it or not? Then go ahead and pick something from the list above if you want to be sure, or something similar but with great reviews for at least the first results page.
First of all, you should know that there are some differences between water resistant and waterproof. The two are not one and the same thing.
For a pair of shoes to be certified water-resistant, it means that they can withstand water and repel it but only so far. They will be able to stay dry while submerged for a little while, but not if you dunk them in water for more than a few seconds.
In contrast, a pair of shoes that is certified to be waterproof should be able to withstand being submerged in water for longer periods of time without allowing the liquid to soak them up. Of course, not even the most highly praised waterproof shoes will stay completely dry if you just drop them into a full bathtub and leave them there. It’s all about normal wearing circumstances and how much you can expect your shoes to protect you in wet environments.
So, which should you choose? Does this mean that waterproof is better than water-resistant? The answer is that it depends on where you plan on wearing these shoes. If you’re looking for a nice pair of running shoes for mostly urban jogs, but you want them to stay dry even in light rain, then water resistant is enough.
But if you want to wear your new gear on wild nature hikes, trail runs, and so on, then maybe you should opt for actual waterproof ones. This way, you’ll be well prepared for anything you may encounter on your outdoor adventure. Regardless of what you decide, our list above contains both types of options: water resistant and waterproof.
Only you know how much you can afford to spend on your running gear, but of course, there is some truth to the assumption that the more expensive the shoe, the better it will perform. We’re not exactly presenting luxury brands like Gucci or Chanel here, where it can be argued that a large part of the price is derived from the vanity value of the brand.
Sure, some sports brands are more famous than others, but for most intents and purposes, the field is leveled here. You can have your personal preferences and go for Nike waterproof shoes over Adidas ones or whatever, but for the most part, the price will reflect the quality of the shoe you’re getting.
Style and Design
Today’s sports shoes are not only high-performance for whatever sports you practice while wearing them, but also carefully designed as a style statement. Few things are better looking, in a casual and relaxed way than a pair of well-chosen sports shoes accompanied by well-fitting sports clothes. This is obvious when you look at all the design work which goes into the new sports shoe collection each year.
But since the good design has become the norm, this also means that you don’t need to worry about it too much. Our advice is to keep your eyes on the prize, which in this case is a good performance for running per se. As long as you pick the right waterproof shoe for your needs and preferences, their style will not be lagging far behind. You can be pretty sure that the shoes will look as great as they feel.
Of course, many people prefer to have a bit some room for personalization. This is why it’s great that most sports brands do offer several styles and color options to choose from. This way, you can totally match the weatherproof shoes you’ve chosen to the colors most likely to be found in the rest of your sports wardrobe.
Or, you can even go for two completely similar items but in different colors, why not? We all know that bright colors and a bit of variation can really work as a pick-me-up, especially on days when we don’t really feel like meeting our fitness goals. Just don a pair of sports sunglasses, a stay-dry shirt, your waterproof fitness tracker and you can take anything on. Ready, set, go!
Using a pair of heavy-duty shoes in adverse conditions, especially in less than ideal weather, makes such shoes be prone to being too thick. Quite often, producers err on the side of making their shoes sturdier at the expense of making them less breathable. The lower quality models tend to have poor air circulation, leading to bad odors, skin irritations, and so on.
That’s why breathability is an important feature to consider whenever shopping for a trail shoe. Just like trail running shoes, you will be using them on long runs, often in the middle of an outdoors setting, for hours at a time. It’s important not just for them to keep the elements out, but to allow some air to circulate between the inside and the outside, too.
The best way to see if a pair of waterproof running shoes is breathable? First off, read at least 3-4 user reviews for the exact model you’re considering. Most of the time, trail shoe reviews also address the issue of breathability so you should be able to find info right away.
Second of all, see if you can try the shoes on before making the final purchase. If you walk in them for 5 minutes, preferably without socks on (barefooted) you should be able to tell right away if they are breathable or not. In walk-in stores, this should be easy, but you can even do it when shopping online. Most online stores have a buffer period where you can return the product and get your money back if you don’t like it.
Durable Tread System
The outer sole (or tread) of your shoe is especially important and should be highly resistant if you want your shoes to last. This is especially true if you plan on wearing them on rougher terrain like the one found on hiking trails and so on, as opposed to the usual urban landscape. So if you aim to go on plenty of nature trails, you need to opt for shoes that boast higher tread durability.
This part of your shoe is on the inner side and directly dictates how comfortable the shoes are going to feel. You need to have the words ‘air’, ‘cushion’ or ‘foam’ into their description in order to be sure you can expect a comfortable feel. Also, if the sock liner can boast extra perks like anti-bacterial ions and so on, it’s an advantage worthy of your attention.
Q: How To Clean Wet Weather Running Shoes?
One of the best things about water-resistant running shoes is that their water-repelling qualities allow them to stay mostly clean. Since most permanent dirt is of the wet variety, it’s actually pretty hard to get waterproof shoes so dirty that they’re hard to clean.
For general maintenance of their cleanliness, you can wipe them with a clean, damp cloth every now and then. This should help take the dust and grime off and help the shoes retain their sparkly clean shine.
For out of the ordinary cleaning jobs, when your shoes need thorough cleaning due to stepping in thick mud or so on, you can run your shower with high water pressure all over the dirty parts. You can also use a cloth to gently scrub the more difficult areas and with enough time and patience all dirt should come off.
If your shoes are dirty with a non-water-soluble substance, like tar or oil-based substances, then you should use rubbing alcohol or a special solution for cleaning them. However, don’t try this before consulting the product label, as that might alter the colors or damage the waterproof layer. If you’re still not sure how to proceed in this case, consider giving them to professionals at a cleaning station.
Q: How Often Should I Wash My Running Shoes?
For general maintenance, assuming you are using your waterproof running sneakers every day, but in regular urban conditions, it’s enough to give them a wipe every 3-4 days. Of course, if you live in a dirtier area or if you stumble upon some dirt that makes the matter of cleaning more urgent, you will be able to tell. Basically, a slightly dusty look is ok on your running shoes, but a downright dirty one is not.
For outdoor trips and adventures, we recommend you cleaning your shoes once you get back home. But if your trip is longer than a week or if you manage to get your shoes really dirty while exploring, please do clean your shoes mid-trip as well. It will do the main cleaning at the end of the vacation much easier.
Q: Are These Shoes 100% Waterproof?
As explained above, there isn’t really such a thing as 100% waterproof. First of all, there’s a difference between water-resistant and waterproof, as highlighted above. The water-resistant shoes will only be able to withstand a lighter amount of water or rain before getting soaked, while the waterproof ones will be able to take much more.
However, not even waterproof shoes are not 100% waterproof. They are made to keep you dry if you dip your feet into puddles every now and then, but the design is still based on the assumption that you won’t linger in those puddles or completely submerge your shoes into the water for long periods of time. So, the answer to this question is that even the best waterproof running sneakers are only guaranteed to be waterproof up to a point.
Of course, for most intents and purposes they will be able to keep your feet dry. But if you plan on going swimming with them, don’t and just go for some water shoes instead.
Globo Surf Overview
With a pair of the best waterproof running sneakers at your feet, literally, you can feel ready to take on anything. No more worries about rain, puddles, mud or otherwise unsavory bits in your terrain ahead. It’s just you and your fitness goals, or the breathtaking view, or the fresh mountain air, and all the reasons you’re doing this for. So, enjoy the limitless feel of proper gear and go explore. Happy running!
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Have you ever worn waterproof running sneakers yourself? What were your experiences with the types of running shoes you’ve tried so far? Where do you plan to use your waterproof shoes for running and how often? Do you have a favorite brand for them or you’re still looking for that perfect fit?
Do you have any insights to share with the other users looking for the best wet weather running shoes? Share your thoughts with the other readers in the comment section below! We’re always happy to hear from members of the Globo Surf community.