Best Rain Boots of 2018

Rain boots keep your feet warm and dry on rainy days. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best rain boots that are both fashionable and functional.

Your Guide to the Best Rain Boots

Rainy days are no big deal if you have the right gear. But you certainly won't be singing in the rain if your feet are all soggy. That's why a decent pair of rain boots is a wardrobe essential.

But what exactly differentiates a good pair of rain boots from a substandard pair? And with so many rain boots on the market, how do you select a pair that's both practical and fits your style?

If you need some assistance cutting through the jargon and sorting the good from the bad, we're here to help. At BestReviews, we pride ourselves on our extensive product research, which includes consulting with our team of experts, testing products in our labs and the field, and analyzing user feedback. We don't accept promotional products, so you can trust that our opinions are our own.

If you're ready to purchase a pair of rain boots, scroll up for BestReviews' top recommendations. For everything you need to know to choose the best rain boots for you, you've come to the right place.

If you plan to wear very thick socks with your rain boots, you may need to size up, especially if the brand tends to run small.

Different Types of Rain Boots

The first thing to decide is what type of rain boots you prefer. You'll find three main lengths available: full-length, midi, and ankle rain boots.

Full-Length Rain Boots
Full-length rain boots sit just below the knee on the average wearer.

  • Pros: Full-length rain boots keep your legs dry right up to the knee. This is ideal if you'll be splashing through deep puddles or trudging through mud.
  • Cons: If they sit too high, full-length rain boots can dig into the back of your knees when you walk and restrict your range of motion.

Midi Rain Boots
Midi rain boots reach up to your mid-calf.

  • Pros: For shorter wearers, midi rain boots are less likely to dig into the back of the knees. Plus, midi rain boots tend to be roomier for those with larger calves.
  • Cons: Midi rain boots don't keep as much of your leg dry as full-length rain boots do.

Ankle Rain Boots
Ankle rain boots are short rain boots that only reach the ankle.

  • Pros: If you want to keep your feet dry without a conspicuous rain-boot look, ankle rain boots are a subtle and stylish option. Ankle rain boots also tend to be more comfortable to wear than other kinds of rain boots.
  • Cons: Ankle rain boots aren't suitable for use in extremely wet and muddy conditions where you're likely to get splashed up your legs.
The vast majority of rain boots are made of rubber (either natural or synthetic), though PVC rain boots are also available.

Splash Test: What to Look for When Buying Rain Boots

Water Resistance
The main purpose of rain boots is to keep your feet dry, so if they're not completely waterproof, they're not much use. Good rain boots have a one-piece design so that there's nowhere for water to seep in. Ideally, rain boots should be reinforced around any seams, so they're less likely to split and let water in. If you're concerned about water getting into your rain boots by splashing over the top of the shaft, look for tight-fitting rain boots or a pair with an adjustable strap at the top.

Color
Traditional rain boots are more about function than fashion. That said, you can find rain boots in a range of colors and patterns, from bubblegum pink to classic black to floral patterns. While some patterned rain boots sacrifice quality for style, you can find plenty of well-made, high-end rain boots in attractive colors and patterns.

Traction
Since you'll primarily be using your rain boots in wet and slippery conditions, it's important they have good traction. Unfortunately, some rain boots are sorely lacking in the grip department. Deep treads with plenty of grooves and lugs are a good sign that a pair of rain boots will provide adequate traction. If the soles simply feature a few ridges or lightly textured areas, the rain boots are probably not going to provide enough grip when it's wet, muddy, or icy. That said, some rain boots are primarily designed for urban environments, and these tend to have less tread.

Some rain boots feature pull tabs or handles to make it easier to get them on, which is especially useful if they're a relatively tight-fitting pair.

Getting the Correct Fit for Rain Boots

It can be tough to get an exact fit for rain boots. Rain boots often run big or small. Some manufacturers make their rain boots slightly large, with the assumption that people will wear thick socks, whereas other rain boots run smaller than average. What's more, some rain boots are quite narrow around the shaft, which means they might not fit people with larger calves.

BestReviews recommends looking at customer reviews to find out whether or not a pair of rain boots runs true to size. Also, check the measurements for the length and circumference of the shaft to make sure the rain boots will fit your legs comfortably.

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Take Extra Care When Storing Your Rain Boots

Avoid storing your rain boots with the shafts folded down because it could cause them to split.

How Much Should You Spend on a Good Pair of Rain Boots?

You can find rain boots to suit a wide range of budgets. How much you should spend depends on how often you'll wear your rain boots.

  • Budget-Friendly: Budget rain boots start at around $15 to $20. These rain boots tend to be suitable for occasional use, rather than heavy-duty wear.
  • Mid-Range: Mid-range rain boots cost between $20 and $60. You can find some excellent pairs in this price range, including some rugged rain boots that stand up to heavy use.
  • Expensive: High-end rain boots cost anywhere from $60 to $200. While they are high-quality, you can also find rain boots of similar quality for lower prices from less prestigious brands.

If you have wide feet, look for wide-fit rain boots, as a regular pair is likely to pinch.

Tips for Selecting Rain Boots

  • Choose a comfortable pair of rain boots. Nobody likes wearing uncomfortable footwear, so make sure the rain boots you choose will keep your feet happy. Extras like memory foam soles keep your feet comfortable when you're wearing your rain boots for long stretches.
  • Think about how often you'll use your rain boots. If you'll be wearing your rain boots daily during the wetter months, it's worth investing in a durable pair. Whereas, if you usually only wear rain boots once or twice a season, a budget pair will suffice.
  • Decide how important style is to you. Do you want an attractive pair of wellies, or are you happy with functional rain boots that aren't fashion-forward?
  • Take note of the length of the shaft. This is important since it will rub the back of your knees if it's too long. Rain boots come in various lengths, so you can find a pair that fits you perfectly.
Rain boots that don't provide enough arch support can cause leg ache or backache when worn for long periods.

FAQ

Q. How warm are rain boots?
A. Many rain boots don't have linings, so they're not very warm, which means you'll need to wear thick socks in cold weather. However, you can find some rain boots with linings to keep your toes warm when it's chilly out. Some rain boots are even rated for use in sub-zero temperatures.

Q. What happens if my rain boots don't fit well when they arrive?
A. The downside of online shopping is that sometimes a product isn't right when it arrives, no matter how much research you do. BestReviews recommends only buying from online stores with good returns policies so that you can easily swap your rain boots for a smaller or larger size if the fit isn't correct.

Q. Are rain boots easy to clean?
A. Although rain boots are made for getting muddy, you'll want to clean them from time to time to keep them looking their best. The good news is that rain boots are very easy to clean. Simply wipe your rain boots down, or spray them clean with a hose.

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Enhance Comfort with Padded Insoles

If your rain boots don't come with padded insoles, you can buy them separately to increase the warmth and comfort of your wellies.