What are the best waterproof walking shoes?

Whether as a daily activity, a recreational pastime or an adventurous exploration, hiking requires a pair of shoes that can adapt to a variety of terrain and weather conditions. Among the many considerations, waterproofness is a key factor that ensures dry and comfortable feet, whether encountering puddles, torrential rain or unexpected streams. This article will delve into the world of waterproof hiking shoes, highlighting the essential factors to consider, the best recommendations for each type, and tips for maintaining performance.

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1. Understanding waterproof technology

Before delving into a specific shoe model, it’s vital to understand the technology behind waterproofing. The most common methods include

Gore-Tex Membrane: A highly regarded technology, Gore-Tex combines breathability with waterproofing. The tiny pores in the film allow water vapor to escape, but prevent water droplets from entering.

Other waterproof membranes: Brands such as eVent and Sympatex offer similar performance to Gore-Tex, with a focus on breathability and waterproofing.

Leather Treatments: Good quality treated leather is naturally waterproof. Waxing or oiling boots can enhance this performance.

Seam sealing: Proper seam sealing prevents water from penetrating the seams. 2.

2. Key features to look out for

Waterproofness: Ensure that the shoes are made of reliable waterproof technology or material that is suitable for the conditions you expect.

Breathability: As well as being waterproof, a good hiking shoe should be able to breathe and wick away perspiration, preventing your feet from getting wet.

Traction: A sturdy outsole with a grip pattern ensures a firm footing on wet and slippery surfaces.

Fit and comfort: Fit is paramount for walking shoes; choose shoes with adjustable features such as laces or straps and padded insoles.

Weight: Lightweight shoes can reduce fatigue during long walks.

Support and stability: arch support and stable sole structure help maintain proper foot alignment and reduce fatigue.

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3. Recommendations in the most popular categories

Best All-Around Shoe: Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

Salomon’s X Ultra 3 GTX combines a Gore-Tex membrane with a Contragrip sole for excellent traction and waterproofing. The lightweight design and advanced chassis ensure stability, making it a favorite among hikers.

Best for Hiking the Trail: Merrell Moab 2 GTX

A classic choice for hikers, the Merrell Moab 2 GTX features a durable leather and mesh upper, a Vibram TC5+ sole for excellent grip, and a comfortable air cushion in the heel.

Best for City Walking Columbia Redmond Waterproof Shoes

Combining stylish design with Omni-Tech waterproof technology, Columbia’s Redmond waterproof shoes are a versatile choice for urban adventures. Its Techlite midsole ensures long-lasting comfort and a high return of energy.

The Lightweight Choice: Adidas Terrex Free Hiker GTX Sneaker

The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker GTX is lined with Gore-Tex for lightweight and protection. Its Boost midsole provides unrivaled energy return, making it ideal for fast-paced walks and hikes.

Affordable: Northside Freemont Waterproof Shoes

Northside’s Freemont Waterproof walking shoe is affordable without sacrificing functionality. Their waterproof leather and seam-sealed construction provide plenty of protection, while the EVA midsole ensures a comfortable fit.

4. Care tips for waterproof walking shoes

Clean regularly: Remove dirt and mud with a soft brush or cloth after each use.

Drying: Dry your shoes naturally, avoiding direct heat, which can damage the waterproof membrane.

Reapply waterproofing: Over time, the waterproof coating may degrade. Reapply waterproofing spray or paste regularly to maintain the waterproofing effect.

Inspect and maintain seams: Check seams for wear or damage and have them repaired by a professional if necessary.

Store properly: Keep shoes in a cool, dry place away from sunlight when not in use.


Choosing the best waterproof walking shoes requires a careful balance of performance, comfort and personal preference. By understanding the basic technology, prioritizing key features and exploring the best options, you can stride confidently through any weather or terrain with dry, comfortable feet. Remember, proper care extends the life of your shoes and ensures they remain your reliable companion on all your hiking adventures.