Even when his mandem is turning out in light mesh creps, Skepta doesn’t let the wet weather bother him. For the rest of us, however, wearing runners as “it rains, it pours” is a sure-fire way to suffer two of the most punishing fates in the shoe game: ruined kicks and, ugh, wet socks.
But don’t break out the wellies just yet.
While trail sneakers have enjoyed some cultural cred of late (even showing up on a half-tuxedoed Ralph Lauren), there’s more to the world of waterproof heat than a speed-laced GORE-TEX upper. Led by an eclectic mix of boot makers, performance brands, and avant-garde fashion lines, a welter of new models have tumbled into the market just in time for the cold and damp of winter.
Rather than splashing around in trail sneaker reviews, keep your feet dry — and your style cozy — with our picks of this season’s best waterproof sneakers.
A mid-top “fast hiker” that riffs on a popular Hoka design, the Speedgoat Mid WP is a loud, proud, and aggressive performance shoe. Inside, a waterproof SKYSHELL membrane keeps your feet dry, no matter the conditions. Outside, Vibram’s lugged MegaGrip technology keeps your feet planted. An exaggerated foam midsole rounds out this large-and-in-charge beast of a shoe.
New from Italian hiking brand ROA, the Neal sneaker is a luxury sneaker masquerading as mountain gear. A suede and nylon hybrid, ROA’s latest merges the worlds of boots, runners, and outdoors-inspired casualwear. The shoe’s mixed-media upper is made of nylon that both repels water and dries quickly. Underneath, a chunky Vibram sole keeps the shoe down to Earth. Plus one extra special detail: the heel of the Neal (say that three times quickly) is constructed using the same aramid fiber used to make bulletproof vests. Greek mythology would have been a whole lot different had Achilles owned a pair of these bad boys.
Many shoes claim to be designed for the snow. La Sportiva’s latest Crossover model, however, was designed for snowshoeing. Sporting a waterproof GORE-TEX liner and an extended, wraparound gaiter, La Sportiva’s premier cold-weather runner is a beast of polar bear proportions. Just look at it: switch the logo, up the price tag, and this exact model (asymmetric zip and all) could easily pass for Italian luxury. What’s that? La Sportiva is Italian? Say no more. At the crossover of design and daaaaaamn lies, well, the Crossover.
A mod of Brooks’ flagship runner, the Ghost 10 GTX is a streamlined, black-on-volt kick designed to break the ice. Dive under its M2K looks and this GORE-TEX runner is a capable performer built for treadmills and black ice alike. The cushiony, neutral-fit design also makes the Ghost 10 the most functionally athletic option on this list. If you run in wet weather (or have a neon J1A lying around), the Ghost 10 GTX is a spiritual experience — and one you can currently grab on sale for under $100.
While The North Face isn’t really thought of as a shoe brand, the California-based outdoor gear maker has consistently turned out some of the best (and best-looking) waterproof sneakers around. On the performance side, a sturdy GORE-TEX liner keeps your feet dry while multi-directional lugs ensure no slips when wet. Aesthetically, the Ultra 110 GTX is a potent blend of sneaker cues and outdoor functionality: a mixed-media upper complete with aggressive zig-zag cables rounds out an ultra-chic climate-proof package.
If “skywalking” isn’t quite “hyperspace” enough, slip into adidas’ top-of-the-line trail runner. The Terrex Skychaser GTX is the German brand’s weatherproof performance shoe. Rugged, grippy, and equipped with a GORE-TEX liner, it’s as ready for the mountains as it is a snowy city street. Plus, it boasts a Boost midsole for optimal comfort. The Skychaser GTX is a functional, fashionable all-season shoe — the complete package, and priced as such. But, like all things technical, you get what you pay for. Come rain or shine, it’s five stars for the Three Stripes.
The OG “fashion trail” sneaker, Salomon’s Speedcross 4 GTX is a trailblazer in every sense. This aggressive, low-cut shoe takes its name from its razor-thin speed lacing, a functional detail whose side supports lead to that distinctive “shark’s teeth” design so visible at fashion weeks worldwide. As a technical performer, the Speedcross 4 GTX boasts a jagged Contagrip grip unit on top of cushy OrthoLite insoles. Inside, a GORE-TEX liner keeps your feet warm and dry. Whether on a trail run or the runway, the Speedcross 4 GTX is built to handle all conditions.
The sleekest shoe in our countdown, the Trail Glove 4 Shield is bootmaker Merrell’s answer to an all-weather category dominated by bulk and brashness. Deceptively simple, the Trail Glove is essentially a mesh/TPU upper attached straight to a slip-resistant Vibram outsole. An applied waterproof treatment — not a waterproof bootie — provides moisture resistance. This ultralight “barefoot” runner was designed to let you feel every step of the road — puddles need not apply.
Swiss active brand On Running has staked its claim by providing ultralight, ultra-cushy shoes for runners of all sorts. The Cloudventure Waterproof, On’s all-weather trail runner, takes this idea to the next level. For one, its proprietary water-and-windproof membrane is lighter than most of its competitors. Add in patented CloudTec cushioning alongside a host of trail-specific details, and this runner is far more substantive than its light build would suggest.
Altra Running is a Utah-based maker of “specialty running” shoes — by hardcore runners for hardcore runners. The brand’s creative fire comes from an obsession with performance, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the Lone Peak 4 RSM. With a name that’s an abbreviation of “Rain, Snow, Mud,” the RSM is a trail-hungry runner with an extended, graphics-heavy eVent upper that is breathable yet resilient and waterproof enough to keep everything (well, rain, snow, and mud) out. A multi-direction lug sole with skeleton-inspired detailing rounds out the package.
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