Dress Shoes For The Rain
I hate it when my socks get wet. Moisture turns what used to be allies in the fight against the cold into treacherous leeches that are determined to suck the remaining warmth from your body.
To avoid this insufferable betrayal, I make sure to wear shoes that protect my feet from inclement weather. There are a lot of great options out there like Hunter Wellingtons and L.L. Bean Boots, but these shoes can be too casual to wear with tailored clothing.
Instead, I opt for dress shoes that can also function as rain shoes. This helps keep my feet dry without looking out of place while wearing a suit.
If you’re looking for dress shoes to help brave the elements, keep an eye out for these details:
Rubber soles aren’t necessary to keep your feet dry in the rain. Leather soles are fully capable of getting you to your destination. However, if you value your shoes and want them to last longer, it’s best to stick with rubber. Leather soles will soak up water and will break down faster when wet.
If you don’t feel like purchasing a new pair of shoes to replace your leather soled shoes, you have a couple of options. The first and easiest is to purchase a pair of overshoes from Swims, which will keep the soles of your shoes protected. The second would be to have your shoes resoled with a rubber Danite sole. If your shoe has it’s own recrafting service, you can see if this is an option. Otherwise, B. Nelson Footwear in New York also provides this service.
Most dress shoe uppers will be able to stand up to some rain. Calfskin works as long as it’s been treated with wax and so will suede if it’s been treated with a waterproofing spray. I like shoes made with pebble grain leather, which is calfskin that’s been embossed with large rollers to give it a distinctive look that’s similar to a pebble walkway. The combination of a wax polish and raised bumps in the leather help water roll off fairly easy.
My most preferred upper is shell cordovan. Shell cordovan is praised not only for its luxurious sheen, but also for its ability to withstand inclement weather due to the density of the leather, which makes it harder for moisture to seep through. Just be weary that cordovan usually gets spotted after exposure to water, which means you’ll need to brush it thoroughly to restore its glow.
Even with a good upper and a rubber sole, water can sometimes sneak through the seam between the welt and the upper. When it gets really nasty outside, I wear shoes that have a storm welt, which is where the welt of the shoe is bent upwards in order to protect this area. Shoes with storm welt construction are generally wider and bulkier, which makes it a better choice for shoes such as long wings where the extra bulk is preferred.
Obviously, the higher your shoe is, the less of your foot is exposed. On really terrible days, I’ll stick to boots over shoes. I do find that having a pair of shoes that can act as rain shoes comes in handy when you are traveling. It’s a lot easier and a lot lighter to carry an extra pair of shoes compared to heavy boots.