Best waterproof walking shoes for winter

I have worn women's Merrell and Ecco oxford style shoes for many trips, and they are excellent walking shoes. I also love that they look like dress shoes, rather than tennis shoes. The problem is that I always travel in winter, so I am often walking in rain or snow, and my oxfords are not at all waterproof. I've tried spraying them with waterproofing spray, but it doesn't do much. Walking all day in cold weather with wet feet, well, let's say I prefer to avoid it. Can anyone recommend a decent pair of walking shoes for women that are also waterproof?

Posted by Lo
Tucson
636 posts

You might try searching for Gore Tex shoes. I know Ecco makes some and Merrell may also. Here's a link to get you started: http://www.gore-tex.com/products/women/footwear/. There are lots of options and they aren't all hiking boots. You can scan all 325+ or refine your search down the left side. Have fun!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7933 posts

Sometimes a waterproof version of a shoes is cut differently from what looks like the same version of the manufacturer's regular shoe, I don't know why. Anyway, you have to try the suckers on rather than ordering blindly at the last minute. Chunk the stupid spray. Buy mink oil. The directions say to apply thinly. Chunk the directions also and slather it on, making sure to get the sole-to-upper stitching as well. Let it dry overnight before buffing. Welcome to the land of experience in the pre-goretex world.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1327 posts

HS, i know this isnt what you asked for, but i usually wear cotton sox when im @ home. but i tried some of the REI Marino wool sox for my trip last year and i really liked them. Even when my shoes got wet, my feet didnt feel wet or cold. just a thought and happy trails.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thanks all for the super helpful replies--I am researching them. I do have wool blend socks, and they are warm, but they've gotten soaked along with my feet in heavy rain/snow.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1327 posts

HS, the sox wont keep your feet from getting wet, but its been my experience, they didnt feel cold at all. your mileage my vary (ymmv) Happy trails.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
223 posts

Hi,
Ray, being a Portlander, is very correct about using wool, or at least synthetic socks in a wet winter environment. I use Smartwool brand socks for both summer and winter walking. The downside of medium thickness wool socks is drying time. After (hand) was going, I need to wring them in a dry towel, hang in a warm spot (if fortunate, your hotel has a heated towel rack), and hope for the best. I bring 3 pairs of socks - wear 1 pair, pack 2 pairs. If thermal insulation is not critical, fast drying synthetic socks, e.g. CoolMax material can be a good choice. My LL Bean All-sport Crew CoolMax synthetic socks dry overnight.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Hi Edgar, We are budget travelers, so we don't usually have a heated towel rack, but since it's winter we almost always have a radiator, and that's a good place to dry our laundry.

Posted by jerry
medford
14 posts

again, doesn't help with shoes. but ,,, alpaca sox or an alpaca blend. WARM, light weight, doesn't soak up moisture - so your feet will still get wet but the socks will dry themselves and wick the moisture away from your feet over time, and the feet will still stay dry. handwash with shampoo, carefully press out excess water and hang to dry overnight. they are wonderful.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thanks for the recommendations James and Jerry. Where can I buy alpaca socks?

Posted by Linda
Beaverdam, VA, United States
11 posts

well.try to find them out on amazon.com..they have some nice options

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
762 posts

Aquatalia offers waterproof shoes. You can find them on Zappos.com, at Nordstrom stores or at Nordstrom.com. They are made in Italy.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thanks Elaine. I work next to a Nordstrom so I can check them out on my lunch hour.

Posted by Cindy
San Jose
36 posts

Have you considered the Merrell waterproof dress boots? That's what I use. I can use them as fashion boots with tights/leggings or wear them under pants. The ones labeled waterproof are truly waterproof - I've worn them in slush and snow, and then worn them to church too. These boots are unlined, allowing them to be worn inside and outside. When I wear them outside I just add in some extra wool socks.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

I wear comfortable winter boots in winter, after waterproofing them. I love my current pair, although they need replacing. A good pair of boots can get you around all day and also work well for nicer dinners. Since you already live in an area with serious winters, it would make sense to me to invest in a pair.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thank you Sarah. It's true, we have serious winters here in Chicago! I do have snow boots, but they are not good for long walks. I'll keep looking for boots that are both waterproof AND decent walking shoes!

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Cindy--I am a fan of Merrell products in general. I would certainly consider their boots. I'll need to find a place to try them on, though. Maybe I'll try an REI store.

Posted by Cindy
San Jose
36 posts

HS - REI has some cute ones. Look at the Captiva Strap waterproof. The Haven Autumn Waterproof has a biker-babe look. REI also carries the Captiva Launch waterproof. All have great treads that don't appear obvious to the casual observer. The Merrell.com website has also worked well for me. They're good with returns.

Posted by Carole
Edmond, OK
81 posts

I recently purchased the Merrell Captiva Mid Waterproof and they are extremely comfortable. I wear Smartwool socks with them and I think they will work for all-day sightseeing in Scotland and Ireland next spring. I haven't worn them in a downpour yet. Since we seem to travel during rainy weather I wear only waterproof shoes.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thanks--the Merrell Captiva seems popular with the helpline folks. I will certainly try a pair on soon. I wonder if I need to go a half size larger because the Smartwool socks are so thick?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7933 posts

When you fit boots, you're wearing the intended socks. Nothing else works.

Posted by Carole
Edmond, OK
81 posts

I had to order mine since there were none locally that I could try on. I usually wear a size 6 and ordered a US6/European36. The shoes would be too big with a thin sock. The Smartwool socks that I wear are a casual mid weight sock, not a hiking sock. Hopefully you will be able to try them on with your travel socks to get a good fit.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Of the shoes I've tried on so far, the ones I like best are Merrell Moab Waterproof. They seem well made and comfortable. However, they have a rocking sensation towards the front of the shoe, on the ball of the feet. The sales associate said this is normal and needed for a hiking shoe and for walking uphill. I'm not hiking so much as walking for hours on cobble stones and sidewalks. I've not sure this rolling on the ball of the foot is a good idea. Anyone have experience with this type of shoe?

Posted by Carole
Edmond, OK
81 posts

I use the Merrell Moab Waterproof for hiking and love them. I haven't noticed the rocking sensation but the boots didn't need breaking in and were comfortable on the first day. I hope they work for you.

Posted by Todd
Binche, Hainaut, Belgium
8 posts

I like Josef Seibel shoes/boots. I own a couple of pair and my wife has three pair of boots from Romika which she swears by. No sure where to buy online as I usually get mine at a shop in German. Very European, very waterproof and very comfortable.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
410 posts

Thank you Todd. We have Josef Seibel in the states too. The are beautiful shoes (and very expensive here). There's a store next to my job that sell them so I'll try on a pair on my lunch break.