Anyone who runs more than a few times a week will know that water is an ever persisting hazard, which becomes more so when the rain or snow hits.
Many shoe manufacturers are offering high quality waterproof running shoes which allow you to run comfortably in even the dampest conditions.
A waterproof running shoes offer greater durability than regular running shoes, and can protect your feet from injury or infection which is required if your feet are going to get exposed to moisture.
Before we go any further, know that just because a running shoe that you have spotted on the shelf says “waterproof”, it does not mean that your feet will not get wet regardless of how immersed they become; it merely means that they will keep your feet dry to the best of their ability, water can make its way into the inner section from the uppermost, ankle opening.
What Makes a Running Shoe Truly Waterproof?
Running shoes which are waterproof are essentially normal shoes that have been padded with material such as sheaths or rubber, polyurethane or newer waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex.
Trail running shoes or shoes that are designed for off road, un even terrain activities, and typically come waterproofed.
Such shoes will no doubt allow you to make your way through puddles or streams with relative ease, they are also heavier which is why you should reserve them for runs where you may encounter water.
A common concern that runners have with waterproofed running shoes is that although they are excellent for keeping your feet from getting wet in damp conditions, they also resist the sweat that builds up due to constant running from escaping; in other words they do not breathe as easily which can become rather uncomfortable when you are out in the wilderness hiking.
Having your feet immersed in moisture for too long is also a health hazard because can result in conditions such as trench foot where your feet start to develop a tingling sensation followed by numbness, swelling or pain, or athlete’s foot which is a fungal infection between the toes.
However all this can be avoided with newer fabrics such as Gore-Tex which allows moisture to escape from the shoe while keeping your feet dry.
Gore-Tex is stronger and lighter than its traditional counterparts such as rubber or polyurethane which makes it the ideal waterproofing material for running shoes.
At the heart of Gore-Tex installed in a shoe lies a membrane which contains nearly 9 billion microscopic pores per square inch.
These pores allow water which builds up on the inside of the shoe to escape via evaporation.
Note that this does not mean your shoes will magically remove the water, come what may!
Water proof running shoes with Gore-tex within them will simply help drain water faster and keep your feet dry as long as you are not constantly immersing your feet.
Some Truly Waterproof Shoes to Consider
Well now with all the basics covered, let’s take a look at some of the shoes that are available for you to get…
Asics Gel Cumulus 18 GTX: (Smaller Budget)
Excellent cushioning? Check.
Solid stability? Check.
Waterproof material? Check.
The Asics Cumulus 18 GTX is def one my favorite waterproof running shoes ever!
The GTX is the waterproof version of the crowd favorite Cumulus 16, maintaining all of the great features plus Gore-Tex which makes it completely waterproof.
The shoe comes with a Gore Tex lining and upper, which means that you can now run in moist conditions.
Gore Tex also makes your regular runs a pleasure, as it has the unique ability to allow moisture such as sweat to escape from the shoe.
There is also a Snow Rubber outsole that the Cumulus 18 GTX has which can allow you to negotiate those off road terrains with ease and provides excellent grip for those slippery conditions.
It exists from the heel to the arch and provides excellent support when running.
Asics has also changed the previous Space Trusstic mid foot shank with a sturdier design that provides far better support to people suffering from over-pronation.
Here are the main features that the Asics Cumulus 18 GTX offers:
- ComfortDry Sockliner: A lightweight cushioning system that offers odor control and a dry in shoe environment even through the wettest conditons.
- FluidRide Midsole: Provides a great combo of rebound and cushioning and is very lightweight.
- Impact Guidance System (I.G.S.): Asics proprietary system allows you to execute a perfect stride. Its next to impossible for you to get injured with this under your feet!
- Guidance Lines Flex Grooves: A vertical flex groove that is attached on the outsole. The lines decouple along your step so that your gait remains proper.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel Cushioning: A cushioning system that absorbs shock and promotes a fluid motion for your feet throughout the entire gait.
These shoes really are a runner’s dream come true.
While fancy features are all very nice, at the end of the day, when you are out there pounding a pavement or trail, then all that really matters is how well your shoe can support you.
Comfort also becomes a crucial factor and the Cumulus 18 GTX scores high on all fronts!
The shoe can be purchased at a modest price given all of its great features. If you have a smaller budget, this is the waterproof running shoe for you!
Salomon Ellipse GTX: (Medium Budget)
The Ellipse GTX from Salomon comes with a nice wide toe box which leaves plenty of room for your feet so that your toes don’t develop blisters.
The shoe is being marketed as a lightweight water proof hiking shoe and it does a spectacular job at that.
The shoe is designed for comfort and can easily help you through some of the toughest trails with ease.
The GTX feels cushy and very pleasant to walk in.
In fact most of the reviews have given it a 10 out of 10 rating in this area! Its EVA midsole are very light and instantly adjust to your feet without needing to be broken into; you will instantly feel at home wearing them!
This is made possible due to the use of cushioning material around the ankle, underfoot and sides.
The padding under the feet is a little bit rigid, which seems to be designed to provide greater stability than a cushy feel.
The Ellipse GTX also scores high on both support and traction.
Its Contragrip rubber soles keep the shoe very stable while you are hiking. The shoe offers good arch support, although if you have an over pronation problem, you might require an orthotics addition.
Here are the shoes main features in a nutshell:
Water Resistant Textile: A breathable water resistant fabric that is designed to help you through watery terrain with ease.
GORE TEX Membrane: A hiking shoe is almost incomplete without this these days! Gore Tex is an advanced material that allows your feet to stay dry in even the moistest conditions. The coolest thing about this membrane is that unlike rubber based sheathings, which retain moisture if it gets inside, it, can actually allow any buildup of water to escape as well.
Protective Heel Cap: Added to offer additional rearfoot stability and protection.
Mud Guard: Since muddy terrains are more than likely on a hike, a mud guard is required in order to help you to make your way through them.
If you are in the market for a high tech, breathable, light weight hiking shoe, then I really cannot recommend the Salomon Ellipse GTX enough.
This waterproof walking shoe carries an average price, so you are getting quite a few features here for a decent price tag.
Brooks Ghost 9 GTX: (Larger Budget)
After owning and loving my pair of Brooks Ghost 8 GTX shoes, I had to get the Ghost 9.
Boy am I glad I did, because as of today these are my favorite waterproof running shoes I have ever put on!
Although pretty new, the Ghost 9 from Brooks is possibly one of the most well received and well anticipated running shoe for neutral runners out there.
In its latest iteration, the Ghost 9 has some notable changes made to its design that makes it even better than its predecessors.
For starters, Brooks has removed the plastic mid foot shank from the shoe.
Other changes made include the addition of a breathable foam tongue and an enhanced crash pad for added support.
Brooks seems to have adopted an evolutionary approach with the Ghost 9, adding incremental features rather than new ones, which seems to be the right thing to do considering that the shoe design is a success.
The shoe is perfect for neutral runners as there are no added support structures in place.
If you want to experience all that this shoe has to offer though, you can do so by adding an orthotics to it.
Here are some of the main features that the shoe offers:
- GORE-TEX Membrane: The best waterproofing material around, Gore-Tex’s biggest advantage is that it not only stops water from entering the shoe, it can also allow any buildup of moisture to escape from the shoe as well keeping your feet dry.
- Flexible Rubber Sole: Keeps your feet free from injuries while helping you execute a proper gait.
- Brooks DNA: Adds extra cushioning and Omega Flex Grooves for extra flexibility.
- Brooks BioMogo: Brook’s proprietary biodegradable midsole for running shoes can breakdown 50 times faster than other midsoles when discarded without losing any performance attributes.
- Diagonal Rollbar: Adds a little rigidity to the forefoot while enhancing mid foot support and also allowing the heel and the forefoot to act independently.
Apart from my own experiences owning a pair, the lowest rating I came across when I was hunting for reviews online was 3 Stars that turned out to be due to a shipping problem.
The Brooks has a real winner with the Ghost 9 and it is a strong successor to the line.
Looking for a good pair of running shoes for when the bad weather breaks?
Check out my top 3 running shoes for women when the weather is how we prefer it – nice out!