1. Wear the right shoes.
Waterproof Membrane: Shoes with a waterproof membrane allow perspiration to escape and keep water out. You may have heard the term Gore-Tex used before, but lots of shoes feature a fully waterproof and breathable barrier that's built right into the shoe. This barrier is usually sandwiched between the outer materials and inner lining.Most modern hiking and work boots that claim to be waterproof feature a waterproof membrane.
Treated Leather: Even if your shoes don't have a fancy waterproof membrane, they can still keep water out if they are made of a good leather and you apply the right protectant, like liquid silicone or mink oil, to improve water repellancy. It's sort of like waxing your car, and the water will bead right off. Go the extra mile and give an extra coating of protectant to all the seams.
Rubber Boots: For prolonged exposure to wet or muddy conditions, rubber boots are a great choice. Options in rubber boots range from basic, no frills items like these from Tingley for less than $20 to neoprene lined Muck Boots that have lots of comfort features and improved breathability.
2. Take Care of your shoes.
Seems trivial if you're just going out in crummy weather, but keeping your shoes clean and conditioned actually will improve their performance in wet weather and make them last longer. Keeping boots clean and protected will improve water repellancy at the surface so they don't become water logged and heavy. It also prevents the leather from being damaged by the dirt and minerals that can seep in to saturated leather and wear it out over time. Different care products are available to get the best results, depending on the type of material or leather used in your shoes.
3. Wear the right socks.
Wearing the right set of socks can make a big difference in your overall comfort, especially on rainy days. A quality pair of socks made with merino wool will keep you from getting that clammy feeling that often develops as your feet perspire in a par of waterproof boots. Merino wool fibers are soft (think cashmere), naturally wick away moisture, and help regulate body temperature. Plus they prevent blisters and naturally fight odors and bacteria. Many high quality merino wool socks, like the ones from Darn Tough, Wigwam, and Smartwool are also a lot longer lasting than your typical cotton sock. Merino wool socks come in a variety of thicknesses that are good for all different outside temperatures.
4. Have a backup pair.
No matter how prepared you are, sometimes wet feet are inevitable. Although there are tools for drying out wet boots, many of them overheat the materials and cause your boots to degrade through overdrying. We recommend stuffing your wet shoes with good old fashioned newspaper as an inexpensive way to suck out the moisture. After a good dose of moisture inside your boots, even after you get them dry, it's a good idea to give them a day off. This will insure they are completely dry inside and out so they stay in good shape. Plus, changing shoes day to day is good for your feet too.
5. Talk to an expert.
Have more questions about the best ways to keep your feet dry and comfortable? Visit our store and let us show you some of the shoes and shoe care options that might be best for you.