Poll of the Week: Professional rainboots?

professional rainboots 2As we are coming up the two year anniversary of this blog, we’ve been going through old posts and realizing which ones we should revisit in the light of new readers (and, awww, remembering the days when it took us 3 hours to figure out how to insert image URLs). So here’s today’s question — are rainboots an acceptable item to wear to the office? Or is there too much of a whiff of, oh, little-girl-jumping-in-puddles?

For our $.02, we love (LOVE) our Hunter boots and consider them an essential for trekking through NYC. (Hunter – Hunter Original (Green), available at Zappos for $115).   When it rains, the subway stop near the office has a massive puddle that everyone else must jump around — we can just plow right through it. The same thing happens with many curbs in the city — gushing water greets you. We’re also fans of the Shuella boot, for those days we were totally unaware it was going to rain. Perhaps our answer would be different if we lived in a city where cars were more the norm… which is why we’re going to take two polls: one for NYCers (or please vote in this poll if MOST people in your city either a) walk or b) take the subway or other public transportation to work), and one for everyone else.
Readers, any other tips on surviving inclement weather? And, can anyone recommend a good umbrella that folds up for your purse?

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  1. So interesting that you posted this, as I was recently thinking that otherwise professionally and fashionably dressed women look so ridiculous in rainboots (I zip through NY Penn Station everyday, unfortunately). I think they’re ok for commuting but I seriously hope women are not leaving them on in the office. It’s raining today and I just wore a pair of platform wedges I don’t particularly care for to protect my pants from the wet ground. Shrug.

  2. As long as you take them off and put on normal shoes when you get to your desk I see no problem with it. Like wearing snow boots when it snows, there is nothing inherently unprofessional about being dressed appropriately for the outdoors when you arrive/depart work.

  3. I like my Totes Senz Mini umbrella (yes, just looked it up) — On sale for $30 on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/29jfp8z

    Mostly b/c it’s a little oddly shaped so it doesn’t flip, and folds up very small.

    Rainboots are fine to get to work… just change into your real shoes when you get there! (they make sense too — who wants to spend as much as we do on shoes only to have them ruined in puddles??)

  4. Yes to rain boots, but also yes on changing when you get into the office. I usually just wear sneakers in and then change.

    Remember the Totes/Isotoner discrimination suit? I am trying not to buy any more products from them because of it.

  5. I’m in the market for rain boots. Any suggestions?

  6. I live in DC. It’s okay to wear them outside but please please please change your shoes at your desk. Same goes for snow boots, flip flops, etc. Nothing screams unprofessional than wearing rain boots in the office when clearly it’s not raining inside!

  7. Hunter boots are amazing, esp in NYC – all the sewers get backed up when it rains, and there’s water everywhere. I’ve been trying to convince my husband to buy some rain boots, and I tease him about looking like a demented bug when he tries to tip-toe through puddles. Like the ladies above, they’re not OK for actually walking around the office, but I think they’re fine for coming and going.

  8. LegallyBlonde :

    Of course it’s fine to wear your rain or snow boots into the office. I treat them like my coat/rain jacket. Take them off when you get to the office and put on your real shoes.

    Of course, for weekends, I LOVE wearing my rain boots to tromp around town.

  9. Might vary locationally – I wear them in D.C. (where I live now), but I don’t ever remember seeing professional or non-professional women wearing them in Oregon (where I’m from). Perhaps because if we made that kind of concession to the weather we’d wear them 9 months out of the year?

    • L from Oz :

      I had friends when I lived in the UK who did where them that much – I tend not to, but I have a lot of ankle/knee boots that are waterproof enough if you’re not actually swimming in puddles.

      I can’t imagine wearing wellies around the office, but to and from is fine. Obviously trickier if you’re going from site to site, but a large plastic bag (not advertising anything iffy) usually does the trick.

      • Corporate Tool :

        On that topic, I am always suprised to see women carrying their lunches/shoes/etc in used Victorias’ Secret bags. Seriously? To work?

        • I’ve seen this too! It reminds me of 6th/7th grade when we would save our Abercrombie bags to bring sleepover stuff to each others’ houses.

          • Hah!! Just bought back memories of painfully awkward junior high sleepovers (with casual “oh I just grabbed the first thing” A&F bag) :)

        • It’s not just VS, but I am always a bit put off by it. I understand a random take along, but these bags are obviously worn out sometimes and it just looks odd.

          That said, I am all for recycling.
          The place I get lunch by work gives you perfect little brown paper bags with comfy handles & nothing written anywhere — I keep a little pile in my office for when I need to take stuff home and don’t have a tote handy.

        • I don’t think that’s so bad. I don’t do it, but it’s not like VS is a porn shop — it’s a clothing store and it also sells undergarments which we all must wear. And if it’s ok to wear rainboots to work, isn’t it ok to also use a bag from an undergarment store just to carry your lunch or whatever, if you take off the boots and store the bag when you get in the office?

          • Just about the last thing I would ever want to carry into work is a VS bag. Hello, every man I work with, stop for a moment and imagine my fancy underwear. Hello, every woman I work with, I am broadcasting to every man here that I am wearing fancy underwear. Mortifying.

          • What jcb said.

          • The VS bag is so flashy too. Everyone immediately knows what it is is, and it not just that we all must wear underwear, you are saying, I wear sexaay underwear. But besides that, underwear in general is not appropriate for the work place. Just because we all wear it, doesn’t mean you should broadcast it.

        • This reminds me of the NY Times article from a couple years ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/business/16bags.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=shopping%20bags,%20lord%20and%20tailor&st=cse

          All about shopping bags getting made into carry-alls by stores to increase advertising… and since I see A LOT of my co-workers repurposing VS/Coach/etc. shopping bags for various tasks, I have to say it must be working…

          • LexCaritas :

            People actually collect these paper shopping bags and buy and sell them – just the bags – on ebay. I find this latter bit incredibly strange.

        • I just wanted to say that the word “sexaay” must hereafter be used whenever referencing Victoria’s Secret on Corporette. Thanks, CFM. :)

          • I love my reusable lululemon bag and refuse to give up carrying it.

          • Co-sign, I was thinking the same thing!

          • I remember that nyt article! Just to be clear, I have no issues bringing in a Barney’s bag or whatever. Repurposing bags is not a problem in my mind. It is in particular the sexaay VS or other lingerie store bags that are just wrong. I am ok with never broaching the subject of underwear at work, in any way.

    • I’m at a large firm in Seattle, and they’re definitely pretty common among younger professional women here (particularly the Hunters).

  10. I have some very similar to these in black: http://www.amazon.com/Tretorn-Plask-W-47001805/dp/B000VWC3HK/ref=pd_sbs_shoe_4

    They look a little sleeker than flat, floppy wellies. I still change into real shoes at the office, but I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I ran into my boss on the way in.

  11. What about walking back and forth to court? In my city we have a daily afternoon thunderstorm in the summer, and downtown floods badly. Is it appropriate to wear rain boots to walk to court, and change when you get there? I feel like this situation requires me to be out in public in my rain boots much more than walking from the parking garage to my office.

    • I would say yes as long as you change in the bathroom rather than in the courtroom. Elevator’s fine too if no one is in there with you and you know you won’t get surprised by someone getting on.

    • I’m in FL and a lot of women in my city just wear flip flops, crocs, or other small waterproof shoes to court and then switch out when they get there. The reality is that most court-appropriate shoes will not survive regular treks through 4-6″ of water, so it would be silly to ding you for wanting to avoid having to buy new shoes on a weekly basis.

      • But what do they then do about soaking-wet feet going into nice shoes? Do they bring a towel along? I often dash to the grocery store in the rain in my beloved flops, but my feet are then soaked.

  12. I walk about 20 minutes to and from work and I really regret it when I don’t wear my Hunter boots (the exact ones pictured) for the trek when the rain gets really heavy because otherwise I will show up soaking wet! I agree with the prior commenter that commuter shoes (be they wellies, snow boots, sneakers or even flip flops) are akin to a coat – you wear it on your way in, change for the day and put them back on for your exit at the end of the day. Personally, I do not think I could handle working somewhere that made an issue of what I wore for the elevator ride in in the morning.

  13. divaliscious11 :

    I love rain boots! Have some fabulous ones that I bought in Lugo, Spain (think Seattle, in Espana!) I also have some pretty fab Pucci ones in shades of beige and grey that I have worn in the office with a khaki knee skirt and chocolate brown cashmere turtleneck. I care more about being dry and warm, and am not ruining my shoes because someone thinks rainboots are unprofessional.

  14. I have these babies in yellow, and I LOVE them. http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Naturalizer-Womens-Finola-Shiny-Rain-Boots/3324769/product.html

    I hate the rain, but my boots cheer me up. I feel like Paddington Bear. HA! I always get comments on them in the elevator (positive comments). I change into my real shoes when I arrive at my desk.

    • are those comfortable? can you tuck in your work pants?
      I like Naturalizer in general, so may have to check those out.

      • Super comfortable. You can tuck your pants in – the tops are wide enough, and they only go to mid-calf so any wrinkling is minimized.

  15. I agree that rain boots are fine for the walk to and from work, but what do you do with them once you get to your office? I don’t have enough drawer space to hide them, but I don’t really want them sitting out for everyone to see. I’ve thought about getting a very conservative pair (dark color, no pattern, so they might blend into my carpet and filing cabinets), and I might still do it, but any thoughts are helpful!

    • Do you have space under your desk? I think I have about 3 pairs of shoes there right now, but our desks are large and L-shaped with a front that comes all the way down.

    • How about putting them in a bag (tote or otherwise). Or another thing I do with my extra shoes in the office is put them in a banker’s box – nobody ever suspects that it’s filled with shoes rather than files.

      • Or, behind your door if you have your own office? That way, as soon as someone comes in, the door is opened (assuming it was ever shut), hiding the boots.

        Although, really, I don’t think anyone would care if they are neatly in a corner.

    • I used to not have enough space under my desk, and I’d put them in a tote bag and stand them up near the wall behind my desk. However, I don’t think it’s a big deal for people to see your rain boots, any more than it’s a big deal to see your umbrella.

  16. I live in a very rainy place (Oregon) and don’t really notice/see them that often. I walk and take public transit to work, and I can see them being somewhat useful in the fall when all the leaves are sitting in wet, rotting piles on the sidewalk. Otherwise, they’re kind of like umbrellas – handy for some things but just one more thing to carry around/lose.

    • It was a while ago when I lived in Oregon, but I seem to remember women having shoes (not boots) that were appropriate for the rain – more like waterproof hiking shoes and boots. I also remember a lot more gortex and fewer umbrellas. It just seems like people in Oregon are more willing to dress for the rain when really necessary, but also resigned to getting wet in light rain.

    • I also live in Oregon and I’ve noticed (in Portland anyway) that rain boots seem to be catching on, almost like a shoe fad. Especially among younger women and teenagers. I think that because we get so much rain most of our streets are built for it and there isn’t a lot of standing water or puddles and those that are present are easy to navigate around.

      That being said, since I just moved to a place where I can walk to work, I am totally buying rain boots as soon as I find I pair I like. I hate it when my shoes get wet, which they do when I don’t use an umbrella (and no one uses umbrellas in Oregon).

      • I think I may look for a pair of rain boots for next fall as well. I have seen some girls around in the Hunter boots with a wedge (so cute), but only on the bus or out and about, never at the office. Unfortunately, Hunter doesn’t make boots in my shoe size, so I’m also on the hunt. Until then, I’ll keep dutifully waterproofing my shoes and keep on rocking the goretex parka. I feel like a sea mammal in that thing but I don’t think I can ever trade it for an umbrella.

  17. Related question! If you wear boots of some sort to the office, do you carry your dress shoes, or keep a stash at the office?

    • Both; I have a stash of shoes under my desk. But also, if I know the shoes I want to wear are at home, I bring them along in my purse (aka the bottomless pit).

    • Same here, both.

      I read somewhere recently (maybe here??) a tip to buy a small shoe rack for under the desk – one of these days I am going to get my act together enough to do that. So much neater than the current 5 pairs of shoes strewn in the corner (under the desk). At my prior firm, the desks didn’t have the front panel, though, so shoes stayed in a big drawer. Can’t keep work/important papers in a drawer as I will immediately forget they are in there – have to have visible stacks – so it put the drawers to good use!

      • Under my desk, I keep a few shallow plastic storage bins from Target for my stash of shoes, just so they’re neat and less likely to fall into the path of a vacuum. While it’s great to bring pairs from home, too, I like having a few pairs of black, plus brown and beige, so that I don’t feel obligated to bring shoes if there’s no space in my bag :)

    • Carry them in (I carry my purse and a black DVF carry-all each day that holds files, my lunch, and spare shoes if needed) … I tried leaving a pair in the office but, well, I’m kind of a shoe fiend… And when I want to wear X pair out at night it’s annoying to have them in the office — and when I get to work in the morning, I don’t want to be frustrated by having shoes that don’t match my outfit waiting.

      • I have a shoe rack behind my door. Because I walk to work, most of my work pumps are at work. I probably have ten pairs on the rack. I take some good-natured ribbing for it but I don’t find have to carry shoes back and forth and my nice shoes don’t get ruined by being thrown into a drawer.

  18. Chicago K :

    Here is Chicago I see all the women wearing rainboots…it’s how I know it’s going to rain that day!

    While I wouldn’t wear them, I do see lots of rainboots with little hearts and stars and even skulls being paraded around downtown.

  19. I’m thinking of replacing my old pair of red and black plaid JCrew wellies (which are fuzzily-lined, warm and have served me well – especially since I got them on sale for $20 about 3 years ago).

    Love these – seem professional and wouldn’t be embarrased to share the elevator with my boss while wearing:

    And if I had more room in my budget I would spring for these (in black):


    • Both are cute, I don’t know anything about the first brand so can’t say yay or nay other than visually (def yay!), aquatalia is incredibly well made though & the gray color is gorgeous.

      One small point — both of these do seem more winter/fall than reg wellies. I don’t know about you, but I have worn mine in summer so that’s something to consider. A roomy wellie is much more weather appropriate, and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to run into anyone in the elevator wearing something simple like this:

    • Chicago K :

      I like them both!

  20. Agree with pretty much everyone else – I don’t think its a big deal at all, so long as you change once you get to work. Wearing any sort of rain boots (whether they are hunters or pink with flowers) just doesn’t work around the office all day. Its like those annoying people who wear Uggs in the office all winter …. just, no!

    • Agree — Uggs (not sure if they make other styles, but I’m thinking of the iconic big foot ski boot style) are not office appropriate unless your office is casual…and in a ski resort.