The Hunt: Waterproof, Weatherproof Shoes for Work

weatherproof-shoes-for-the-officeSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I don’t think we’ve had a good discussion on weatherproof shoes for work in far too long — so let’s discuss, ladies. Do you own both rain boots and snow boots where you are — or just rain boots, with the assumption that if it’s that snowy out you can probably work from home? What makes a shoe acceptable to wear all day at work, versus just for your commute? Do you have any rules about changing out of bad weather commuting shoes (e.g., no stopping at the coffee room before you change — or no big meetings until you’re in your “office shoes” — or do you actually do the thing where you change outside the office, like in the lobby of your building)? For those of you who are consultants, in court, or otherwise away from home base often — what do you do?

(Pictured at top, clockwise from top left: tall boot with laces / Chelsea / short with back bow / tall bow / bootie / heeled bootie)

For my $.02, I have an almost surreal memory from my lawyer days of having to review documents at the office one weekend when it was truly horrible outside — so bad that I took the subway instead of calling for a car. I may have had to take a different subway line than I normally took because weather was so bad — I remember getting out of an unfamiliar subway exit on one of those interior, tight streets around Wall Street and seeing snow piled everywhere, several feet thick, and I felt like the last few blocks to work were a true trek.  It could have been worse — a few months earlier, I had happened to buy super ugly Lands’ End snow boots on sale on a friend’s recommendation, and I was so grateful I had them!

Psst: we’ve also discussed how to do business casual in cold weather, as well as how to buy a great winter coat.

Before we get to the featured weatherproof shoes for work, I thought I’d round up some weatherproof, waterproof options in special categories:

Some of the classic, best-selling styles of weatherproof shoes for work we’ve mentioned above:


Best-sellers, above: one / two / three / four / five

ladies-overshoes-hammacherOk, these are not going to last you through a trek in the snow — but I’m including them because they’re a great option to keep in your office in case of sudden, unexpected weather. (Or, perhaps, more accurately, it’s sudden, unexpected walking in bad weather.) They go over your shoes to protect them, as well as keep you dry.  Even better: they’re on sale for $29 right now (down from $99) — lucky sizes only. The Lady’s Dress Overshoes
coach-tristee-waterproof-rain-bootThese boots are pretty functional, but I like the lacing up the back, to say nothing of the 239 good reviews and the fact that they’re on sale for $99 (down from $150). COACH ‘Tristee’ Waterproof Rain Boot
kate-spade-raylan-rain-bootThese Kate Spade New York rain boots have such a mod, designer-y look that I’m kind of surprised they’re only $139 (admittedly, down from $198). I like the bow detail at the top, and I think they look great for someone who works in a casual enough office that you could get away with wearing rain boots all day, but wants something a little fancier. There’s a similar mod boot with a much shorter shaft that’s got a slightly sleeker look, full price at $175. Pictured: Kate Spade New York Raylan Rain Boot
blondo-tiana-waterproof-pointy-toe-bootieI feel like Blondo only just got on my radar, but they have a ton of really cute shoes. These waterproof booties with a pointy toe and a slightly architectural heel look great for work or the weekend. (The real Blondo heavyhitter is this more casual bootie, which will work for a lot of offices — 226 really positive reviews, four colors, sizes 5.5-12.) They’re available in black and taupe, sizes 7-10, for $149. Blondo Tiana Waterproof Pointy Toe Bootie
cole-haan-waterproof-bootChelsea booties can be great in winter, and these Cole Haan boots are waterproof and have a nice heavy rubber sole for bad weather. There’s only three reviews but they’re all positive — and the shoe is on sale, huzzah, down to $179 from $270.  It’s available in sizes 5-11 at Nordstrom. Cole Haan ‘Newburg’ Waterproof Chelsea Boot
aqattalia-dina-weatherproof-suede-ankle-bootThese gorgeous suede ankle boots from Aquatalia don’t look a bit like you’re wearing snow boots. I wouldn’t wear these in icy conditions (although the shoes do have rubber on the soles and heels) but they’re great boots for someone who lives where there’s a lot of serious rain and puddles. They’re available in black, brown, and burgundy, sizes 5-12, for $346 (down from $495). ‘Dina’ Weatherproof Suede Ankle Boot

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments! Like this post? Pin it, or share it on Facebook or Twitter!




  1. Do you own both rain boots and snow boots where you are — or just rain boots, with the assumption that if it’s that snowy out you can probably work from home?
    – Here in Philly, I do have Bean Boots that are good for fluffy snow, but I mainly just use my Hunters with the fleece liners because snow typically turns to slushy grossness really fast.

    What makes a shoe acceptable to wear all day at work, versus just for your commute?
    – If it’s tough enough to stand up to nasty inclement weather, it’s usually not an “all day at work” kind of shoe. I keep all my office shoes in my office (walking commute) so I always change anyway. That said, if you’re forced to choose, Kate Middleton’s cold weather choices (Aquatalia booties, etc) aren’t bad.

    Do you have any rules about changing out of bad weather commuting shoes?
    – I’ll change after I get settled in my office, but am DEFINITELY not fussed about anyone seeing me on my way in from outdoors or taking a few minutes to microwave my breakfast, etc, in boots. It’s pretty clear why I’m wearing them and they’re SO obviously not intended for office-wear that I think you almost get more leeway with snow and rain gear than you do with “regular” comfy commuting shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      Both of course! I don’t just hibernate every time it snows. In NYC.

    • Work from home if there is snow? Thats laughable in Canada. You need solid waterproof winter boots

    • Both. Other than knee high boots which I wear when it is cold but dry, I always change after I get into the office.

      • Montrealer here – definitely own snow boots (multiple!) and rain boots. I have Sorels, but they are a bit bulky, so I save them for trips outside the city or very cold days. I have some waterproof mid-calf leather boots from (I think they’re from Rockport?) that work for most days (I don’t spend that much time outside). I change into pumps when in the office or at a clients (almost all Montreal offices have a designated place to leave winter stuff and change into office-appropriate gear).
        I considered buying La Canadienne, but they are mostly in suede, which seems like a nightmare in this salt-and-slush-ridden city.

        • I have had two pairs of La Canadiennes, one in suede, and they were the most waterproof shoes I have ever owned, plus they stayed dark black without showing wear for YEARS. I don’t know how they do it, but their shoes are truly ingenious. I live in Eastern Kansas and we had slushy snow today, so for sure I have tested them multiple times over the years.

    • Dad just got me a pair of Timberland boots which I could NOT really wear to work if I had to go directly to court. They are clunkey, but WATERPROOF, which is very important b/c of all of the puddels at the street corners! When I step off the curb, I get soaked unless I have waterproof boot’s so dad got these for me. YAY Dad!

    • I just bought a pair of Blondo Faith boots, 2.5 heel, in black suede and leather. The boots are beautiful, fit well and behave. Cleverly the leather is on the bottom half of the boot so they are completely waterproof and damp proof with the suede part protected from getting salt stains. They are a narrow fitting boot that fit my narrow feet snug but not tight, and are easy to walk in because they have a very well balanced heel design. They have an almost pointed toe which is a very classy look for tall boots that are almost up to the knee, but I know that any high heel boot (or high heel shoe) with a pointed toe will be very painful unless it is at least a half size larger than a round toe shoe, to allow for enough wiggle room for the toes. Pointed toe high heel boots (and shoes) will nearly always need inserts to maintain the wiggle room, esp important in cold weather boots. I immediately put two part foam inserts into my boots. These inserts stop the forefoot from being crushed, plus cushion the ball of the foot and because my boots are not tight they stabilize the foot to make for easier and less tiring walking. I bought my boots a half size larger to accommodate the pointed toe, plus another half size larger for a medium thick sock –I live in Ottawa, Canada and it’s cold here – so I could wear it outdoors as a winter boot. They are elegant enough to continue to wear indoors with a pencil skirt at the office and comfortable enough for easily walking several kilometres. I would recommend the Blondo boots, I can’t say enough good things about them.

  2. Anonymous :

    Any recommendations for a good dentist in downtown DC?

    • I’m interested in this too. I’d also be interested in recommendations for a gynecologist in downtown DC.

      • Erika Gibson at Reiter Hill is wonderful. I see her in Falls church but when I worked in DC, would see her downtown. Understanding, knowledgeable, on the younger side, I think? (I’m only 25 so I can’t really say. I see her just for gyn stuff)

      • For a great dentist, Kenneth Ingber on K Street is superb. Friendly, efficient, and doesn’t “find” problems that aren’t there (unlike past dentists I’ve seen). And his office staff is great; flexible in scheduling/rescheduling, and they send email/text reminders about appointments if you’d like to opt-in.

  3. I recently graduated and started working. The job is not the work I was expecting when I signed the offer, and I am applying to grad school for next year in any case.

    The issue I’m asking about is different. I started having anxiety and depression junior year, went to therapy and on medicine. I was able to get back to doing well in classes, in large part due to a lot of behavioral and physical changes like changing study locations, using a good computer set up, changing the order of how I do things etc.

    First off I know that I am not a good fit for this job, and I’m working on that. It is a huge company and I have never in any situation fit well into hierarchy or bureaucracy. In the mean time I feel like I am going to back to before I was diagnosed in terms of inability to focus on work.

    I feel uncomfortable and cannot focus in our open office even though I used to study in libraries and coffee shops. My work laptop is tiny and we don’t have assigned spaces so I can’t get a larger laptop or another screen etc. I work with 2 teams; 1 is good and the other I am basically being hung out to dry in as usually there is someone above the first year and I need institutional knowledge and I have no way of knowing.

    I do have the week off for Christmas. My plan was to go back to making sure I eat right/sleep/go to the gym/etc as a start, and if my feelings don’t improve talk to someone. I had stopped therapy but I am still on the medication. Any thoughts or ideas on timeline/how long to give it?

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I have never seen a therapist so take this with a grain of salt, but why wait? You previously had trouble, saw a therapist and things improved for you. It seems like waiting to see a therapist is only torturing yourself. Why suffer?

      • The only reason to wait is that I know that basically treating myself like a kid with ADHD works (the medicine I’m taking coincidentally is also prescribed for adult ADHD).

    • Anonymous :

      Zero time. Call a therapist today. You need help for your anxiety and depression not a larger laptop. Don’t waste a month plus not treating this.

      • Yeah I know. The larger laptop thing is more in terms of being organized. Making to-do lists isn’t medical but it still helps ya know?

        I can’t tell if it’s just something that popped up again or related to work. Who gets depressed because of a job???

        Although that second team situation is pretty messed up.

        • Anonshmanon :

          lots of people get depressed because of their job! Nothing to be embarrassed about, really not.

        • yes, lots of people get anxious/depressed b/c of work, or have their normal levels of anxiety/depression worsened by work. i agree with the above advice not to wait on returning to therapy — your meds aren’t going to help you with making a plan for coping or with to-do lists, while sometimes a good therapist can help walk you thru these things and think about them more clearly. therapist can also work thru with you to what extent using the ADA process to get a bigger laptop/alternate workspace/change in work schedule may be worthwhile or effective for your situation. best of luck!!

  4. Realistic to save this much? :

    Question on how much it’s realistic to save in 2017. My husband recently started working again full-time. We are finally DINKs again. Our gross household income will be $260K a year. We live in Googleville so it’s super expensive – we spend around $5K a month or $60K a year. I’d like to save $100K cash and $47K for retirement – 2 401Ks and 2 IRAs. That leaves $53K for taxes and HSA… which seems low. I think the answer is that we have to whittle down our spend a bit?

    • Anonymous :

      Can you break down the spending a bit? It’s hard to say what it’s possible to whittle down without more of a breakdown. $60k per year for 2 people, including housing in a HCOL, really does not seem like a high-flying lifestyle to me.

    • Rebecca Bunch :

      Do you qualify for Roth IRA’s at this income level? When I researched this, I thought we did not.

    • Anonymous :

      Agree with previous poster.
      Step 1: Break down your spending for the past full year
      Sept 2: Off your YTD pay stub, do a detail breakdown of all the taxes (medicare, ssn, federal, state, local) -your estimate seems low
      From there, you can figure out realistic savings.

  5. Anon for this :

    Tips for traveling and vacationing with an 11 month old? We will be traveling from NYC to Alabama for the holidays (both originally from Alabama but met in NYC). Our son was born at the end of January. We are leaving on the 23rd and returning on the 30th. Our son has a full time nanny but she is spending Christmas with her family and won’t be joining us. My husband and I (biglaw and big 4 accounting) will be some work remotely while we are away.

    I’m nervous about flying with my son and about not having his nanny around. I admit that she spends the majority of the time with him. It’s been over 5 years since my husband and I flew down. We’ve never done it with a baby in tow. Any tips, advice or recommendations would be appreciated, both for the flights and the staying with relatives when you have an 11 month old. TIA!

    • That age can be tough but you will be fine. I have traveled a million times with my kids, and nothing brings out the best in humanity like parents traveling with small children. For walking through the airport, I like to wear the kid in a soft-structured carrier. They can stay in the carrier through TSA, you just have to get your hands swiped. I usually have a cross-body messenger bag as my carry-on, which goes under the seat. This contains critical kid items (diapers, wipes, snacks, water, entertainment, change of clothes if possible, lovie). My kids oddly loved the skymall catalogue at that age, as well as looking at pictures on my phone. I hate having to deal with the stroller and carseat in the airport, so I usually rent, borrow or buy one at my destination. (Your opinion on this may vary.) If he is drinking formula, I recommend the powder and then getting warm water to mix with it on the plane. I have had TSA try to open the pre-made cartons of formula a few times, but lately I’ve been getting the small horizon milk cartons through without an issues. Sorry about the brain dump – I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Good luck!

    • I have a 9-month-old and we’ve traveled a few times with him. I’d recommend that you have a shipment from Target or Amazon of whatever makes sense for you, to be waiting for you when you get down there. We always order a shipment of diapers/wipes/formula/some solid food to our parents’ places so we don’t have to travel with that stuff, or spend time buying it once we’re there. For the flights, I’d recommend that you or your husband board last with the baby, to minimize his time on the plane. And if you’re comfortable wearing him on the flight (as opposed to having him in a car seat), then I’ve had good luck wearing my baby and getting him to sleep that way. Oh, other major recommendation is to bring extra outfits for him (a couple), and also for you and your hubby. Our guy has had more than one incident that’s made me happy to have those around :) Also extra formula/milk/food/diapers etc. in case your flight is delayed. Good luck! I’m sure it will be great.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      If you can afford it, buy all three seats in the row.

    • You’ve got some good tips already. Adding: if you need something for him to sleep in, I would splurge on a very basic pack and play (around $50-60) and have that shipped to your parents house vs. bringing something with you. Yes, they are meant for travel but it’s a pain. If you end up coming back in the next 2 years, he can sleep in it again.

      Babies under 2 fly free, but it may be worth it to pay for a seat for him anyway. If not, book the aisle and window seat and hope the plane’s not super crowded and the middle seat stays empty. If it’s not, whoever is there will be delighted to switch for the aisle or window, so don’t worry. +1 on the baby wearing, esp. if baby gets fussy and you need to walk up and down the aisles with him.

      Have a bottle or a pacifier for take off and landing – this helps with the ears getting clogged.

      If you haven’t booked flights already, try to do it for baby’s bedtime/naptime. Also, our kid really likes looking at pictures of herself and other babies so I had a special folder in my iPhone for that – it helped with a really cranky spell midflight.

      • Two more:
        If you’re renting a car, you can also rent a car seat so you don’t have to bring that down. If you are bringing your own, get a car seat bag on amazon (they’re like $15-20); you can gate check but they just get throw into cargo so you’re better off having it covered in case of bad weather, dirt, etc.

        • Rental car seats are yucky, often expired, and no fun to install if it is raining or your flight is delayed. Buy a Cosco Scenara for $30 at Walmart or Target and practice the (very easy) belt install at home until you have it perfected. You can either bring the seat on the plane in you have bought a ticket for the baby or if there is room (and note that the car seat will have to go in the window seat) or gate check (pro tip: gate check carseat for free in carseat bag with other soft items e.g. blankets, extra diapers to avoid extra bag charges).

    • babyweight :

      If you’re in the Birmingham area and want a sitter, let me know and I’ll send you some recs. mae at maewood dot com

      My now almost 6 year old is an excellent flier. Began at 8 months and we haven’t looked back. She’s on a plane about 4-6 times a year. You can check a carseat. You can planeside check your stroller. If you don’t want to check a carseat, have one Amazon’ed to the in-laws and them them to take it to a fire station to install it ahead of your arrival. Grandads seem to like doing that in my experience. kellymom may have tips.

      If you’re doing the non-stop LGA to BHM thing, you’ll be fine. It’s one quick hop. FWIW, both my kiddos tend to sleep on planes b/c of the white noise. We encourage them to get their wiggles out right before take off. Running, hopping, etc. Also a fresh diaper is essential. There are changing tables that fold down above toilets in planes, but it’s just easier if you don’t have to change in flight for a short flight.

      I go to West Coast every year to see my in-laws. We do 1 thing a day just me and Hubs out of the house. Then 1 thing a day with the nuclear family. It’s a sanity preserver.

    • Anon for this :

      Thank you for all the advice and tips everyone. They are much appreciated.

      My biggest worry is that my son will be upset because our nanny won’t be there. He is used to mornings with her and being put to bed by her, comforted by her when he’s upset etc. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to calm him down if he is upset or get him to go to sleep. My husband has the the same worries.

      Thanks again for all the advice. My husband and I are grateful that you all have helped to make my travel easier.

    • Mine wasn’t much older when I decided to let him toddle along next to me after flying to DC–the airport close-in, the one congressional reps & the like use. He was doing fine staying next to me until right after we went past security, when he did a 180 to check out the x-ray machine again. Ordinarily, that sort of kiddie detour would have been fine with me, but as it happened, the security alarm went off just as I was getting myself (and all I was carrying) turned around to go join him. The gates started closing and I tried to snatch him before he was cut off from me, but security stepped in front of me. No reentering the secure area. No one behind the gate could leave until the all-clear signal, no matter how young they were. No, they could not predict how long that would be. I gave up trying to get us reunited immediately and changed into pragmatic mode: who will take care of him until then, and would I be permitted to hand them some diapers and perhaps a couple of toys? Quick glances between the security folks and it was unanimous: we aren’t babysitters–hand him back to mama! It’s pretty funny to look back on. He screamed bloody murder in the Bjorn, so next trip, I tried one of those little leashes, but the first time I used it to make clear that he was not going in the direction of his choice, he sat down. No big dramatic fit or anything, just obstinately stayed on his bottom. The only way to defeat that was to pick him up. Le sigh.

      But generally, he was (& is, at 14) a great traveler. We spent lots of time looking at what was happening on tarmac and what the flight attendants were doing (like unlatching the wheels on the drink cart so they could bring it out, pulling up a bucket of ice…). He loved the pictures on the emergency instructions card and followed the “lecture” attentively. We traveled about ten round trips while he was still a lap baby. During that time I tried it both ways and decided I’d rather not schlepp a car seat through the airport, because having it meant that, assuming he got a (free) seat next to me, there was no way to curl up and snooze together. I also decided that the mobility deduction a stroller brings was not worth the ability to carry stuff in it.

      I completely concur on having supplies shipped to whoever you’re staying with (or ask them to buy them ahead of time) and would add on gifts you’re buying online to give to people there, as long as you’ll have a chance to wrap them before the gift exchange.

      International flights have a baby cot in the bulkhead row. It might be worth a call to the airline to find out if it’s available on any of the routes you could fly.

      We never checked anything after our first and only experience hanging out in baggage claim. (I put a big diaper bag on a 21: wheelie–the space under the seat is bigger than you think–look up the dimensions) I interacted with him the entire flight and did not want to have to stay on full power any longer. YMMV, especially if you’re traveling with your husband so the two of you can tag team child care.

      Don’t bother to stress about catching flights, as long as you make your way to the next gate at a reasonable rate of speed (reasonable for one with a toddler is different than for others). If you miss it, they have to get you another. If you miss it because your incoming flight is late, that’s even less under your control/less worth stressing over, more time to blow raspberries on baby’s tummy.

      Have fun–babies at holidays are magic!

    • Where will the baby be sleeping? At that age we travelled with a Phil & Ted Traveller and just packed it in our luggage and assembled it where ever we were. I was always nervous about cribs and pack-n-plays in other places because of the hazards of loose sheets, defective drop sides, etc. You could even purchase it and just have it shipped to wherever you will be stayed and then either pack it in your luggage or have it shipped home.

    • Anonymous :

      For the sanity of your fellow passengers, please consider carrying on everything/anything you may need to calm your baby. In my (admittedly selfish) experience it is very frustrating when you’re trying to have a productive flight, or trying to catch a quick nap on a red-eye, only to find out you are seated next to an inconsolable infant who will.not.stop.screaming.for.the.entire.six.hours (sorry, yes, I realize your flight isn’t six hours, I may or may not be bitter from prior experiences). But if you come fully armed with toys/music/whatever usually works to calm your son down, even if it doesn’t actually work, your fellow passengers will still be grateful for the effort. :) Good luck, enjoy your visit and happy holidays!

  6. On the subject of booties, can anyone find me my unicorn? I’d like to find a pair of black booties that I can wear with dresses or slacks to work. No more than 2.5 inches, block heel or wedge, and dips in the front to avoid the stump.


      •$100 – $250%26ppp%3D%26spp%3D30%26sp%3D2%26rid%3D113|BOOST SAVED SET%26spc%3D230%26rsid%3D1927%26pn%3D2|3|30|230

    • Thanks AIMS!

    • Anonymous :

      I got these after searching a long while on the same bootie criteria:

  7. Anonymous :

    FYI I just saw those Cole Haan booties at Costco for $69.

  8. i’ve been pretty disappointed looking of LE’s winter boot selection both for adults and kids. having a waterproof rubber bottom is not the same as a fully waterproof boot, and isn’t going to keep my legs dry chasing after a kid in snow drifts or tromping through the snowpiles that accumulate at each city intersection from the street plowing. boo.

    • I got a pair of Sorels for this very reason. They’re not great to literally run in, but my feet have never once gotten even damp, and I’m in lake-effect country.

  9. I have several waterproof boots, but the Blondo Daphne boots are my go-to for office wear when it’s bad weather but I still need to dress up: They have a heel so they still look fancy but they’re also super comfortable.

    I also have a waterproof leather flat riding boot that I wear more for everyday, and a cute Blondo grey wedge bootie that I wear more for business casual in the fall/spring.

    If it gets super serious out, I’ll break out the actual snow boots (also from Blondo: but I tend not to wear those to work as my commute doesn’t really involve trudging through much snow regardless.

    As far as booties that aren’t waterproof, the Sam Edelman Petty is quickly becoming one of my favs.

  10. So I am insane, I have Hunter rain boots, Sorel snow boots and I just got LL bean boots this year. Honestly I barely wear the Hunters. I find them uncomfortable and if it rains in the morning but not in the afternoon I don’t want to wear them home but have no choice. I think the ll bean boots are going to be my go to even in the snow unless its pretty cold out which sometimes it is in NYC. Hoping for a mild winter though!

  11. BEST rain boots I’ve found: Bernardo Peony Short (currently 25% off at Nordstrom). Complements every time I wear them. They are rubber but I wear them all day at work with tights and a skirt.

  12. Torontonian :

    I’m still curious about what to do when travelling to court in the winter! I don’t know that there’s anywhere to leave boots or that I’d even want to leave winter boots, but I can’t attend in my Sorels… any insight?

Add a Comment

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

work fashion blog press mentions