Spring rains are treacherous, unexpected and refreshing, but they pose little issue for us while we are working out or hitting a hiking trail. After all, most sports gear nowadays comes with extensive anti-shock, anti-slip, and waterproofing protection; few workout regimes can resist the sprains that would pop out otherwise.
However, if you are a member of the hordes of people who prefer to keep things casual on a Monday to Friday basis, or just need to ensure you remain comfortable but polished on the weekend, then urban sneakers are where you should invest. Less flashy and meant to let you sprint to the bus stop rather than to run a full mile, urban sneakers are an essential part of the wardrobe. Just because they will earn you no medals doesn’t mean they should leave your feet wet, though; the retailers who understand this are the ones who stand to make the biggest gains this spring.
If you need a stylish pair of shoes that can keep you bouncing about even while trying to be “business casual” but that won’t melt away after a quick drizzle, look no further than this list. These 14 best waterproof sneakers for urban environments are all comfortable, versatile, and dry-sock friendly.
Many brands specialize in football-worthy or speed-friendly shoes, but few had targeted waterproofing as their main characteristic yet; that is until Vessi landed on the American market just a couple of years. Their slogan goes straight to the important matters: no more wet socks. Their models offer superb and 100% vegan materials alongside neutral, light designs meant to blend in with any look.
Out of all them, their Cityscape model has quickly earned cult status among backpackers and couriers. Their proprietary knit makes them completely waterproof while still letting the feet breathe; moisture flows in only one direction, from the inside out. Their signature extra-wide lace placement makes them easy to adjust even after a hard day of trekking and exploring the town. Finally, they are lighter than an iPhone, so they won’t weigh you down. Feel free to wear them as sneakers for summer.
This shoe seems deadset on avoiding easy classification; sturdy and solid like a work boot, and fully in compliance with most worksite’s OSHA regulations but still with that minimalist elegance offered by black leather and a slim design, the Storm 415 will protect your feet from much more than just water.
These shoes offer superb protection from shock, dust, and liquids alike, but they still keep many comfort features that make them firm competitors in the athletic market; extra posture-correcting cushioning and a breathable upper sole make for a nice and adaptable fit.
The fine grain leather used on most of the outer layer appear stylish and would look exactly in their environment on any office Casual Friday. Their gripped rubber soles and extra flexible laces will keep everything in place and remain safe even when surrounded by machinery.
The Wildcat model by La Sportiva is the glam child of a sports and fitness-oriented brand, and, as such, it offers a near-perfect blend between functionality and beauty. If you love the unusual and are eager to escape the “gym uniform” that proliferates on most college campuses these days, these sneakers will also add a layer of uniqueness to your look that no Nike label will be able to provide.
Their waterproof and weatherproof synthetic mesh will keep your feet warm and dry in rainy or snowy environments alike. In addition, the increased grip offered by its slightly curved soles will offer shock-resistance when jumping on treacherous soils. The construction is as sturdy as one would expect from most trail running shoes, which renders them near indestructible in an urban setting.
The textured pattern on top and discreetly reflective logo on the sides will also make these sneakers attractive and eye-catching without drifting into gaudy territory. They’re available in blue and black camo.
A well-established family brand that has deliberately eluded the massive spotlight, Forsake is a great example of the heights that quality can reach under a small and detail-oriented production process. This is a brand that has always made their best efforts in the outdoor and adventure market. Their “Range” line has now been expanded to target the special requirements of urban explorers and die-hard budget travelers.
These are the kind of shoes that are meant to look decent and polished even after walking their way from Sicily to Rome; their breathable suede-like upper mesh will repel water and keep mud from sticking to its sides. The incorporation of Vibram Megagrip soles adds an extra layer of shock-resistance and stability that is not found on most urban sneakers; postmen and nurses have quietly been entrusting their knee health to this legendary technology.
The color patterns stay within the subdued beige palette and provide a retro appeal that does not look boring but is never hard to match with.
You may also be interested in some of the best all-black sneakers from our list. Check them out.
Wide, safe, and available in 10 different color combinations, the Adidas Terrex Swift works equally well in mountain trails or on the Subway stairs and will keep your socks equally dry on both environments.
Made 100% from quality synthetic mesh, these shoes have benefitted greatly from the thousands of hours that Adidas has been able to pour onto its outdoor-range research activities.
The construction itself is actually a bit on the heavy side, but the shoe compensates enormously by offering extensive shock absorption, rugged soles, and reinforced edges. Neutral pronators will also find that these shoes provide superb stability at only half the weight of average hiking shoes. Urban wearers will find the classic design and discreet logo placement to be unassuming and fun: not quite the fashion statement that would put you at risk on the rough part of town but never dowdy or overly casual.
Leather is a cornerstone of urban ruggedness, but it rarely mixes well with rain. Rockport’s ability to subvert this old stereotype is only one of the things that make their new Oxford Walking Shoe special.
The most remarkable one is undoubtedly its soles; well cushioned, with a curved grip and a discreet curve, they provide excellent support and comprehensive protection for long-distance walkers. Every inch of your metatarsal bones will stay safe from hairline fractures, thanks not just to the removable insoles but also the design’s deceptive roominess. Despite all these layers of protection, the shoes do not feel heavy during extended wear.
The leathery look has been reinforced and painstakingly treated to provide thorough waterproofing, and will also keep your feet comfortably warm even during the dead of winter. The brown and beige color combination looks elegant; you may not be able to get away with these walking shoes during a black tie event, but an unexpectedly important lunch? Nobody will notice!
A well-consecrated brand such as Nike rarely has to spend as much money on advertising as they actually do. This is precisely what makes the Nike Classic Cortez so refreshing; they have allowed the shoe to speak for itself and have created an efficient and savvy mid-range shoe that performs equally well at the gym and on the streets, rain or shine.
The classic old-school design is now ubiquitous enough to blend in on almost any social situation. The flat sole and bullet-shaped aerodynamics keep the shoe light and functional. However, they have added a couple of important characteristics to help you stay protected under rainy, slippery, or otherwise treacherous weather; in addition to an improved nylon upper mesh that repels water, the outsole rubbers are also reinforced with herringbone, which provides better traction when stepping on mud or frost.
And if classic, subdued versatility is not how you would define your style, these Nike shoes are available in over 10 color combinations, from black and white to Provence purple and green and Bordeaux Red.
They may have started as an outdoor-oriented brand, but The North Face’s signature lines and logos have become synonymous with middle-class appeal and youthful practicality in the city as well. Their Ultra 109 GTX model takes this reputation one step further and brings a very affordable option to anyone seeking a beautiful waterproof sneaker.
The rugged build and sharp traction offered by the soles will keep it light, fast, and responsive on slopes and suburban or rocky trails alike. However, the inclusion of a slightly raised sole and the three-layered outer mesh do more than just give you a height edge; they are fully water-repellent and will keep you just-above the layer of muck and mud that is usually left after a quick rainy spell. The result? Dry socks year-round in three different color schemes.
Slip-on shoes may not fully classify as sneakers, but they fill an important niche in day-to-night wardrobes and comfy days. In addition, the added elegance of smooth brown leather made these loafers more than worthy of appearing on this list, especially once we assessed its superb anti-slip soles and water-repellent outer layer. The quality is further improved by the inclusion of gel inserts and anti-microbial and anti-odor treatments along the inside lining.
While not the kind of shoes that you would hit the gym with, these are nonetheless a remarkable pair of “dressy flats” and therefore ideal for those days where you need to blend in with the higher-ups at leisure. In addition, smart dressers will find that all eight color combinations, by staying firmly in the earthy palette, are perfectly office-friendly. Nevertheless, they stay true to their name and relaxed island vibe, which Olukai is adamant about preserving.
Urban styles may always strive to be versatile, but they don’t necessarily need to blend in. If you are looking for a more daring statement and want to evoke the Japanese qualities of attention to detail and eccentricity, then their latest “Tokyo Design” line may offer the edge you crave.
Wide, blocky, and full of slightly curved lines, this shoe feels unapologetically 80s at first glance. The technology used in its manufacturing process is anything but high tech; from GORE-Tex antimicrobial inner linings to a waterproof surface and a ripstop nylon upper mesh, these shoes will perform as great as they look.
The inclusion of a rugged lacing saddle will make them easier to adjust and comfortable for long walks and runs, while simultaneously giving them an additional opportunity to discreetly place their logo. The overall feel of the shoe is firm and will provide a hidden secret weapon for overpronators.
Halfway between a proper hiking boot and an urban sneaker, the Arrowood model by Teva keeps its overall construction light and flexible while still hitting the “urban cowboy” nail right on the head.
These shoes provide almost all the perks that one would expect from hiking shoes, waterproofing included, alongside reinforced toes and heel counters, front and back pull loops, anti-tear laces, and gripping rubber soles. The discreet arch shaft adds extra stability and lessens fatigue during long hikes and prolonged effort.
However, the polished urbanity of this shoes is still reinforced by their high-quality fine-grain leather finish, sober colors, and a sleek shape.
Just because these are CrossFit-worthy shoes (or for that matter, provided by a cult brand among the Paleo and Urban Warrior tribes) does not mean that have overlooked the aesthetics at all. The three color combinations offered by this model offer a wide range of looks, from gym-worthy and daring to poised monochromes.
The shape was kept sleek and aerodynamic while still providing enough room to accommodate toe-splay. Designed and tested to go a notch above simply “waterproof,” these water-resistant shoes can go straight in the middle of a puddle without jeopardizing your toes’ health; socks will stay dry, and fungi or bacteria will find a very inhospitable environment thanks to the proprietary synthetic materials used. Finally, the inclusion of GORE-Tex technology will keep this shoe firm and sturdy even for daily runners who are chasing a fast tempo.
If you are not ready to give up on the classic Nike design or on any of the well-known advantages that this brand offers for runners, walkers, and city fashionistas alike, and yet are fortunate enough to live somewhere with plentiful, year-round rain, the Rn 2018 model has revamped itself to meet all your needs.
In addition to the expected single-layer synthetic mesh, these classic sneakers offer removable insoles and an upper coating that will keep all water out even when exploring the tropics. The soles are road-worthy and provide decent shock-absorption, while the removable foam insoles will add an extra edge of stability if you need it. Their wide range of color schemes (over 15 combinations, many of them seasonal) makes these shoes easy to adapt with a wide range of personal styles.
Their technical reliability and eye for appealing design have quickly made Under Armour one of the favorite brands among gym bunnies and activewear aficionados. They were among the first to specialize in producing “company worthy” fitness gear that will still allow you to perform and look your best. They Verge 2.0 keeps faithful to this tradition by providing thorough waterproofing, a trail-worthy grip, EVA foam insoles, and the lightness that one has come to expect from GORE-Tex materials.
In addition, the welded and reinforced edges of this model are made to last, no matter how much shock you place onto them, and their ESS rock plate is clearly meant to protect your joints from the same. They’re available in six color combinations, from discreet black and pitch gray to daring sultry coral and teal.