Best Waterproof Running Shoes 2022 | Waterproof Shoes for Runners – runnersworld.com

Best Waterproof Running Shoes 2022 | Waterproof Shoes for Runners  runnersworld.com

Staff, Courtesy of Hoka

Waterproof running shoes are a great way to keep your feet dry for longer, particularly if you live in an area that sees a lot of rain or a snowy climate where soft powder and slush seep in with every footfall. While no shoe can be 100 percent waterproof—scampering through a water crossing or navigating a minefield of deep puddles is bound to get your socks at least a little damp—having a water-resistant membrane or liner in your shoe’s upper can improve your chances of staying warm and cozy for the first few miles, which should be enough to get you safely out the door and into the zone. Just be warned: The only downside to the shoes is that they tend to be less breathable, which is why they’re better suited to winter running in brisk weather.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Waterproof Shoe

Most waterproof running shoes have a water-repellent membrane or liner in the upper with protective overlays to keep debris out. The best-known brand is Gore-Tex, which is designed to be water-resistant enough to block out wind and rain but breathable enough to release sweat and heat as your feet warm up. Many runners will find that this is an imperfect system—and that the shoes become a sweatfest once the temps soar above 65 degrees. But on colder days, the waterproofing effectively blocks out wind, rain, and the occasional plunge into a stream or deep slush, provided the muck doesn’t rise above the ankle.

But waterproof shoes aren’t the only option for runners looking for serious water protection. Waterproof socks from brands like SealSkinz, DexShell, and Showers Pass are also excellent in a drizzle. Trail-running gaiters cover the tops of your shoes entirely so you can dart through a creek without water or rocks invading your shoes from above. Both methods are effective at keeping you cozy and dry for longer—particularly when combined with waterproof shoes. Just note that both waterproof socks and gaiters suffer from the same breathability issues that waterproof shoes do. In warmer weather, it’s often better to have wet feet and a little airflow than sweat-soaked feet with no chance of drainage or ventilation. Read on for the best waterproof running shoe options for road and trail running.

How We Selected These Shoes

I lived and ran in Portland, Oregon, for eight years—six of which I spent as a full-time bike messenger—so I could probably write an entire book on the trials and tribulations of trying to maintain some semblance of dry socks in the winter months. To make this list, I used my own experience trail-racing in the rain in several of these shoes, along with input from the Runner’s World editors and feedback from our Runner’s World wear testers. In the cases where we weren’t able to test the waterproof version of these shoes, we selected them based on exceptional performance from the standard version. All the shoes below stood out for their winning combination of performance, comfort, value, and weather protection. Whether you’re hoping to maintain your winter running streak through the upcoming snowy months or survive your next trail ultra without your toes going pruny and numb, there’s a potentially life-changing waterproof shoe here for you.

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Best Overall Waterproof Trail Shoe

Saucony Peregrine 11 Gore-Tex

Saucony

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 11.5 oz (M), 10.1 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 4mm

The Peregrine has been a longtime favorite with the trail runners in our test pool, due to the shoe’s exceptional traction and responsive Pwrrun midsole, which allows you to dart nimbly through sketchy terrain. Runners who like having lots of thick cushion underfoot might find the midsole to be too stiff. But for those who prefer a little more connection between their feet and the trail, the Peregrine’s firm platform, ultra-grippy lugs, glass-slipper fit, and durable upper make it a worthy choice. Like most running shoes with a Gore-Tex membrane, this one runs a little hot, so it’s less suited to summer running. But in the slush and snow, that waterproof protection will keep your foot dryer, warmer, and more comfortable through any conditions and terrain.

Best Winter Road Shoe

Brooks Ghost 14 GTX

Brooks

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 10.7 oz. (M), 9.8 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 12mm

The Ghost is a long-distance trainer we recommend year after year because it works for so many runners—and only seems to get better with each new model. This version of the shoe has a full-length DNA Loft midsole that strikes the perfect balance between soft cushioning and enough firmness to feel quick and responsive during turnover. It provides an ultra-smooth ride and plenty of support underfoot to keep your legs feeling fresh through long runs, and enough durability in the outsole to see you through your full training cycle. The upper sports an improved, roomier fit at the forefoot and a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane that holds the line against snow and slush creeping in.

Best Long-Distance Training Shoe

Asics Cumulus 23 GTX

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 9.9 oz. (M), 8.6 (W)
  • Drop: 10mm (M), 13mm (W)

Another standout marathon training shoe, the Cumulus 23 is a winner for its durability, smooth ride, and generous supply of soft cushioning. The shoe packs three types of cushioning into the midsole for a trifecta of bouncy support: Flytefoam, Flytefoam Propel, and gel pods in the forefoot and back sections that give heel strikers a soft place to land. The outsole is grippy for a road shoe, so it can handle running over light slush; the Gore-tex lining in the Jacquard mesh upper maintains a barrier against the elements, keeping your foot dry and warm in wintry conditions.

Unconventional Road Runner

On Cloudflyer Waterproof

Key Specs

  • Support: Light stability
  • Weight: 10.3 oz. (M), 8.64 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 7mm

On shoes have one of the most unconventional designs in running: The shoes’ midsole and outsole are made up of hollowed-out “CloudTec” units that collapse to absorb impact and then immediately stiffen for a zippy takeoff. Each midsole “cloud” is designed to provide a soft landing and firm toe-off that lightly guides the foot against overpronating, without any excess weight or bulk. Our wear testers found them to be comfortable and effective for short to mid distances. “The Cloudflyer’s ride is up there with the best tempo shoes I’ve worn—you get a quick turnover and springy liftoff,” said one tester. “There may not be a lot of cushioning in the heel, but I’ll definitely be wearing it in my next 5K or 10K race.” This version of the shoe has a fully wind and waterproof upper that still allows for a little airflow.

For Racing on Gnarly Terrain

Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX

Salomon

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 12 oz. (M), 10.3 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 10mm

When the trail race forecast calls for gnarly weather and endless rain, you’ll want to have the Speedcross 5 at the ready for all the wet, soupy terrain that lies ahead. With deep, multidirectional lugs spanning the outsole, the shoe can find footing almost anywhere—even on a muddy climb, thanks to an extra set of lugs jutting from the toe. The high-rebound EnergyCell+ midsole provides a durable and responsive ride with plenty of cushion underfoot, particularly at the heel. An anti-debris mesh upper keeps tiny rocks from finding their way in, while the Gore-Tex membrane capably blocks out rain and wind.

Versatile Hybrid

Hoka Challenger ATX 6 Gore-Tex

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 10.9 oz. (M)
  • Drop: 5mm

With its firm, well-cushioned midsole and grippy outsole with flattish 4mm lugs, the Challenger ATX 6 is a shoe that can seamlessly transition between road and trail. True to the Hoka brand, the shoe has a thickly padded but lightweight midsole, with loads of firm cushioning that has just enough give in it to handle long trail runs, and just enough softness to handle harsh pavement. Wider-footed runners rejoice: The shoe has a spacious toe box (complete with protective toe cap) and an overall generous, comfy fit that welcomes all types of runners to tackle all types of terrain. A Gore-Tex membrane battens down the hatches, so you don’t have to worry about cold, wet mud drenching your feet.

Best Zero-Drop Platform

Altra Lone Peak 4 Low RSM

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 10.9 oz. (M), 9 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 0mm

With all due respect to Gore-Tex, the water-repellent fabric brand isn’t the only membrane-maker out there. This burly trail runner from Altra has “eVent” waterproof fabric in its upper, which is designed to strike that rare balance between water-resistance and breathability, much like Gore-Tex. We found the upper to be durable and plenty protective, with overlays to keep rock debris from getting in. But the Lone Peak’s greatest asset is its outsole, which offers excellent grip from deep, diagonal lugs that span toe to heel, and claw into the ground from every direction. The cushioning in the 4 is moderate but thinner and firmer than previous versions of the Lone Peak, giving the shoe a connected-to-the-trail feel. The shoe comes with an optional stone guard you can slide into the insole to protect your feet from sharp rocks, if needed. Altra also makes these in a mid-height that rises above the ankle for thru-hiking.

Our Favorite New Hybrid

Nike Pegasus Trail 3 Gore-Tex

Key Specs

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 11.3 oz. (M, size 10), 9.6 oz. (W)
  • Drop: 9.5mm

Our testers loved this max-cushioned hybrid shoe, which feels equally snappy and responsive on the road or trail, thanks to a dense React foam midsole and some solid grip underfoot. We’ve long appreciated the Pegasus for its enduring status as an excellent all-arounder, with the cushion and bounce to support a long, slow effort or throw down a 5K PR. But this Trail 3 might be the best trail-specific iteration of the shoe yet—and the most versatile of the full road and trail line. In the kind of weather that would normally bring to mind the phrase “mud-soaked slog,” the shoe feels light, springy, and nimble as it bounces off the trail. Short, stubby lugs spotting the outsole dig into mud and technical terrain without feeling harsh on pavement. A Gore-Tex membrane in the upper and built-in gaiters at the collar keep water and bits of debris from sneaking in.

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