According to a 2016 report from the Outdoor Foundation, nearly 31.6 million American adults count running as a hobby and go on an average 87.1 runs a year. Women ages 25 to 34 are leading the pack, and across all demographics, American women run more than men. Amidst this historic running boom, 5k races, triathlons, and terrain-based competitions are flourishing.
But a quiet trot down a trail is just as popular. The latest innovations in waterproof footwear are tailored to women who run Tough Mudders, hike mountains, play disc golf, or just like to walk their dogs in a light drizzle without drenching their socks. Here are five shoes that blend water-immunity with comfort, longevity, and support.
1. Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Ahnu, a San Francisco-based performance footwear brand, partnered with Teva in January 2017 to release a line of women’s hiking shoes. Among them is the Sugarpine waterproof sneaker, an athletically influenced shoe with trail-ready durability. It features a scuff-resistant Vibram outsole and a midsole made of EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) foam for maximum shock absorption. The Sugarpine’s Numentum™ technology supports the foot’s natural mechanics, fostering a smooth, efficient stride.
Sturdy yet lightweight, it provides comfortable arch support and a cushioned 2-inch heel. And like other Ahnu shoes, it accommodates orthopedic inserts. Sugarpine is made with imported leather and textiles. It is wrapped in a waterproof membrane that keeps the foot dry through puddles, creeks, and rainstorms. The Sugarpine hiking shoe is available in five jewel-toned colorways: Alder Bark, Black Aubergine, Bluestar, Eclipse, and New Black.
2. Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Merrell was founded in 1981 by Coloradan boot maker Randy Merrell, former Olympic skier Clark Matis, and Dartmouth business alum John Schweizer. Their combined abilities fomented the outdoor gear brand. Siren Edge is one of many Merrell shoes to implement patented Merrell Air Cushion technology: a sealed unit between the heel and midsole that absorbs up to 4 times the wearer’s bodyweight and aligns her foot comfortably within the shoe.
The sneaker stabilizes the arch with a nylon shank, allowing the wearer to walk or hike comfortably all day. It also has a bellows tongue– a wide tongue that is affixed at both sides to the upper part of the shoe. This prevents water and debris from seeping in. Siren Edge comes in Black/Paradise, Huckleberry, and Monument color options.
3. adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Swift R GTX Hiking Shoes
The Terrex Swift R GTX is one of the trendier and more versatile waterproof sneakers; it is equally suitable for casual walking, strenuous hiking, and even sports. Its stiff high-traction rubber outsole grips uneven terrain. The shoe’s lightweight midsole, complete with a protective, shock-absorbing adiPRENE insert, ensures comfort.
A waterproof Gore-Tex membrane lines the Terrex Swift to keep the wearer’s feet from getting soaked. The low-top hiking sneaker also features a speed lacing mechanism for easy access. Some reviewers have praised how quickly the shoe "breaks in" and becomes comfortable for a new wearer. A molded sock liner enhances this impression. There are many vibrant colorways for the sneaker, accounting for different sole, upper, and lace colors.
4. Columbia Women’s Dakota Drifter Waterproof Trail Shoe
Columbia Sportswear began as Columbia Hat Company in 1938. The founder’s daughter Gert Boyle took over in 1970 and, with no prior business experience, transformed a struggling company with just 40 employees into a global name in outdoor apparel.
Columbia combines several elements to make the Dakota Drifter Trail Shoe. Its upper is crafted of rubber, mesh, and supple suede; its midsole is an impact-absorbing Techlite cushion. Porous, seam-sealed Omni-Tech® fabrication allows air to flow in but deflects water. The sneaker’s Omni- Grip™ outsole is equipped with multiple tread patterns that are specialized for different environments, so the wearer can get traction on steep trails, slippery rocks, and fresh snow.
The robust Dakota Drifter Trail Shoe, which comes in neutral Pebble/Poppy Red and Light Grey/Sunnyside colorways, is light and comfortable to wear.
5. Clarks Women’s Wave Trek Sneaker
In 1825, Cyrus and James Clark fashioned a pair of slippers out of leftover sheepskin, and in no time their humble family workshop became a booming business. The brothers developed many innovative shoe designs, including the gutta percha elongated galosh, which won an award.
Today, innovation appears in the Wave Trek sneaker in the form of WAVEWALK™ technology, a design which allows the wearer to experience less discomfort and fatigue in her feet when walking long distances. WAVEWALK™ offers a curved sole that boosts the foot forward in a clean motion, and a concave heel that lessens stress on the joints. Carbon rubber pads add extra support to the toe and heel.
Wave Trek also has a removable Ortholite® footbed. Its waterproof, full-grain leather upper is available in nine hues.