hiking shoe in rain

How to Keep Your Shoes Dry When Hiking in the Rain

It feels amazing to hike in the rain, but it can also be difficult to keep your feet dry. Wet shoes and socks can quickly ruin a hike and even lead to blisters and other foot problems. There are a few tricks you can follow to keep your shoes dry and comfortable. In this article, we will discuss some tips and techniques for keeping your shoes dry when hiking in the rain.

Why keeping shoes dry when hiking in the rain is important

Keeping your shoes dry when hiking in the rain is essential to prevent blisters, foot problems, and to keep your feet comfortable. Wet shoes and socks can cause friction, which can lead to blisters and soreness. Wet feet can also cause your feet to become cold, increasing the risk of hypothermia, and making the hike less enjoyable.

Keep Your Shoes Dry

1. Choose the right shoes

Choosing the right shoes for hiking in the rain is essential. Waterproof hiking boots are the best option, as they are designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions. Look for boots that are made from waterproof materials such as Gore-Tex and have a sturdy sole that provides good traction.

2. Wear gaiters

Gaiters are an essential piece of hiking gear that can help keep your feet and shoes dry in wet conditions. They are designed to cover the lower part of your legs and shoes, keeping water, mud, and debris out. Gaiters come in a range of materials, including Gore-Tex and nylon, and are easy to attach to your shoes.

3. Use waterproofing spray

Waterproofing sprays are an effective way to protect your shoes from water damage. They work by creating a waterproof barrier on the surface of your shoes, which prevents water from getting in. Simply spray your shoes with the waterproofing spray before heading out on your hike, and you will be well-protected against the rain.

4. Apply wax or sealant

Applying wax or sealant to your shoes can also help keep them dry in wet conditions. Beeswax, for example, is a natural waterproofing agent that can be applied to leather shoes. Simply rub the wax onto the surface of your shoes, and it will create a protective barrier that repels water.

5. Wear waterproof socks

Wearing waterproof socks is another effective way to keep your feet dry when hiking in the rain. Waterproof socks are made from materials such as Gore-Tex and neoprene, which are designed to keep water out. They are available in a range of styles and sizes, and can be worn alone or over regular socks for extra warmth.

6. Pack extra socks

No matter how well-prepared you are, your feet may still get wet when hiking in the rain. Packing extra socks is essential, as it allows you to change into dry socks if your feet become wet. Be sure to pack enough socks for the length of your hike, and keep them in a waterproof bag to prevent them from getting wet.

7. Avoid puddles and streams

Avoiding puddles and streams is an obvious way to keep your feet dry when hiking in the rain. Try to stick to the driest areas of the trail, and avoid stepping in puddles or crossing streams unless absolutely necessary. If you do need to cross a stream, look for a shallow area where the water is moving slowly, and use a hiking stick for extra support.

8. Take frequent breaks

Taking frequent breaks is important when hiking in the rain, as it allows you to check your feet and change into dry socks if necessary. Try to take a break every hour or so, and use the opportunity to remove your shoes and socks and check your feet for any signs of blisters or irritation.

9. Change shoes if necessary

If your shoes become completely soaked through, it may be necessary to change into a dry pair of shoes. Pack an extra pair of shoes in your backpack, and switch into them if your feet become too wet or uncomfortable. If you don’t have an extra pair of shoes, consider turning back or ending your hike early to prevent further damage to your feet.

10. How to dry wet shoes

If your shoes do become wet, it’s important to dry them out as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Remove the insoles from your shoes and stuff them with newspaper or a towel to help absorb the moisture. Avoid drying your shoes in direct sunlight or with a heater, as this can cause the shoes to crack or shrink.

Hiking in the Rain

10 more essential tips –

  1. Use a waterproof backpack cover: A waterproof backpack cover can help protect your backpack and its contents from getting wet during your hike, including your extra socks and shoes.
  2. Wear gaiters: Gaiters are a type of protective covering that wrap around your ankles and lower legs, helping to prevent water and debris from entering your shoes.
  3. Pack a towel: Packing a small towel can be useful for drying off your shoes and feet during your hike.
  4. Consider using a waterproof spray: Waterproof sprays can help protect your shoes from moisture and keep them dry during your hike.
  5. Don’t overdress: Overdressing can lead to sweating and moisture buildup inside your shoes, so it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
  6. Avoid cotton socks: Cotton socks can absorb moisture and take a long time to dry, so consider wearing synthetic or wool socks that wick moisture away from your feet.
  7. Bring extra plastic bags: Extra plastic bags can be used to store wet socks and shoes, or to line the inside of your backpack for added protection.
  8. Check weather conditions: Checking the weather forecast before your hike can help you plan accordingly and choose the right gear.
  9. Use hiking poles: Hiking poles can help you maintain balance and avoid slipping on wet or slippery terrain, reducing the risk of getting your feet wet.
  10. Take care of your shoes: Regularly cleaning and maintaining your shoes can help extend their lifespan and ensure they remain waterproof and comfortable during your hikes.


  1. Can I use regular socks when hiking in the rain?

It’s not recommended to use regular socks when hiking in the rain, as they can become wet and uncomfortable. Instead, consider wearing waterproof socks or packing extra socks in a waterproof bag.

  1. Can I wear my regular hiking boots in the rain?

Regular hiking boots may not be waterproof, and can become wet and uncomfortable in the rain. Consider investing in a pair of waterproof hiking boots, or using waterproofing sprays or wax to protect your regular boots.

  1. How often should I change my socks when hiking in the rain?

It’s recommended to change your socks as soon as they become wet or damp, to prevent moisture from building up and causing blisters.

  1. Can I dry my wet shoes by a fire?

It’s not recommended to dry your shoes by a fire, as the heat can damage the materials and cause them to shrink or become misshapen. Instead, stuff them with newspaper or a dry towel and leave them in a warm, dry place.

  1. What should I do if I get blisters while hiking in the rain?

If you get blisters while hiking in the rain, it’s important to stop and treat them as soon as possible. Clean the area with soap and water, and apply a blister pad or bandage. If the blister is large or painful, consider ending your hike early and seeking medical attention.

hiking in the rain


Hiking in the rain is challenging but very exciting and knowledgeable experience. You can keep your shoes dry and well even in wet situations by using these tricks and ideas. Remember to choose the right shoes, wear gaiters, use waterproofing spray or wax, wear waterproof socks, pack extra socks, avoid puddles and streams, take frequent breaks, and change shoes if necessary. With these strategies, you can enjoy a comfortable and safe hike in the rain.

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