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The Best Rain Boots for Kids, According to Experts

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

For kids, rainy days mean stomping in puddles while wearing their favorite stripy, outer-space-themed, or glittery rain boots. But not all rubber boots are created equal. The absolute best rain boots for kids keep tiny feet dry, cozy, and slip-free no matter how hard they stomp. They’re light enough for little legs to wear all day and have the mobility and sturdiness to let kids run around. We talked to momfluencers, stylish parents, a farmer, preschool educators, a stylist for kids, and a children’s-clothing designer to find out which boots look the best, last the longest, and, perhaps most important, are the easiest to get on in a hurry.

“I love these boots for the pull-on handles that make them easy to get on,” says Laura Fenton, lifestyle director at Parents magazine, who has bought them for her son repeatedly. The overwhelming majority of our experts seconded the convenience of the side handles and, in general, the boots’ efficacy at keeping little feet dry in extreme conditions.

“Your kids’ legs could live in a swamp for days on end in these, which is something they’d probably consider.” says Marcos Espinoza, dad of three and owner of Side Project Jerky. He noted that Bogs are warm enough to wear in winter (even in the snow), saving closet space and money from the boot budget.

Oaki Neoprene Boots are the boots of choice for students at Community Roots Charter School in Brooklyn. Kids there spend two and a half days per week outdoors year-round, so all-weather waterproof boots are essential. Like the Bogs boots, these have pull-on side handles. “I find the neoprene is more forgiving than rubber rain boots,” says Kendel Shore, a marketing executive and mom of two in Brooklyn. “My daughter prefers them to any of her other shoes.”

Shore recommends these Vans shoes made for kids. While not technically rain boots, they offer weatherproof protection with the mobility of a sneaker, allowing her 9-year-old to use them for multiple seasons. “They are easy to run in but have a thick rubber sole with ample protection from rain around the toes,” she says. “I think they are far superior to rain boots, because kiddos can put them on without help, thanks to the Velcro straps, and they don’t need to switch into ‘regular shoes’ at school.”

Steffy Degreff of Steffy’s Pros & Cons, a lifestyle blog with tips for moms, prefers Hunter’s original kids’ boots over every other pair. “They have so many color options, and the boots are of such good quality, they’re practically indestructible,” she says. Espinoza is also a fan of Hunter boots for his kids: “They’re a bit less robust than the Bogs, but they definitely keep the water out when your kid inevitably stomps their feet into the filthiest puddle they see.” Lena Jones, a farmer and mom of three based on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands, recommends Hunter boots, because they “have a really flexible sole” and are “zero-drop,” which helps avoid foot strain, as the heel doesn’t go lower than the toes. “They’re lightweight, come in cool colors, and my kids say they’re really comfortable!” she says.

Melissa Buck, who works as a children’s stylist (and is a mom), had a lot of recommendations for boots from Western Chief: “They actually have a boot inspired by Wonder Woman that has a small red cape off of the back of each shoe, but there are, of course, also more stylish and modern pairs.”

Toddler-favorite Zara’s shorter-height rain boots have held up for parent and New York City high-school teacher Rachel Poccia, who takes her almost 3-year-old daughter from Bushwick to the Lower East Side in all weather conditions to attend an outdoor-focused preschool. “The synthetic material is more pliable and less slippery than other brands, which makes them comfortable and easy to walk in,” she says, “and the lower height version works best for a toddler’s chunky legs.”

From $35

Another great option for toddlers are Crocs kids’ rain boots, which come in an array of bright, cheery colors. “They’re easy for kids to pull on” thanks to the oversize handles, and they’re “so light and not clunky,” says Rachel Tervenski, a designer and mom of two in Kingston, New York.

These wool-lined boots “stay really warm in the winter,” says Julie O’Rourke, founder of clothing brand Rudy Jude and a Maine-based mom of two, “but they also end up being a great transitional-season boot, because they are not super-bulky.” She appreciates the flexible sole, “which is crucial for tiny feet navigating slippery rocks,” and that the wool lining can be a sock substitute on rushed mornings: “It’s hard to get socks on a 3-year-old!”

Buck had this pair on her list — the drawstring top is helpful for keeping rain from falling into the boot.

Instead of buying her preteen daughter cheap rain boots, Amelia Abreu, a UX designer in Portland, Oregon, splurged on a L.L.Bean pair. The difference is notable — her daughter’s boots are now closer to the L.L.Bean duck boots Abreu wears herself. For those who want to buy a size larger in hopes of having the boots for more than one year, she suggests having your kids wear them with thick socks.

[Editor’s note: The Small Batch pair Abreu bought is currently unavailable, but the slightly taller Original Bean Boot above is in stock in all kids’ sizes.]

Degreff suggests going to Target to snag rain boots for less than $30: “Target always has a great selection, and its children’s brand Cat & Jack has some super-fun and playful designs.” For spring, we’re into these floral-print boots.

Degreff also likes the brand Hatley Kids for their throwback designs. “I love this pair with retro-looking fire engines on it,” she says. “They’re also really high-quality!”

Because so many of our experts recommended thick socks, either for warmth or cushioning or size correction, we thought we’d include this pair Abreu recommended that you can add to your cart easily.

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The Best Rain Boots for Kids, According to Experts