Our editors tried—and loved—these lightweight waterproof shoes.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 15, 2019
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When it rains in the winter, waterproof shoes are easy: Just pull out that trusty pair of rain boots or snow boots and be on your way. On warm days, though, or days you’re planning on doing a lot of walking, those clunky boots can be more leg-tiring menaces than sock-saving aids. But stylish waterproof boots and shoes seem to always be clunky or not waterproof enough—finding the right lightweight option for casual errand-running in the rain (because things to do on a rainy day can only keep you indoors for so long) can be much more challenging than you’d hope.

Several editors at Real Simple recently found a solution, though, and we’re ecstatic. These lightweight, waterproof shoes came to us courtesy of Vessi, and we’ve spent a rainy New York City winter testing the knit Cityscapes out (To buy: $129; vessifootwear.com). Vessi's website calls them waterproof, breathable, and freakishly lightweight—and says they’re blister-free—but we have our own favorite features.

For me, it’s how light they are: If it’s raining and I have a long day of walking and stair-climbing ahead of me, I’ll pick lightweight shoes over clunky rain boots even if it means dealing with wet socks all day. The Cityscapes let me have the best of both worlds—dryness and comfort—and the shoes fit so well that I don’t even need to wear socks with them. I even did some experimental puddle-jumping wearing my pair, and my feet stayed dry through it all.

“They are very airy and lightweight, so they are very comfortable,” says creative director Emily Kehe. “I wore them in the rain and my feet stayed completely dry!”

Our home director, Stephanie Sisco, loves that they’re ready for adventure. “My husband, Peter, and I both really love them,” she says. “They are super lightweight (great for carry-on luggage) and really waterproof. Peter wears them when he takes the dog out in the morning—rain or shine. We even wore them in the snow in Zion National Park and my feet remained warm and dry.”

Vessi’s Cityscapes for women have more than 500 reviews, for an average of 4.5 stars, so they’re certainly doing something right, though a recurring complaint—one that Sisco and I share—is that they’re difficult to put on.

“The only thing I have an issue with sometimes is getting them on,” Sisco says. “They are so tight (obviously to keep them waterproof), but sometimes I feel like I need a super flexible shoe horn to get them on!”

Not everyone had that problem, though. Says deputy editor Anna Maltby, “These sneakers are so comfortable (and easy to slip on and off).” Maltby noted that the shoes kept her feet warm and dry through a rainstorm, but wondered about their summer time usability. “I’m not sure how well they’d do in warmer weather because they kept my feet quite warm in winter weather—they may be a bit overly warm or clammy—but I’m looking forward to testing them out,” she says.

Brandi Broxson, Real Simple’s senior editor, also noticed that it was difficult to get the shoes on and off—but it’s worth it. “Vessis have quickly become my favorite sneakers,” she says. “I’ve worn them in snow and rain and was impressed by how well they held up. As other reviewers have noted, they are a bit difficult to get on the first couple times, but I think that it’s worth it for the level of waterproof protection they give. They’re also cute enough for me to wear to work.”

You’ve heard it here first: We love these shoes. They come in four different colors, and Vessi has more models—the Everyday and the Skyline, both shipping in May but available for pre-order now—on the way. Men’s and women’s styles are available, and beyond their comfort and waterproof elements, the shoes are also vegan. What more do you need from some waterproof shoes?