When it’s warm and raining, who cares if your feet and shoes get wet? Just get a pair of thin running socks so your socks don’t get heavy with moisture. It’s not a big deal. But when it’s cold and wet, it’s a different story.
Most running shoes are built with breathable mesh to allow heat and moisture to escape from the shoe. This is great for the majority of the year. However, when you’re running in cold and wet conditions, the mesh is allowing in cold air and cold water. If your runs are on the shorter side (less than 30 minutes), a nice pair of winter running socks may be all you need to keep your feet happy. Cold weather socks are well insulated and take awhile to get saturated with moisture. If you’re running longer than 30 minutes, a pair of water-resistant or waterproof shoes (men’s winter running shoes | women’s winter running shoes) might be the best option for comfortable feet.
Water-resistant running shoes are more breathable than waterproof running shoes and are well-suited for rainy, long runs in the 40-55 degree temperature range. As the temperature drops, a waterproof shoe is the better option. While waterproof running shoes use a breathable membrane to keep water out, they are not as breathable as water-resistant shoes. The result is waterproof shoes will be warmer than other shoes. It’s important to note: if you completely submerge your waterproof shoe in water to where water can enter the shoe around the heel collar, water will be on the inside of your shoe until you take them off and shake the water out.
Waterproof shoes are also good for long runs in the snow. However, it might be necessary to get better traction than is provided by the outsole of the shoe. The Yaktrax Run is one way to get added traction. It’s like putting tire chains on your running shoes.