Test drive: Rain boots

We tested five brands to see which ones kept us high and dry.


L.L.Bean Bean Boots, $75, at llbean.com
Effectiveness: These puppies have excellent traction (good for going up and down the iced-over hill leading to my building) and kept my feet warm.
Comfort: I was splashing in puddles like a spry Fred Astaire. The rubber-molded bottoms made me wonder if Crocs-loving Mario Batali isn’t on to something, and the leather uppers never cut into my skin—even when they were box-fresh.
Attractiveness: I love the buffalo-plaid, hunting aesthetic that these classic L.L.Bean boots evoke. With my jeans tucked in, I stayed completely dry and looked stylish. And when I paired them with black opaque tights and a floral dress, I looked like my grungy teenage self—only cooler.—Erin Wylie


Tretorn Skerry Vinter, on sale for $42, at tretorn.com
Effectiveness: I tested these wellies on a particularly gloomy rainy/snowy day, and didn’t fall, trip or slip. So that’s what rubber was invented for!
Comfort: I’d wear ’em all day, even if it wasn’t raining. They also have a plush synthetic-fur lining—challenging those who think you need to wear Ugg-ly monstrosities in order to keep warm.
Attractiveness: The cropped boots, which come in a variety of metallic colors, are actually pretty stylish. They aren’t big and bulky, so I was able to get away with wearing them indoors.—Rachel LeWinter


MICHAEL Michael Kors Logo Rainboot, $98, at michaelkors.com
Effectiveness: Considering that my old no-name rubber boots (which leaked the first time I wore them) looked almost exactly like these, I was wary. But after a few hours, the insides were still as dry as an AA meeting.
Comfort: They weren’t bad, though I wished there had been fuzzy, slipperlike padding inside to cushion my step.
Attractiveness: If I were a label whore, I’d really dig these logo-emblazoned rubbers. But I’m not, and I was slightly self-conscious about the message they sent as I walked to work.—Lisa Freedman


Ricky’s NYC Rainboots, $54.99, at rickysnyc.com
Effectiveness: Unlike more galoshy galoshes, there’s no gap up top to let rain fall straight into the foot area. Dry socks: 1; rain: 0.
Comfort: While perfectly snug at the toes and midcalf, somehow my heel was still swimming—but that meant they came off easy as pie.
Attractiveness: These suckers hit my calf right at the thickest (i.e., least sexy) point, but the goofy hot pink and hard-rawk-style decorations scream, “My mom didn’t buy me these boots!”—Allison Williams


Hunter Wellies, $115, at San Francisco Clothing Co
Effectiveness: I’m kind of a child and can’t resist jumping in every puddle that I see, yet somehow my feet stayed dry. Maybe it’s because these boots were designed with actual outdoorsmen in mind. It also helps that they’re taller than any pothole is deep.
Comfort: My falling arches finally felt like they were getting the support they need. And the heels didn’t pull my sock off with every step—or breath—I took.
Attractiveness: They’re pretty adorable. In fact, Saturday night I wore them to a party at the ultrahip Baraza and didn’t feel like a total fool.—LF