How should ain boots fit

How Should Rain Boots Fit

When you’re wearing any type of rain boots, especially if you’ve never worn them before, it’s easy to ask yourself, how should rain boots fit? Should they fit like regular boots or shoes? Should they be tighter? Looser? Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine what the answer should be, but it’s good to figure it out because there’s nothing worse than poor fitting rain boots.

Rain Boots Can Be Difficult to Size Right

Rain boots have to fit properly in order to be comfortable. Unlike most footwear rain boots are not usually adjustable, they don’t have laces or buckles that can be used to tighten or loosen the fit. If your boots are either too loose or too tight, that can really affect the comfort level. If they’re too loose, your feet will be flopping around in the boots causing sores and blisters. If they are too tight, they are not only uncomfortable but also very likely to cause foot cramps.

The three main sections of rain boots to consider when sizing

1) The foot area – The main section that your foot resides
2) The ankle section – Located at the bottom of the shaft
3) The shaft – The length of boot going up the leg

Last update on 2024-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Correctly sizing the foot area of rain boots

You should buy rain boot that are the same as your normal shoe size. If you are a ‘half size’ then go for the next size up. Unfortunately, very few rain boot manufactures produce boots in ‘half sizes’

It is often said that you should go a size up when buying rain boots, this is generally not the case. Modern rain boots are designed to standard shoe sizes. However, sometimes cheaper rain boots do come up a little small or a little on the large size.
There are two main reasons that people are told to go up a size when buying rain boots:

1) That rubber shrinks in cold conditions. Whilst this is true, the actual amount the boots shrink is actually very small and usually not even noticeable.

2) People wear thick socks with rain boots to keep their feet warm. Correctly fitting rain boots will be able to comfortably accommodate thick socks. Going up a full shoe size just to ensure there’s enough space for thick socks is far to bigger increase in size.

For a correctly sized foot area, expect the rain boots to feel slightly loose. Your foot should not feel squashed against the sides. When walking in the boots your feet should not feel like they are moving around in the boots.
Correctly sizing the ankle section

It might not be obvious, but making sure that rain boots fit correctly around the ankle area is important. If the boots are too tight around the ankle they can restrict blood flow to feet, causing ‘pins and needles’. If the boots are too loose, they will rub as you walk, causing sores and blisters.

Other than discomfort, having rain boots tat are too tight around the ankle can make them difficult to put on and very difficult to take off. This is especially true if your feet have been sweating.
Much like the foot area of the boots you want them to be slightly loose around the ankle.

Correctly sizing the shaft of rain boots

This section is only relevant to rain boots that have a tall shaft, going up to just below knee height.
One problem that many people experience when wearing rain boots with a shaft that is too wide, is that it knocks against the shin as you walk. This is more of annoyance than a discomfort.

Having a shaft that is too narrow will make the rain boots difficult to put on and take off.

Some rain boots have an adjustable buckle or zip that allows the boots to be tighten or loosened as required. But, be aware many rain boots have what looks like an adjustable buckle, but it is actually just for cosmetic reasons and has no functional purpose.

The best way to get the correct shaft width is to measure around the widest part of you lower leg, which is normally your calf. Then check the rain boots measurements which are usually included in the product description. All the big brands have measurement charts on their website giving dimensions of their boots.

What to do if your rain boots are too loose

If your rubber boots are too loose, you have some options to make them a little tighter. These include:
• Wear thicker socks
• Insert you own insoles

Last update on 2024-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to do if your rain boots are too tight

• “Freeze” the shoe by placing a plastic bag of water inside of the shoe then freezing it, which will expand the shoe and make more room.
• Use a boot stretcher overnight or longer to loosen the boots up a bit.
• Expand the rubber by using a hair dryer over the rubber parts.

We have an article detailing various options for stretching rubber boots


Many people buy rain boots online, which it can make it difficult to get rain boots that fit correctly. If the website you’re buying the rain boots from has customer reviews, check them out. As they often have feedback about the boot sizing, which can help you determine if the boots are suitable.

Richard Cutts

Richard Cutts

I've been working with rubber boots (aka rain boots, wellies) in one way or another, since 2009. So, i've seen a lot of wellington boots in my time. I create most of the content for the website, which i hope you find useful.


Sign up to get the latest reviews, news, tips and where to get the best wellie deals!
You will only get emails from (no 3rd parties)
We generally send one email per month

Popular Buyer Guides