This spring has been especially rainy and had me rethinking a lot of my wardrobe in terms of how to best address the puddles and downpours we’ve had in the Land of Lincoln.
My winter solution for snow was to wear L.L.Bean boots to commute and change into a pair of dress shoes at work. For a spring/summer/fall solution to the rain, I decided to finally look into buying a pair of overshoes.
I ended up buying a pair of navy-colored SWIMS from Brooks Brothers during their Friends & Family sale. I’ve had the chance to wear them a couple of times and can say they’ve worked out just fine.
What sets SWIMS apart from other overshoes (aside from the cost)? The company likes to boast the velvet interior that “polishes your shoes” while you walk, but I’m just really partial to the fact they have colors available other than the standard black. I picked navy because it would fit in with my wardrobe and would look nice over either black or brown shoes.
They fit over my Allen Edmonds shoes quite nicely, however, don’t expect to use these to cover your suede bucks. If you have a really thick, chunky rubber sole on your shoes, these probably won’t fit (also, why are you wearing suede in the rain?), so be aware of that. But for any leather-soled shoe, these work just fine.
How well do they keep the water out? Pretty damned well, I’d say. I wore them in a downpour in downtown Chicago around Navy Pier and at the end of the night the leather was fairly dry — even the exposed part of the upper.
In terms of sizing, since I planned to wear them mostly over my Allen Edmonds shoes, I took their sizing recommendations (Medium: 8.5-9, Large: 9.5-10, X-Large: 10.5-11, XX-Large: 11.5-12). Brooks Brothers gives another sizing guideline, but I chose to ignore it. If you find yourself on the lower end of that measurement — like me, I’m a 10.5 — you could consider sizing down. Mine’s a slight bit loose while walking, but not terribly so. I considered swapping it for a size smaller, however, I was slightly worried that a smaller overshoe that would be stretched more might prematurely tear from the stress over time. So, it’s your call on that.
As far as pricing goes, they’re definitely one of the more expensive overshoes on the market, retailing around $100. Brooks Brothers sells them for $98 (black, blue and orange). Allen Edmonds sells them for $95 (black, brown and blue). But the best deal right now on SWIMS comes from Orvis, which has them on sale for $74 (black, brown, orange).
The one minor gripe I have is their excessive branding. It’s all over the sole, on the heel and most discretely on the upper (pictured above). It’s not terrible by any imagination, but I just don’t feel that the branding adds anything.
Regardless, if you’re in an area that rains frequently and you wear dress shoes often enough that you want to protect them on the commute in a mildly stylish way, SWIMS might be for you. Whether or not you think they’re worth $50-80 more than a pair of Tingley’s overshoes is a call you’ll have to make.