The best waterproof Nike shoes

by Solereview editors
Published: Last Updated on

The waterproof upper of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex.

This article has been updated with current models for October 2022. The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 Gore-Tex and Pegasus 38 Shield have been replaced with their current versions. The Nike Winflo 9 Shield is a new addition. The Nike React Miler 2 Shield has been removed.

Looking back at the last two decades, Nike has had a love-hate relationship with Gore-Tex.

Waterproof Nike footwear with a Gore-Tex membrane used to be a common sight during the mid to late 2000s. Nike ACG – short for ‘All Conditions Gear’ – used to be a technical product category with a broad assortment of outdoor footwear. Many of them had waterproof GTX uppers.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex.

Soon after, Gore-Tex footwear disappeared almost entirely, only to return recently on the Pegasus Trail. Sure, there have been stray sightings of Nike + GTX now and then. However, the availability was usually scarce and inconsistent across seasons.

The absence of Gore-Tex never seemed an issue for Nike apparel. Nike’s proprietary ‘Storm Fit’ tech offered dependable weatherproofing, and was used mostly on golf gear.

Instead of waterproof Gore-Tex footwear, Nike has sold its seasonal ‘Shield’ assortment every year. Having said that, Nike Shield shoes are water-repellent and not waterproof. Also, Nike Shield is specifically designed for cold weather with additional features like high-visibility trims and insulation.

The water resistant finish of the Nike Pegasus 38 Shield.

The Pegasus Shield has a water-repellent upper mesh, but is NOT waterproof.

Though we’ve featured the Nike Pegasus 39 Shield and Winflo 9 Shield on this guide, they are second to Gore-Tex footwear from a waterproofing perspective. Nike Shield shoes lack a waterproof membrane and rely on water-repellant finishes and fused overlays.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex submerged in water.

We all know of Nike’s most popular Gore-Tex shoe – the Pegasus Trail 4 GTX, a shoe that we recently reviewed. But besides the versatile Pegasus Trail, what else do we have?

Not a lot, we’re afraid. The Nike Air Force 1 Gore-Tex is available, and so are the combat-inspired SFB Boot and retro Gaiadome GTX boot.

Solereview recommends: The Nike Air Force 1 Gore-Tex

The Air Force 1 is Nike’s most popular sneaker that also happens to be comfortable and durable.

Many people wear the black or white variants of the AF1, so retro-fitting it with a waterproof membrane increases the shoe’s versatility. The mesh and leather upper work together with the Nike Air cupsole to deliver everyday comfort.

Nike’s non-running catalog has a couple of other GTX shoes. Those would be the ACG Gaiadome GTX and SFB Gen 2.8 Gore-Tex, a waterproof variant of the Free-inspired tactical boot.

2) Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex

Though this shoe is marketed as a trail shoe, it’s a road-trail crossover that also does well in urban conditions. The lack of gaiter attachment points, upper protection, and low ride stability limits its use to gentle slopes or flat trails. If you’re interested, our detailed review is here.

The soft React midsole is comfortable enough for everyday runs or casual wear, and the shallow lugs grip well on asphalt.

The water beading upper of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex.

The waterproof upper prevents the water from sticking.

The heel gaiter of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex.

The debris-blocking mock gaiter returns. This is not waterproof, so it will absorb moisture.

The outsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4.

As long as the trails are flat and non-technical, the shoe performs as advertised.

Even with the Gore-Tex membrane, the upper is surprisingly supple – therefore making it a comfortable shoe for most use cases. The heel has a soft gaiter extension to prevent the debris from getting inside.

The waterproofing is effective till the gusset attachment point, so this shoe keeps the feet dry on rainy days.

3) Nike SFB Gen 2.8 Gore-Tex boot

Like many other brands, Nike has a history of supplying law enforcement and the military with tactical footwear.

Within the general athletic footwear industry, the Nike SFB (Special Force Boot) and Oakley SI Assault boot are two of the most recognizable tactical boot silhouettes. They aren’t just for institutional orders, but also available to the general public.

Unlike traditional and heavy combat boots, tactical boots from Nike and Oakley use sportswear features to make them comfortable and lightweight.

In the SFB boot’s case, a modified version of the Nike Free outsole makes the midsole flexible without adding weight. An internal rock plate prevents injuries, and a 200-gram Thinsulate insulation keeps the feet dry during colder days.

The upper with the high 8” collar is sleeved with Gore-Tex to keep the water out.

Water repellent, but not waterproof Nike shoes

These two models are winterized versions of the standard Pegasus and Winflo. They do a decent job of keeping the water out, but the uppers are not waterproof – just water-resistant.

4) Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Shield

The Pegasus 39 Shield isn’t waterproof, but rather a winter-ready variant of the Pegasus. Except for the midsole, there aren’t many shared parts with the Pegasus 39.

For example, the wet-traction outsole (Storm-Tread) lugs on the Shield version aren’t a part of the standard road Pegasus. Nor is the insulated upper with the fused synthetic splash guards on its side. The closed mesh and insulated tongue keep the feet toasty during the colder winter months.

The water repelling mesh of the Nike Pegasus 38 Shield.

The surface finish of the Pegasus Shield’s mesh beads water.

Even though the knit mesh isn’t waterproof, it has decent water-beading properties due to the surface treatment. The synthetic mudguard on the sides is waterproof, so the Pegasus Shield has effective water-repelling properties. The reflectivity has vastly improved over the previous Pegasus 38 Shield.

5) Nike Winflo 9 Shield

Just like the Pegasus 39 Shield, the winterized Winflo 9 Shield exists alongside the regular – and less expensive – model by the same name.

The midsole with its full-length Air cushioning delivers the same smooth and cushioned ride from the non-Shield model. But that’s where the similarities end; additional features like the tacky outsole and water-repellent upper make it a better running shoe for the wetter and colder weather.

It’s important to emphasize that the Winflo 9 Shield is not waterproof. Nonetheless, the welded panels on the upper and water-repelling finish on the mesh give it a substantial wet -weather advantage over standard summer shoes.

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