Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome to the #Hellastorm, San Francisco's answer to the East Coast's polar vortex. In case you haven't noticed, it's raining (a lot) and the city just can't right now. The streets are flooding, the power is out, and Twitter is full of updates from businesses that are closed due to the showers. Should you decide to brave the streets today (or tomorrow), you're going to need rain gear, but good luck shopping anywhere that's not your closet right now. Even though the calendar suggests that we're in the middle of SF's traditional "rainy season," there are few spots in SF that are stocking boots and umbrellas.
The problem for San Francisco retailers is the multi-year draught. It may not look like it now, but the last two rainy seasons were practically non-existent. That not only affects the agriculture and ski industries, it impacts retailers' inventory decisions. After two years of slashing prices on loads of rain gear at the end of the season, stores drastically reduced (or altogether eliminated) the amount of rain gear that they ordered.
If you're sitting at home, shopping online, the shortage may not be readily apparent. Ted Baker, for example, has two styles of rain boots available online, but you won't find rain boots in the newly-renovated Grant Avenue store. When we inquired about rain gear at the store on Tuesday, staffers told us they stopped carrying rain boots in the SF store after two years of dry winters. (They did, however, offer a cute umbrella/bag combo.)
We had better luck at Burberry, where employees assured us that they would always be ready for a rainy day thanks to the brand's British heritage. If you want to spend $425 on rain boots, these belted, studded numbers are killer, and in stock at the Post Street flagship. Across the street, Ferragamo has plenty of pairs of this bow-bedecked style, which just went on sale. (Original price, $395, now $277.)
According to CBS, "neither of the two San Francisco Targets or Payless Shoes sell rain boots. REI, DSW Shoe Warehouse and Sports Basement all reported having a variety of rain boot styles still in stock." Your best bet for cheaper options? Call a store —or text via Path— before you trek over to confirm that boots in your size are available. Or use this rainy day to order online.