When you take rain boots – or wellingtons, depending on where in the world you reside – with you, it has to be a very deliberate choice. They are big, bulky, and difficult to pack, so if you’re packing them to take on a trip, you’d better be absolutely sure it’s worth the trouble.

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Barcelona-based designer Estel Alcaraz thought of a better way to handle waterproof footwear one day when she arrived home soaked to the bone by a rainstorm. She spied a plastic water bottle that had been smashed and was intrigued by the way it took up about one-fifth of its original size once it was no longer being used.


Alcaraz figured that the same principle could be applied to her wellies. Also made of plastic, they should be able to smush down into a far more compact size. She designed Sardines, the packable rain boots that can be rolled up and stuffed into a small bag.

Sardines look and perform like traditional wellies, but are far more flexible. When they are being worn, a band bearing the product name wraps around the user’s calf. When rolled up, this band becomes the closure that holds each boot in the rolled-up position.

Alcaraz Sardines folding

Each pair of Sardines comes in a small, three-sided wrapper that is even smaller than a standard shoe box. The boots are made from only one material: thermoplastic polyurethane, which is recyclable. It was important to the designer that the product be environmentally friendly as well as simple to transport.

“One evening in February 2012, I got caught in the rain. By the time I got home, my clothes were soaking wet, even my socks. Just arrived at home I saw a squashed water bottle. It was interesting to see how its volume is being reduced one-fifth when bottles are useless. In that moment, I wondered why my rain boots couldn’t reduce in size just like the water bottle.”


“Sardines were designed with simplicity in mind. Other important aspects considered were the environmental effects of producing Sardines. They are made with recyclable mono-material: TPV, thermoplastic polyurethane. This material allows Sardines to be one of the most efficient types of rain boots for transportation, also helping to reduce the impact on the environment.”

“A flexible strap with the product’s name runs along the shaft of the boot while it is worn. In order to be transported or stowed away, the Sardines are rolled up. The flexible strap now serves to hold them together. A simple product wrapper that is open on three sides explains the background and shows the colours in which they are available. “