From spring showers to summer storms to foggy fall evenings and snowy winter days, every season brings some level of moisture with it. Waterproof footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable no matter the month is a wise investment that’ll pay off all year round.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to waterproof boots, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll go over foolproof waterproofing methods that will help you keep your feet warm, cozy, and dry no matter what the weather forecast has in store.
Are you ready to step in style in every season?
Understanding the Importance of Waterproofing
Whether you’re adventuring out in nature, exploring with friends, or simply going about your daily commute, waterproof shoes are a must if you plan on walking comfortably in any moist environment.
Even if you live in an area that only experiences the occasional light rainfall, having at least one dedicated pair of waterproof shoes can be a lifesaver.
We’ve all been there. A storm strikes just before you have to head out and you’re forced to make a mad dash for your car. And despite your best efforts, the puddles and ongoing downpour ends up soaking through the soft fabric of the boots you thought would suffice.
The truth is, wet boots aren’t just unpleasant. They can also lead to negative health outcomes.
Damp or wet shoes, socks, and feet can lead to:
- A much less pleasant walking experience
- Softened foot skin that blisters more easily
- Footwear that deteriorates fast when exposed to the elements
- Fungal infections that thrive in moist environments
- Worsened health due to lowered body heat after feet are exposed to prolonged cold
Who wants to go through all that? Certainly not us—and you don’t deserve to, either. Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to waterproof leather boots, or if another material better suits your fancy, how to waterproof suede boots.
Step-by-Step Guide: Waterproofing Your Boots
Before you sit down and get ready to put a little bit of elbow grease in, make sure to gather all the materials needed to complete this job.
For the process of waterproofing boots, you’ll need:
- A cleaning brush
- Access to water
- Waterproofing treatment (made for your specific shoe material)
- A fresh cloth (if using wax or cream treatment)
We can’t emphasize this enough: be sure to purchase the right treatment for the material of your boots. Some products are made for leather application, others are for suede, and so on. The last thing we’d want is for your waterproofing efforts to wreck a beloved pair of boots.
With that out of the way, you’re ready to waterproof away. Follow these steps for best results:
- Clean your boots – Make sure your canvas is clear of dirt and grime before you apply any coating. Start by removing laces if your boots have them. Then, use a brush to rid the body of your boots of debris. For the soles, you can utilize water to achieve a deeper, more intense clean.
- Apply your waterproofing treatment – Sprays are a common mode of application, but waterproofing treatments can also come in other forms, such as waxes, oils, and creams. Before you go too wild with your waterproofing product of choice, apply it to a small area to make sure it blends well with your boot. Then, in a well-ventilated space, go ahead and cover your entire boot with the treatment.
- Follow the product instructions – Different waterproofing products call for different application methods. With waterproofing spray, you’ll typically want to hold the bottle about 6 to 12 inches from your boot as you apply a thin layer (or two, if the product recommends it). If you’re using a wax or cream treatment, use a clean cloth to work the product into the creases and seams of your shoes. Take care not to over-coat your shoes (they should have a thin, even layer of the coating without dripping).
- Let your boots dry – Although you might be excited to go out and test out your freshly waterproofed boots ASAP, it’s important to let them dry completely before you put them on. And as tempting as it might be to break out that hair dryer, resist the temptation, as it can dry out or deteriorate some water-resistant shoes. Instead, let your shoes dry naturally outside or in an open space for at least 24 hours.
Here’s an extra quick tip for all the leather lovers out there. If you’re waterproofing leather material, soak your boots with water before applying your treatment. This will allow the product to permeate deep into the shoes, leading to a more effective end result.
Maintenance: Keeping Your Waterproofing Intact
As much as we wish waterproofing was a “set it and forget it” process, it’s not. A quality waterproofing job can last you a good while, but at some point, it will need to be refreshed.
To test when your boots are due for another layer of coating, try this test:
Sprinkle some water on the shoes. If the water soaks into the fabric or leaves behind a dark trail, it’s time to break out the waterproofing equipment again, scroll back up to the instructions at the top of this article, and repeat the process.
However, if the water simply turns into droplets that run off instead of absorbing into your boot, you can be confident that your waterproofing work is still holding up well.
Investing in Boots with Built-In Water Protection
Did you skip past the previous section because completing a DIY project just isn’t your style? Would you rather enjoy the benefits of anti-water footwear without having to invest your time, money, and effort into prepping a pair from scratch?
You’re in luck. Here at Vionic, we’ve designed a diverse collection of weather-resistant shoes for women. Our top priority with these boots? Striking the optimal balance between fashion and function.
Try these on for size:
- Hazal Ankle Boot – Looking for a shoe that will keep you looking chic and stylish for a day or night on the town while keeping your feet sheltered from cold or wet weather? This easygoing lug sole wedge boot is sure to be your new BFF. Who said you can’t rock a playful heel just because it’s a little dreary outside? These lightweight shoes are crafted with water-repellent uppers, which are treated with a special protective coating to drive moisture away.
- Rhiannon Ankle Boot – Perfect for braving a drizzly day, this sophisticated equestrian-inspired short boot is made from water-repellent materials that are both soft and durable. With distinctive detailing such as a stylish side zipper and a rustic metal buckle, this shoe is the ideal finishing touch for any classic ensemble. Available in black leather, chocolate nubuck, or cognac nubuck, dress this versatile style up or down to your liking.
- Nella Ankle Boot – Flirty yet functional, this elevated day-to-night shoe can easily take any outfit up a notch. Of course, these comfortable boots are women crafted with luxe water-repellent materials that serve as a powerful line of defense against inclement weather. With a durable rubber outsole, a feminine rounded toe, and a stylish double buckle, take your height and your look to the next level with these classic statement boots.
- Sibley Ankle Boot – Looking for a smooth, straightforward style that will lengthen the line of your leg and give you a couple of extra inches? Look no further. This must-have water-repellent boot comes equipped with a protective coating that will keep moisture from absorbing into its fabric, helping to keep your feet comfortable and dry as you go about your day. Designed with a touch of trendy Western style and finished off with an easy size-zip entry, you can’t ask for a shoe that better blends fashion and function.
- Regan Ankle Bootie – With a chunky heel, a classic silhouette, and a hint of Western character, this water-resistant shoe is all you need to hit the streets in style on an overcast afternoon. Available in three lustrous vintage leather colors, these booties are accented with suede inset seams and convenient pull tabs. Slip these shoes on during light or moderate rain and cast away your weather worries.
Understanding Different Levels of Water Protection
If you’re on the hunt for shoes that offer robust water protection, there’s a good chance you keep seeing similar terms like, “water-resistant” and “water-repellent.” If so, you’ve probably wondered if water-repellent vs water-resistant mean the same thing as “waterproof.”
Although many people use these terms interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing.
- Waterproof – Waterproof products offer the strongest moisture protection level, as they are designed to completely prevent any water from permeating the shoe. These are your classic rain boots, usually made entirely of rubber and designed more for function and less for fashion.
- Water-repellent – The next most fortified level of protection is water-repellent shoes: gear that harnesses the type of technology we use here at Vionic. This type of footwear is often coated with a special hydrophobic outer layer that doesn’t mix with water, wicking away droplets of rain, snow, and moisture instead of absorbing it.
- Water-resistant – Finally, water-resistant material is designed to offer extra resistance against moisture, but if the rainfall grows too heavy or you decide to jump into a puddle, water-resistant footwear might only partially protect your feet.
At Vionic, we specialize in weatherproof and water-repellent shoes, because we believe that these technologies offer the highest standard of comfort, quality, and moisture defense.
Discover Fashionable, Functional Water-Repellent Boots from Vionic
Now that you know how to waterproof your boots with ease and efficiency, you can transform some of your favorite shoes into footwear that’s more than capable of taking on a rainy day or two.
But if you prefer to skip the DIY project and extra equipment, shop water-repellent boots from Vionic.
Our expert team at Vionic has engineered a line of weather-ready, water-repellent boots that come equipped with built-in moisture protection. Browse our collection to enjoy the benefits of water-repellent boots without needing to treat a pair manually. Or, treat a pair you love with our Rain & Stain waterproofing spray and use the tips in this article to refresh its waterproof properties.
Caruso Foot and Ankle. Why Proper Winter Footwear Is Important. https://carusofootandankle.com/why-proper-winter-footwear-is-important/
Reviewed USA Today. HOW TO WASH AND MAINTAIN WATERPROOF SHOES AND CLOTHING. https://reviewed.usatoday.com/laundry/features/how-to-wash-and-maintain-waterproof-clothing