Why it is Crucial to Continuously Waterproof Your Boots-Appalachian Outfitters

Why it is Crucial to Continuously Waterproof Your Boots

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Did you know that there are actually 2 different parts of a waterproof shoe that work together to keep you dry?

1. Durable Water Repellency (DWR), which is a treatment to the outer materials that causes water to bead up and runoff.

2. The waterproof breathable membrane, usually made of Gore-Tex or a similar material. This is normally the innermost layer of your shoes, right next to your foot.

While your waterproof, breathable inner layer is designed to last the life of the shoe, the outer DWR is a temporary finish that needs to be reapplied to allow the inner layer to keep breathing and keep your feet dry.

The more miles you put in, the faster this will happen. Therefore, regular waterproofing is as crucial as cleaning.

Water pouring onto a pair of boots

Always be sure to use a product designed to work with Gore-Tex or other waterproof membranes. Using non-compatible products can clog the pores and destroy your boots breathability.

If you want your boots to last as long as possible, you should be applying a boot waterproofing treatment at least a couple of times in a hiking season.

What if you don't have a waterproof boot? No worries, reapplying a DWR can still help shed excess water.

How to choose the correct product

There are a ton of different products for waterproofing hiking boots, each of which is specially designed with a particular boot material in mind. Therefore, make sure you know which type of shoes you possess.

Up close photo of person running through river


This type of boot is made from animal hide and appears smooth and shiny when new.

Interestingly, leather has natural waterproofing capabilities, and many leather boots also possess a breathable waterproof membrane. If you have this type of boot, check out some of the products below.

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather

Nubuck & Suede

Shoes made of this material do not have a shiny look to them and are not smooth compared to full-grain leather.

However, it has a brushed effect from being buffered down. If you have shoes made from nubuck leather, check out some of our products below.

Gear Aid Revivex Suede and Fabric Boot Care Kit

Gear Aid Revivex Suede and Fabric Boot Care Kit

Synthetics and Mixed Materials

Some boots have a mix of materials, which means you need a product designed to work with all of them. These products for mixed materials also excel at treating full synthetic footwear.

Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof

Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof

When you have the waterproofing agent ready and want to waterproof your shoes, make sure they are clean, and laces are taken out. There shouldn't be any stains, dirt, or mud. We hope this guide helped you out, and your boots will last for years to come!


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