How to make boots waterproof



Many boots are designed to be waterproof, and many are not. Some occupy a mid-point, too –  they will be fine in a shower but you would get wet feet if you trudged through mud and puddles in them. Whenever you buy a new pair of boots, check the label and any other information to make sure they are waterproof if you need them to be.

Here are some FAQs about waterproof boots, including how to make sure yours won’t let in the wet.


How do you waterproof leather boots?

Leather has natural waterproofing qualities and should repel water. However, you can enhance the waterproofing of leather and the joints with dubbin, a waxy gel-like substance. You can also buy spray-on waterproofing products for a quicker job.

Always make sure the boots are clean and dry before you apply any waterproofing treatment. If you apply it to damp boots, it might not adhere properly, and could even trap moisture inside the fabric. It’s OK to gently dry the boots with a hairdryer –  the warmth can soften the leather and make it more absorbent. At Timberland we stock a range of shoe care products.


What can I use to waterproof my boots?

The age-old solution for waterproofing boots is a tin of dubbin, which is a wax-based substance that comes in tins. After the wax has soaked in, it’s a good idea to then apply a layer of leather conditioner, as this stops the leather from drying out and cracking.

You can waterproof more or less any leather in this way. If you’re hitting the wilderness and you’re not sure if your boots are waterproof, it’s a good stopgap. It isn’t, however, advisable to use waterproofing substances on smart or formal shoes, or suede shoes as it will adversely affect the appearance of the leather.  



Are snow boots waterproof?

Since snow is frozen water, all snow boots should be waterproof as well as snow-proof. Don’t forget that snow melts as soon as it warms up, so it’s vital that the boots don’t let the water through. Snow boots are also high-sided, which helps keep water out. 

When you’re buying new snow boots, always make sure they are waterproof. When you are up in the mountains, the last thing you want is wet feet – it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous in sub-zero conditions.


Are men’s Timberland boots waterproof?

Timberland makes boots that are waterproof, showerproof and non-waterproof – it depends on the function of the boot. If you’re looking at a specific pair and you need them to be waterproof, ask in the shop, read the label or check the specifications online.

To see if a specific pair is waterproof, check the “Features” section online. For example, our Premium 6 Inch Boot is waterproof, but the Bradstreet Leather Chukka is not. 


Are winter boots waterproof?

A good pair of winter boots should protect against the rain, snow and cold, so should indeed be fully waterproof. The best winter boots are coated with a breathable layer to keep your feet dry from the outside but also let your sweat escape.

Many Timberland boots are fully waterproof and are winter-ready thanks to their PrimaLoft® ECO insulation.  Check out our Premium 6 Inch Heritage boots. They should keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable whatever the winter weather throws at you.  



Is Chukka waterproof?

The Chukka boot is a style, not a material. There will be some that are waterproof and some that are designed solely for fashion purposes. This second group may well let water in, especially in severe rain or snow.

At Timberland, we produce Chukka boots that fall into both fashion and outdoor wear categories. If you want a pair of waterproof Chukka boots, our Tuckerman Chukka boots will do the job perfectly.

Are hiking boots waterproof?

Hiking takes you through all manner of ground conditions, from dry stone to mud and maybe even fording streams. A good pair of hiking boots should, therefore, be waterproof but always check the label before you buy as some hiking boots are not waterproof, especially those designs made for summer walking.

Timberland makes many pairs of waterproof hiking boots. The Chocorua Trail boots are manufactured using a Gore-Tex® membrane, which keeps the water out but allows your feet to breathe by expelling sweat.  We also use our own brand of waterproof membrane and insulation.  The Richmond Ridge boot is just one of our designs which incorporates both our own TimberDry and PrimaLoft technologies.


Are suede boots waterproof?

Suede is not known for its waterproof qualities. It’s made from a lower layer of leather that does not have a smooth skin.  It is the smoothness of regular leather that makes it a naturally waterproof material and receptive to waterproofing treatments without ruining the finish.

Suede can be treated to make it a little more water-repellant, but if you get suede boots very wet and muddy, you’ll probably never be able to return them to their box-fresh state again.  Nubuck is a good mid-way point between suede and leather. Similar in appearance to suede it is more hardwearing, more resistant to water and easier to clean. At Timberland you’ll find products in both suede and nubuck.


Are Gore-Tex shoes waterproof?

Made by W. L. Gore and Associates,  Gore-Tex® has been the gold standard for waterproof products for many years.  This breathable, weatherproof material has a membrane layer containing millions of microscopic holes that allow water vapour through but not liquid water. In this way, sweat can escape but the shoe is wonderfully waterproof.

If a product says it has a Gore-Tex® layer, then it will be waterproof.  Nowadays, there are many similar products available - our own brand of the waterproof membrane is called TimberDry) - but Gore-Tex® remains one of the best known weatherproofing technologies having been a leader in the market and trusted by hikers around the world for several decades.  Find a range of premium Gore-Tex and TimberDry footwear on the Timberland website.

Along with making waterproofing your boots, there's an abundance of other hacks you can try when it comes to clothes. We chatted to Jemma Finch about conscious consumerism, teaching you should think before you buy. 

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