Waterproofing boots can be essential for the longevity and shine of your work boots. But how do you waterproof your work boots?
This article explores the different options and details the process. If you're at a loss, there are also recommendations for products.
Why You Need To Waterproof Your Work Boots
Wet boots can be a big problem. Not only do your boots get soggy or muddy, but also your feet get damp and dirty. Wet boots could get moldy, which will cause your work boots to deteriorate faster. Damaged work boots can be annoying, but they could be even worse for your foot.
Work boots are great footwear for protecting your feet, but non-waterproofed ones are bad at preventing potential risks in working environments. In some cases, wet feet can cause fungal infections, blisters, and damage to your foot skin, especially in the winter.
The Different Types of Waterproofing Sealants For Work Boots
Waterproofing products are abundant and help maintain your boots' protective ability. You can review the different options listed below and decide which you prefer! You can easily find any of the products below on amazon or in a boot shop.
Using waxes for waterproofing work boots is one of the most common sealants, especially beeswax. Wax can be used on leather and suede boots and give your shoes that high gloss shine. Although waxes can provide better waterproof protection, they can build up over time and dry out.
Oils can be a great solution for waterproofing yours. Additionally, they also condition the leather and expand the lifespan of your shoes. There's an abundance of oils to choose from, such as mink, lanolin, cod, etc.
Mink oil is recommended for work boots because it better protects them in harsher conditions or activities. Some leather boots might experience color loss or fiber damage if you slather them with too much oil. Additionally, this type of lubricant is considered ill-suited for suede or fabric uppers that might soak up the oil too readily.
Greases are usually wax and oil blends. The oils condition your boots while the waxes waterproof your shoes, offering the best of both worlds. There are different mixes for different finishes and usages. Moreover, they are suitable for leather and suede boots.
Creams are a good option because they can penetrate the hard-to-get-to parts and the tiniest holes. They also create a waterproof surface for your work boots, all while nourishing and conditioning them. Like oils, they are inadequate for suede or fabric uppers because of the amount the materials can soak up.
Waterproofing sprays are the easiest and quickest method to waterproof your work boots. You can find them in the form of oil or silicone. Depending on the material of your work boots, there's a variety of different sprays.
Before You Start
Because each type of material needs a different product for waterproofing, it's important to know the material your boots are made of before treating them. Full-grain leathers need a specific treatment compared to suede, nubuck leather, fabric, or synthetic.
Suppose you've decided to go with a particular type but are unsure of the brand. You can test different waterproofing brands on a small area of your work boots. Bear in mind that using the wrong type of product could damage your shoes.
Clean Your Boots
Before starting the waterproofing process, make sure your boots are thoroughly clean. Any dirt or dust on your boots will block the products from being applied, causing patches or partially treated boots. It is always a good idea to give your shoes a good clean after a long day to extend their longevity and durability.
First, remove the laces before using a shoe brush to remove any muck. If the soles have mud on them, soak them in water- NOT the entire boot, just the sole- for a few hours to soften the grime and then scrub it off with a shoe brush.
Let your boots dry naturally (i.e., air dry). Never use direct heat or a dryer machine because they will crack and damage your work boots!
If you're in a rush, you can use a fan to make the drying process faster or place some newspaper into the boots to help absorb moisture and dry the insole.
How To Waterproof Work Boots
Before applying wax, consider using a polish. The polish will condition your boots before you apply the wax, which might dry out your boots.
Heat the wax slightly with a hairdryer before using a clean cloth to apply it. Remove any extra product, then buff it to shine. After the application, leave the wax-treated boots to air dry for about a day.
- Heavy-Duty Leather Protectant : Beeswax & Lanolin Waterproofer
- 100% Natural, Environmentally Friendly & Safe Ingredients
- Non-Toxic, No Silicone, No Petroleum, No Dyes, No Chemicals
- Enhanced Protector
- Strong Waterproofing
- 100% Pure and Natural
Use a lint-free cloth like microfiber or cotton to apply the oil. Add a bit of oil to the cloth and rub gently over your work boots. Apply oils in thin light layers. Let the boots dry entirely before applying more layers.
For oils, you can use Saphir Oil or Red Wing Oil.
- High Quality
- All Natural
Red Wing Oil
- Made in USA
- Protect and lengthen the life of your boots
- Specifically designed to help maintain the unique qualities of Red Wing leather
You can apply boot grease with a cloth or with just your fingers. Just rub the shoe grease over the shoe in thin layers. As you rub your finger over the shoe grease, it will become liquid-like. All you need is two light coats!
For grease, you can buy Huberd’s Shoe Grease or Obenauf’s LP.
Huberd’s Shoe Grease
- Protects your leather from water damage and keeps your feet dry
- Restores old leather to a soft, supple condition and keeps it pliable
- Revitalizes and replenishes essential oils to help prevent drying
- Leather conditioner cream with real beeswax and plant oils
- Condition, restore dried and sun faded leather saddle bags, chaps, and holsters
- Heavy Duty Leather Preservative is Made in the USA
With creams, apply it with the applicator included or a clean lint-free cloth. Cover the entire boot with the cream. For difficult-to-reach areas, use a clean cloth to get into the cracks. Some creams might change the color of your footwear to a slightly darker tone, so make sure to read the product's label and patch test it before proceeding.
- Saphir Creme Surfine is designed to polish and restore your leather boots and shoes
- This product also provides polishing, nourishing, and recoloring
- The best way to use this cream is to apply it with a polish applicator brush
- Boa closure
- Leather sole
- Made with a proprietary dye-based formula that ensures consistency and superior staining
There are sprays made for specific materials. Check the label to ascertain that it's suitable for your work boots. Each spray's application is different, so read the directions before proceeding.
Generally, you hold the spray can upright and spray the entire surface of boots thinly and evenly from 7-10 inches away. Most sprays called for a second coat after a few hours.
KIWI Waterproofing Sprays
- KIWI Boot Waterproofer provides tough silicone protection for work and outdoor boots
- Waterproof spray for boots
- Spray has unique formula that bonds to leather and fabrics
Nikwax Waterproofing Sprays
- Adds water Repellency to synthetic or leather footwear while preserving texture
- Clean first with Nikwax footwear cleaning gel for best results
- Spray-on application
Drying Your Treated Boots
After putting on the sealant, leave your boots to dry completely. Please place them in a shaded area. Make sure that there's good ventilation and little humidity.
Like with the cleaning process, never place direct heat on your boots! Moreover, avoid drying your boots in direct sunlight because the sunlight will also cause leather material to crack. However, it is acceptable to use a fan of newspapers to help with the drying process, as mentioned previously.
After about 24-48 hours, your work boots will be ready for you to wear and use in any environment!
No matter the type of product you choose, waterproofing your work boots is critical for your boots' durability. When applying any sealant, cover the entire boot and pay careful attention to seams and creases. These areas are often overlooked and can be prone to leaking.
Depending on how often you wear your work boots, you'll need to waterproof them more often. A good indicator of when to waterproof your boots is whenever water stops beading on their surface.
Some well-known brands like Saphir, Kiwi, and Red Wing offer a wide range of products. Check online reviews and test a few to see which ones are best for your boots!