Are Waterproof Boots Really Waterproof? Will It Keep Your Feet Dry (Answered)

Are Waterproof Boots Really Waterproof

Did u know that water-resistant boots are not necessarily waterproof? Confused? Have you ever come across a pair of water-resistant boots and think that it is waterproof? Well, you are under a big illusion of thinking that waterproof and water-resistant mean the same because they are clearly NOT THE SAME.

A lot of us, in the search of getting the perfect waterproof boots, end up buying shoes that are water-resistant. The fact is that water-resistant boots only provide temporary protection against water, unlike waterproof boots that provide permanent protection against wet surfaces.

But how do you choose and differentiate between waterproof and water-resistant boots? And, is there any way to make your favourite pair of shoes waterproof or water-resistant? If these questions strike your brains, then you have landed at the right spot.

We help you with the A-Z’s of waterproof and water-resistant boots while explaining the difference between the two.


Are Waterproof Boots Really Waterproof? Waterproof Vs. Water-resistant

What Does The IP Test Say About Waterproof Boots?

IP test or Ingress Protection test, also known as IP rating is ideally used to determine the different levels of protection that are provided by an enclosed surface against objects like dust, water, dirt, etc. IP ratings and IP test was developed by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and are a group of tests that are widely followed in Europe and Asia.

The tests carried out for proving that the object falls under an IP rating are very stringent and carry different values for different levels of protection. For example, IP65- wherein the number 6 stands for the size of the object and the number 5 stands for the level of water protection that it provides.

Ideally, there are various levels of waterproofing in any object based on the level of water the objects are exposed to. Commonly known for shoes are IP65, IP66, and IP67. We have provided a table below to help you understand better and check the IP ratings for your shoes accordingly:

IP ratingProtectionWaterproof/water resistantTest MethodTest Description
IP65Can protect against water jetsWater-ResistantTest duration: 15 mins   Water Volume: 12.5 Litres per minuteWater projection from any direction should not harm or spoil the shoes.
IP66Can protect against powerful water jetsWater-ResistantTest Duration: Minimum 3 minutes   Water Volume: 100 litres per minuteWater projected from powerful devices should not harm or spoil the shoes.
IP67Can protect against water immersionsWaterproofTest duration: 30 minutes   Water Depth: 1m from the bottom of the shoe and 15 cm from the top of the shoeShoes immersed in water for the specified depth for 30 minutes and should cause no harm to shoes.

You can also use the above tests to check whether your shoes are waterproof or water-resistant before you buy one. However, getting shoes that are officially rated from a certified testing company makes sure that the shoes have passed particular quality checks and are true to the rating provided.

Comparison: Waterproof v.s Water-resistant 

Waterproof and Water-resistant shoes are very different in terms of their features apart from just the term. Not much research is done on the major difference between the two when it comes to purchasing. However, it all depends upon the type of use you intend to make with the shoes.

Here is a basic set of features that you would want to know before determining whether your shoes are waterproof or water-resistant.

Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof Shoes
  • Material: Waterproof shoes are generally made of rubber or Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Rubber is known to be naturally waterproof while PVC is a blend material that does not allow water to penetrate within the shoes. The material is usually non-porous and stiff.
  • Comfort: These shoes are comfortable but not for a very long time. The material is stiff and non-porous as it does not allow water to penetrate within the shoes at all. It might make your feet feel cramped up and sweaty after prolonged hours of use.

However, if you get the right size and the boots have the right features like arch support and added cushioning, then such shoes make a classic exception and are beyond comfortable. Additionally, to avoid sweat, you can wear a pair of socks to soak it all up.

  • Softness & Flexibility: Waterproof shoes are made of stiff rubber or leather which is bendable but not as soft. This depends upon the thickness of the material being used. Generally, rubber as a material is very stretchable and flexible, but if there is stiff leather involved, too much stretching and spreading may cause the outer material to get spoilt. Therefore, apart from the excellent waterproof protection that it offers, you can expect much in lines of flexibility and stretch.
  • Breathability: This can also depend upon the material. Mesh and Canvas fabric can be breathable but stiff leather is not as breathable and quite non-porous. Therefore, these shoes are not very ventilated and hence lack in terms of providing room for movement as well as breathability.
  • Daily Wear: These are recommended for daily wear as long as you can spend long hours in these shoes. These are best for extremely watery terrains, riverbanks, trekking where there are chances of the shoes being submerged in water.

Even if you are working in a site that involves constant use of water, if you are treading out in heavy rains or snow, then it’s appropriate for use. Else, it is best used occasionally if you are looking for daily comfort.

Water-Resistant Shoes

Water-Resistant Shoes
  • Material: Water-resistant boots are made of various materials and fabrics like mesh, woven cloth or net, leather, rubber, etc. These are not necessarily waterproof as they are quite porous which allows the influx of water after certain hours of exposure to water.

The material is quite liked by many and is available in a varied range of lightweight fabrics. However, they are water-resistant for a limited period or come with a coating that wears off gradually.

  • Comfort: Being made of a varied range of materials and not necessarily being waterproof, these shoes are often very comfortable as they are lightweight, easy to walk with, and come with an immense range of designs and support levels to help people with feet deformities.

Their versatile design makes them comfortable. Since they are porous, they are also sweatproof and do not pressurize the feet from any angle due to the fabric.

  • Softness & Flexibility: Being made of not so stiff and lightweight thin layered material, these shoes are bendable, flexible, and easy to move with. It allows the great scope of movement and certain fabrics are also known to be very soft. However, the thinner and flexible the fabric, the less waterproof or water-resistant it may be.
  • Breathability: These shoes are very breathable and provide good ventilation. Unlike stiff waterproof boots, the material is not very stiff, quite porous, and therefore is known to be breathable providing enough room for movement.

Therefore, they are also sweatproof and do not cause odor and growth of odor-causing bacteria.

  • Daily Wear: If you are moving out in dry areas, slightly moist, or lightly snowy areas, then these shoes are recommended for daily wear. It all depends upon the surroundings and the kind of use you would put the shoes in. These are great for exercise, walking, for work, as long as your shoes are not submerged in water for too long.

Tips for Homemade Waterproofing

Tips for Homemade Waterproofing

If you do not have a pair of waterproof boots handy and are treading to a wet terrain, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a pair of waterproof boots. We suggest a very cool and cost-effective trick that can help you make your shoes waterproof easily. Read on to know:

Things you will need:

  • Beeswax (available at any retail store for cheap)
  • White petroleum jelly
  • Essential oils (citrus or sandalwood preferable)

How to waterproof your boots (step by step guide):

  • First, take around 8 oz. of petroleum jelly and place it in a metal can.
  • Submerge the can in a vessel containing water and allow the vessel to heat. This helps the petroleum jelly to liquefy.
  • Once it starts melting, add around 2 oz of beeswax into it and stir it. You will see the petroleum jelly as well as the beeswax melting.
  • After both have melted, add 1tbsp of essential oil to the mixture. This gives a pleasant fragrance after combining with the beeswax.
  • Allow the mixture to cool. While it is still slightly warm, use it to apply over the surface of the shoes for the mixture to get absorbed properly.
  • Use an applicator brush to apply the coating over the shoe. Pay special attention to the seams and shoelaces as well as the forefront section around the toes.
  • Allow the coating to dry for 24 hours and the layer to get completely absorbed within the boots. Wipe the excess layer off with a cloth.
  • You can apply multiple coats after the initial coatings have dried up for enhanced results.
  • Test the shoes by pouring some water over the surface. The water trickles over the surface instead of getting absorbed by the shoes. Voila, your shoes are waterproof and ready.

Do you Know How to make Leather Boot Water Proof?

The bottom line

Most of us often make the mistake of getting water-resistant shoes instead of waterproof shoes. While there is a vast difference between the two, not many know of the fact that water-resistant shoes are not necessarily waterproof.

Our article above enlightens you with the major differences between waterproof and water-resistant shoes while also suggesting some features that allow you to differentiate between the two.

Additionally, if you want to make your shoes temporarily waterproof, we have suggested a very handy step by step technique that is a must-read and a quick hack. In the end, it all depends upon your use and the surrounding environment.

Overall, water-resistant shoes are always preferred in terms of comfort, breathability, and consumer likeability. However, they don’t prove to be waterproof completely and hence are not an ideal choice for someone who is specifically looking for waterproof shoes.

Read our views above and tell us if you prefer waterproof over water-resistant or vice versa through the comments section below.

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