How to Waterproof Hiking Boots? 3 Simple and Easy Steps

Understanding the proper methods for waterproofing hiking boots will increase their longevity and maintain your feet comfortable and dry. Both of which are essential during cold hiking. 

There’s no escaping that if you devote any significant amount of time outside as a hiker. You need to know about how to waterproof hiking boots. However, you’re destined to get soaked at some moment, and your boots are where it happens.

Rainfall, ice, storm, and other weather all rise in the cold season. You might find yourself walking through knee-deep ice after a period of prolonged precipitation. Despite this, you’ve noticed that your favorite hiking boots regularly sink beneath the snow as you walk. 

It might not be a problem if you’re using impermeable hiking boots, but if you’re not, your toes are in for a cold and drizzly day.

Why Waterproof Hiking Boots?

The lifespan of your boots can be significantly increased with just a few moments of maintenance at the conclusion of a trek. Specks of dirt, grit, pollen, and filth can penetrate the suede or material of your boots even though they don’t appear to be that unclean, wearing them down like abrasive.

If you’re outdoors, whack your boots together to remove any concrete dust or mud that has been caked on. Shake off any sand that has become trapped in your boots by tossing them on their side.

Use a boot buff or an old vegetable brushing to carefully sweep out mud, sludge, and sand from the boot’s exterior. You’re good to go if that removes most of the dust.

Material Considerations Before Waterproofing Hiking Boots

Modern boots come in a wide range of materials. To assist you in choosing which boot type is ideal for you in terms of protection, below is some information on each material, along with some advantages and disadvantages.

The most conventional component used to make boots is leather. After being broken in, leather shoes are pretty sturdy and will last much longer. The only drawback to donning booties is that the interior of the boot might become hot and humid because the leather is not ventilated. For exercising, full-leather boots are preferred.

Although considerably finer, lightweight, and smoother, suede is comparable to leather. If there is expected to be rain, it is advised to refrain from wearing suede boots as they are not as airy as leather and will not be able to keep out damp even when weatherized. 

Boots made of nylon and petroleum byproducts are excellent since they are both extremely lightweight and porous. Its flexibility and pliability make it an excellent material for boots. As a result, boots constructed of nylon and synthetic fibres are convenient, cosy, and ideal for outdoor activities like hiking. They work well as waterproofing materials.

What Are the Waterproofing Products?

Your boots can be waterproofed using a variety of materials. I’ll discuss a few alternative methods for waterproofing boots here, and you can choose which one is ideal for you.

But even before you protect your boots, remember that they are scorched and clean, as suggested earlier. The waterproofing won’t function as effectively if it is covered with dirt or damp. It won’t cover all the necessary areas; therefore, your boots won’t be completely waterproof.

Protection Spray: There are protection sprays designed expressly for each type of boot leather. Choose the one that is appropriate for the texture of your boots. Keep the spray about 6 to 8 inches apart from the footwear, and ensure to cover the boot well. Next, wipe off any extra spray covering the boots but not necessary.

The ideal boots for this technique are nylon and synthetic ones.

Wax & Bee’s Wax: To keep wax more malleable and easier to work into the footwear, gently warm it with a dryer or temperature range before using it. Use the damp towel supplied when you purchase the wax because it will help you apply the beeswax properly. For leathers, the wax will work much better.

Cream: Cream is also beneficial in boot protection like other products. Apply the cream evenly throughout the boot and give it time to absorb. Rinse any excess cream that could not penetrate the boots. Ensure that you work it into the boot’s joints and cracks.

3 Steps of How to Waterproof Hiking Boots

1. Waterproof Products Effectiveness

Identifying the fabric of your hiking boots would be the first point you need to make. Are they made of leather, suede, nubuck, or a blend of cowhide and linen?

For each of these elements, a specific waterproofing solution is needed. You can get detailed information on your hiking boot on the relevant page if you’re unclear about what composition they are.

Generally speaking, waterproofing sprays and tinted moisturizers work best for hiking boots, whereas wax-based treatments work best for full-grain booties.

Waterproof Products Effectiveness

2. Get Your Boots Ready & Clean

A waterproofing compound won’t accomplish anything if your boots are covered in dirt and muck. Taking off the lacing is the first step in getting your boots ready for waterproofing. After that, brush off debris and dirt from the boot’s exterior.

Lastly, put your boots beneath freshwater, so they are entirely submerged to clean and prime your boot for the coating procedure. If you’re having difficulties keeping your boots damp, consider encircling them with damp towels or scraps and having them remain for a few minutes.

3. Put the Water-Resistant Product

Put the waterproofing solution by completing the product’s directions after thoroughly soaking your hiking boots in freshwater. Before putting putty protection on your boots, it is essential to reheat the wax using a dryer.

We advise applying several spray applications while keeping the can around 6 centimetres from your boot. Get into every wrinkle, crack, and area around the fasteners. These are the areas most prone to experience breaches.

3. Get Your Boots Dry

You must locate a location with proper ventilation, consistent heat, and humid conditions if you want to cure your boots and seal them in the waterproofing compound.

Maintain them out of direct sunlight and other outside thermal processes to dry your boots. It’s acceptable to use fans to hasten the drying.

How to Re Waterproof Hiking Boots?

You can clean and re waterproof your hikking boots with these 4 steps:

  • 1) Rubbing
  • 2) Washing
  • 3) Cleansing
  • 4) Re-resisting
Helpful Waterproofing Tips

1) Rubbing

While twirling over a while, damp grassland serves some cleaning purposes; the most effective method for removing dust and muck is with a brush. If your shoes aren’t waterproof, you should still perform this on your favourite hiking shoes to extend the life of a set. Before you begin, remove the lacing to allow access to the bulge soft palate section.

2) Washing

A quick, cold bath from the faucet may remove any remaining dirt and clean the tops in time for a thorough cleaning. Following a day of jogging on dirty trails, we commonly encounter cleaning our road sneakers in this manner.

3) Cleansing

To remove harsh filth and spots, use a specialized cleanser.  It is crucial for hiking boots to be made of fabric since they depend on resilient hydrophobic nature to keep water from soaking through the top. Use a fresh towel or cloth to rinse after that. These solutions will not be required each time you scrub your boots.

4) Re-Resisting

To improve your boots’ resistance properties and prevent them from “watering out,” coat them with wax or another waterproofing substance. Based on the type of boot, various waterproofing solutions are offered.


Does Gore-Tex footwear require waterproofing? 

Usually, Gore-Tex boots would not require additional waterproofing. Yet, we should point out that adding additional waterproof components won’t harm a set of Gore-Tex boots.

How Frequently do I need to Waterproof My Boots?

It relies on how frequently you own and apply them to rainy conditions. Waterproofing your boots will generally range from each year to every few months.


Most hiking boots have a DWR coating; thus, moisture bunches up and slides straight off of them once they are brand-new. That surface gradually deteriorates with time, causing you to renew it from point to point.

Select one of the previously mentioned waterproofing treatments. Ensure you have correctly read the directions because various types of boots demand waterproofing techniques.

The optimal conditions for waterproofing are dry, moist footwear. Since moisture obliges drawing the waterproofing procedure into the boot’s skin, washing your boots beforehand allows you to waterproof the entire boot without skipping any unclean places.

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