How to waterproof your hiking boots in 5 simple steps

Posted on February 3, 2020

Whenever planning to go hiking, it is important to be fully prepared with perfect hiking gear to keep yourself safe and comfortable through the exciting outdoor activity. Since no one wants to walk around with uncomfortable or dump shoes, hiking boots are essential gear that you must consider buying or keeping ready.

By keeping the boots ready, it means that you should waterproof them and it will help keep your feet dry. The good thing is that you can waterproof the hiking boots easily and comfortably at the comfort of your home. If you have no idea how this is done, here is a step by step guideline on how to waterproof your hiking boots.

First Step: Understand the Fabric or Material Your Boots are Made from

Hiking boots come in different materials and the products, or the procedure you use for one type may not work well with others. It is crucial that you consider the kind of boots that you have before waterproofing or even buying the things you will need. If you are not careful, you might end up ruining your favorite hiking boots and, most probably, your hiking experience. For instance, boot oil can work perfectly on leather boots, but the same oil can end up damaging your synthetic boots. For you to understand more about these materials, here is a brief insight into each.

• Leather Boots:

Almost everyone has owned something made of leather in their life, which is a common material for making shoes. Boots made of leather tend to last longer than others and can easily be waterproofed using boot oil or wax. While they are perfect for hiking, some people don’t like the fact that the material is unbreathable, making their feet sweat.

• Suede Boots:

These boots tend to be soft, thin, and light as compared to leather boots, which is one of the reasons why most people go for them whenever they want to hike. However, they would not be a perfect choice in case you are walking on dump areas; they may not withstand too much moisture even after being waterproofed. Also, just like leather material, they are unbreathable. Waterproofing spray works best for suede boots.

• Synthetic Boots:

This material is not only light but also breathable, and most people prefer hiking boots made from it due to their flexibility and softness. While they may not look perfect for office work, they serve well when indulging in outdoor activities. Waterproofing prays will also work well for this material and give you the comfort you need while hiking.

Once you understand your hiking boots, you can start looking for the best brands in the market to ensure that you get the exact results you expected. Consult with your vendor or look for recommendations from friends and family. At this juncture, you are ready to go.

Second Step: Clean Your Boots Properly

Before you can start waterproofing your hiking boots, you must clean them using warm water and other cleaning products. Based on the material making your boots, consider using the right products to clean them thoroughly. Make sure you remove the laces to allow you to access all inner surfaces of the boot.

It will also prevent you from staining or damaging the laces when you start waterproofing the shoes. Some stubborn dirt may require you to use a scrubbing brush and gel to get rid of it. Once they are sparkling clean, dry the boots made of suede, nylon, and synthetic materials entirely.

However, for leather hiking boots, it is recommended that you leave them a little dump to allow the waterproofing product to penetrate properly. In case the drying process is taking longer than expected, use a hairdryer to dry them faster.

However, the dryer must be on low heat to avoid damage. You are now ready to start waterproofing your hiking boots.

Third Step: It Is Time to Waterproof Your Hiking Boots

Some people want to come directly to this step, but unfortunately, if you skip the first two steps, you will not get the results you need. Anyway, assuming your boots are ready for waterproofing, start by purchasing the right product for your boots, depending on the material it is made of.

As stated earlier, a spray may work well for suede boots but not with leather boots. You may know the kind of spray you need for your hiking boots, but you may not sure how to use the product. Luckily for you, here is a brief insight on how to use different waterproof products for hiking boots.

• Waterproofing Wax:

Wax will work perfectly for any leather boot. Your first step when using wax is heating it slightly using a heat gun or hairdryer. This will make it easy to apply on the boots. The packaging for this product comes with an applicator cloth that you will use to apply the wax evenly on the shoes.

As stated earlier, applying wax on leather boots requires them to be slightly dumped for perfect results. Once you are done, you can buff the boots to leave a radiant look.

• Waterproofing Spray:

Sprays come in varieties for different types of materials. We recommend consulting your vendor on the one that will suit your hiking boots best. Once you get the right spray, hold it up approximately 6 inches and start spraying a thick but even layer on the shoes.

After you are satisfied with the look, wipe-of the excess spray on the boot and you are good to go. Waterproofing sprays work better for suede, nylon, and synthetic boots.

• Waterproofing Cream and Oil:

You can use this product on both suede and leather hiking boots. All you need to do is to use a dry cloth to rub the cream or the oil on the shoes and then allow it some time to settle in properly. Wipe any excess product on the shoes to avoid unnecessary patches.

Now that you know how to apply different types of waterproofing products for hiking boots, go ahead and choose the one that works best for you and your boots. One standard recommendation for all products is that it is essential to leave the shoes at least overnight for the product to soak in thoroughly.

Fourth Step: Dry the Boots After Waterproofing

You have perfectly managed to waterproof your boots, and luckily you are almost ready to start hiking. However, do not wear hiking boots just yet because they need to dry completely. And while you might think that a hairdryer can work to quicken the process like it deed after washing, you cannot use it.

It may lead to some damages on the boots, especially those made of leather. Avoid sun drying the shoes also. The only thing you use to hasten the drying process is a fan if you own one; otherwise, air drying is the best option for waterproofed boots.

This is one of the reasons why you need to leave your boots at least one night after waterproofing them. It will give you a look you want while at the same time provide comfort during your hiking adventure.

Final Step: Waterproof Your Boots Frequently

If you love hiking, then you should love having your hiking gear ready all the time. This means that the fact that you waterproofed your hiking boots last time does not mean you are free from doing it again forever. You will need to repeat the process regularly, and most probably every time you want to go hiking.

At least commit yourself to repeat this treatment after every few months to maintain the look on your favorite boots and, of course, enjoy the comfort that comes with it. It’s your boots; it’s your experience and so commit to having it best.

Why Should You Waterproof Your Hiking Boots?

Maybe someone is sitting there wondering why they need to go through the whole trouble to have their hiking boots waterproof. Well, you have enough reasons to stop wondering now and start embracing the boot treatment process. Here are two main reasons.

Boots are expensive, and you do not want to buy new ones every year due to wear and tear. Once you start waterproofing your shoes, you will be surprised how durable they will be as compared to when you never considered the process.

Furthermore, waterproofing entails cleaning, waterproofing, and then drying. This means that you are not only protecting them from damage but also maintaining cleanliness.

When you waterproof your boots before hiking, it means your feet will be dry, and you have less risk for blisters. Blisters can be painful, and there is no way you are going to enjoy your hiking adventure with paining legs. Also, the dryness comes with great comfort rather than walking around with dump feet.

Are you excited about going hiking? Well, you should, and you will enjoy yourself better if you make sure that your hiking gear is intact. Start by following this ultimate guideline on how to waterproof your hiking boots.

Once your feet are comfortable, they will take you anywhere. Your hiking boots will also last longer when they are taken good care of.

How to waterproof your hiking boots in 5 simple steps


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