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October 02, 2023
Whether you’re hiking through snow-covered forests or trudging through recently-plowed city streets, nobody wants their feet to get wet. But you know better than anyone that it’s impossible to avoid moisture for an entire Canadian winter, which is why you need waterproof boots. But not all snow & winter boots are waterproof, and the wrong pair will leave you unhappy at the wrong time.
Simply assuming that any pair of boots is waterproof can be a major mistake. In this guide, we’re looking at potential risks of taking “waterproof” claims at face value and delving into how to tell if boots are waterproof.
Waterproof boots are engineered to be impenetrable to water under specific conditions. These boots feature advanced materials, specialized construction techniques, and often use waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex. Waterproof boots can withstand prolonged exposure to wet environments and should be your first choice in especially rainy, snowy, or muddy conditions.
Conversely, water-resistant boots, while offering a certain level of protection against moisture, are not fully impervious to water. These boots have been treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating materials that resist water to a degree, like light or moderate rain, but they're not designed for sustained exposure to wet conditions.
To accurately assess if a pair of boots is waterproof, it's important to familiarize yourself with some commonly-used waterproofing technologies.
Understanding these waterproofing technologies will allow you to make an informed decision when shopping for boots. In most cases, manufacturers will label their products that use these technologies, making it easier for you to identify and choose the right pair for your needs.
Armed with the knowledge of the differences between waterproof and water-resistant boots and common waterproofing technologies, we can now identify some practical methods for determining if a pair of boots can actually stand up in truly wet conditions.
Check the Label
Begin your assessment by examining the label or product description provided by the manufacturer for any symbols or terms indicating waterproofing. These labels often identify the specific waterproofing technologies or materials used, and can provide insight into a boot's water-resistant capabilities.
Examine the Seams
The seams of waterproof boots are vitally important. The first thing to remember is that quality waterproof boots typically have few seams. A lot of stitching or several seams on the upper increase the chances of water finding its way in. Conversely, a well-made pair of waterproof boots will feature sealed or taped seams that prevent water from entering.
Another key factor in determining the quality of waterproof boots is the material used in their construction. This is generally either leather or a synthetic material.
Thanks to its natural ability to repel water, full-grain leather is a popular choice for waterproof boots. If a pair of boots is made of full-grain leather, it is more likely to be waterproof. It is worth noting, however, that this waterproofing often comes at the cost of a bit of breathability.
Meanwhile, some waterproof boots utilize synthetic materials, like nylon, often combined with waterproof membranes, like Gore-Tex. These materials offer both excellent warmth and water resistance while also remaining breathable.
Weight and Cost
Generally, waterproof boots weigh slightly more than their non-waterproof counterparts. This is due to the additional waterproofing materials used in their construction. Additionally, the fact that high-quality waterproofing materials come at a premium price will be reflected in the price of waterproof boots.
In examining the specific waterproof features of a pair of boots, start with the boot's tongue. Waterproof boots will feature a gusseted tongue, which attaches to the sides of the boot's upper. This design prevents water from entering through the lacing area. Also important are waterproof zippers or protective flaps, which help keep water out and ensure dryness and comfort in cold, wet environments.
The Paper Towel Test
This test is one of the easiest ways to tell if your boots are indeed waterproof. To perform the paper towel test, wet the boot's exterior thoroughly, then press a dry paper towel against the wet surface. If your boots are waterproof, the paper towel should remain dry. Any dampness on the paper towel is a sign that water has penetrated the outer material, suggesting the boots are not entirely waterproof.
The Submersion Test
Another, more direct test of waterproofing is the submersion test. To perform the submersion test, fill the inside of your boots with water and wait 15-20 minutes. If at that point the outer surface of the boot doesn’t show any wet spots or signs of leaks, the boots are properly sealed and likely to be fully waterproof.
Keep in mind, however, that while the submersion test is an excellent indicator of waterproofing, it can potentially damage boots that are not properly waterproofed. Proceed with caution.
In the outdoors, your boots play a pivotal role in safeguarding your feet from the elements. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, work outdoors, or are simply navigating a wet urban environment, it's crucial to be well-informed about the materials and features that make up a high quality pair of waterproof boots. Choose the right pair and you’ll stride out confidently in any conditions, secure in the knowledge that your feet will remain dry, warm, and comfortable.
October 02, 2023
October 02, 2023
October 02, 2023
The chill of winter beckons, and as you venture out to brave the elements, the right footwear becomes your trusted ally. From snowy trails to city streets, the choice between waterproof and water resistant boots plays a pivotal role in your journey. But, here lies the crux: while these terms often get interchanged, they serve distinct purposes, each with its own set of advantages. Delve into this guide as we demystify the differences, ensuring your next step is both dry and informed.
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