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October 02, 2023
When venturing out into the winter elements, you need the right footwear. Whether you're hiking through a snowy forest, dodging puddles during your commute in the city, or trekking across muddy trails, the choice you make between waterproof and water resistant boots will have a major impact. Choose correctly and your experience will be one of comfort, warmth, and safety.
It’s worth noting that there is a common misconception between the terms “waterproof” and “water resistant.” Many people assume these terms are interchangeable. This invariably leads to misguided boot selection, which can leave your feet wet, cold, and uncomfortable. In this comprehensive guide, we'll clarify the distinctions between waterproof and water resistant boots and arm you with the knowledge to make your next boot purchase a well-informed one!
Waterproof boots are specially engineered to provide an effective barrier against all water infiltration. Unlike their water resistant counterparts, insulated waterproof boots are constructed to completely prevent water penetration, ensuring that your feet remain dry and comfortable in even the wettest conditions.
This protection, of course, all begins with the materials used in making your boots. Here are some of the most common:
The materials are only as good as their implementation. There are a few construction & design methods that boot manufacturers use to create a waterproof seal:
Understanding the materials and construction techniques used in waterproofing is essential to choosing the pair of boots that’s best suited to your needs.
Water resistant boots offer a different level of protection against moisture. It’s important to note, however, that while water resistant boots are designed to repel water to some degree, they’re not the same as waterproof boots. They’re best suited to environments with light moisture exposure or settings in which they’re not exposed to much more than the occasional splash. While they don’t provide the same protection as waterproof snow boots in wet terrain or heavy rain, they’re an excellent choice for practical, everyday wear.
This, of course, is due to the use of materials and construction techniques different from those employed for fully waterproof boots.
There are fundamental differences between waterproof and water resistant boots. The choices we make in prioritizing absolute waterproofing, breathability, durability, or ease of maintenance have a major impact on our comfort and boot performance in the cold, snowy elements. Let’s see how they compare to one another.
Waterproof boots excel in extreme wet conditions, providing reliable protection even during prolonged exposure. They’re designed to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable in heavy rain, standing water, and damp environments. Water resistant boots, on the other hand, offer greater versatility than full waterproof boots but only moderate protection against heavy rain or full immersion.
Waterproof boots sometimes compromise breathability due to the specialized materials and techniques used in their construction. In ensuring that they keep your feet dry and warm, they can sometimes trap some moisture from sweat. Water resistant boots, meanwhile, generally offer better breathability, as they’re designed to effectively wick away moisture during everyday situations, in less inclement weather conditions.
Waterproof boots, especially those facing sustained exposure to harsh conditions and wear & tear, require regular maintenance to preserve their waterproofing properties. Routine cleaning and reapplication of waterproofing treatments are essential to ensure continued performance. Though water resistant boots demand less maintenance, some care is still required to maintain their water-repelling capabilities. This typically involves the periodic reapplication of DWR (Durable Water Repellent) sprays.
Considering what you need and expect out of a pair of boots is central to making a well-informed choice. In our cases here, understanding the differences in practical application between waterproof and water resistant boots is crucial.
If your outdoor adventures take place on muddy trails or worksites in cold and frequently rainy or snowy conditions, you should choose waterproof boots. This is also true if your activities involve navigating small bodies of water like stream crossings or wetlands. In any of these cases, a high-quality pair of fully waterproof boots will provide the warmth, comfort and protection you need, even in the most challenging conditions.
In less demanding situations, meanwhile, water resistant boots are a more practical and appropriate choice. This involves everyday urban wear and short strolls or hikes in damp conditions, and in areas with sporadic rainfall. Additionally, in regions with warmer temperatures with high humidity, the superior breathability and reduced bulk of water resistant boots will allow your feet to breathe more easily without sacrificing water protection.
By following a few care and maintenance guidelines tailored to your boot type, you can maximize the lifespan and protective properties of your waterproof or water resistant boots.
Proper care for waterproof boots begins with making sure that you remove dirt, mud, and debris from your boots after every outdoor excursion. To do this, use a brush or a damp cloth to clean the exterior and prevent the buildup of grime. Also, to maintain the waterproofing capabilities of your boots, periodically apply a waterproofing agent or conditioner to the exterior to renew their water-repellent properties.
Finally, it’s crucial to avoid direct heat and allow the boots to dry naturally, in a well-ventilated area. It can be tempting to place your boots near a direct heat source to speed things up, but the excessive heat from a radiator or heater can compromise waterproofing.
Clean your water resistant boots regularly similarly, with a soft brush or cloth, to remove dirt and stains. This can go a long way in preserving the water resistant coating. Use a mild detergent when necessary. Over time, a boot’s water resistant coating begins to wear off. To restore water repellency, periodically reapply durable DWR sprays or treatments as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, to prevent degradation of the water resistant coating, store your boots in a cool, dry place away from excessive heat.
In choosing between waterproof vs. water resistant boots, understanding the similarities and differences is pivotal. That’s because the right pair of boots does not just keep water out but also strikes the right balance between protection, breathability, warmth, and comfort. Armed with the proper knowledge, you are equipped to make an informed choice and invest in a pair of boots that aligns with your specific needs.
Where your adventures take you, stride forward with confidence!
October 02, 2023
October 02, 2023
ROYAL CANADIAN COLLECTIVE
SINCE 2012 ROYAL CANADIAN IS PROUDLY CANADIAN OWNED AND OPERATED INTEGRATING THE TRUE NORTH SPIRIT INTO EVERY BOOT WE BUILD.