How to Waterproof your Boots For Any Eventuality! [All types]
That’s right, this is the article you have been looking for. We have done all the research there is to be done on this topic, from all different types of boot materials and the best methods to keep them dry, making this the ultimate resource when it comes to keeping your toes dry.
Airsoft players are at the mercy of the elements when it comes to game days, with not only the weather to contend with but also the changing environment under their feet, it is not uncommon for an airsoft player to start the day off dry and keep playing through a downpour for the rest of the day. So then how do they keep their feet dry? What are the best ways to waterproof your boots?
First you need to work out what boot type you have and then we can narrow down the best possible solution for them. However, there are a couple of preemptive measures that fit all, so if you are in a rush, grab a waterproof spray.
Recommended Waterproofing Spray
These come in many shapes and sizes but generally they can be used on a lot of different materials as each spray will be specialized for the particular material you’re looking for. Just double check the material you need the spray for before you purchase one!
(Side note we would always recommend testing out your waterproof spray on a small area of your boot before you apply it all over!)
Quick Check… What are your boots made of? (Click on the image below)
Suede or Nubuck
Canvas or Fabric
Reports of humans wearing leather boots date back to 1000 B.C.E, this staple material has literally stood the test of time as most modern tactical or walking boots continue to be made of leather. Leather is tough and durable with great abrasion resistance, as well as natural weather resistance and breathability.
That being said over time leather can dry out and crack as the natural oils and moisture are lost. Let’s see how we can improve the longevity of our leather boots by making them extra waterproof. We would recommend using Dubbin Wax. It is used to condition and waterproof leather materials, usually made of beeswax, oil and tallow.
How to apply:
- Clean the boots thoroughly. If you have used your boots before and they are caked in mud – let the mud dry and remove it by gently hitting the boots together. (Use a brush to remove any mud that is left suck to the leather)
- Use a damp cloth to remove any debris to make sure your boots are clean.
- Use a hairdryer to gently heat up the boots, this will help them absorb the dubbin.
- Using a cloth to apply a small amount of dubbin wax and rub it over the leather thinly, use the hair dryer on the wax to soften it, as it might be too hard to rub into your boots.
- Repeat this step until you are satisfied you have covered the whole boot.
- Leave your boots to dry naturally for about 60-90 minutes. Keep them at room temperature and refrain from using heat to dry them as this may cause the leather to crack.
- Finally buff off the wax with a dry cloth.
And there you have it, you have waterproofed your leather boots, now you can run through the most waterlogged of grounds without having to worry about your feet getting wet. Just make sure to clean them after each game as if you leave the boots dirty, the mud will dry out the leather over time.
We would recommend this brand of Dubbin Wax, as we have personally used it, not to mention it comes in multiple colours to suit your boots perfectly:
Recommended Dubbin Wax
Suede or Nubuck boots
You may be surprised to find out that suede is actually a type of leather made up of skin from the underside of the animal. The benefits of suede is that it is very durable and long lasting, which means if you look after these boots they will last you a long time. But these types of boots require a totally different type of treatment to make them waterproof compared to smooth full grain leather. Do NOT use dubbin on these materials, as it will remove the fuzzy look of suede and will stain your boots.
The best way to waterproof suede or Nubuck leather boots is to use a waterproofing spray which is designed to restore the waterproof qualities of suede. Nothing else really will do as it will damage the fabrics look.
How to apply.
- No surprise here, the first step is to clean the boots. Remove the dirt and mud on the boots by gently hitting the heels together. Get rid of finer dirt with a boot brush. With a damp cloth remove the remaining dirt. Never submerge the boots in water.
- Use the waterproofing spray from a distance of 5cm, make sure you have an even coating over the entire boot. Do not over spray as this will cause runs on the boot and can leave stains.
- Leave the boots to dry on their own, do not use external heat source to dry the boots as this will damage them.
- Once dry, brush the suade to restore the fuzzy look.
Recommended Suede Waterproofing Spray
Canvas or Fabric boots
The benefits of fabric boots is that they are lightweight, breathable, usually cheaper than the other alternatives and require less breaking in than leather. These properties make this the perfect boot for casual airsofters. But the trade off means that they can be harder to clean and also they need to be waterproofed more regularly than other materials.
Similarly to the suede, a spray waterproofer will help you restore the water repellent properties of fabric boots. We suggest using the one that is already recommended for suede boots above.
How to apply!
- Clean the boots. This is especially important with fabric boots as dirt can get into the fibers of the boot and cause decay, which reduces the lifespan of the boots. Remove any dirt with a boot/shoe brush, and gently clean with a slightly damp cloth.
- Fabric boots can be reproofed when they are wet or dry. We would recommend reproofing when dry. So if you have just cleaned your boots let them dry and do the reproofing the next day. One of the benefits of doing it dry is that you can clearly see the areas of the boot you have reproofed and areas you have missed for a more thorough reproofing.
- Leave the boots to air dry, do not apply an external heat source, this will damage them.
Read More: not sure how to protect your RIFs during transport? Here’s our in-depth guide for soft vs hard rᎥfle cases!
Synthetic fibers are used in many modern boots to keep them lightweight and durable while also keeping their costs down. Synthetic boots benefit from being breathable, as the porous fabric can allow sweat to escape and air to circulate your feet keeping them cool and comfortable. In regards to waterproofing, they usually rely on a waterproofing membrane as well as a DWR coating which repels water from the surface of the boots.
As the Gore Tex membrane will take care of most of the waterproofing, we will need to only worry about the water repellent. For this we can use the waterproofing spray we used for nubuck and suede as this will adhere to the synthetic fibers in a similar fashion.
How to apply!
- Clean the boots. This should be easier on synthetic boots as they are usually made from dirt and water repellent fabrics. After taking off the dirt and mud off the boots, use water and vinegar to remove stains left behind.
- Use the waterproofing spray from a distance of 5cm, make sure you have an even coating over the entire boot.
- Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Wipe of any excess spray from the boot, there shouldn’t be any huge droplets sitting on the surface of the boots
- Leave the boots to dry on their own.
Recommended Synthetic Waterproofing Spray
Before you leave, make sure to check out the rest of our informative airsoft articles by clicking here!
I hope this article has answered once and for all how how to waterproof your boots hope you guys have found it useful. Feel free to leave a comment below if you feel like we’ve missed something out, or simply if you’d like to ask us a question!
Written by Garlen Saldanha
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