How to Waterproof Your Work Boots

Take the Stress Out of Waterproofing Your Work Boots With These Quick & Easy Steps

Relax With This Handy Manual on When to Waterproof Your Work Boots, How Often to Waterproof Them, & All the Waterproofing Methods You Need
Waterproofing Work Boots
How to Waterproof Your Work Boots
Table of Contents

You can waterproof your work boots using oil, silicone polymer spray, acrylic copolymer spray, creams, pastes, waxes, and seam sealants.

Trench foot, or immersion foot syndrome, is a severe foot condition that you could contract from your feet being wet for too long.

Using the wrong waterproofing method on your work boots could leave you vulnerable and at risk of developing this distressing ailment.

Whatever you do, don’t get cold feet about treating your wet work boots now! Instead, learn the right methods to keep your feet dry here.

In this article, we uncover:

  • When you should waterproof your work boots.
  • Methods for waterproofing your work boots.
  • DIY methods for waterproofing your work boots.

Our editorial gang at MyBestWorkBoots strives to give you the best industry news. We’ve done in-depth research to collate this detailed review of how to waterproof your work boots.

Let’s dive right into it!

When Should You Waterproof Your Work Boots?

You should waterproof your work boots during the summer or autumn, when the weather is fine and dry. Timing the seasons in this way will get your boots sealed before the cooler, wetter weather arrives.

You should waterproof your work boots as often as once every couple of weeks. However, how often you’ll need to waterproof your boots depends on how often you use your shoes. 

To keep your boots from getting wet, you should always waterproof them whenever they get dirty or when water stops beading on their surface.

Know Your Boot Material

Know your work boots’ material before waterproofing them because each material has a specific type of product used to waterproof it.

Full-grain leather is probably the most common type of leather used to construct boots. It requires a different treatment than suede or nubuck.

Some boots are even designed from fabrics or synthetic materials.

Check the manufacturer’s site if you ever wonder if your boots are made of leather. Ensure that you match your boots with their unique waterproofing technique.

Waterproof Work Boots

Preparation

Preparation is important before you start waterproofing your work boots; prepare your boots, your space, and yourself for the waterproofing process.

Ensure That Your Boots Are Clean

Ensure that your work boots are clean to guarantee the waterproofing procedure is a success. Dirt may cause the waterproofing product not to be fully absorbed by the material of your boots. Before beginning the waterproofing process, ready your boots by cleaning them carefully.

First, remove the laces and use a brush to clean off any dirt or grime from them. If the soles are caked with dirt, soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes. After cleaning off any remaining dirt, spray your soles with water.

Make Use of Protective Gear & Measures

Make use of protective gear and measures during the waterproofing process for cleanliness and safety. Masks and gloves are recommended to be used while waterproofing your work boots.

When applying waterproofing chemicals to your work boots, it is better to work outside as any fumes will quickly disappear.

Dry Your Boots

Dry your boots thoroughly before applying the waterproofing treatment. Make sure they’re in a place with an average temperature, low humidity, and good airflow.

Never use direct heat to hasten the drying process. It may loosen the glue in your shoes or split the leather in your boots. Try to avoid drying your boots in direct sunshine as much as possible.

Your work boots will dry more quickly if you use a fan.

Putting a few sheets of newspaper in your work boots will help dry your boots faster too.

Your boots are now ready for waterproofing after a thorough cleaning and drying.

How to Waterproof Your Work Boots

What Are the Methods for Waterproofing Your Work Boots?

The methods for waterproofing your work boots are oil, silicone polymer spray, acrylic copolymer spray, creams, pastes, waxes, and seam sealants. 

Each of these methods can serve you uniquely. Ensure that you have the right waterproofing product for your type of boots.

Oils

Oils can be applied to a wide range of boots to keep out moisture and extend the life of your work boot.

When using oils to waterproof leather boots, such as mink, mineral, or neatsfoot, be sure not to use too much oil. The leather fibers will get discolored and separated if the leather is over-saturated with these oils.

PRO TIP: To apply these oils to your work boots, use a soft cloth dipped in a reasonable amount of oil to coat the work boot evenly with the oil.

If you are using an oil that has been solidified in block form, rub the block of oil over the boot from side to side and from top to bottom. After that, rub the oil evenly into the leather using a soft cloth.

It is necessary for boot owners who use this form of waterproofing to apply a new coat of oil every four weeks or so and after each time their boots get wet.

Silicone Polymer Spray

Silicone polymer spray is a popular choice for waterproofing boots. You can get these sprays from sporting goods stores and online.

Silicone polymer sprays are quick and easy to use.

Use newspaper to shield the surrounding area from overspray, and be sure to follow the product’s directions exactly.

Apply a thin layer of spray to the surface area of the boot by depressing the spray button 8-12 inches from the boot, pointed in a direction away from your face. If required, apply a second coat.

This waterproofing method will need a re-application approximately every month and after every time the boot is exposed to moisture.

Acrylic Copolymer Spray

Acrylic copolymer spray is a novel waterproofing method, one of the most effective methods. This type of leather waterproofing coats the boot in an impermeable layer that prevents moisture from penetrating the boot while still enabling the leather to breathe.

The application of this spray is similar to that of silicone polymer sprays. As with silicone spray, spray an even layer of acrylic copolymer onto all of the work boots’ surfaces while working in a well-ventilated environment, protecting your waterproofing surface with newspaper or another covering.

Reapply this spray to your boots whenever needed or whenever your boots have been exposed to moisture.

How to Waterproof Your Work Boots

Creams

Lanolin, a cream made from sheep’s wool oil, is a long-standing, tried-and-tested waterproofing material. When cooled, lanolin solidifies and is used to treat leather surfaces, notably those of work boots. 

Your leather work boots will become supple and waterproof once you rub this creamy substance into the leather of your work boots using a soft cloth.

Using this oil-derived treatment on synthetic materials, like pleather or suede, is not suggested.

Pastes

Pastes are an effective method of waterproofing work boots. Rub a generous amount of paste into your work boots using back and forth strokes, starting at the side of the boot and use a clean cloth. Follow these steps around the boot, being sure to waterproof any exposed sections.

Before exposing the boots to any external moisture, allow them to dry.

How to Waterproof Your Work Boots

Waxes

Waxing your boots is the most effective waterproofing method to use if the soles of your boots have not been replaced and they’re worn out. Wax can effectively get into all the nooks and crannies.

Apply a thin layer of wax to each boot using circular motions with a soft cloth, paying special attention to the tongue and any seams that connect the sole to the boot covering. You can also use a piece of old clothing to apply wax to the surface. Imagine waxing your car to get a better idea of how to apply wax. To waterproof your boots, you’ll only need to apply the tiniest pressure.

Use a clean towel to eliminate any residual wax after it has dried. If possible, leave your boots outside in a shaded area to dry. You’ll want to remove any excess wax after applying a second thin layer and allowing it to dry. Touching the boots will tell you when they’ve dried out, so don’t be afraid to do so!

Remember

If you like, you can stretch out your waxing sessions over a couple of days if this suits you better. If you seal the leather correctly, you won’t have to repeat the process often.

For the most part, wax waterproofing is good for a full season, although it depends on the weather and how frequently you wear your boots. 

Try the wax polishing sealant process to restore its luster if your leather has dried out and lost its brilliance. Use one to three thin layers. 

Seam Sealants

Seam sealants are a great waterproofing method for new boots or boots that have been re-soled.

Ensure the seam between each boot is sealed with a urethane-based footwear seam sealer. A buildup of moisture can cause the seam between the boot and the sole to deteriorate and eventually rupture or pull away over time if you don’t take care of this step.

Some seam sealants can make your boots look much darker than they already are. Try to test the product in a tiny area first to see if it is to your liking before deciding whether or not to purchase it.

What Are the DIY Methods for Waterproofing Work Boots?

DIY methods for waterproofing work boots are clear-coat enamel spray, transmission oil, and Vaseline.

Clear-Coat Enamel Spray

Clear-coat enamel spray is a DIY method for waterproofing work boots. When using clear-coat enamel spray, applying a couple of generously placed layers of this should offer your boots some water protection, but it will likely flake and give way very readily.

Transmission Oil

Transmission oil will protect your boots from dampness. Smear a good amount of oil all over the uppers of your work boots to master this technique. This method effectively repels water, but it has the unfortunate side effect of turning some boots red.

Vaseline

Vaseline is another DIY method of waterproofing work boots. It is always readily available, regardless of where you are. If you’re stuck with nothing else, applying Vaseline to your boots in copious amounts will do if you’re stuck with no other waterproofing method. However, you shouldn’t anticipate it to last more than a few hours.

Common Questions

Can You Make Any Boots Waterproof?

Do Waterproofing Sprays Work?

How to Remove Scuff Marks From Leather Shoes?

Do You Need to Waterproof Boots?

Is WD-40 Good for Waterproofing Boots?

How Can I Waterproof My Boots Naturally?

How Do You Know if Your Boots Are Waterproof?

In Conclusion

Adding waterproofing to your boots to your maintenance regime will lengthen their lifespan.

Which waterproofing method you use for your boots is entirely up to you, but you must be mindful of the boot material when choosing your method.

Use these waterproofing tips to keep your feet safe and dry.

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james-blake

James Blake

James has made it his mission to find the top boots on the market. He's passionate about matching the right boot to the right application because different boots are a perfect fit for different uses.

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