/ Why do I bother waterproofing my boots?!

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Matt Bill Platypus - on 30 Dec 2012
So, every time I go on a walk and my boots get dirty and wet I dutifully clean them and then apply proofing 'stuff' to the wet leather (as directed in the instructions). Then the next time I go out my feet get soaking wet and I do the same thing again when returning from my walk. Well, to be honest, why am I bothering with reproofing, as it seems it makes no difference?

The latest stuff I have used in Nikwax Waterproofing Wax For Leather. To be honest it didn't seem to work at all. I hardly walked through any puddles, but my feet were absolutely soaked. Admitedly it was raining quite a bit, but it still seems ridiculous. I think I would do just as well to not spend the money on the 'stuff' and to just clean them and dry them.

What are peoples thoughts? Am i doing something wrong? Or is this just to be expected?

Thanks.
Mikkel - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

what boots you got?
sarahjk - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

Gaiters ?
ice.solo - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

to wet leather?

as it seems you have nothing to lose, maybe try it on dry, warm leather just once.
highclimber - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: these products won't make your boots waterproof if they're not waterproof in the first place!

all the wax etc does is adds a water resistant layer to the fabrics to stop them absorbing moisture but won't stop water passing through them!
happy_c - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Most good quality leather boots, tend to reply on goretex liners, lower quality leather boots, tend to reply on spray on waterproofing, or cheaper membranes, very few tend to just be leather, scarpa tend to have a few, but meindl, brasher, mammut , scarpa (some of their range) all tend to reply on liners, if your boots, your liner has failed.

Boots that are just leather how ever are not waterproof, or as such not meant to be as per manufacturer, a pair or approach shoes i got of scarpa come with a manual thingy which basically says boots the are solely leather, cannot be classed as waterproof as they dont have a liner.

If their leather with no liner, and still leaking like mad, there is nothing you can do, either leather is wrecked, and cracked through, or stiching is very poor/failed and letting water through, treating is just extending how long it takes to do this!

What boots are they?
Matt Bill Platypus - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: The are Grisports. They don't have a waterproof liner, so I guess that answers my question. So really, there is no point to putting wax, etc., on any pair of boots, if it is relying on there being a waterproof liner. If it has a liner it won't need the proofing and if it doesn't it won't make a difference.

Incidentally the text on the front of the tube says "Waterproofs, maintains support and breathability" and on the back it says "Use Waterproofing wax for Leather liquid to waterproof and protect walking, motorcycle, work and sports footwear plus bridle work and saddlery"

So if this is not in fact the case are they not in contradiction of a consumer protection law?
Matt Bill Platypus - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Oh, and I was wearing gaiters AND waterproof trousers. The water was not going in the tops of the boots.

I have had the boots for a 22 months and they have seen a lot of use. Perhaps it is just the age of them.

Thanks for the comments.
Matt Bill Platypus - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Although the gaiters don't protect the whole boot, unlike these:

http://www.outdooraction.co.uk/footwear-gaiters/berghaus/berghaus-yeti-extrem-gaiter-pd-305.php?gcli...

Perhaps I should just get some of these.........or maybe wellies!
Camm on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:
My feet always get wet in my nepal extremes but that is due to sweat build up. You could just get some new boots or seal skinz socks.
richparry - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to danrock101:


Seal skinz socks are brilliant. Even if your boots are soaking, your feet will stay dry.
I use them every day in work over the winter and never get wet feet.
the real slim shady - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: I would second a pair of sealskins, they are the dogs nads, though I would get a second pair, as when you are in a tent and one gets lost, it is really hard to decide which foot you prefer!!!
m dunn - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Lots of nonsense talked on this thread. If boots are leather they need waxed regularly to maintain any degree of waterproofness. Goretex liner is irrelevant as it will break down sooner rather than later.
CarolineMc - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: yep, keep them waxed up but if they're letting in a lot then it'll be time to mend them with a new pair! Co:
Jack B on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

Nikwax, Grangers & similar proofing agents are quite effective at keeping leather waterproof. They normally work well, it is possible to over-apply them, and after every walk might be a bit much. Shouldn't stop them making things waterproof though.

They will not prevent:
- Water coming in the top of boots (though your gaiters should stop that)
- Sweat building up - you can get really quite wet feet this way, and gaiters make it worse as they stop water vapour getting out the top of the boot.
- Water coming in through fabric sections. Boots with fabric sections will need a membrane to be waterproof, and as has been mentioned above, such membranes are often short-lived.
- Water coming in through seams. In my experience this is usually the culprit once the boots have clocked up a fair few miles. Look for places where the stitching visible on the outside of the boot is abraded, then see if it is still holding the leather tightly together. Boots with lots of small leather patches held together with lots of stitching will obviously give out before boots made of a single piece of leather with just a single line of stitching up the heel.

Hope this helps.
stewieatb on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

Some dodgy opinions on leather boots in this thread. Good quality, all-leather boots that have been designed properly should be waterproof if waxed, even if they don't have a liner. In fact, I hate gore-tex liners in leather boots as I feel like they just keep the sweat in. My Scarpa SLs are not GTX lined and have never leaked in long, wet days in the Lakes and snowy winter walks.

I have never heard of Grisport boots. Are they properly designed to be waterproof - sewn-in tongue all the way to the collar, double stitched seams? Does it feel like your boots are leaking or are they filling with sweat?
Cameron94 on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:
> So really, there is no point to putting wax, etc., on any pair of boots, if it is relying on there being a waterproof liner.
>
>

No it depends on the boot, take the scarpa manta for example- it relys on a very high quality leather, (2.9mm thick) crosta to be precise with a waterproof treatment to remain waterproof. It works excellently as one of the most breathable mountain boots I've used due to the lack of membrane yet if looked after is as waterproof as the next boot so to speak.

Don't rule out a pair of boots because it doesn't have a lining. It might be that yours are a bit past it and need replacing.

Ben Sharp - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to stewieatb:
> (In reply to Matt Bill Platypus)
>
> Some dodgy opinions on leather boots in this thread. Good quality, all-leather boots that have been designed properly should be waterproof if waxed, even if they don't have a liner.

I tend to agree with you on most of that post, I personally prefer a non-waterproof liner leather boot. But they aren't strictly waterproof and you couldn't sell them as such. If your out for an extended trip for a few days hiking through wet grass your feel will get damp, if you aim a high pressure hose at the seams on a freshly waxed pair of boots it will come through. They aren't "waterproof", just resistant.

I tend to prefer that though, like you say if they're good quality and thick leather your feet wont get totally soaking and they'll dry and breath a lot better.

To the OP, regardless of whether or not you have a waterproof liner the reason you wax the boots is the same, it's to preserve the leather and to stop it from drying out. Cracked, dry leather will leak like a sieve, well waxed leather will hold more out. You're boots will also only last 5 mins if you don't treat them.

Either way, you're outside and you get wet feet, such is life. I haven't got the foggiest idea why anyone shells out cash on gore-tex footwear.
happy_c - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: My goretex solomons leak very badly, always have, how ever my just leather sl's have never let in water, yet they arnt technically waterproof!
happy_c - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to stewieatb: Just because they dont let in water when out on walks etc, doesnt make them 'waterproof'. To be 'waterproof' they have to pass a hydrostatic test, of the top of my head i think this is 1500mm? although someone else will know for sure, so from a retail point of view, Sl's and mantas arnt waterproof, as without treatment, they probably wouldnt be up to the standard!

Its daft really, as with goretex boots, with leather outer, you technically have to none/semi permeable layers for sweat to get through, sso i wonder whats more breatherable out the two?
BnB - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

I can't agree with you there. I've never tended to bother waxing my leather walking boots and the soles have always worn out before they lose their water resistance. But I do try to walk tidily and avoid standing water, to make faster, drier progress.
CurlyStevo - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: ive used the sponge on products in the past with limited success. IMO dubin is much more effective. I use the grangers bees wax (after appying shoe polish if needed), its best to apply it directly using your hands to warm it.
mikehike on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:
If wet feet is a major issue I would 3rd Sealskinz Socks.
However I would just buy the one pair to begin with to see how you get on with them, as you may find they are too hot or cause blister.

All winter ive been using Sealskinz when out on my Mountain Bike with non Goretex fell running Innov8 Trainers. Ive ridden through puddles 100yds long 12" deep ie my shoes completely waterlogged. Continuing to ride after the cold shock of water your feet soon warm again, 2hrs later take the shoes off to find my feet are bone dry. Bizarre experience.
Rigid Raider - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

Why walk around whe God gave us bicycles? Take up road riding and get much fitter.
cliff shasby - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Waterproofing boots seems to be a black art,i used to have some scarpa freneys,i tried everything,every method..and just a walk through grass and my feet were wet..!,gore liners work until they break down but make your feet sweat.
Jenny C on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to stewieatb:
> (In reply to Matt Bill Platypus)
>
> Some dodgy opinions on leather boots in this thread. Good quality, all-leather boots that have been designed properly should be waterproof if waxed, even if they don't have a liner. In fact, I hate gore-tex liners in leather boots as I feel like they just keep the sweat in.

For years I have used unlined leather boots (since the pre-gore days) and with regular treatments they certainly do keep yur feet dry. OK on REALLY wet days the leather can "wet out" and leave you with damp feet, but IME this only really happens if you spend the whole day walking with your feet submersed in water/bog (so absolutely no need to walk round puddles!).

I have now upgraded to leather boots with a GTX membrane (not my choice) and agree that they are much hotter/sweatier than my old ones which means I usually have slightly damp feet by the end of the walk.
drmarten on 31 Dec 2012
I've had several pairs of Goretex lined boots, the soles gave up before the liner failed in all cases. My feet remain dry but they are not sweaty in the first place. Waxing can help a little with water resistance but I've thought it's main purpose was to keep the leather uppers in good condition.
myserable old git - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Having looked on line they don't seem to be boots sold in major or reputable stockists, more garden centres and workwear stores, change the boots!
homing-penguin - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus: Mate, take it from an old biker, nothing makes leathers waterproof!!

There could be damage to the waterproof skin of the boot, I have got a battered pair of B1s that see a lot of use and they're no longer waterproof.
Welsh Kate - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:
You can find out if your boots are really leaking or if it's just sweaty feet by standing the boots (when completely dry inside) in a bowl of water for an hour or so.

Most of my fabric boots, which rely on the gtx or event liner for their waterproofness, have lost their waterproofness so I'll wear Sealskinz in them if it's wet, but I have a leather pair with gtx liner that also started leaking. Well, one boot did, which was the give-away that it was a leak and not a sweaty foot.

You should keep leather boots clean and treated - it will help to prolong their life.
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gethin_allen on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:
My advice is stop using nikwax, the new stuff is crap and is never going to last on boots. Get some G wax and wax thoroughly. I have 8 yr old scarpa delta, leather unlined boots and using g wax I can't remember the last time I got wet feet.
Ben Sharp - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:
> (In reply to stewieatb) To be 'waterproof' they have to pass a hydrostatic test, of the top of my head i think this is 1500mm?

Not sure what the minimum is but gore-tex will likely hold a head closer to 30,000mm. 1,500mm is the sort of HH you'd find on a cheap tent.
Trangia - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

No boots are waterproof apart from Wellingtons, and these need to be green. I am reliably informed however that pink ones are pretty waterproof if you buy the ones with black and white pandas on them.
happy_c - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: The testing method is a spray at varying pressure for 24 hours, isnt it? which would surely mean paramo would fail , as well as a lot of none lined boots?

I wonder what pressure that would be, when out walking, could you exert 30,000m and w/e psi that would be of pressure in the weather?
Clarence - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
> (In reply to Matt Bill Platypus)
> My advice is stop using nikwax, the new stuff is crap and is never going to last on boots. Get some G wax and wax thoroughly.

Could not agree more! I have three pairs of boots in differing states of breakdown, a ten year old pair of Brasher Hillmasters, a five year old pair of Scarpa SLs and a two year old pair of Scarpa Rangers. The Brashers wetted out like mad with the aqueous wax cream recommended, fixed in a couple of applications of good old G-Wax. The other two pairs have had G-Wax only from the beginning and are waterproof enough to walk through water for several hours without any noticeable leaking or too much wetting out of the leather. A friend of mine who also bought SLs when I did and only ever used that "apply to wet leather" Nikwax has long since binned them for leaking. I really don't think that stuff works at all.
gethin_allen on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Clarence:
The only use I have found for nikwax is softening up leather that has been abused by soaking and drying. It seems to be a conditioner rather than a proofer.

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