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Waterproof Boots Guide

Waterproof Boots Guide

26.07.2022 | Outdoor Buying Guides

Many walking boots and shoes found at Mountain Warehouse are waterproof, preventing your feet from getting wet while you’re out and about. For even more protection in the rain, you may decide to wear an Ankle Gaiter, these are designed to further protect keep your feet ankles dry and protected from rain, mud or dust. They help prevent water going in at the top of your shoe/boot.

All Mountain Warehouse waterproof footwear will have a waterproof membrane with fully taped seams and all upper materials will have a DWR treatment (which means water will bead up and roll off the material instead of saturating it).


Mountain Warehouse Footwear Labels – What Do They Mean?

On Mountain Warehouse’s footwear boxes, you will find different colour icons. The different colours are there to help you pick the best shoe depending on what you’ll be using it for.


 Icon Colour  Ideal For:
Outdoor walks, day trips and dog walking.
Hill walks and hiking trails on light terrain.
Longer hikes and challenging terrains.
Longer hikes and expeditions in challenging or extreme environments.


How To Choose Waterproof Boots

There are many factors to consider when picking your waterproof boots or shoes, such as:


When selecting footwear it is important to consider location – the most suitable footwear is dependent on the terrain and environment you plan to be walking/hiking in.


Walking Boots

If you’re going to be walking for a longer distance on uneven ground a waterproof walking boot is recommended over a shoe. The higher cut provides ankle support and protection which is beneficial when walking on uneven ground where it can be very easy to twist your ankle. Boots also offer padding around the ankle, which some people may find more comfortable than a shoe. Covering your ankle also keeps in more warmth, making boots useful in colder temperatures.


Walking Shoes

If you are walking on more even ground then you may prefer a waterproof walking shoe. Walking shoes can give you more freedom of movement and are lighter weight than a boot which allows for extra mobility and flexibility. They will not provide the same levels of support and protection that boots can offer however for a shorter distance walk in warmer weather, walking shoes may be more suited.

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Leather Or Fabric Walking Boots?

Walking boots can be made with suede, leather or synthetic fabrics such as mesh and softshell.

Leather Walking Boots

Pros Cons
Tougher material so will cope in more abrasive areas Heavier
Will protect from elements well Often more expensive
Long lasting if cared for properly Takes time to wear in
Easy to clean Less breathable than mesh


Fabric Walking Boots

Pros Cons
Lightweight May need reproofing more regularly
Can be cheaper than leather
Less breaking in required


Mid & High Cut Walking Boots

There are generally two types of cut for a walking boot- mid and high. There is no such thing as a low cut walking boot, this would be a walking shoe.

Mid cut boots, opposed to shoes, protect your ankles and offer support, ideal for shorter day walks. Higher cut boots offer more ankle support on rougher terrains but do not allow the same flexibility as a mid-cut boot.

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How Long Do Waterproof Boots Stay Waterproof?

The waterproof ability of hiking boots depends on many factors including how often you wear them, what kind of weather you wear them in and how well you look after them. With no aftercare, waterproof shoes and boots should last a couple of years but with proper care, you can make sure they keep your feet dry for many more trips after that. Correct aftercare includes regular cleaning and reproofing, if you are an avid hiker, we’d recommend reproofing 3 or 4 times a year.


How To Clean and Reproof Waterproof Walking Boots


  1. Remove the laces and insoles and put them to one side.
  2. Brush your boots or shoes with a soft bristle brush to remove loose dirt. Be careful not to damage the material surface with abrasive brushes/ sponges.
  3. Scrub with footwear cleaning solution like Nikwax Cleaning Gel.
  4. Once clean, stuff the shoes with newspaper or tissue paper and allow the boots to dry naturally, do not place near direct heat.
  5. The cleaning process will affect the waterproof performance so re-proofing will be required, see below advice.
  6. Replace laces and insoles.



Leather Boots

Over time and without proper care, leather can dry out and crack as natural oils and moisture are lost.

Dubbin can help restore waterproof properties whilst conditioning and softening the leather. Do not apply dubbin wax to suede or nubuck leather boots. Dubbin is designed for smooth leather and can ruin the ‘furry’ feel of nubuck and suede and is also likely to stain.

  1. Use a hairdryer to gently heat your boots up, this will help them absorb the dubbin. Be careful not to position the hairdryer too close to the boots and always use a low heat, the boots only need to be warmed slightly.
  2. Apply a small amount of dubbin wax to a cloth and rub over the leather sparingly. If the wax is too hard to rub onto your boots, use a hair dryer to soften it.
  3. Repeat as necessary.
  4. Leave to dry naturally for 30-60 minutes. Don’t be tempted to apply direct heat to the boots to dry them quicker, this can cause the leather to crack.
  5. Buff wax off with a dry cloth.



Reproofing Suede and Nubuck Leather Walking Boots

A nubuck and suede proofer spray designed for footwear works to restore the barrier that repels water from nubuck and suede boots.

How to reproof suede and nubuck boots:

  1. Using a re-proofing spray, spray all over from a distance of 5cm. Make sure you have an even coating over the entire boot.
  2. Leave to dry before use. Don’t try to dry your boots faster with a hair dryer or heat source, allow them to air dry naturally.
  3. A footwear brush can be used to restore the boot to its original finish.

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Reproofing Fabric Boots

A Spray on Proofer will help you restore the waterproof ability of your fabric boots.

How to reproof fabric boots:

  1. Fabric boots can be re-proofed whilst wet or dry. You may prefer to clean and dry out your boots, apply the reproofer the following day and leave to dry overnight again before next use. Although this takes a little longer, you will be able to see where you have sprayed the proofer on much easier than spraying on to wet boots.
  2. Whether you apply to wet or dry boots, once the proofer has been applied, leave to air dry completely before wearing.


Now you know how to pick and take care of your waterproof boots, it’s time to start shopping.