What Should A Buyer Know About Waterproof Work Boots?

It is not possible to completely waterproof leather, but silicone added to the tanning process will make it water-resistant.

Boots made from treated leather will still absorb water if they remain submerged for any period of time. Silicone is only intended for a brief exposure to moisture.


The water-resistant coating can be extended by consistently applying silicone spray, AquaSeal, Mink oil, or boot oil.

Available options

Silicone added to the tanning process plus waterproof tape

One construction technique that is guaranteed to be waterproof first adds silicone to the tanning process and then applies a unique waterproof tape to the back of the stitched seams.

The tape stops water from entering through the holes created during the stitching process. The regular use of silicone additives or oils will extend the water-resistant characteristics of the leather.

Waterproof liner

Another option is a boot with a waterproof liner. Waterproof and breathable membranes are sewn behind the leather inside the boot. Very tiny holes (9 billion holes per square inch) in the membrane allow sweat to pass out, but water molecules are too big to pass in.

Note  that the use of pastes or oils on waterproof liners is not recommended because they can clog the tiny holes and void the warranty.

Note  that many people believe their waterproof liners are leaking, but the reality is they have clogged the breathing holes and their feet are now sweating inside their boots.


Related : How To Waterproof Leather Boots (6 Amazing Tips)


Gusseted Tongue

Another form of waterproofing is a gusseted tongue. The gusseted tongue is made of waterproof material which is attached to the boot with triangular shaped pieces on the sides. There is no space for water to seep into the boot.

Cuff or Gaiter

When winter arrives and water now comes in the form of snow, you may add a cuff or gaiter around the top of the boot, forming a barrier. The cuff or gaiter stops snow from getting in at the top of the boot.

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

Both water-resistant boots and waterproof boots are well-suited for outdoor activities, but they protect your feet in numerous ways under different conditions and activities.

Water-Resistant Boots

Water-resistant boots are perfect for walking and gardening when working where the foot will not be immersed in water for an extended period.

Water-resistant boots may be worn during a gentle rain or snow. They are usually made of canvas, leather or a fabric treated to turn water away. They will not, however, keep your feet dry during heavy rain or snow.

Waterproof Boots

Waterproof boots may be made of rubber, plastic, or other non-porous materials. They can be completely immersed in water or snow, and your feet and lower legs will remain dry and toasty. They also offer excellent traction on slippery floors or around hazardous materials.

Testing Procedures

Hydrostatic head testing has been established as the industry standard to measure the degree of water resistance in footwear.

Water is forcibly pushed through fabric or material to measure the amount of water pressure they can take before they begin to leak.

Water-resistant boots must withstand 200 millimeters of pressure, while waterproof boots must be able to withstand 1,000 millimeters of pressure.

Advantages of Waterproof Work Boots

Dry feet help make your whole body feel warm. Waterproof boots prevent foot fungi and frostbite when working in sub-zero temperatures. Breathable linings are fast-drying and anti-microbial.

Product Reviews

Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot

You’ll enjoy hiking and adventures in these seam-sealed waterproof boots. In addition to the full-grain waterproof leather and sealed seams, the Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot offers a breathable foot bed to wick away moisture and multidirectional rubber lugs to aide in stopping, racing, and climbing. Its collar and tongue are padded to provide extra comfort.

Pros Cons
·  Durable · Tore on third hike
· Comfortable with no break-in period · Water seeps in around logo
· Great in spring and fall · In winter, you will need thick socks because they have no insulation; in summer, you need to stop and take them off periodically to allow your feet to breathe
· Look good · Run narrow


Skechers USA Men’s Verdict Waterproof Boot

If you live and work in northern climates, these boots offer solid comfort, warmth, dryness and style. However, those who live in southern climates may find they lack breathability.

Pros Cons
· Very well insulated · Not breathable in warm climates
· Comfortable · Very flat inside
· Stylish · Stiff
· True to size · Waterproof protection wears off quickly
· Well constructed · Could use pull-tab at back


Timberland PRO Men’s Hyperion Waterproof Work Boot

The Timberland PRO series of boots are built for safety and comfort. Featuring premium leather with a waterproof membrane, workers can count on dry feet at the end of the day. The XL Alloy safety toe provides space in the toe box while providing protection without extra weight. The unique Timberland PRO Hyperion boots feature an exclusive anti-fatigue technology comfort system, designed to absorb shock and return energy to the foot in several key areas, distributing more strength and stamina.

Pros Cons
·  Odor-resistant mesh antimicrobial lining · Problems with reinforced toe separating from the boots
· Fiberglass shank for structural support · Poor slip resistance
· Ladder-lock sole for increased stability on ladders
· Non-conductive sole/heel protection against electrical shock
· Rubber toe cap


Caterpillar Men’s Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot

The Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot works hard and plays hard. Features include a breathable lining, nonslip outsoles, steel shanks and toes. The ERGO comfort system in the Diagnostic work boot offers all-day support, stability, and flexibility. The thermal insulation and nylon mesh lining keep feet warm and dry.

Pros Cons
· Warm and do not breathe; great for cold weather · Eyelets break and pull out of shoe
· Good traction on wet pavement · Soles split away from the boot
· Steel toe · Waterproofing wears off
· Steel shanks · Warm and do not breathe; not good in warm weather
· ERGO comfort system


Wolverine Men’s Gold 6″ Insulated Waterproof Boot

The Wolverine Men’s Gold 6” Insulated Waterproof Boot comes loaded with features: waterproof Nubuck leather uppers, Thinsulate ultra insulation keeps your feet warm in any weather, PK mesh lining wicks moisture away, the full-cushion footbed absorbs shock and improves energy then is removable for cleaning, the Impala rubber sole is slip-, oil-, water-, abrasion-, chemical- and heat-resistant. Available in medium to extra wide widths.

Pros Cons
· Great insulation · Some stitching came out after 2.5 months
· Accurate fit


Two of the above-referenced work boots would be tied for first place,

I my opinion.

I like the Timberland PRO Hyperion work boot’s dark colors and rugged look. Timberland is an industry leader, and they offer many extras with their boots.

I am also drawn to the list of extras on the Wolverine Men’s Gold 6” Insulated Work Boots; however, they are popular because of how warm they are in cold climates. Since I live in the south, that might be a deal-killer for me.

Whenever buying expensive foot wear for work, be sure to try the boots on and walk around the store for some time to try to find places that rub on your ankles or toes.

Are they long enough?

Wide enough?

Do you need an arch support or memory foam insert?

Taking time to evaluate them while in the store can prevent unnecessary returns.

If you buy your boots online, keep the packaging and don’t wear them outside of your home until you are sure they fit right and will not rub anywhere inside the shoe. If they do, put them back in the packaging, call the store you bought them from, and see if they will send you a return shipping label. Most online stores will pay for your return shipping, but most want them returned in the original packaging.

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