Anyone who has had to walk for any significant distance or work for a good amount of time with wet feet will be able to tell you how unpleasant it is. The general sensation of your damp feet sliding around inside your footwear is bad enough, but throw things like cold—or heat, for that matter—into the mix, and you have a recipe for a miserable time.
Cold is particularly insidious, as once your feet have gotten wet in a cold environment, it is nigh-impossible to get them warm again.
Waterproof footwear is the natural answer to this problem, but sufficiently waterproof footwear isn’t always the most practical thing for everyday use, and it is probably safe to say you rarely go out planning to get your feet soaking wet.
Fortunately, when it comes to keeping your feet dry, knee-high rubber wellington boots are not your only option. There are other kinds of waterproof footwear, of course, but it is important to distinguish between waterproof and water-resistant. Waterproof footwear will keep water away regardless of whether you are skipping through a light drizzle or you are partially submerged in standing water—as long as it’s not deeper than the height of your shoe or boot! Water-resistant footwear should be able to keep your feet dry in said light drizzle but will be wholly ineffective if they are submerged.
This is because water resistance is a property of the material used to make the footwear, meaning it repels water. It does not guarantee that the footwear is completely sealed away from the outside, however. And, while the water-repelling nature of the footwear may be enough to stop the occasional raindrop or light splashing from reaching your feet, it will not be enough to keep a lot of water from finding a way in.
Why is Waterproofing Important?
The primary reason waterproofing is important is for the reason mentioned above; your comfort. Wet feet are fine for barefoot beach strolls and days at the waterpark, but they are not a fun time when they are in a pair of workboots on a long day, or hiking boots when you have miles left to go to get back to your car or camp.
Beyond your comfort, the main reason why waterproofing your boots is important is for the longevity of the boots themselves. There are few things as destructive as water in this world. Sure, water might not explode or catch fire, but whether it is the eroding of mountains over millions of years, or rotting the structural framework of a leaking roof, water can do some serious damage. Unfortunately, your boots are not exempt from this destructive force.
The outward-facing parts of your boots should be able to withstand a bit of moisture regardless of whether they are marketed as waterproof, water-resistant, or neither. No boot can expect to remain completely dry, and so no boot is going to fall apart at the slightest hint of wet time. Unfortunately, the fabrics that are invariably used throughout your boot—from breathable meshes to interior linings—are not so moisture resistant.
Fabrics that are not intended for exposure to water deteriorate much more quickly when they get wet, shortening the life expectancy of your boots. Beyond that, the porous materials make for a perfect breeding ground for mold, fungi, and bacteria, which is not ideal when you are going to be putting those boots on your feet.
Waterproofing Spray Versus Wax
We want to be able to tell you that one of these options is objectively better than the other. Unfortunately, that is not the case—the best option is the one that you can use on your particular pair of boots, as there are many situations when only one of the two solutions are suitable. For the rest, it may come down to a matter of personal preference. In any case, we’ll do our best to cover the main practical differences that might sway your decision.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that aerosol sprays are not always the best thing for your health—or the environment. Some aerosols contain harmful fluorocarbons that disperse into the surrounding air when you use the spray. In contrast, there is rarely anything dangerous about wax, and it is applied by rubbing it onto your boot directly, so even if there were harmful ingredients, they would stay on your boot. Wax also requires a little more work than spray because of that rubbing.
The next thing to note is that wax has something of a double-edged sword nature about it in that early applications of the wax can give your boots a luxurious finish. However, applying too much wax over time can lead to the boots taking on a “gummy” feel, which is less luxurious.
The last thing to note is that you should check any information regarding your boots for what you can and can’t use. For example, you cannot wax suede (or suede-like) materials. You also should avoid using waterproofing spray on sportswear with breathable meshes, as it will compromise the breathability of the footwear.
Rather than leave you to peruse through the vast selection of sprays and waxes on offer, keep reading for our list of best boot waterproofing sprays and wax solutions.
Top 10 Best Boot Waterproofing Sprays And Wax Reviews (Updated October 2020)
1. KIWI Boot Waterproofer
KIWI Boot Waterproofer is a silicon-based spray waterproofing solution that provides a quick and convenient way to waterproof your footwear. It is suitable for both leather and fabric, which should cover most styles of boot that aren’t waterproof out of the box. At 10.5 oz, this you get more spray in your can that with a lot of other spray options.
KIWI proudly boasts that this waterproofer is suitable for all materials and colors, including both work boots and outdoor boots. That being said, some customers have had a bad experience with white fabric shoes, so always patch test before spraying.
- Quick and easy application
- Suitable for all materials and colors
- Suitable for both work boots and outdoor boots
- Some customers report color change when using it on white fabric footwear
2. Bickmore Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent
Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent is another spray solution. This time, however, it is not silicon-based. Not being silicon-based gives this product the advantage of being suitable for use on fabric without causing issues with the fabric’s flexibility. The resulting layer of protection is also breathable, making it ideal for boots with a lot of fabric in their construction.
As the name suggests, this product is also built to resist stains, meaning it adds more than just a layer of protection against water. It is also environmentally friendly due to not being an aerosol spray, which has the additional benefit of making it suitable for indoor use.
- Non-silicon based formula is suitable for a range of materials, including fabric and suede
- Protects against stains
- Non-aerosol is suitable for indoor use and environmentally friendly
- Spray is extremely flammable
- While suitable for use with leather, it doesn’t produce much of a sheen
3. Saphir Medaille d’Or Super Invulner – Waterproof Spray
This offering from Saphir is yet another spray that boasts stain protection as part of its feature list. Though “leather” is specifically called out in the name, this spray is actually suitable for a range of materials, including suede and nubuck.
Application is as easy as you would expect from a spray solution, though it does require a longer drying time than many of the other sprays on this list. However, that additional drying time ensures that there are no white marks or discoloration of the boot, so it’s probably worth the wait. Though Saphir doesn’t make any specific claims about the lasting power of Super Invulner, some customers have reported their application of the spray remaining effective as much as eight months later.
- Suitable for a range of materials including delicate leathers, suede, and nubuck
- Protects against stains
- Customers report long-lasting protection
- Takes a little longer than average to dry once applied
4. Apple Brand Garde Rain & Stain Water Repellent
Apple Brand (not that Apple) Garde Rain & Stain Repellent does exactly what it says on the tin. Resistant to stains and repellent to water, Apple Brand promise that this spray won’t affect the appearance of your boots, nor will it leave them feeling sticky or gummy.
Unlike many of the other options in this list, this spray focuses entirely on leather, so it won’t be suitable for boots that have fabric components to them. That being said, Apple Brand is happy to let you know that you can use this spray to protect your other leather goods, such as handbags.
- Protects against stains as well as repelling water
- Suitable for use on a range of other leather products, such as handbags and coats
- Designed for leather products only, not suitable for fabrics or suede
5. Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing
Our first waterproofing wax on this list comes from Atsko, and promises to protect your leather from rain, sun, snow, and even salt. It promises to do this without the help of the oils and greases that many of its competitors use thanks to its pure beeswax formula.
The result is a product that produces a long-lasting finish that is even suitable for use on breathable fabrics and tent seams. Bear in mind that wax application takes a little more time and effort than a spray, but if you are looking for a more natural solution to your wet boots, you can do a lot worse than Arsko Sno-Seal.
- The completely natural formula is both safe to use indoors and environmentally-friendly
- Long-lasting finish
- Suitable for breathable materials as well as leather
- Hard finish makes using things like shoe polish a challenging prospect
6. Sof Sole Mink Oil for Conditioning and Waterproofing Leather
For something designed a higher class of footwear, we bring you Sof Sole Mink Oil. Designed with leather dress shoes in mind, this oil not only adds a water-repelling layer to your shoes but also restores the color and suppleness of the leather.
So effective is Sof Sole Mink Oil that you can use it to remove worn-in creases in older leather shoes, as the product revitalizes the leather to the point that creases can simply be buffed out.
- Restores the color and suppleness of leather shoes
- Revitalizes old leather
- Designed for leather only, so not suitable for fabrics and other materials
7. KIWI Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent 12 oz
Coming back to silicon-based sprays, KIWI’s Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent is a great all-purpose water repellant treatment for outdoor gear. Suitable for use on everything from your best hiking boots to tents and tarps, this spray makes waterproofing your gear quick and painless.
Like other silicon-based sprays, this product is highly flammable, so you’ll want to use it outside. Don’t worry, though; your boots won’t be flammable once the treatment has dried. Speaking of which, you’ll want to give it two coats for the best results.
- Quick and easy application
- Suitable for use on a wide range of outdoor gear
- Highly flammable, not suitable for indoor use
8. Otter Wax Boot Wax | 2oz | All-Natural Leather Waterproofer
Otter Wax Boot Wax is a heavy-duty sealing wax for leather products that produces a long-lasting protection. Made from all-natural ingredients, it hydrates the leather it is applied to, which has the dual effect of both revitalizing the leather and making it naturally water repellant since hydrated leather has no interest in absorbing more water.
Thanks to the natural ingredients, Otter Wax Boot Wax is environmentally-friendly, safe to use indoors, and suitable for use on other leather products, such as bags, coats, gloves, and more.
- All-natural ingredients are environmentally-friendly and safe for indoor use
- Suitable for use on other leather products
- Rehydrates dried out leather
- Not suitable for non-leather materials
9. Huberd’s Shoe Oil
Founded by the eponymous Mr. Huberd nearly a century ago, Huberd’s has been making high-quality shoe products for a long time. Mainly designed for use with leather, Huberd’s Shoe Oil doesn’t just waterproof your boots; it keeps them supple and soft.
The ingredients are non-toxic, making it suitable for indoor use. That being said, it is an oil, so make sure you prepare the area you are planning to work in to protect against accidental spillage. Like many leather-centric oils and waxes, Huberd’s Shoe Oil can be used on other leather products to waterproof them and revitalize the leather.
- Non-toxic formula is suitable for indoor use
- Revitalizes leather and keeps it soft and supple
- Suitable for use on other leather items
- Not suitable for non-leather materials
10. Cadillac Select Premium Water Repellent
This offering from Cadillac Select is a non-aerosol-based spray that is both silicon-free and environmentally-friendly. It doesn’t just repel water but also protects against stains from dirt, oil, and more. Being non-silicon-based, this Premium Water Repellent is suitable for use on breathable materials as well as the more common leather, but it should also breathe new life into any tired old leather boots you have lying around.
The solution is clear and should be suitable for use on a range of colors without worrying about staining or discoloration. That being said, it is always a good idea to do a test spray before going to town on your favorite pair of boots.
- The clear solution is suitable for a range of materials and colors
- Suitable for use on breathable materials
- Environmentally-friendly and suitable for use indoors
- Small bottle size means you might use up your supply quickly
How to Waterproof Boots
Knowing what the best boot waterproofing sprays and wax solutions are is only part of the battle; you have to know how to use them. Before we even attempt to guide you through the process of waterproofing your boots, please note that every product is different, and you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific wax or spray to ensure there are unusual steps involved. Still, many of the steps we are going to suggest here are a matter of preparation, and so should be more or less universal.
- Remove the laces. This is not a necessity, but it can help to keep them clean.
- Clean your boots. The goal here is to dislodge any loose dirt and get that muck that has taken up residence in the crevices and creases of your boot.
- Prepare an area. This is mostly for people using a spray, though wax can be messy as well. You should put something down under the area you are going to be working in, such as newspapers or an old blanket you don’t want anymore. It is not recommended to use sprays indoors, so if you are using a spray, consider preparing an area outside.
- For the application of your wax or spray, consult the instructions of your product.
The spray or wax you use should clearly inform you if you need to leave your boots for some time after applying the product. Once you are done, pop the lid back on your spray or wax and clear your work area, and you’re done!
Waterproofing your boots is a great way to extend their lives, especially if you expect to be shuffling around in damp conditions on a regular basis. It will also significantly improve your experience wearing them in said damp conditions, and may even protect your feet from catching a nasty fungus or bacterial infection.