How to Waterproof Hiking Boots

Having waterproof boots is essential for any hiker. Having wet feet is no fun at all and, at its most extreme, can actually be harmful.

After you’ve broken in your new boots and worn them for several miles, you may find they begin to let in water, which is no fun at all, especially in cold and miserable conditions when drying your feet again is not an option.

Since the best way to keep morale high on your hikes is to make sure to keep your hiking boots waterproof, we’re going to share with you some helpful tips on how you can waterproof your hiking boots well, to ensure that you enjoy your hiking experience.

The first step is to know what material you are working with.

What Are Your Hiking Boots Made Of?

Boots are made of different materials which need treating differently to keep them waterproof.

  • Synthetic materials. Boots made out of synthetic materials are lightweight and flexible. They are also breathable, which makes them comfortable for you to wear when you are hiking. Moreover, boots made out of synthetic materials like nylon are good to waterproof.
  • Leather. This is a more conventional boot material. Leather boots are very durable but not breathable. So, while they can be made waterproof, your feet can still get wet from being hot and sweaty.
  • Suede. A suede hiking boot is quite similar to the leather boot, but it is lighter and thinner. However, it is still not breathable, and it is also not recommended to be used for hiking during rainy weather. Even when suede is treated, it won’t be able to repel moisture.
A pair of modern synthetic hiikng boots
Modern, synthetic boots are best for waterproof yet breathable hiking

Make sure you know the type of material your hiking boots are made of before starting to waterproof them so you use the correct waterproofing product.

Choose an Appropriate Product for Waterproofing

There are different products you can use to waterproof your boots. Here’s our guide to which work best with your hiking boot material.


Wax is an adequate waterproof product that works best with leather shoes.

When you are using wax to waterproof your boots, ensure that you heat it to make it pliable so that it is easy to apply. You can use a heat gun or a hairdryer to heat the wax.

It is best to use the applicator cloth provided when you buy the wax.

Find waterproofing wax on Amazon.

Waterproofing Spray

There is a waterproofing spray for all the different types of materials used to make hiking boots, which is why you should choose the most suitable formula for your hiking boot material.

When you are applying the waterproofing spray to your boot, ensure that you hold the shoes at least 6 inches from the spray. Also, ensure that you spray the boots in a uniform thickness, and wipe off any excess spray.

Find waterproofing spray on Amazon.

Waterproofing Boot Cream

Creams can also be used to waterproof hiking boots made of any material. When applying the cream, ensure that you rub it on the boots properly, and give it some adequate time to soak in and dry. Furthermore, ensure that you also get the cream into the crevices and the boot’s seams.

Find waterproofing cream on Amazon.

Ensure that you read all the information on the labels of the products you buy to waterproof your boots. Be sure to check that they are suitable for your hiking boot material before you purchase the product.

Also, be aware that some products may also alter your hiking boot color.

Clean Your Boots Before Waterproofing

Before waterproofing your boots, you must ensure that they are clean.

If you waterproof your boots while they are dirty, the waterproofing material will not protect the parts of your boots covered in dirt. See our guide to cleaning hiking boots for more detail.

Remove the laces before you begin and use clean water and gentle, safe cleaning products.

After cleaning, allow the boots to dry naturally before applying the waterproofing treatment.

However, if your hiking boots are made of leather, you should leave them a little damp to allow the waterproofing product to soak in to them adequately.

Dry The Boots After Waterproofing

After waterproofing your boots according to the instructions on your product, you should ensure that you dry them properly for a second time, allowing the waterproof product to soak into the material.

Again, let them dry naturally. Using additional heat, such as a hairdryer, will damage your hiking boots.

Ideally, set aside a whole night to leave your boots to dry before using them. This will ensure that your boots are adequately dry, and provide you with the comfort you deserve when hiking.

Waterproof Your Boots Regularly

Finally, you should ensure that you waterproof your hiking boots regularly for the best results, especially if you cover a lot of miles.

Any additional waterproofing material you apply is worn off over time. When you notice your boots start to let in water again, take immediate action.

Ideally, a proactive waterproofing every three months or four months should provide comfortable feet, and help your boots last longer!