The guide to waterproofing your work boots

Published by 
Al Roberts
Last updated: 
May 10, 2024

How to Waterproof Boots – 3 Methods with Step-by-Step Rundown

Updated 02/2018. Have you ever had to spend a day at work with wet feet?  It totally sucks – guaranteed to ruin your day. We all have to deal with water at some stage during work, and for some people, it’s a daily battle. If you’re constantly wondering how your feet got wet, again and again, maybe you need to look at getting a pair of the best waterproof boots around (which will typically be made of rubber).

If you don’t need such a hardcore waterproof type of boot, but are just looking for a way to improve the general waterproof-ness of your current boots, you’ve come to the right place. There are three ways you can do this. Before we dive in, it’s important to remember that you cant ever completely waterproof leather boots, but all you can do is slow the water coming in; you can never completely stop it.

The Three Best Ways to Waterproof Your Work Boots

To waterproof your leather boots, you have three options:

  1. Creams, pastes, and waxes
  2. Waterproofing spray
  3. The desperate DIY way (temporary only)

1. How to Waterproof Boots with Waterproofing Creams, Pastes, and Waxes

This is the easiest and quickest way to waterproof your boots, but you must reapply every few weeks if you want to keep those toes dry. There is an ongoing debate about which product works the best, so its best you check this page for our top picks.

How to do it:

  • First things first, remove all that dirt and mud from your boots you dirty child. You can grab a tube of footwear cleaning cream to do this, but a little dishwashing liquid and water will work fine. Scrub your boots with a soft brush and Make sure you rinse after scrubbing.
  • Using a CLEAN cloth to generously apply the paste to your shoe, making sure to rub in a circular motion. DO NOT forget the seams.
  • After ‘working it in’ for a few minutes, use another cloth to rub off any excess.
  • Leave your boots to dry overnight.

2. How to Waterproof Boots with Waterproofing Sprays

These are a good option if you’re a little lazy and time poor, just spray on and be done with it. Like cream, you should really reapply every few weeks to maintain the dryness.

Use silicone or oil based spray if you’re sporting tight-grained leather (which is smooth looking), or use acrylic copolymer (known as ‘water repellent’) if your boots are nubuck leather or suede (which has more of a rough, hairy look).

How to do it:

  • Remove all dirt and mud from your boots using footwear cleaning cream or soap and water.
  • Hold the can 6 inches away from your boots and start spraying, making sure to apply a few thin coats, rather than one thick coat.
  • Let boots dry overnight.

Note: read the instructions on the can as some types require a second coat.

3. How to Waterproof Boots – The Desperate DIY Way

If you need to waterproof your boots in a hurry and you cant get a paste or spray, you can try the following quick-fix methods. However, remember that they are only temporary. You must give your boots a damn good scrub before reapplying with a legitimate cream or spray next time.

  • Transmission oil – grab some and smear it all over your boots before you start work. This will repel water fine, but your boots may turn red!
  • Clear coat enamel spray – if you have a can of this lying around give your boots a few coats- it will crack and flake easily though, so don’t expect it to last
  • Vaseline cream – really only to be used as a last resort, rub it in as you would rub in a waterproofing cream, but don’t expect it to last long.

Keeping the Water Out

So, now that you know how to waterproof your hardcore work boots, which product will you choose? Well, why don’t you check out our top picks on the best waterproofing products here, it will make the decision a lot easier for you.

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