DIY Boot Waterproofing?

I have a nice ($15) pair of steel-toed work boots that are great, but they aren't waterproof. Being too lazy to buy actual boot waterproofer, I would like to know if anyone knows whether spray enamel (clear coat) would do the same thing. My boots are leather (synthetic, I'm sure) and nylon (I think). I could probably mask the leather off, so it would not be affected by overspray. I was just wondering, in case anyone ha ever done this before. Thanks!

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Rishnai9 years ago
Hmm... I have a nice set of real leather steel-toe workboots that were allegedly waterproof from the factory, so I don't know if all of these tricks would work on pleather/nylon. Of course, they weren't, as I learned in the first rainstorm, so I had to figure it out myself.

I personally reccommend keeping your boots very well oiled, with mink oil, not the synthetic stuff. It's solid at room temperature. Wal-Mart has it, but the Red Wings stuff works a heck of a lot better. If you can accidentally spill half a pint of chainsaw oil on your boot and watch it soak in, you need to oil them (as I learned the hard way... I thought I had them oiled enough, but apparently not.) Oiling them generously every four weeks (and after each time they get wet), makes them just about as waterproof as you can ask for.

Spray enamel paint WILL waterproof your boots, but it will crack and flake off promptly as soon as you start walking and it flexes the material. So not to mention the dangers of solvents damaging the chemnical integrity of the boot material, discoloring things, and giving yourself the jungle rot, don't paint 'em, it won't do much to keep water out.

I tried caulking my old hiking boots once with that semi-clear silicone caulk. They were a real annoying nylon-and-wtf-is-that-naugahyde? comination... the sort that screams "I'm a backpacker!" They also wouldn't hold a traditional silicone waterproofing spray, and didn't seem to be sewn together well enough to fend off a single determined raindrop. I put them on, and then slathered the tops of the boots with caulk. Using folded computer paper as a trowel, I then spread the caulk all over the boots until it was thin enough to be almost optically clear (probably 3/16 inch). Then I proceeded with my day as normal until the caulk dried, and tested the waterproofness. It worked, and kept working for about a year until I bought my new and improved workboots. I guess if anyone had looked hard at my shoes, the caulk would have screamed "I'm a dork!" but that never happened, and my feet stayed dry and jungle-rot-free, assuming I remembered to spray a bunch of Lysol inside the boots after I took 'em off.
Big Bwana9 years ago
Silicone spray works great and so does mineral oil, you don't need to soak it, just put some on a rag and wipe it on your boots, let it dry to touch and reapply every couple of months as needed...
gnomedriver10 years ago
Leather has to breathe and coating it with lacquer blocks the pores.
So as your feet sweat, and typically an average male foot exudes a quarter of a litre of sweat
a day, this water has no where to go and sits inside.

The boot lining then rots out. This warm damp environment makes a wonderful place for toe jam to grow. Nice.

I prefer leather hiking boots over gor-tex ones. I get 2 to 3 years of hard use out of leather compared to the 12 or so months outta gor-tex. Plus when traveling I can wear them with jeans and they don’t look like Im a backpacker is written over them.

I use Dubbin on them. It is oily and waxy at the same time. Water doesn’t seep in and it nourishes the leather as well. Cheap as chips as well.

In a pinch I used olive oil but that can lead to mould growing if you have left your boots in a damp place.

Ive worked in a place where the new guy, with the new boots, has them blessed with paint, oil etc by his work mates. And Ive seen boots with the toe cap on the outside been welded to a steel roof beam and the owner comes in the morning and had to climb a ladder and grind his boots off the roof before he can put them on. Engineers, a charming bunch of fellows using their skills for imaginative fun.
I highly doubt clear coat would do much at all.
except the solvents may just dry out the leather / pleather.
NachoMahma10 years ago
. I've had real good luck with Cavalier Ever-Dri from Kiwi Brands. The bottle says it works on nylon, too. It doesn't make the boots water-proof , but they will be very water-repellant.
. Waxing, IMNSHO, works too well (doesn't breathe) and wears out too fast. But it's pretty easy and cheap to do.
. My feet sweat a lot and if my boots are water-proof the inside of my boots start getting damp. If you're feet are reasonably dry, water-proofing may work for you.
Pat Sowers10 years ago
i used hot wax on my boots before and it worked for a wile...... but its not the best thing because you have to do it every time you go out....
ledzep56710 years ago
get a bread bag(the kind that bread come in) slip your boot into it, cut out the sole. super glue it to the side of the glue, then use a rubber band to seal it at the top. that way you can remove the rubberband to tie it. and theoretically it is waterproof
Kiteman10 years ago
Sorry, your best bet is a water-repelling spray like Scotchguard or similar. Real leather can be waterproofed with waxes, but a decent shoe polish will do the job perfectly if applied properly and regularly.