If you’ve ever had to spend all day working in wet conditions, then you know just how uncomfortable the feeling is. Personally, I hate wet, sploshy boots so much that I would rather step on sharp nails. At least then I’d be sure my steel shank will save me from some serious impalement. Now, while most decent work boots come with Gore-Tex or some similar waterproof lining to keep you dry, unforgiving working conditions and miles of daily abuse tend to eventually break down even the toughest waterproof coatings.
The scuffing, battering, constant flexing, piercings, excessive heat and cold as well as general wear and tear will leave your boot so porous it’ll feel like a pair of socks in no time. Typically, the average work boot will start leaking after doing about 50 miles on rough terrain or brutal working environments. So, what do you do when your favorite pair of boots start leaking? As always, we’re ever looking out for your wallet as well as your safety and comfort on the job. That’s why we’ve done the hard yards to give you some DIY techniques on how to waterproof your leaking boots.
1. Buy Proofing Products
When it comes to keeping moisture from seeping into your socks and feet, this is without question the easiest, cleanest and quickest way to waterproof your worn out work boots. However, you’ll have to reapply every once in a while to ensure they maintain maximum efficiency. Some of the waterproofing products include:
Almost all types of footwear can benefit from waterproofing oils to keep out unwanted moisture as well as enhance the lifespan of your boots. You can use oils such as neatsfoot, mineral or mink on the leather uppers of your boot. However, it is advisable not to apply these oils too liberally. Over-saturation of leather with too much oil can cause the fibers to separate and lose color.
For many seasoned workers who know the outdoors in and out, their waterproofing methods come from natural materials and traditional techniques. One of these all natural methods involves the use of cream made from sheep’s wool oil referred to as lanolin. The great thing about lanolin is that it becomes solid when it cools, making it the perfect candidate for quick waterproofing. Lanolin creams are spread on the uppers of your work boots and worked in with a soft cloth to make your leather water resistant and more pliable. However, the cream is not recommended for suede or fabric uppers.
Some proofing materials come as a paste available at your nearest shoe store. Paste has the advantage of seeping into even the smallest holes and cracks to create a highly waterproof surface. Unlike oils, pastes made for boots can be used generously.
Another highly popular method for waterproofing work boots is by using good old beeswax. When using wax, you need to warm both the wax and your boots to make them more pliable. Once you apply your wax, you will have to heat up the boots again to smoothen out all uneven edges. Allow the boot to cure in a warm, dry place for about a day. You will notice that your uppers become permanently darker, stiffer, but very waterproof.
How to Do It:
The first step to using oils, creams, waxes and pastes is to remove all the mud and dirt from your boots. Freshly cleaned work boots are the best. Depending on whether you’re a real man or not, you will then proceed to apply the product generously on your hand or with a clean cloth. Rub in a circular motion and be careful not to skip out the seams. After working the uppers for well over 5 minutes, rub off the excess product with a cloth. Leave your boots to dry and cure overnight for best results.
2. Improvise With These DIYs
If you’re smack dab in the middle of work, the jungle or far away that you can’t get a paste or cream, you can try the following quick fix techniques to ensure your feet remain as dry as possible. But as with anything impromptu, the results are temporary; so make sure you do it right later on once you get home. Here are the top 3 most clever boot waterproofing tricks that will save your hide from wet, soggy feet.
That’s right, no matter where you are, there’s always someone with a tube of Vaseline somewhere. If you literally can’t find anything else, Vaseline will work fine in generous proportions. However, don’t expect it to last any longer than a couple of hours. Also, don’t use your boss’s or girlfriends Vaseline because then everyone will think you used it for something less work related.
Clear Coat Enamel Spray
Working in the construction industry? Chances are that you can get your hands on clear enamel spray or finishing paint. A few generously applied coats should give your boots some form of water resistance, but it will likely flake and crack very easily.
Washing your work boots is going to be a nightmare after this one, but transmission oil will offer your feet more moisture protection. To nail this method, grab some oil and smear generously all over the uppers of your work boots. This technique will repel water just fine, but it has the disadvantage of turning certain boots red. Word of caution; careful not to empty your transmission fluid, driving home might prove a tad too tricky if you do.