By Jayden Mark
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.
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.
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.
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.