June 3


How to Waterproof Hiking Shoes

By Teddy

June 3, 2023

Hiking is an adventurous activity that allows you to explore the beauty of nature. However, hiking often involves unpredictable weather conditions, including rain, streams, or wet terrain. To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience, it is crucial to have waterproof hiking shoes. This article will guide you on how to waterproof your hiking shoes effectively, keeping your feet dry and protected during your outdoor adventures.

Why Waterproof Hiking Shoes?

Before we delve into the process of waterproofing your hiking shoes, let’s understand why it is essential. Waterproofing your shoes provides a barrier against moisture, preventing water from seeping into the shoe’s interior. By keeping your feet dry, you can avoid discomfort, blisters, and the risk of fungal infections. Additionally, waterproof shoes offer better insulation, especially in colder or wet conditions, keeping your feet warm and comfortable.

Different Waterproofing Methods

There are various methods to waterproof hiking shoes, each with its advantages and suitability based on shoe material and personal preference. The most common methods include using waterproofing sprays, applying wax or sealants, and using specialized waterproofing agents.

Choosing Waterproof Hiking Shoes

When selecting hiking shoes, it is crucial to choose a pair that is designed to be waterproof or has waterproof materials. Look for shoes made from waterproof membranes such as Gore-Tex or eVent, which provide excellent water resistance while allowing breathability. It’s also important to consider the shoe’s fit, support, and traction to ensure a comfortable and safe hiking experience.

Preparing the Shoes for Waterproofing

Before waterproofing your hiking shoes, you need to prepare them properly. Start by cleaning the shoes thoroughly, removing any dirt or debris. Use a soft brush or cloth and mild soap to gently scrub the shoes, paying attention to seams and crevices. Once cleaned, allow the shoes to dry completely before applying any waterproofing treatment.

Waterproofing Techniques

Now, let’s explore different techniques for waterproofing your hiking shoes:

Using Waterproofing Sprays

Waterproofing sprays are a popular and convenient option for waterproofing hiking shoes. Choose a spray specifically designed for footwear and follow the instructions provided. Before applying the spray, ensure the shoes are clean and dry. Hold the spray can approximately 6-8 inches away from the shoe’s surface and apply an even layer. Pay attention to seams and areas prone to water penetration. Allow the shoes to dry completely before using them.

Applying Wax or Sealants

Another effective method to waterproof hiking shoes is by applying wax or sealants. Beeswax-based products or specialized shoe wax are commonly used for this purpose. Start by warming the wax or sealant using a hairdryer or by rubbing it gently between your fingers. Apply the wax evenly over the shoe’s surface, focusing on seams and areas vulnerable to water ingress. Use a cloth or brush to ensure the wax is evenly distributed. Heat the wax again to help it penetrate the shoe’s material. Once applied, allow the shoes to dry and set the wax before using them.

Using Waterproofing Agents

Waterproofing agents, such as specialized waterproofing solutions or Nikwax products, provide an effective way to waterproof your hiking shoes. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the specific product you choose. Generally, you will need to apply the solution using a sponge, brush, or cloth. Ensure the shoes are clean and dry before applying the waterproofing agent. Pay attention to seams, stitching, and high-wear areas. Allow the shoes to dry completely before using them.

Maintaining Waterproofing

To ensure the longevity of waterproofing on your hiking shoes, proper maintenance is essential. After each hike, clean your shoes and remove any dirt or debris that could compromise the waterproofing. Regularly inspect your shoes for signs of wear or damage and address them promptly. Depending on usage and environmental conditions, you may need to reapply the waterproofing treatment periodically. Follow the instructions provided with the specific product you use.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When waterproofing your hiking shoes, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes that can affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Avoid rushing through the process and ensure the shoes are thoroughly cleaned and dry before applying any waterproofing treatment. Use the appropriate product for your shoe material, as different shoes may require different types of waterproofing. Additionally, pay attention to seams, crevices, and high-wear areas, as they are more prone to water penetration.


  1. Q: How long does the waterproofing treatment last? A: The durability of waterproofing treatment varies depending on factors such as shoe material, usage, and environmental conditions. It is recommended to reapply the treatment periodically or when you notice a decrease in water repellency.
  2. Q: Can I use the same waterproofing product for different shoe materials? A: It is important to use the appropriate product for your specific shoe material. Different materials may require different types of waterproofing treatments, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines for compatibility.
  3. Q: Can I machine wash my waterproof hiking shoes? A: Machine washing can damage the waterproofing treatment and compromise the shoe’s integrity. It is generally recommended to clean hiking shoes by hand using a soft brush or cloth.
  4. Q: Are all hiking shoes waterproof? A: No, not all hiking shoes are waterproof. It is essential to check the shoe specifications and look for shoes explicitly designed to be waterproof or made from waterproof materials.
  5. Q: Can I use waterproofing treatments on old shoes? A: Yes, waterproofing treatments can be used on old shoes to restore their water resistance. However, it’s important to ensure the shoes are clean and in good condition before applying any treatment.

Waterproofing your hiking shoes is crucial to enhance your hiking experience by keeping your feet dry and comfortable. By following the techniques discussed in this article, such as using waterproofing sprays, applying wax or sealants, and using specialized waterproofing agents, you can ensure that your hiking shoes are adequately protected against moisture. Remember to maintain your waterproofing and avoid common mistakes to enjoy dry and comfortable hikes in any weather condition.

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