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In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how waterproof hiking boots work.
How to Keep Your Feet Dry in Hiking Boots
Before we go into the various materials and features used in hiking boots, let’s look at some of the basics.
1. Check for Seams
The seams are one of the most common sources of water intrusion in hiking boots.
If you’re wearing your boots in wet conditions, check to ensure that the seams are packed out with seam sealer or waterproof tape.
2. Make Sure the Zipper is Waterproofed
Waterproofing your boots is essential if you plan to be outside in wet conditions with them.
You can waterproof your zipper by applying a seam sealer or a silicone spray to the zipper and the area around it. If this isn’t enough, you can choose a pair of boots with a waterproof zipper.
3. Try to Avoid moisture
You can help avoid the introduction of moisture into your boots by using a waterproof barrier.
Keep water from seeping through tiny cracks in your boots or forming on your socks while you’re inside them. You can find breathable socks made with a waterproof coating, or you can use bandanas as waterproof barriers.
4. Wear Thicker Socks
Wearing thicker socks will make it less likely that your boots will soak through.
You’ll also want to make sure you wear the correct size in your boots. If you are wearing larger or smaller-size boots, you may need to go up or down a size or two in your socks.
Adjusting size will help maintain a comfortable fit and reduce the chance that moisture will form inside your boots.
5. For Wet Conditions, Wear Waterproof Liners
If you find yourself in wet conditions, consider wearing waterproof liners inside your boots. These will keep the front of your boots from becoming waterlogged and will keep your feet dry while you hike.
Various features can help make hiking shoes more weather-resistant or waterproof. Review the benefits and drawbacks of each feature:
1. Stiff Soles
Stiff soles are not very comfortable to walk in, even in dry conditions.
When hiking in wet conditions, consider boots with a flexible sole.
2. Waterproof Padding
Many different waterproofing materials can be used on hiking boots: plastic film, Gore-Tex membrane, and Thinsulate insulation.
GEAR AID Revivex Suede Protector and Fabric Water Repellent for Shoes and Boots, 4 fl oz, Clear
GEAR AID Revivex Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Spray Enhances, Restores Performance on Waterproof-Breathable Nylon Fabrics, Jackets, GORE-TEX, Paddle, Fishing and Camping Gear, Aerosol 10.5 oz
JobSite Warm Feet Thermal Insoles – 3M Thinsulate Insulation – Men 8-13 Women 6-11 – 1 Pair
Most of them perform the same way and act as water barriers and a waterproofing layer between the outer fabric of your boots and the ground.
As a result, they protect against moisture and water infiltration while hiking, rain or snow.
You will also find different types of insulating materials used in hiking boots. These include:
Down or goose down: These are the most traditional and comfortable ways to insulate your boots. They’re also effective at preventing sweating during extremely cold conditions.
As a downside, these are expensive, and they promote mildew growth because they can retain moisture.
Wool: Wool is a natural insulator that’s both warm and well-suited to keeping your feet dry.
Also, wool is a renewable resource, and it can be made into different types of products.
4. Waterproof Zippers
Waterproof zippers are one of the most effective ways to keep water out of your boots. They prevent water from entering through the zipper area and can help keep your feet dry even if you’re hiking in wet conditions.
Some boots have them already built-in, while others can be purchased separately.
Waterproof hiking boots are suitable for protecting your feet from the elements and keeping them dry during warm or rainy conditions. However, not all waterproof boots are equal.
Make sure you know what is included in the features you’re looking for so that you’ll make an informed choice.
5. Lacing System
The lacing system on your boots will also help to keep water out.
Dry lacing: Dry lacing is used on hiking boots that use a thin rope instead of standard boot laces to keep them securely in place. It’s much more stable than standard laces and provides better insulation, too.
This lacing system works well in wet conditions and can be easier to use than traditional boot lace setups.
Water-resistance technology: These boots have one or more components that prevent water from entering the boot while in use.
Some boots have water-resistant technology, and others may have waterproof zipper seals. Some of them also have a material with a high vapor barrier.
6. Vibram Footbeds
Vibram is a brand that makes footwear out of natural materials and specializes in products for people who hike extensively.
Vibram hiking boots have a Vibram rubber footbed. The surface area is made from natural rubber, and it’s designed to be especially good at wicking moisture away from your feet.
Properly made, Vibram footbeds will provide excellent weather protection, as well as an environment in which your feet will remain comfortable.
Vibram FiveFingers Men’s V-Trail 2.0 Trail Running Shoes
Vibram Five Fingers Men’s V-Alpha Hiking Shoe (42 EU/9.0-9.5 US, Black)
Vibram Men’s s V-Trek Khaki/Black Hiking Shoe
7. Sock Liners That Fit the Boot
You can use specially constructed boot liners that stick to the bottom of your hiking boots. They’ll fit into your boots and provide weather protection when in use.
They are also good at keeping your feet dry while they’re not in the boots, too.
Fox River Outdoor Wick Dry Alturas Ultra-Lightweight Liner Socks