Are Waterproof Shoes Really Waterproof? – Truth Facts!

I bought shoes for hiking and outdoor usage. I have no proper idea about waterproofing and water resistance. When I use my shoes, I could feel that water soaking inside the shoes quickly. So I tried to seek about these things and finally, I could find, what are they really waterproof shoes.

Generally, waterproof shoes are really waterproof to prevent water from leaking inside the shoes. 10,000-20,000 mm waterproofness is sufficient for traveling in wet environments, snow, and ice. Waterproof shoes are breathable to transfer water vapor produced by the legs to stop the sweating.

Waterproofing shoes are really important for outdoor activities. Waterproof shoes are made with synthetic and natural materials. These materials are with different properties. Some are highly waterproof, and some are water-resistant. So let’s see are waterproof shoes are really waterproof with so many questions that have risen to your mind.

How to Check the Waterproof Shoes?

You can simply check the waterproof shoes by immersing the shoe in the water bath until the ankle depth. If there is no water soaking inside the shoe, it is really waterproof.

If you have a problem regarding waterproof shoes, these 08 problems and solutions guide will help you quickly.

Different Between Waterproof, Water Resistance and Water Repellent

Waterproof, Water resistance and water repellent difference

Waterproof and Water Resistance

Waterproof and water-resistance are two categories. Waterproofing does not leak inside the water, and water resistance is water can be a leak inside the water, but it will not damage the structure. This is a simple explanation of this.

Normally we need waterproof shoes, not water resistance. Waterproof shoes are the most important for us. We have to travel in wet environments such as rain, snow, and ice.

If water is leaking inside the shoe, it will be another problem. So we should know whether the shoe is waterproof or water-resistant.

Waterproofness is measured by the water column height. 1-inch diameter tube is filled with water, and the end is closed with the tested fabric. When the height is increased, its pressure is increased. Therefore it lets to leak through the fabric. Nowadays, there are machines to do this without filling water.

Water Repellent

Water repellents are not fully waterproof. Those are the applied layer with repel water intrusion. When the layer is damaged, its waterproofness is over. So water repellents are not permanent waterproof.

You can read in-depth about Water Repellent Fabrics Vs. Waterproof Fabrics here

Are Waterproof Shoes Breathable?

Are Waterproof Shoes Breathable
Are Waterproof Shoes Breathable

Waterproof shoes should be breathable every time. Because the human body produces water vapor and it should be removed in order to prevent sweating. So shoe fabrics must be breathable. If that is not breathable, blisters can occur. You can help these 04 Tips to Choose the Right Waterproof Shoes

Normally waterproof fabrics are with small pores. Those pores are smaller than liquid water molecular size. Hence it will not transfer through these pores. In Gore-Tex, it can be 9 billion pores per 1 square inch.

But pores diameter is more than the vapor water molecular size. Due to this reason, vapor water can be transferred through the pores.

Sweating is a process of vapor water production of the body. Hence any fabric we wear should be breathable. As well as there are different levels of breathability.

According to our work sweating rate can be different. Imagine running makes more sweating than walking. So we should select suitable breathability fabric shoes for hiking, walking, snow walking, and many more.

These are my 09 Best Waterproof and Breathable Fabrics . So you can try it.

What Happens When there is More Breathable?

When there is more breathable value, your product water vapor will leak to an outside high rate. This will cool you rapidly. When you are in a cold environment, this is a serious problem. Your feet can be cold according to the outer environment. So when you select the waterproof shoes, make sure what are the suitable terrains of that shoe.

Read More About – Waterproof Process in Footwear Industry

What are the Waterproof Shoe Materials?

Waterproof Fabric Mechanism

There are two types of waterproof materials. Those are conventional and modern. People used bee wax, animal oils, and tar as conventional materials in the later 18 century.

Modern materials are most synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex, Dry-Vent, eVent, Patagonia, Marmot, and many more. But waterproof fabrics are successfully developed by Gore-Tex.

Most shoe brands use Gore-Tex fabrics for their products. So it is a great opportunity to use the best-developed product.

Modern Gore-Tex is using ePTFE membranes. Additionally, the ePTFE membrane, an anti-contaminant PU layer, is coated, and the shell displays a hydrophilic monolithic character.

Waterproof fabrics are made with combined few layers. Those are outer materials. Protective knit, Membrane, Insulation, and lining (Inner material)

Each material is with different characteristics.

Usage of Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof shoes are used for many reasons. Mainly it uses for,

  • Hiking,
  • Exploring
  • Traveling
  • Walking
  • Military purposes
  • Rock climbing
  • Construction purposes

Can Waterproof Shoes be Used in Snow or Ice?

waterproof shoes on snow
Use waterproof shoes on snow

Waterproof shoes can be used in snow and ice due to their waterproofness and breathability. Waterproofing will help to prevent water from leaking inside the feet. Breathability will help to keep the warmth of the feet. Hence waterproof shoes are really important to use in Ice or Snow.

Ice and snow are wet environments. Those are with water. So when you use shoes, they must be waterproof. Else your feet can be damaged with cold and water. You will need high-value waterproof shoes to use here.

Breathability is another factor in the value of water vapor transfer rate. When in a snow and ice environment, you definitely need low breathability waterproof shoes. Because in cold environments, body warm is more important. If you use high breathability waterproof shoes, your body will be cool rapidly.

Waterproof rating
hydrostatic head (mm)
Weather Conditions
0–5000 mmLight rain, dry snow, no
6000–10,000 mmLight rain, average snow,
light pressure
11,000–15,000 mmModerate rain, average
snow, light pressure
16,000–20,000 mmHeavy rain, wet snow,
some pressure
20,000 mm overHeavy rain, wet snow,
high pressure
Source: Waterproof and Water Repellent Textiles and Clothing by John T Williams (

Read More About – Why Waterproof Shoes Cool the Feet? – With Solutions!

Are Military Boots Waterproof?

Normally military uses waterproof boots in wet areas such as jungle and coastal areas. But dry environments such as Iraq, Afghanistan, middle east do not use waterproof boots. But the boots should be breathable to avoid inner sweating.

Military boots are with thermal insulation layers can prevent heat from transferring to the inside.

Is Hiking Shoes Waterproof?

When you are hiking in a wet environmental area, your shoe must be waterproof. It is enough to have 15,000 mm waterproofness of your shoes. That will resist Moderate rain, average snow, and light pressure. But if you are in heavy rain, you must use more than 20,000 mm waterproof shoes with breathability.

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Owner Randy Organ

Randy Organ

I am Randy Organ, a researcher as well as 10 years experienced technician for home construction. My hobby is studying new problems and seek well technical and modern solutions. Water is an invaluable resource. But it hurt much more to many more industries. Structures and electrical are a few of them. Here I try to find ways and solutions for the water leaking