Waterproofing leather boots

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by tattoogunman, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    Going out on a limb here - I need to waterproof some boots. There seem to be any number of products on the market that all seem to do the same thing (more or less). They range from rub in pastes/waxes/oils to straight beeswax to aerosol sprays that you simply spray on (seems to be the easiest), etc.

    Anyone have any real world experience with any of these? There is Nikwax, Aquaseal, Snoseal, All Dri, Kiwi products, Chelsea, etc. and I really can't find anything that indicates one is any better than the other.

    This would be in conjunction with rain covers, I'm just looking for something that will add a layer of protection in light to moderate rain until I can get covers on.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. duck

    duck Banned

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  3. ak bike

    ak bike Been here awhile

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    Been using snow seal for about 50 some years with pretty good results . Generally use a hair drier to warm up the boots and let the Sno seal soak in. I m sure there's lots of stuff that works. I've just had good luck with what I'm using.
    #3
  4. k-ris

    k-ris antisocial

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    Mink oil does a good job on my workboots. Just have to re-apply every couple of weeks, real easy to do though. Haven't done long rides in heavy downpours in them, but my 1/2hr commute I stay dry!
    #4
  5. The Dirty One

    The Dirty One Been here awhile

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    Beeswax.rub on and around seams liberally.use sunshine or other heat to let it melt in.waterproofs,conditions,adds years to the item being treated.
    #5
  6. roostar

    roostar Been here awhile

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    As a former Northern Michigan country boy I can attest to the waterproofing properties of Snow Seal. Nothing better. Just make sure you use heat to allow it to sink into the leather.
    #6
  7. Walterxr650l

    Walterxr650l Long timer

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    Backpacker magazine did a test a number of years back. They tested most of the popular water proofing treatments on the market. I think it was the Military's standard they tested to. Anyway the leather had to not leak through 15,000 flexes to be considered waterproof. The only two treatments that passed were a spray from Tectron, and aqueous wax from Nikwax. I have used the Aqueous wax with good results. But anymore I don't try to waterproof my boots. I try to keep them oiled to keep the leather in good shape, and rely on a pair of sealskinz to keep my feet dry.

    Walter
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  8. StuartV

    StuartV Motorcyclist

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    I got my Combat Touring Boots 14 1/2 years ago. I put on 3 coats of Aquaseal immediately and then a new coat every year or two. 100K+ miles later, my feet have never gotten wet in them and they are still in great shape. And I have never worn any kind of cover over them.
    #8
  9. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    The nikwax stuff mentioned earlier was what I had the best luck with.
    I had little luck with either of the two sno seal snow seal products blue and whit can and plastic tub with orange lid.
    Today I don't seal my boots and the last longer. I use liner socks to keep my feet dry.
    #9
  10. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

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    SnoSeal is a great product. Be sure your boots are bone dry and use a hairdryer to get as much wax soaked in as possible.
    Avoid mink oil because it will rot some stitching; it does softens leather well but isn't for expensive boots.
    #10
  11. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    I have had good luck with KIWI brand black shoe polish (which is mostly wax). Warm the boots, rub it in good, buff excess off. Shiny.

    I agree with Walter, though. Waterproof leather/Government intelligence.
    #11
  12. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    This is the way I do it.
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  13. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    Thanks all, I've had more than one person recommend the Nikwax.
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  14. StuartV

    StuartV Motorcyclist

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    How long do they last?!?

    I've been treating my boots with Aquaseal for over 14 years. I just got them resoled and shined up and when my g/f saw them she exclaimed "wow! They look like new!"
    #14
  15. BigEasy

    BigEasy Long timer

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    Another vote with 40+ years of being a happy camper. I don't know that it's the best, but I know it works well enough that I've never had to try anything else.

    And FWIW, I work outside as well as play outside so I'm outdoors 300+ days a year regardless of the weather.
    #15
  16. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    So here is the next question with regards to Sno Seal - there seem to be a variety of companies that sell "sno seal". I guess Sno Seal is the original company and the rest just sell a similar product? I found Penguin Sno Seal and Tectronic Sno Seal (sold locally at REI) - I'm guessing they are the same thing? They all say beeswax treatment....
    #16
  17. jnw010

    jnw010 n00b

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    Nikwax Aqueous is what I use, and have used for 20 years. On a new pair of boots I apply it every day for a week to really get it into the leather and the stitching. After that just usual reapplication when cleaning them up an it's always worked well for me.
    #17
  18. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    That's just a liquid/cream right?
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  19. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    I suppose a product must have a good reputation when others are trying to use the name brand. This is the product: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sno-Seal-Waterproofing-Bees-Wax-Snow-Seal-NEW-/390272806594

    Use on leather - gloves, boots, jackets - all black of course. I expect it may work well on chaps and leather pants as well. Lexol is another good leather protector I use in light colored car interiors, but prefer Sno Seal for boots and such that get wet outdoors. A 7 oz can of Sno Seal goes a long way.
    #19
  20. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    Depends on the boot, the leather and the use.
    My day to day workboots (Catapiller 2nd shift) last about a year of daily use but they get beat up.
    My Combat Touring boots are 15 years old my Sidi Interstates are 20 years old
    My current Docs about 10 years compared to the pair they replaced which was about 5 years, those were oild often and cracked at the flex point, the new ones never oiled and no cracks.

    As for sno seal I like the stuff that came in the blue and white can with the snowflake on it better then the orange and blue with the bird. But neither came close to the nikwax stuff.
    #20