Whether you need something smart for the office, a stylish shoe for social occasions, or an all-terrain walking boot, there’s a waterproof option out there to fit your lifestyle.
There are a couple of different ways footwear can be waterproof. The simple, traditional method is to use naturally waterproof or water-repellent materials, such as rubber or leather, and many waterproof boots still use these materials to varying degrees – especially wellies, the rubber boots named after the practical-minded Viscount Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. These days wellies come in lots of different styles, including low- and mid-height models, which are well-suited to everyday use.
Smart leather boots can be waterproof or merely water-resistant, depending on their style, construction and material specifications. Leather is naturally porous (otherwise how would cows sweat?) which means that untreated leather does get wet and will let moisture through, despite offering a pretty good level of water resistance. However, some leathers can be made effectively waterproof by using chemical treatments during their manufacture.
One of the most commonly waterproofed categories of footwear is, of course, hiking boots and walking shoes. Since the 1970s, these boots have often been made with waterproof membranes – an impermeable layer built into the fabric of the boot – with many using membranes from the leading specialist, GORE-TEX, although some brands now have their own patented systems for keeping out water.
Best men’s waterproof boots: At a glance
- Best smart waterproof boot: Ariat Wexford Waterproof Chelsea Boot | £160
- Best waterproof hiking boot: Hanwag Men’s Blueridge ES | £163
- Best smart waterproof sneakers: Scarpa Mojito GTX | £137
- Best waterproof boots for comfort: Muck Originals “Duck” | £137
How to choose the best men’s waterproof boots for you
Lifestyle is arguably the most important factor when choosing a pair of waterproof boots to suit your needs. What are the conditions and situations you tend to encounter day-to-day? Depending on what you do, you might need relatively formal footwear that’s suitable for the workplace or social occasions. While, if you often find yourself walking off the beaten track in more adverse weather, you might prefer something more rugged, like a hiking boot.
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It’s also worth considering the level of waterproofing you require. While all boots marketed as waterproof should be impervious to water, other factors, such as the cut of the boot, will affect the likelihood of water getting to your feet. Generally speaking, a higher-cut boot that can be tucked into a trouser leg will offer the best protection, while lower-cut boots and shoes will provide alternative benefits, such as a lighter weight or neater aesthetic.
Some Brits will require more robust waterproofing than others simply due to the rainfall in their location. Areas like Wales, the Scottish Highlands, and the North West of England receive far more rain than places like East Anglia and the South-East, so someone in Cardiff is geographically predisposed to wetter feet than someone in Cambridge.
You’ll also want to think about price. A good pair of waterproof boots will cost more than a similar pair without waterproofing as they often require the use of specialised technologies, like waterproof membranes, or techniques to ensure the seams are watertight. With this in mind, you should expect to spend more than your usual boot budget on a waterproof pair.
Finally, be aware that ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’ do not mean the same thing – waterproof boots should be fully impenetrable to water, whereas, after a certain point, water-resistant boots may let some water in as they get wetter. If you need completely watertight footwear, make sure they are being sold as ‘waterproof’ before you buy.
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The best waterproof boots for men in 2022
1. Ariat Wexford Waterproof Chelsea Boot: Best smart waterproof boot
Price: £160 | Buy now from Ariat
Rugged enough for a country stroll, yet smart enough for a job interview, the Wexford is a brilliantly versatile boot.
We were particularly impressed with the quality of materials and the finishing on the Wexford. The boots feel really robust, while their full-grain leather is particularly soft and easy on the feet, requiring very little breaking-in, if any.
The Wexford is waterproofed through the combination of a specially-treated leather outer and an internal waterproof barrier, which seemed to work a treat in our testing. For full protection against the elements, just be sure to wear trousers that cover the tops of the boots.
Key details – Waterproofing: Waterproof PRO™ construction with waterproof leather and an impermeable barrier; Materials: 100% leather; Style: Smart country boot
Buy now from Ariat
2. Hanwag Blueridge ES Walking Boots: Best waterproof hiking boot
Price: £164 | Buy now from Alpine Trek
For the wearer who wants a fully fledged pair of hiking boots for their urban adventures, the Hanwag Blueridge ES would be a great pick.
This boot is stout, stable and hardwearing, while its smart-yet-sporty aesthetic, and moderate dimensions, help bridge the gap between outdoor functionality and suitability for work and socialising.
We were also impressed with the Blueridge ES’s waterproofing. The Perwanger leather and waterproof membrane dealt brilliantly with rain showers, and even held up to an accidental dousing with saltwater when our reviewer wandered too close to the sea.
Key details – Waterproofing: PFC-free HANWAG EcoShell membrane, water-repellant Perwanger leather upper; Materials: Leather & synthetic; Style: Mid hiking boot
Buy now from Alpine Trek
3. Scarpa Mojito GTX Waterproof Sneakers: Best smart waterproof sneakers
Price: £137 | Buy now from Alpine Trek
Curveball! They’re not a pair of boots, but these waterproof shoes from outdoor adventure specialist Scarpa might have everything you need.
The Mojito GTX combines street-ready style with excellent waterproofing, courtesy of GORE-TEX technology. We loved the look and feel of the soft suede uppers, and found the shoes to be remarkably comfortable both at home and on the go.
An unusual advantage of the Mojito GTX is that the laces run almost all the way down to the tip of the toe, which means you have fine control over the fit – by adjusting the laces, our tester was able to sculpt the shoe snugly to his foot shape.
We also found the Mojito GTX to be a particularly warm shoe, relative to its cut and weight. While in terms of waterproofing, the only downside is the relatively low collar height, which leaves the ankles exposed.
Key details – Waterproofing: GORE-TEX, water-resistant suede; Materials: Leather/synthetic; Style: Sneaker
Buy now from Alpine Trek
4. Muck Originals “Duck” Lace-up Leather Short Boots: Best waterproof boots for comfort
Price: From £137 | Buy now from Country Attire
Combining the unbeatable waterproofing of high-quality wellies with a super-soft leather upper, the “Duck” from The Original Muck Boot Co. is an inventive gem of a boot, ideal for use in variable conditions.
These boots are incredibly comfortable. The memory foam footbeds are soft and supple, and the moisture-wicking fabric on the insides of the boot helps to keep feet moisture-free.
With their country-casual style, these boots would be ideal for a muddy ramble, and perhaps even the subsequent visit to a local pub. Equally, they make a great, easy-on option to wear in the garden or on the allotment.
Key details – Waterproofing: Waterproof leather and rubber body; Materials: Rubber and leather outers, synthetic inners; Style: Wellington boots.
5. Columbia Men's Peakfreak II Mid Outdry Walking Boot: Best waterproof casual walking boots
Price: £125 | Buy now from Columbia
Light and airy, strong and grippy, the Peakfreak II Mid walking boot is the perfect casual walking boot to wear day-to-day. It delivers some of the robustness of a hardcore hiking boot, but in a lightweight and street-friendly package.
Our reviewer found the Peakfreak II Mid comfortable and well-ventilated, and, even after a long day of walking around town in mixed weather, the boots stayed cool, dry and pleasant to wear.
We were particularly impressed with the ‘Adapt Trax’ tread on the soles of the Peakfreak II Mid, which provided excellent grip on a variety of surfaces.
Key details – Waterproofing: OutDry waterproof construction; Materials: 100% polyester upper and lining, 100% POE midsole, 100% rubber outsole, 100% PU footbed; Style: Casual hiking boot
Here you'll find waterproof walking boots from trusted brands such as Scarpa, Berghaus, LOWA and more, with a selection to choose from in both leather and synthetic styles.Which hiking boots are really waterproof? ›
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Here you'll find waterproof walking boots from trusted brands such as Scarpa, Berghaus, LOWA and more, with a selection to choose from in both leather and synthetic styles.What is the best way to waterproof walking boots? ›
Apply a small amount of dubbing wax to a dry cloth and rub all over the leather. Don't use too much wax as this causes the boots to harden. Start by rubbing in a very modest amount and use more for secondary coverage if needed. If the wax is too solid to be rubbed, gently melt it using a hairdryer.What footwear do Navy SEALs wear? ›
Teamguys are actually issued clean pairs of all-black Chucks for use in maritime operations. Some choose to wear them on land missions. Not only do the SEALs get to take down some of the world's worst bad guys, but they also get to look old school cool while doing it.What is the difference between water resistant and waterproof boots? ›
The main difference between water resistant and waterproof material is that the latter is unaffected by water, whereas the former merely resists moisture.What boots do Navy Seals wear in water? ›
Used by river professionals, Navy SEALS, rescue agencies, and military units, these are the hardest-working boots on the water. Heavy-duty lugged traction sole keeps you on your feet in varied terrain, and the comfortable 7mm neoprene insole absorbs the shock of every step.Is Gore-Tex better than waterproof? ›
These provide varying degrees of waterproof reliability but none offer the unique properties of GORE-TEX. You may get 100% protection with a standard vinyl waterproof, but with GORE-TEX you get something that is much more geared towards practicality and an active lifestyle.What is the difference between walking and hiking boots? ›
In general, walking boots are designed to perform better on flat terrains such as fields and forests. They are lightweight and provide less ankle support than hiking boots, which have stiffer soles for added stability on rugged mountain trails.How do I know if my hiking boots are waterproof? ›
Look for labels such as GORE-TEX, eVent, Outdry (Extreme), Omni-tech, PRIMALOFT (Gold and Silver), POLARTEC, Keen Dry, TimberDry, ClimaProof, M-Select DRY and TERREX. Shoes with these standards and technologies will keep your feet dry, and your shoes will not get damaged by water.
Pro-Tip: To add extra water resistance to leather work boots, apply a coating of WD-40 Specialist® Silicone and keep your boots dry in rain, snow, and moderately wet conditions.What is the best waterproof membrane for boots? ›
GORE-TEX is considered by many to be the best-in-class waterproof protection solution.Why do Navy SEALs wear hiking boots? ›
It's known to be very lightweight and low with no ankle protection. SEAL Team Six guys wore gaiters (very lightweight) over their pants leg and top to hiking boots to keep out sand and debris.Why do special forces wear Converse? ›
But surprisingly, Chucks are excellent land-and-sea shoes. They grip the terrain well, especially in wet and sandy conditions. And the sneakers fit easily into a pair of fins, so for operators conducting amphibious warfare, there's no need to change into a different shoe once you hit the beach.What shoes are actually waterproof? ›
Gore-Tex is the most well-known and reputable waterproofing technology, and many brands, like Nike and Brooks, will incorporate Gore-Tex membranes into their shoe models because they are both breathable and waterproof. (Look for shoe models that have GTX or Gore-Tex in the name.)Which is better water-resistant or waterproof? ›
In the simplest sense, a waterproof jacket offers the highest level of protection from rain and snow. While a water-resistant jacket offers a good, but lower level of protection.What makes a good waterproof shoe? ›
The best waterproof sneakers are made from microporous materials (the most common are waterproof breathable membranes, like Gore's Gore-Tex, that can be laminated to other materials in clothing and footwear construction) that allow internal water vapor to escape so that you can move around without your feet getting wet ...What do Marines call boots? ›
The term's origin apparently comes from Vietnam, as an acronym meaning “beginning of one's tour.” New Marines joining a unit are usually referred to as “boots” until they go on a deployment or have at least a year or two in the Corps.What is the difference between Navy SEAL and Marine? ›
U.S. Navy SEALs are an elite unit, more exclusive and harder to be admitted to than the U.S. Marines. The United States Marine Corps (also known as USMC or Marines) is one of the 5 branches of the U.S. military under the Department of Defense. It was created in 1775 as a special service.What is the marine version of a Navy SEAL? ›
The Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), formerly known as the Marine Special Operations Regiment (MSOR), is a special operations force of the United States Marine Corps, which is a part of Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC).
Full-grain leather and top grain leather are often the most water-resistant and durable options, because they are crafted from the toughest sections of the animal hide (the exterior section) — and these properties translate into the end material.What are long waterproof boots called? ›
Wellington boots in contemporary usage are waterproof and are most often made from rubber or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a halogenated polymer. They are usually worn when walking on wet or muddy ground, or to protect the wearer from heavy showers and puddles.How often should I waterproof my boots? ›
Regular waterproofing of your boots will help to protect against stains and water damage as well as protecting the natural oils in the leather. We recommend waterproofing your boots every 3 months. If you live in a particularly wet climate, we recommend increasing this frequency.Is anything better than GORE-TEX? ›
The most sustainable GORE-TEX alternative fabric is waxed cotton. Waxed cotton is exactly like it sounds: wax (typically beeswax or linseed) is applied to cotton, giving the cloth a hydrophobic coating. Nature applied to nature. That's it.Is GORE-TEX 100% waterproof? ›
Every product in the original GORE‑TEX products range is waterproof, windproof, and breathable and many come with additional benefits.Is GORE-TEX permanently waterproof? ›
No. GORE‑TEX INFINIUM products are not waterproof and are not covered by the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY promise.What are the three types of hiking boots? ›
Hiking boots are commonly categorized into three groups — lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight categories — according to their weight, ankle stability, and the foot support provided.Is it better for hiking boots to be bigger or smaller? ›
Bigger is usually better
Feet tend to swell a bit during hiking, so erring on the side of larger hiking shoes or boots is advisable. In general, aim to buy your hiking boots a half size larger than you think you need.
Hiking boots should fit snug everywhere, tight nowhere and offer room to wiggle your toes. Try them on at the end of the day (after feet swell) and with the socks you plan to wear. Know your size.Do rain boots go over or under pants? ›
If we follow the rules for when to wear rain boots (rain, puddles, mud beds, etc) it follows that you should wear your rain boots over top of your pants. While they might fit underneath a pair of wide leg jeans or trousers, nothing is more annoying than the hem dragging through a puddle and getting wet.
There are two potential culprits for why your feet will get wet while wearing “waterproof” footwear: Design: it is very difficult to physically seal off footwear from external sources of moisture; Materials: the “waterproof” materials used in such footwear are not reliably waterproof and they trap perspiration.How long should waterproof boots stay waterproof? ›
With no aftercare, waterproof shoes and boots should last a couple of years but with proper care, you can make sure they keep your feet dry for many more trips after that. Correct aftercare includes regular cleaning and reproofing, if you are an avid hiker, we'd recommend reproofing 3 or 4 times a year.Why do people spray wd40 on new boots? ›
It waterproofs and conditions the leather and preserves the stitching. It also prevents the leather from drying up. It worked on my four year old Sperries and another pair of leather boots I acquired from my grandfather.Can I use Vaseline to waterproof my boots? ›
Vaseline. If you're having problems with your leather shoes, you can always use Vaseline to waterproof your shoes temporarily. You will need to clean your shoes beforehand, then simply coat them in a layer of Vaseline and it'll do the job just as well.Should I oil waterproof boots? ›
Oils for Waterproofing Boots
Typically, oils are used to waterproof leather boots. They can keep the moisture out while increasing the lifespan of the boots.
IP68: The Top IP Waterproof Rating
Since 8 is the highest number on the IP water rating scale, any IP enclosure with a rating ending in 8 offers the best possible waterproof protection. However, IP68 is usually acknowledged as the most protective IP waterproof rating in common use.
In short: Dampproofing keeps soil moisture out. Waterproofing keeps all moisture and liquids out.How do you know if boots are waterproof? ›
Identifying a waterproof boot
Sometimes the shoe or boot will have 'waterproof' or water-resistant' written on the sole or on the boot itself, but to make sure, your best bet is to look at the tongue.
Waterproof shoes bogged down with moisture can feel heavy on the trail and can lead to foot irritations and blisters.Are Gore-Tex boots really waterproof? ›
Gore-Tex Shoes are totally waterproof and will keep your feet dry so long as the waterproof membrane remains fully sealed. You can walk through wet grass, shallow streams, puddles, and even stand in the ocean for hours at a time.
The most sustainable GORE-TEX alternative fabric is waxed cotton. Waxed cotton is exactly like it sounds: wax (typically beeswax or linseed) is applied to cotton, giving the cloth a hydrophobic coating. Nature applied to nature. That's it.Is Gore-Tex 100% waterproof? ›
Every product in the original GORE‑TEX products range is waterproof, windproof, and breathable and many come with additional benefits.Is Gore-Tex permanently waterproof? ›
No. GORE‑TEX INFINIUM products are not waterproof and are not covered by the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY promise.How often do you need to waterproof hiking boots? ›
Depending on how often you wear your boots, you may need to reapply the waterproofing spray every few months. If you notice that your boots are no longer repelling water as well as they used to, it's time for a fresh coat.Do you need to waterproof new hiking boots? ›
Even after you've bought your new hiking boots, you should consider waterproofing them with a specialised product. Your boots may be waterproof already but using a dedicated proofer will make sure your feet stay dry and boots remain in top condition when met by water.Why I don't use Gore-Tex footwear? ›
Any membrane, be it Gore-Tex, eVent or something else, will severely cut breathability, period. No matter how much companies advertise the breathability of their waterproofing tech, the extra layer of material can't have as much airflow as a shoe or boot that doesn't have it at all.What does GTX mean in hiking boots? ›
The answer is quite simple: The abbreviation stands for the brand GORE-TEX. This company produces high-quality membranes that make shoes waterproof and breathable.Is Merrell Gore-Tex waterproof? ›
GORE-TEX is Merrell's go-to premium waterproof material that provides superior protection in wet weather. GORE-TEX employs a three-pronged defence to protect you from threats to your comfort; waterproof, windproof and breathability.