There is something special about outdoor sports, that you will not find playing ball in a gym hall. You are always somehow in contact with nature and since nature won’t adapt to your preferences, you have to fit in. No matter if it rains or snows, as long as you make the right preparations in form of appropriate rain gear combined with the best waterproofing spray, you will find a way to practice your hobby outside.
Although good rain gear should be the base, there are there is more you can do to prepare yourself for weather conditions, which are not as comfortable as you would wish, and that’s waterproofing your boots and clothing with the best waterproofing and shoe protector spray.
It is certainly the case for fish, that a rainstorm will not stop them from going after their prey. The opposite is the case. Fish like trout become incredibly active as soon as they sense an upcoming rain, especially after a longer period of sunny and hot days. When small insects get flooded into streams, rivers, and lakes there is a good reason for trout and bass to keep an eye out for anything that could be edible. As a result, your chances of landing something are improved.
While that’s not exactly the case for game animals, you still won’t see ducks hiding from a slight drizzle, so why should you?
The Best Waterproofing Sprays For Shoes, Boots And Clothing – One For All
When it comes to protection of boots and clothing, there is no need to pay big money for expensive sprays. There are a lot of really affordable products out there, performing perfectly fine. I tend to use hydrophobic sprays like this a lot, so unlike in gear where you usually get what you pay for, I run better with using cheaper shoe protector sprays more often. When I challenge my equipment a lot, I like to reseal it every other week, although I do not always wash it beforehand, as long as it did not get too dirty. When you do this process on a regular basis, nothing should be able to enter and block the pores, except the substances in the spray, obviously. Making it a habit to regularly use those products, will pay out every time you encounter wet ground or rain in the outdoors.
- Works on synthetics and leather
- Jackets, boots, backpacks, almost everywhere
One of my all-time favorites, and definitely one of the best waterproofing sprays for shoes as well as for jackets, is the one made by Kiwi. It works for all kind of breathable materials such as Gore-Tex and even on leather, without removing their breathable feature. As mentioned before, I tend to use those sprays fairly often and that is why I tested a product as cheap as this one. I was able to get a bottle for under $10 in a local store, and one bottle lasts quite a while. No matter where you plan on using it, you can not really go wrong with this one. A friend of mine even says it is the best waterproofing spray for tents. I used it on backpacks, trousers, jackets, shoes, and leather boots and it never failed to deliver. The process of applying it is the same as for every other spray with propellants. I recommend to use it only on clean and dry products and give it at least 24 hours before you use them again, to achieve the best hydrophobic effect
- Designed for synthetics
- Tents, backpacks, trousers, jackets, GORE-TEX boots
- Dries really quick
I had the chance to use this product a few times on a 3-day hiking trip with friends when I did not bring my own waterproofing spray. During the trip, I realized, that I failed to reapply water repellent on my boots after I cleaned them the last time, and the forecast said rain for the second day. Luckily a friend of my brought this waterproofing spray along and I used it first thing in the morning of day two. Obviously, I were not able to give it the usual 24 hours to dry and it started raining in the afternoon. Even though I applied the spray only a few hours ago, it worked really well and I was more than glad that I used it. Scotchgard is designed for synthetics such as Gore-Tex and for that price, it’s a pretty solid option. If you need a spray for leather boots though, I recommend one of the sprays listed below.
Even though I reapply those sprays every other week, they would probably last much longer than that, and depending on what I use them on one bottle lasts surprisingly long.
Keep in mind, that if you use water repellent sprays on wading boots, make sure that it does not block the drainage system in any way.
The Best Shoe Protector Spray
While most of the waterproofing sprays work for all kind of different materials and fabrics, there are some waterproofing sprays, that are specially designed for shoes and boots. They usually cost around the same but hold up better to constant contact with the surrounding. If you hike through high grass or bushes your shoes will be challenged more than your jacket. Therefore it can be worth it, to buy a sperate shoe protector spray.
- Silicone based
- Works on synthetics and leather
- Dries quickly
I bought this product together with a brand new pair of leather boots. While I would usually use Nikwax or the Standard Kiwi spray, buying a $200 pair of hiking boots made me feel like I should also get the best shoe protector spray. Kiwis Dry Boot Protector works on a silicone basis, a hydrophobic substance working similarly to wax. It is specially designed for leather boots, although I would only use it on darker leather since it tends to give white surfaces a slightly yellowish color. But do not worry, you will not notice it on brown or black leather! I usually use it in a two layer system, meaning that I apply one layer, let it dry a for a few hours and afterward apply a second layer. The smell is pretty strong but vanishes as soon as the boots dry completely.
I actually compared this spray to the standard one on an old pair of boots. I used the Kiwi shoe protector on the left and the standard one on the right boot. To be honest, I did not use them regularly but made sure to do at least a couple of more challenging hikes with them. After a few weeks, you could definitely notice a difference holding them in water. While water left no mark at all on the left boot, you could clearly notice a darker area on the other one, right where the water contact took place.
I applied this product around ten times so far and the bottle is still around half full. For that price this is the best shoe protector spray I used so far and beats the all-in-one sprays for sure, at least on leather boots.
- Works on synthetics and leather
- Non-toxic formula
- Pump to spray bottle
Remarkable waterproofing and it’s non-toxic formula make it one of the best shoe protection sprays I tested so far. The downside? You really need a lot of spray to cover a pair of hiking boots. If you want to cover them completely, you are almost forced to drench the fabric, which can cause slight shrinking, although that seems to be only temporary effect.
It’s also worth mentioning, that this is not an odorless protector. So if you’re going out on a hunt, this might not be the best option for you. However, for hikes where you don’t need to be stealthy, it’s an excellent waterproofing product. Nikwax specialized on this kind of sprays a enjoys a great reputation in the outdoor scene.
Similar to the other sprays on this list, it allows the fabric to stay breathable, despite the tight waterproof seal. It’s designed for all terrain leather boots or GORE-TEX, but I got away with using it on a pair of sneakers as well. It’s the only product on this list not using propellants, therefor some people would consider it more ecofriendly. It’s the only pump spray I tested so far and although there are some downsides to it, in direct comparison it probably outlasts every spray I tested so far. If the side effects don’t bother you, it’s definitely a great choice.
Why You Should Use Waterproofing And Shoe Protector Sprays – What are the benefits
Logically the first step for rain protection is the proper rain gear. Even the best waterproofing spray will not help you against a rainstorm when you are wearing sandals and linen cloth. Once you have proper rain clothing there are several good reasons to use a waterproofing spray for your clothing, and the best waterproofing spray for your footwear.
Protection Against Dirt And Stains
Everyone knows the feeling you have after you bought a new piece of gear. No matter if it is a new pair of leather boots, a backpack or a new jacket, no one likes to see their new stuff full of stains, only after a couple of uses. I know that a lot of sports require you to walk through deep mud and nasty swamps and yes, it is definitely fun. But wouldn’t it be more fun if the cleaning afterward is way easier? At least for me that’s the case so a big reason why I use water repellent spray is, the protection against said mud and dirt. With the invisible layer coating your gear, stains will not get nearly as deep in the fabrics, making it far easier to clean your gear after an exciting day outside.
Keep Moisture Out Of The Fabrics
Definitely, the most important reason for using a waterproofing spray is obviously the ability to improve the resistance against water on nearly every fabric used today. Even old leather boots, that lost their water repelling attributes, can regain them easily by using a shoe protector spray. To keep your stuff weatherproof, you only have to reapply it every few weeks on boots or jackets and even less often on objects that are not exposed to constant movements, like backpacks or tents for example. While keeping water out effectively, the spray does not affect the breathability of materials in any way. Even better, since soaked up materials loose breathability, sprays can prevent that from happening.
Lets Your Gear Last Forever
Another nice feature is that these sprays increase the durability of your equipment. Tough weather and being outside during every season won’t go easy on your gear, no matter if it is leather boots, clothing or anything else that you expose to nature on a regular basis. The best waterproofing sprays will prevent your gear from getting soaked and from dirt entering deeper fabrics. Following, those materials are less stressed and will last longer. This fact alone can save you money when you keep in mind what a good pair of boots can cost, compared to even the best waterproofing spray.
How To Use Waterproofing And Shoe Protector Sprays
Step 1: No matter if you plan on using it on boots or clothing, you should always wash the piece of equipment you are planning on sealing. Jackets or waders can usually go into the washing machine on a gentle cycle. If you are not sure on that, check back with the manufacturer. Cleaning removes all the grease and dirt that could already block pores and therefore prevent the waterproofing spray from sealing them properly.
Step 2: Hang your jacket or waders on a washing line or on a coat hanger to let it dry completely. For boots, you should let them dry naturally and not put them next to or on a heater, which would be more stressful for the fabric.
Step 3: When the waders/jacket is completely dry, hang it outside and start spraying it and start spraying it evenly and consistent with a distance around one feat. Make sure to cover every part of the outside. For boots, you should hold the same distance while spraying. If you are using a product without a propellant, you should now smoothly rub it into the fabric. IMPORTANT: It is important to do the whole spraying process outdoors to avoid inhaling the used substance!
Step 4: Let everything dry and if you want to, you can now apply a second layer. This certainly improves the effect but is not necessary. After you are done with the process, I recommend waiting at least 24 hours before you use the equipment again.
How Do Water Repellent Sprays Work?
If you ever used waterproofing sprays before, the first time you were probably as impressed as I was. One layer of this stuff on your boots and not a drop of water will get into the fabric. All forms of liquid get repelled leaving them no chance to produce stains.
The scientific reasoning behind that is an added hydrophobic feature. All fabrics have some sort of pores, which is not a bad thing. It allows the material to be breathable and will reduce sweating. Said sprays use something to fill up those pores and in all cases, it is a water repelling substance like oil, wax or silicone. This prevents water from entering those pores and also removes all the traction it has on the material. That is why you will see liquids drip off in no time, as soon as they touch something treated with waterproofing spray. This is called the louts effect.
The role model for this technology was the Indian lotus plant which has similarly designed leafs. Small wax pearls protect their upper side preventing water from entering.
Best Waterproofing Spray For Waders
Believe it or not, even waterproof waders can lose their water repelling attributes. While it is highly unlikely that they will leak because of that, their outer layer will soak up more easily with water. This brings the disadvantages of a weaker stain resistance, more stressed fabric, and more weight, once you entered the water. Generally, these are all things you want to avoid and therefore renewing the hydrophobic coating on your waders every once in awhile, especially after a thorough cleaning, is best practice.
First, you should find out which material your waders are made from. While most waterproofing sprays perform well on a wide selection of materials, you do not want to ruin your gear by using the wrong product.
Nikwax TX Direct Waterproofing
There are several sprays out there, that you could use but one that worked out very well for me, is the one from Nikwax. One bottle is enough for one pair of waders, while I often had to use two bottles or more when using other products. The spray works exactly as intended and renews the water repelling layer on your waders. The brand itself is widely known and was actually one of the first brands to offer waterproofing sprays and wash-ins. With a price under $20, it is fairly cheap and it works for a lot of materials like Gore-Tex, Ultrex, and almost every other breathable fabric. These materials are used quite frequently in the outdoor industry and there is a good chance your waders are made from one of those. The product itself lasts surprisingly long. While I had sprays that lasted hardly more than one use, Nikwax is definitely an inexpensive product if you consider what you get out of one bottle, and in my experience the best waterproofing spray for waders. Another big plus for me is that it is water-based and biodegradable, so you can use it without any remorse. The process of applying it is a bit different to sprays that use propellants. After you gave the waders you want to seal a good wash, you evenly spray it on all the outer parts that could be exposed to water, except the booties. After that, you should smoothly rub it into the fabric and let it dry completely.
Gear Aid ReviveX
Another product fairly popular when it comes to renewing waterproof coatings on waders is Revivex. It is in the same price range, but in my experience does not last as long. If you use it generously, the smaller bottle will not even be enough for one pair of waders, so get the bigger one. I used it on waders before and it does work well, although the process of applying it is a bit more complicated. They highly recommend to use it together with their two different laundry detergents, which if you do, turns out to be a fairly expensive treatment. Also, after applying it you have to iron it in for its full potential. If you buy all their products and use them correctly, they might have an advantage over competitor products, so you have to decide if this is worth your money.
I would definitely agree, that there is a lot of stuff out there which manufacturers praise as indispensable, that is definitely not necessary to have a great time outside. Buying the best waterproof spray will not only save you money by decreasing the abrasion on your equipment but will also renew the waterproofing on old gear that does not withstand rain anymore, so you do not have to replace it. As I said earlier, I use shoe protection sprays a lot, since they support your gear by keeping you dry and save you time with cleaning afterward. All things that I really do not want to worry about when I am outside doing the sport that I love.