There is no denying it; spending time hiking outdoors is perhaps one of the best leisure time activities. However, while spending time outdoors hiking is excellent, you need to be well equipped to ensure the best experiences. In particular, owning the appropriate boots can make a whole lot of a difference for your unique outdoor experience. The ideal boot for hiking is not only durable and comfortable, but it also provides optimal waterproofing benefits. As such, you can walk through wet terrains and weather, without getting your feet soaked. In fact, keeping your feet in closed and humid conditions for a long durations can lead to issues such as fungi.
What Makes Material Waterproof
The waterproof shoe materials are designed to resist liquid water passing through the shoe. However, such materials can also allow vapor to pass through from the feet. More so, their ability to block out rain and snow, makes them ideal for outdoor conditions. The perfect fabric for waterproof material should also help in directing water away from the body, instead of the membranes. As such, this helps to keep the wearer`s feet dry. Material with such a structure works well in moving sweat away from the body effectively. The material should provide all these unique benefits, and without causing any compromise on comfort. When considering the waterproofing quality of a given boot, consider the following:
- The outer layer – the out layer is the first part that gets in contact with the water. Usually, the exterior material has the role of protecting the inner material for exposure to water, especially when exposed for long durations. The material should, therefore, be waterproof and provide reliable functionality. More so, you can also apply a water repellant.
- The membrane – this refers to the next layer of fabric that exists beneath the outer layer. You may have to evaluate this aspect if you want an excellent boot for your hiking needs. However, remember that the membrane is not the padded area of the shoe. It is a special layer that exists between the shoe padding the exterior membrane.
- The moisture wicking ability – the ideal boots should also be able to eliminate moisture fast. In some cases, such as when submerged in water, the shoe might get soaked in water. In this case, the shoe should be able to dry fast, while also providing optimal warmth. Leaving the feet in wet conditions can lead to a host of unique secondary feet issues.
Best Waterproof Materials for Shoes
Waterproof shoes usually consist of many different types of materials for the best results. The conventional shoe materials for waterproofing include:
1. Latex or Natural
Latex and natural rubber are elastic hydrocarbon materials that are produced from special plants in nature. Initially, these materials became popular in England late in the 16th century, and they were mainly used for rubbing pencil max. However, they have since then become popular materials for making shoes. Latex is a stretch and durable material that is suitable for many applications. The material is popular for various types of footgear, due to its unique characteristics.
Patented in 1976 by W.L. Gore and Associates, this type of material is also a standard material for waterproofing boots. The dynamic material is also suitable for various other items such as medical implants, fabrics, wire insulation and more. Gore-Tex is common for waterproofing because it is effective at keeping moisture out, and durable at the same time. Usually, it consists of a material with individual apertures that keep moisture and dirt from penetrating your shoe.
This is also another popular synthetic material that is made from a unique mixture of chlorine and ethylene. Otherwise referred to as polyvinyl chloride resin, the material was discovered early in the 1920s. At the time, fabric and shoe companies were searching for reliable material for making cheap products. Aside from being waterproof, vinyl has various other unique characteristics. For instance, it is durable and can be manipulated into multiple unique structures.
4. Fluoropolymer Fabrics
These refer to special fabrics that are usually coated with materials referred to as fluoropolymers. Typically, these materials provide remarkable levels of waterproofing and durability. Besides that, the material is generally very comfortable, and simple to maintain which makes it ideal for the outdoors. The fluoropolymer fabrics are also common among factory workers who require protection from chemicals.
Tips for Waterproofing Hiking Boots
While your boots might not be necessarily suitable for moving around wet terrains. Consider these common tips for waterproofing your hiking boots:
- Use cream or wax – the consumer market is filled with several useful cream and wax products that you can use as a waterproofing material. Once applied, let the shoes sit for a few minutes before wearing them. Apply the cream or wax, each time before you go out.
- Waterproofing spray – waterproofing spray is also a useful solution for addressing the penetration of water into the shoes. In most cases, the spray comes in a unique bottle that makes the application process simple. Ensure that you apply the product on all essential aspects of the shoe.
- DIY products olive oil and beeswax – are you searching for a cheap solution for waterproofing your shoes? Then consider using homemade products such as olive oil and beeswax. Both of these products are dense, and are suitable for waterproofing shoes.
Indeed, hiking is an excellent form of outdoor activity. It lets you get out, to get some physical exercise and to unwind from normal day to day routines. However, before you can make the most of your unique outdoor experience, it’s vital that you own the appropriate boots. If you have hiking boots already, you can easily make them waterproof by using a special process. The boots should be waterproof enough, to let you wade through wet terrains and weather with issues. The dangers associated with wearing wet footwear can be immense. The ideal waterproof material for boots should not only be resistant to liquids, but it should be comfortable as well.