Whether you are planning to climb the great Mount Everest or simply explore a big city on a rainy day its vital that you select the right boots to keep those toes dry and warm. Today was a pretty wet day in New York City, I had a raincoat on that kept my body dry, but it didn’t give me too much relief since I wasn’t wearing any rain boots. No matter where those feet might take you, the right pair of boots will massively improve your enjoyment of those wet/cold seasons.
After hours of shopping, I walked into a starbucks and ordered a hot chocolate. Looking out the window at all the people bustling by I thought to myself, ” Manhattan is a funny place – mainly because nothing slows its cogs from turning, not even bad weather.” I turned my focus not to the people, but to the footwear that was parading on by me. I’d estimate that boots counted for approximately 70% , while sneakers and shoes accounted for 20% and 10% was the unusual New York City “other” category. What I find most perplexing is that many of the “waterproof” boots appeared to be saturated with water.
So you ask, ” how do I know that my boots will be truly waterproof”? That question can only be answered if you understand what materials make a boot waterproof. I have personally gone to a number of famous department/shoe stores and asked them if they can tell me which brand makes the best waterproof boots, and what makes the boot waterproof? Unfortunaly 99% of the sales clerks had no idea. There are many different materials and features that water proof a boot.
As per my experience the best waterproofing material on the market is “Gore-Tex”. Gore-Tex is a breathable waterproof fabric membrane and registered trademark of W.L. Gore and Assfabrics. It can be weaved into any fabric.
This is the best material out there!
One can stand still in a deep puddle for quite a while and your feet will remain bone dry. Not only does Gore-Tex keep water away, its also breathable which means it wicks moister out of your boot. No matter what anyone says, nothing will keep you as dry as Gore-Tex.
There are plenty of other fabrics and ways that different companies developed to waterproof a boot. Some examples are,
- E-Vent (more breathable but less durable than Gore-Tex)
- North Face’s HyVent
- Patagonia’s H2No MemBrain
- Marmot’s Membrain
- Columbia’s OmniDry
- Polartec’s Neoshell
- Sealed/stitched leather seams
There certainty are allot to say about all of these water proof membrains. I have already stated that I hold Gore-Tex above all else. That being said, if you are looking for a stylish and waterproof pair of boots finding an affordable pair made with Gore-Tex may not be so easy. If you find yourself in a department store and the salesman is telling you about waterproof shoes that you dont recognize there are a few valuable facts to know before purchasing. There are other options that you may want to consider. Companies such as E-Vent (more breathable but less durable than Gore-Tex), North Face’s HyVent, Patagonia’s H2No, Marmot’s MemBrain, Columbia’s OmniDry , and Polartec’s Neoshell are some of the main competing companies that also offer waterproof breathable products that are built into their gear. If you find yourself considering a pair of boots made by one of these materials, there is most definitely what to rely on.
Another two common features that you will see on the market are sealed seamed leather, neoprene and rubber. Sealed seamed leather can be a great option if you aren’t planning on spending allot of time in the rain. It will definitely suffice for a quick dash to the car, but if you plan on wading through deep puddles and mud sealed seams won’t keep the wet out. If one of the waterproof membranes mentioned above is combined with the sealed stitched seams it will most definitely raise the waterproof barometer.
Neoprene and rubber will most definitely keep any amount of water from sneaking into your boot (as long as the water doesn’t go above the boot line).That being said anyone who is interested in purchasing a boot made of either of these fibers should know in advance that rubber and neoprene are NOT breathable. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in frigid climates you may want to think twice before choosing footwear that will retain sweat and create your own inner source of wetness. If you do choose to use a non-breathable material then be sure to wear absorbent socks (not cotton) to counteract the moisture.
In conclusion, whether you are planning to climb the great Mount Everest or simply explore a big city on a rainy day its vital that you select the right boots to keep those toes dry and warm. Remember, just because a boot is labeled “waterproof” it doesn’t mean that it is. Before investing in this year’s winter boot do your research and figure out which boot is BEST for you and your feet