Because wet feet are a drag…
and so are salt, mud and water stains.
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. It starts snowing hard and all of a sudden there’s 3 inches of cold wet snow all over the place. Or how about those rainy days where stepping in a puddle is inevitable? The USA made line of Wolverine 1000 Mile boots are pretty water resistant right out of the box. With a coat of Sno-Seal or Obenauf’s LP these boots become extremely water resistant. The added benefit of applying a good waterproofing agent is it also helps keep your boots from getting stained from things like mud and salt. Here’s how you do it.
Get a hairdryer, some rags, Sno-Seal or LP, your unlaced boots and find yourself a comfortable spot to sit.
Before you start waterproofing your boots make sure they are clean. Get all the mud and crud off of them and then give them a good brushing to get rid of dust and other small debris. Once that’s done start applying your waterproofer to a boot with your fingers. You don’t want to be shy about it but at the same time applying a two inch thick coat of this stuff is unnecessary. The one area where you want to pay special attention to is the welt area. As you can see I run a significant bead of waterproofer in this area and for good reason. This is the most likely area where water is going to seep in.
until you’ve covered every single nook and cranny of your boots. Waterproofing your boots does take a little bit of time. The effort is well worth the reward so be meticulous and take your time.
Time for heat…
Sno-Seal, LP or any other waterproofer needs to penetrate deeply into the leather to be effective. There’s really only one way to do this and it’s done by adding heat. Use a hairdryer. I’ve heard a million different ways to heat up a pair of boots, some good, some bad and some in between. I’ll say this again. Use a hairdryer. You have good control over the heat and where to apply it. Make no mistake, a hairdryer produces enough heat to cause damage to a pair of boots. The thing is you really have to try to burn them up with one. A commercial heat gun on the other hand can melt lead. Do I really need to talk about what a cutting torch can do? Like I said, I’ve heard some interesting ways of doing things.
This is how you apply heat the right way with a hairdryer. Set it to high heat, turn it on and pick an area to start with. It’s best to do a section at a time instead of trying to do the whole boot at once. Hold the hairdryer 4 inches or so from the spot you want to work and slowly draw overlapping circles in that area. You’ll see the waterproofer begin to melt and flow. Keep heating the area. As you heat the leather it will begin to open up. Once that happens it’ll literally suck all the LP or Sno-Seal from the surface. What you’ll have left is a slightly dull area that feels a bit oily. This is the big trick with waterproofers like Sno-Seal and LP. You have to get the leather to open up so the proofer can penetrate into the leather. With this in mind pay special attention to the welt area. The reason is obvious.
The top boot is done. The surface is a bit waxy to the touch which is what you should expect. Again the secret is applying enough heat to open the leather. You’ll know when that happens I promise you. You’ll literally see the waterproofer vanish before your eyes. At this point you want to spend a little time wiping off the excess proofer. It sounds like a minor step but it isn’t. Make sure to do it.
Go ahead and work on your other boot. Once you’re done you’ll be ready for those wet sloppy conditions and you can prance, dance and otherwise traipse through the mud snow and puddles without getting wet feet or harming your boots.
How often you treat your boots is something only you can decide. In my opinion most people should waterproof their boots before Winter and then again in the Spring sometime. Where you live, your local climate and how often you wear your boots are other things to take in consideration.