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Waterproof boots are typically made with materials such as Gore-Tex®, rubber, plastic, or heavily treated leather and are made to withstand rain and snow. Varieties of waterproof boots include snow boots, rain boots, and all-weather shoes. They are available in myriad styles, shapes, and colors for men, women, and children. Non-waterproof boots can be treated with special waxes or chemicals that make them water-resistant, but not waterproof.
Styles of waterproof boots range from ones worn directly on the foot to galoshes that are worn over shoes. They can be used for numerous activities, including hiking, hunting, motorcycling, or trudging through snow. Liners can be used for extra warmth during cold weather or for wicking away sweat during hot weather. Waterproof boot lengths range from ankle to thigh-high.
There is a difference between waterproof boots, water-resistant boots, and water-repellent boots. According to the United States (US) Federal Trade Commission (FTC), products that claim to be waterproof must prevent water from touching the feet. Water-resistant boots are designed to resist the entry of water to some extent. Generally, water-repellent products are coated with a substance that repels water from entering.
Waterproofing materials used in boots include Gore-Tex®, rubber, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Gore-Tex® is a patented membrane that makes footwear and other garments 100 percent waterproof. Waterproof boots can also be partially or fully covered in rubber. PVC boots include Wellington boots, which are decorated calf-length rain boots. Some waterproof boots keep feet dry and warm, as those lined with fur or faux fur, while others are not insulated at all.
Boots that are not waterproof can be coated or treated with chemicals or special waxes that will help them endure most inclement weather. Waterproofing boots can be a do-it-yourself project, or completed by a professional. It is recommended that an inconspicuous spot be tested before the entire boot is treated to assure colorfastness. Special care should be taken when waterproofing suede leather as waterproofing agents may permanently stain.