If you have ever heard of “waterproof boots” or “water resistant shoes,” then you are not alone. These are widespread terms that people use in references to shoes, boots and other footwear that are designed—in one way or another—to handle water or moisture from rain and other water sources.
Water resistant shoes will block certain levels of water penetration, but they are not impervious to water penetration. Waterproof shoes are made with materials that will completely block the water outside of the shoes. In other words, water cannot penetrate through waterproof shoes.
These differences are significant because they completely change the way that your footwear responds to water. Let’s take a closer look at the essential differences between these types of footwear materials.
Water Resistant Shoes
Water resistant refers to material used in footwear that is designed to resist water more strongly compared to ordinary shoe materials. Water resistant shoes are not impenetrable, but they do provide higher protection from water than simply normal footwear.
For instance, if you are wearing the shoes while walking from your home to your car in the rain, these shoes will keep your feet protected from this minimal amount of exposure to falling rainwater and perhaps a tiny bit of water on the pavement.
Water resistant shoes are considered to be more breathable than the other two options, so you may want to consider this when choosing footwear options.
Water Repellent Shoes
Water repellent refers to material used in footwear that is designed to repel water more strongly than water resistant material, without being as water repellent or protective as waterproof material.
More specifically, water repellent shoes almost always use material that has been chemically treated with a special product that will cause water to collect on material and slide away, rather than penetrating inside a material.
Water repellent shoes are ideal when you may be exposed to water for a longer period of time, without being totally submerged in the water. For instance, if you need to walk around an outdoor area during the rain and in the presence of normal-sized rain puddles.
Waterproof refers to material that is designed to stop water absorption from happening. Waterproof material is designed to repel water completely and is measured with a unique 9-point scale. This scale is intended to provide a clearer picture of how waterproof a material is, which can help you make a more informed decision about which footwear to buy.
The higher the scale measurement, the higher the waterproofing; something that is measured “0” on the waterproofing scale has absolutely no resistance to water absorption, while something that is measured “8” on the waterproofing scale can be submerged in water for an indefinite period of time.
Examples of waterproof footwear could be boots that are designed for wading in rivers or working in an industry where you will be exposed to submerged water.
Knowing the Difference & Making the Right Decision
Knowing the difference between water resistant, water repellent, and waterproof is essential if you want to make an informed decision about the footwear you choose for your everyday wardrobe or your workplace. Make sure you keep the above information in mind to help you make your choice.