Waterproof vs Water Resistant Boots : Comparative Analysis

If you shop for boots, you’re going to find the terms waterproof & water resistant used often.Do you know what exactly do they mean and is there any difference in case of Waterproof vs Water Resistant Boots?

Some people assume they’re the same and use the terms interchangeably.

You will be surprised to know that they’re not the same. Yes, water resistant and waterproof boots will keep your feet dry, but they have very different properties.

Waterproof vs Water Resistant Boots

Definition of Waterproof Boots

Waterproof boots are just that, waterproof. They have a waterproof component such as Gore-Tex or other booties. These are sewn into the boot so water doesn’t get into the boots. With this feature, it’s going to prevent water from seeping in the boot and your foot.

Waterproof boots are treated with non-porous membrane so water and other liquids won’t be able to get in them. This makes them ideal for use in wet environments, food service and food production. Waterproof boots are also perfect for industrial workplaces where there are hazardous or toxic liquids.

Waterproof boots keep water out, but they also prevent water from getting out. This means that your feet could end up moist when used for long periods. If your job requires a lot of moving around and working in warm weather, it’s better to wear water resistant boots.

Water Resistant Boots Definition

Water resistant boots are either made of leather or other synthetic materials. Either way, the material is coated (usually with silicone) to repel water. This is applied during the manufacturing stage. The repellent effect is not permanent so you have to treat the boots to maintain its water resistant properties.

Water resistant boots refer to any boots that repel – but do not wholly prevent – water penetration into the material. These are comprised of multiple layers and offer a good degree of breathability.

Water resistant boots can stop water from penetrating up to a point. For instance, having your boots slashed on occasion won’t be a problem. But if your boots are always being splashed on, your feet will eventually get wet. The reason is seams on water resistant boots don’t have the same level of protection that waterproof boots possess.

How to Tell the Difference between Waterproof and Water Resistant Boots

The easiest way to do this is to read the product description. That should tell you whether the boots are water resistant or waterproof. Sometimes the name of the product will give you an idea.

Waterproof boots and shoes are often constructed from rubber, vinyl or other material. These boots have waterproof seams or seamless construction. All waterproof boots have protected seams. Without this feature the boots can’t be considered waterproof.

Water resistant boots are made from neoprene, polyurethane and many others. You can get more information from the product description or the website. This information is sometimes stated on the label stitching as well.

How Much Protection Will You Get?

Waterproofing and water resistance levels are determined by its IP rating. The higher the rating, the higher the water protection level you’re going to get. IPX-0 is the lowest rating and means there is no water protection. The highest rating is IPX-8, which means you can immerse your boots in water and your feet will still be dry.

Which Should I Wear?

This is the most important question in the waterproof vs water resistant boots debate. We have already mentioned some of the circumstances, but to recap:

  • Wear waterproof boots if your feet will be constantly exposed to water.
  • Water resistant boots are most suitable for light snow and when there’s light rain.
  • Waterproof boots are heavier, but they will keep you dry in case there’s heavy rain.
  • Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry even if they’re submerged in snow or water.
  • Water resistant boots are lighter and don’t affect your mobility.
  • A good pair of water resistant boots can withstand up to 200 mm of pressure, while waterproof boots can withstand a minimum of 1000 mm of pressure.
  • These boots are not interchangeable, so consider your needs prior to buying them.


When it comes to the waterproof vs water resistant boots debate, the answer is it depends on your needs. If you constantly work in wet environments or weather, you should wear waterproof boots. For other instances, water resistant boots should be enough.

Corey Feaster

I am Corey Feaster, Founder and Editor of feetstrap.com. I spend my major part of life researching footwear. Hope i can help you regarding footwear from our blog feetstrap. Stay with us and let us know what else do you want.

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