Leather and boots go together like peanut butter and jelly—or even pineapple on pizza, if you’re into that kind of thing. Leather is used for all kinds of boots, in all kinds of ways for toe protection, and there’s at least one style of leather boot (if not several) that is perfect for everyone. Although, maybe the perfect pairing comes in the form of work boots, which take advantage of leather’s rugged durability.
But is leather waterproof and can you wear leather boots in the rain? Leather isn’t 100% waterproof, naturally, so you’ll need to shop for waterproof leather work boots. Or, you can leverage various methods to upgrade your leather working boots that aren’t already equipped with a waterproof barrier. This guide will walk through tips and resources for both strategies.
Heavy Duty Waterproof Leather Construction Boots
If you work on jobsites where you’re likely to come in contact with water, you’ll need a waterproof work boot to keep you protected. This will likely come in the form of a composite safety toe work boot. The classic work boot silhouette popularized by brands like Timberland pro and Red Wing is nearly unimaginable in anything but leather. While full grain leather isn’t fully waterproof naturally, it can prove to be water resistant to a point.
Many models are optimized for waterproofing, along with other rugged work-related features, including but not limited to:
Hoss’s composite toe, waterproof, puncture resistant work boot - keep in mind this is not an evergreen product, so stock could be low come Spring.
A majority of leather work boots available are waterproofed through special treatments applied by manufacturers who know that today’s workers can’t guarantee dry workplace conditions.
How to Waterproof Leather Work Boots (If You Need To)
If your leather work boots aren’t already secured with some form of waterproof protection, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to add waterproofing on your own, whether through a homemade boot waterproofing solution or store-bought methods.
Some of the easiest and best solutions include:
Spray-on silicone – This water repellent spray is a silicone sealant that provides an easy fix; you’ll need to re-apply frequently, as it wears off quickly with regular use.
Oil and cream rubs – Oils and creams apply straight out of the container (no heating required) and spread evenly and smoothly across the leather boot.
Wax applications – Wax applications are the longest-lasting solution. It needs to be heated and applied to a boot, then dried for at least one day—well worth it for long-term protection!
It’s important to mention that these methods apply to nearly any footwear or garments, not just leather.
Waterproof, Athletic Leather Boots for Hiking
Another major product category for waterproof leather boots is those made specifically for hiking. Additionally, a hiking boot can also be utilized by those who work outdoors, or whose job entails climbing up stairs or other inclines.