When shopping for boots, you may have seen the words "water resistant" and "waterproof." This may have reassured you that the boots keep your feet dry, but there is a difference between the two. Choosing the boot with the right label can make the difference between dry, comfy feet and soggy, cold socks.
Many boots are covered with a film the will keep the boot dry. A water resistant boot will repel water so that it soaks into the boot more slowly. Waterproof boots are made of a material that doesn't soak up water at all. So, when water comes in contact with a waterproof boot, the water doesn't sink into the fibers and the feet stay dry.
Each type of boot works well for different conditions. Water resistant boots are best used when walking through dew or occasionally damp areas like wet streets. A waterproof boot is designed to keep feet dry through larger amounts of moisture, such as snow and mud puddles.
Most boots have water resistant or waterproof on the label. If they don't, waterproof boots are often easy to spot. Usually, they are made out of rubber or vinyl material or they have a smooth, shiny surface on top of the leather material. To find water resistant boots, look at the label stitched to the inside of the boot or at the material list in the boot's product description. Look for water resistant materials called neoprene, nylon or polyurethane.
Waterproof and water resistant footwear is given a IP Rating Scale rating to show their level of water protection. In combination with the tips above, you can use this rating to help you find a boot that offers the level of water protection you require. The lowest rating is IPX-0. This means that the boot offers no water protection. The highest rating is IPX-8, which means you can submerge the boot in water and your foot will still stay dry.
There are many styles and types of water resistant and waterproof boots. Some waterproof boots are meant to be pulled over the top of a more vulnerable shoe to protect it. These are called rain boots. Hiking boots and snow boots are usually water resistant or waterproof so that they can stand up to wet terrain. Some dress boots, such as boots made of suede, are also given a water resistant layer so that they will last longer.