Investing in Waterproof Footwear is no longer a desirable luxury, it’s an essential commodity, an absolute ‘Must-Have’ feature of your winter wardrobe footwear collection. Whether your habits include walking and hiking, training for an upcoming marathon or working in the great outdoors, you will benefit greatly from wearing appropriate Waterproof Footwear suitable for braving all inclement environmental conditions. In this new blog post, Finn Footwear articulate the benefits of investing in premium quality Waterproof Footwear by examining the basic ‘Need to Knows’ when it comes to purchasing this essential footwear item. We’ll also showcase some of our new season favourites from our Waterproof collection. But first, let us begin by ‘debunking’ some common misconceptions about Waterproof Footwear by separating ‘fact’ from ‘fiction’ so you are truly well informed at the outset of your shopping experience!
Waterproof Footwear – The Facts
Fact #1 – Leather is NOT Waterproof
This is absolutely true! Firstly, leather is a natural permeable material that is porous and therefore breathable allowing moisture from the inside of the foot out resulting in good foot climate from the wearer. If you accept this fact then by definition the corollary is also true, moisture from the outside can penetrate to the inside of the foot meaning water can get in! So, stated simply, leather in its natural form is NOT waterproof. However, certain types of leather are chemically treated to provide a water repellent coating that will make it somewhat resistant to water.
As simply stated in a very interesting article in The Journal by Steel Horse leather 'Is Leather Waterproof' (25th March 2022)
This brings us to fact no. 2!
Fact #2 Water Resistant vs Water Repellent Vs Waterproof- Explained
According to Randy Organ from stopwaterleaking.com a multi-disciplinary expert on all aspects of water leaks across many consumer industries including footwear, Waterproofness, Water Repellent and Water Resistance are ‘all different kinds of water blocking methods’ which they clearly explain in his article 'Water Repellent vs. Waterproof Shoes: Which Should You Buy' (Aug 2022) It’s worth taking a moment to fully understand and appreciate the difference between these 3 terms especially within the context of a blog post discussion on Waterproof Footwear.
This is the lowest level of water blocking in footwear and it simply means that the shoe can resist water intrusion, but it is not guaranteed. Put simply if you are wearing water resistant shoes and are out in wet weather for any length of time, your feet will get wet.
Water repellent is making a thin film on the surface using a specific spray, and it will prevent water from leaking inside…. Temporarily. Simply put, the water proofness of water repellent footwear has a ‘shelf-life’ so when the thin film layer is damaged, its waterproofness is demolished. Therefore, when we consider water repellent shoes, they are not suitable for frequent constant outdoor use especially in a climate like Ireland!
Waterproof shoes are the real solution for wet environmental conditions. Normally waterproof shoes are not constructed from one single layer. In fact, there are several layers combined together to ensure the best performance in terms of waterproofness and breathability. In essence it’s the combination of the construction and the materials applied therein that truly dictates whether or not a shoe, boot or runner is actually waterproof.
Fact #3 – Tex Membrane & GORE-TEX, What is it? What is its Purpose?
While must of you are probably already familiar with the term GORE-TEX, it’s worth taking time to fully appreciate its significance within the context of waterproof footwear. Firstly, GORE-TEX is a brand whereas TEX is the membrane used to describe a specific aspect of a waterproof shoe’s construction.
Google’s Definition explains it very succinctly as follows…
"A TEX membrane is an ultra-thin layer between the shoe's upper material and the inner lining. It consists of small pores that prevent water and snow from entering the shoe. The TEX- system transports moisture vapor away from the feet through the TEX membrane, which gives a breathable and comfortable shoe."
This Tex membrane (of which there are various types) is the 'Raison- d’etre' of whether or not an item of clothing or footwear is waterproof or not, so now you can fully appreciate why GORE-TEX is the quintessential global brand, the Gold Standard which ensures that an item of clothing or footwear is completely waterproof. The Ground-breathing discovery that led to the creation of the GORE-TEX membrane by (Bob Gore in 1969), combines a unique set of very useful characteristics! The science behind this discovery is very interesting and compelling. Please read on!
Waterproof Footwear - The Benefits
This GORE-TEX membrane combines 3 essential elements crystallising the primary benefits which form the foundation of Waterproof Footwear to include
- Breathability & Comfort
According to the GORE-TEX manufacturer’s website article 'The GORE-TEX Membrane: What it is. How it Works and Why You Need it?"
“Each square inch of the GORE-TEX membrane has nine billion pores. Each of these tiny holes is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. This is what makes the membrane in everything in the original GORE-TEX products range waterproof"
Protection against the wind or the dreaded chill factor as it’s commonly called is another key benefit of the GORE-TEX membrane. They continue to explain..
"But waterproof is only half—or one third—of the story. Because the GORE-TEX membrane is also ….windproof. No matter if you’re speeding down a mountain bike trail, running along the coastline, or walking home between tall skyscrapers on a winter night, the wind simply can’t get through to chill you."
GORE-TEX also offers complete breathability and comfort because even though the membrane prevents rain and moisture penetrating from the outside in, it also provides for an optimal foot climate by allowing the sweat and moisture from the foot to penetrate outwards. So how does it manage to do this? The GORE-TEX experts clearly explain...
“Each one of those billions of GORE-TEX pores is also 700 times bigger than a water vapor molecule, which is just a nice way of talking about your sweat! It means that, when you’re working hard, or the temperature rises, your sweat can escape. That’s what we mean by breathable—and it’s what makes products made with the GORE-TEX membrane so much more than just waterproof."
Armed with the knowledge of what is important with respect to Waterproof Footwear, the Finn Footwear editorial team are delighted to present some new season styles from our Winter Waterproof collection. Whether you are walking or running, exploring or hiking, or working or travelling, there are some fantastic styles to choose from so let’s present some of our personal favourites!
Waterproof Footwear – The Brands & Styles
Ecco is the ultimate global leader in waterproof walking & hiking footwear for women and men. Their GORE-TEX range of walking/hiking footwear is highly impressive boasting many different proprietary sole combinations (MX, Multi Vent/ Exostride) with unique lightweight durable constructions and an eye-popping range of colourways. Here are some of the NEW Seasons hottest styles.Exostride
Ecco Exostride Ladies GORE-TEX Walking Shoe 835333 comes in a new season Chilli Red/Morillo. A sleek and practical choice, this waterproof ECCO Exostride Ladies shoe is made for tackling challenging terrain or wet city streets. The rubber outsole maintains steady footing and laces are easily adjusted to find your perfect secure fit. Its many benefits are highlighted below:
- Street-ready low-cut shoe, which is sleek and eye-catching, incredibly resilient and long lasting
- Crafted from rich ECCO YAK leather, made in ECCO’s own tanneries. Nubuck finish
- GORE-TEX Technology provides a waterproof, durable and breathable finish
- ECCO FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology bonds the upper to the sole without the need for glue or stitching, ensuring cushioning and rebound
- Innovative ECCO SHOCK THRU Technology delivers shock absorption with every step
- Rugged rubber outsole adds excellent grip and durability in all-weather condition
The Men’s equivalent Exostride GORE-TEX Walking Shoe style 835334 comes in Black and an equally classic Navy/Blue.
If you like the Exostride style but would prefer ‘Less Sneaker’ and ‘More Shoe’ then the Ecco Exostride Ladies GORE-TEX Walking Shoe 835303 is the perfect choice for you. This is an All-Leather upper with laces (instead of bungee ties) and comes is a gorgeous navy 'Night Sky' colourway which is perfect for winter.
ECCO Multi Vent
Bridging the gap between Athleisure and performance-led outdoor design, the ECCO Multi-Vent Shoe style 880123 is a sleek low-cut sneaker build for both city and off-road exploration. Constructed from full-grain cow leather in ECCO’s own tanneries, the upper has perforated detailing with hidden lacing giving it a sleek, modern design. The upper is enhanced with a ground-breaking GORE-TEX SURROUND® construction for the ultimate in weather protection and waterproofing while creating an optimum foot climate with maximum breathability. The rugged rubber outsole adds excellent grip and durability in all weather conditions. Lined in super-soft textile, the concealed lace-up front adds a contemporary touch and provides a secure, easy-to-adjust fit. This ladies style is available in 'Black' and also in 'White' and 'Damask Rose'.
ECCO Hiking BootsECCO Track 25 Bison Boot
For any man wishing to don a pair of ECCO walking/hiking boots that are fully waterproof then the ECCO Track 25 Men’s GORE-TEX Bison Boot 831704, available in both Black and Brown, it is a clear winner. This is a robust men’s hiking boot that’s fit to tackle almost any terrain. The stylish upper is crafted from specially tanned full-grain leather and nubuck hide, so it's strong, supple and soft, allowing the foot to move naturally. A simple lace closure system ensures a secure fit, while the GORE-TEX waterproof layer keeps feet dry all day. Don't worry about hot, tired feet, either, as our unique ECCO Comfort Fibre System™ keeps fresh air circulating naturally for a cooler internal climate. You won't miss a step, thanks to the deep-cut tread and flexible, stable platform of our exclusively designed twin-component PU/TPU outsole. The ECCO track 25 Bison Boot combines
- Modern styling meets masculine practicality in this rugged men's hiking boot
- Premium full-grain leather and oiled nubuck uppers for a soft and flexible fit
- Water stays outside, thanks to the GORE-TEX waterproof layer
- The unique ECCO Comfort Fibre System™ ensures cool air circulates constantly around the feet
- Flexible platform combines a PU midsole and TPU outsole for enhanced stability
Our ECCO Biom 2.1 X Country Ladies GORE-TEX Walking shoe 822833 is an athletic hiking shoe with GORE-TEX waterproof protection that is made for fast hiking and other high-speed adventures. Check out the men’s version Ecco Biom 2.1 X Country Men's GORE-TEX Walking Shoe 822834. Speed, sublime comfort and high performance are combined in a shoe powered by BIOM® NATURAL MOTION® Technology, with the flexible, lightweight sole allowing optimal natural movement. While the PHORENE™ midsole delivers energy return and bounce, the ECCO PERFORMANCE RUBBER+ outsole provides grip and traction. Engineered from ripstop material, this shoe comes with a sporty reflective logo that helps you to be seen in the dark. Key benefits include:
- Ripstop fabric protects against tearing and ripping, with a seamless construction for a clean, sporty look
- GORE-TEX membrane for 100 percent waterproof and windproof protection to keep you dry and comfortable
- OrthoLite® UltraLite insole offers lightweight, high-performance comfort
- BIOM® Technology encourages your foot to move more naturally and efficiently, and has an anatomical fit, plus a low profile that lets you feel connected to the trailS
- Flexible, lightweight sole allows for optimal natural movement, with soft and ultra-light PHORENE™ in the midsole delivering energy return and bounce
- Innovative cleats on the ECCO PERFORMANCE RUBBER+ outsole offers grip, multi-directional traction and stability
Click Here for our complete range of Ladies and Men’s ECCO Waterproof GORE-TEX range.
GrisportAs an alternative to ECCO, Grisport offer a premium Men’s Walking/hiking Boot, the Grisport Quatro Men’s Walking Boot. Quatro is a best-selling hiking boot with the amazingly comfortable support system, vibram sole, leather upper and waterproof membrane. Quatro has a padded toe-joint that makes the flex point of the boot amazingly comfortable. Customers often comment that 'Quatro' is the most comfortable boot in the Grisport range. Key Benefits include:
- Brown in Colour
- Waxed leather upper
- Spotex waterproof and breathable lining
- Vibram rubber sole
- Weight: 1310g
- Padded Toe-Joint
- Italian waxed leather
Imac established in Italy in 1975 offers a range of top quality leather footwear with many waterproof styles that will carry you through the wet and windy conditions of winter. Imac Ladies Waterpoof Walking Shoe 808809 in blue with red bungee laces has a nice attractive upper with a supportive breathable sole for comfort that is waterproof. The Imac Men’s Brown Waterproof Laced Shoe 2042080 comes in a leather upper with ImacTex waterproof membrane.
As part of Rieker's new Evolution brand, Rieker offer a new Water-Resistant hiking boot with Tex Infused uppers. The Rieker Evolution Tex Ladies Laced Ankle Boot W0061-45. These Ladies Walking Boots from Rieker are the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures as they have a Water-Resistant finish with Tex infused uppers. They also have a Lace up detail with a standard size fitting.
Waterproof Running Shoes
SauconySince 1898, Saucony has rightfully taken its place as one of the world's leading running companies. Built on a legacy of performance, Saucony continues to offer best-in-class running shoes, running apparel, and timeless retro footwear that has helped shape who we are today. When it comes to waterproof running shoes, Saucony boasts an impressive collection to suit all ages. Our Saucony Ladies Excursion Trail TR15 GORE-TEX is the ultimate waterproof running shoe for a feel-good outdoor running experience. It combines essential cushioning, rugged traction, and durable protection-with a new streamlined look for wherever the trail takes you. It includes:
- GORE-TEX® Invisible Fit technology which
- provides best-in-class waterproof protection with a flexible, made-for-you feel
- Grippy lugs on the outsole are made with carbon rubber for rock-solid footing.
- A moderate VERSARUN cushioning packs plenty of underfoot comfort no matter the destination.
- The trail-specific mesh with supportive over
Brooks Running shoes are one of the top sports brands in the world. Our Brooks Ghost 14 GTX Ladies Trainer style 120355-066 is the ultimate in a completely waterproof lightweight off road/trail runner. This runner gifts the ultimate indulgent running experience to its wearer. Key benefits include
- Smoother feel- The entire midsole is now 100% DNA LOFT providing greater cushioning for an even softer, smoother ride.
- Better transitions-The new softer midsole and Segmented Crash Pad team up for easier flow from landing to toe-off.
- Improved fit-The 3D Fit Print balances stretch and structure, so the shoe adjusts comfortably to your foot and running style.
- These trainers are Gortex Lined to keep your feet dry from the outside in and the inside out.
Casual Fashion Leisure – Waterproof Walkers
AraAre you looking for a waterproof shoe that is more casual? Something you can easily don day to day when running errands or meeting a friend for that morning coffee catchup? Something trendy and light without feeling the burden to trek up hill and down hollow! Well, we have just the right choice for you, the Ara Venice Ladies GORE-TEX Laced Shoe style 33921 06 ticks the box, its fully waterproof thanks to the infamous GORE-TEX membrane and its fresh beige upper with black accents is casual enough that it works with jeans, pants and leggings for the ultimate kick back casual vibe. For six decades Ara has been renowned for a wide variety of shoe fashions of the highest quality, combining attractive design with perfect fit. This latest new season 'Venice Style' comes with a leather upper and has a functional side zip for easy access. The black lace up detail offers an eye-catching contrast to the beige upper and white sole. This Ara shoe has a GORE-TEX lining which makes it waterproof. The soft upper and highsoft removable insole ensures it moulds to the shape of your foot for maximum all day wearer comfort. This comes in a wide G fit for those who desire a little more space for added comfort!
Unisa have a range of rubber boots which many categorise under the footwear label ‘fashion wellies’ or ‘posh wellies’ as they are more affectionately known. Long or short, there is no disputing the fact that a rubber boot ticks the Waterproof box very succinctly. The Unisa Frades Ladies Rubber Ankle Boot in new season Taupe is the perfect waterproof fashion ankle boot. This Rubber Chelsea Ankle boot with Super light toe comes with recycled side gussets made from plastic bottles (PET). The Rubberized logo trim on the top of the boot leg is its own unique fashion statement. A Removable and ergonomic insole that reduces walking fatigue ensures all day wearer comfort. A Respilon nanofiber membrane provides protection against the cold and moisture. This neutral taupe shade works with jeans, jeggings, midi dresses and just about everything in your winter wardrobe!
The Unisa Aynar Ladies Mid-Calf Stretch Boot in cool Abyss Blue (Navy Blue) is another fashion Wellington ankle boot alternative with sock and embroidered Unisa´s logo. This style also comes with a removable Supersoft insole that reduces walking fatigue. With a non-slip rubber sole and upper, these boots are waterproof so enjoy those rainy days and invest in a Unisa Wellington style ankle boot now. Pairs perfectly with short flowy miniskirts, midi dresses, skinny jeans, jeggings and everything in between. Invest in your pair now and rock the ultimate ‘posh welly’ fashion look this season.
Street style meets rustic functionality with the ECCO Soft 7 Tred Gusset GORE-TEX Boot Style 450463. These Chelsea-style boots are all about seasonless comfort. Style and function beautifully blend with the use of GORE-TEX 100% waterproofing on artisanal leather. The inside zip allows for effortless on-and-off wear and the interior is lined with a foam-like sock that easily adjusts to the contours of your foot. Outdoor-inspired rubber tread soles keep you supported no matter what comes your way.
- Crafted in a rich oiled nubuck leather made by ECCO
- Leather produced using the ECCO DriTan™ method of reducing water and chemicals commonly used during the leather tanning process
- GORE-TEX waterproofing
- Inside zip for easy access
- ECCO FLUIDFORM™ Natural anatomically supportive fit & feel
Lightweight PU midsole and outdoor-inspired rubber soles provide traction in different types of weather conditions and terrain
Q. How do I know if footwear is completely waterproof?
In order for a shoe/runner/boot to be considered completely waterproof, its needs to have the TEX Membrane. While many brands may include a Tex membrane, GORE-TEX is by far the Gold Industry standard in terms of a waterproof membrane which guarantees that the shoe, boot or runner is 100% completely waterproof.
Q. How to style Posh Wellies?
The great thing about posh wellies is the effortless styling required to pull of this fashion craze! Try them with a pair of skinny jeans and new season Teddy Shacket. Or, if you prefer a more feminine vibe, pair them with a long flowy midi dress or short flowy mini skirt and biker jacket for a cool 'Rock Chick' fashionista vibe.
Q. Is Leather Waterproof?
No, Leather is not waterproof. Leather is a natural permeable material that is porous and therefore not waterproof. It may have a certain level of water resistance depending on how it is treated but it is not a waterproof material.
We hope you've enjoyed reading Our Blog Post Waterproof Footwear | A Complete Guide - What You Need to Know. Remember to choose Finn Footwear for all your footwear needs this Winter. We are always at the ready to take your calls and answer your questions!
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Cheers Austin & Paul!