Take a look at our handy guide and think about which footwear is right for your wet weather needs.
In the UK you will notice that even during Summer, there is a lot of water! If you’re a hillwalker you’ll certainly have seen for yourself what something as simple as wet grass can do to an unlined pair of walking shoes, having likely soaked them through in just a few short steps. This is to say nothing of puddles, moorland bogs, shallow streams, and of course everybody’s favourite topic of conversation, the rain. But of course, we’re not the type to let a little wet put us off, so what is the solution?
Waterproof-lined boots are the perfect solutions to our soggy climate, keeping your feet dry through miles and miles of good old British bog.
Waterproof boot construction explained
Starting with the upper of the boot, this often takes the form of leather, or tough water-resistant textiles such as tightly woven nylon. This layer is obviously the main armour of the shoe and protects your foot and the waterproof membrane from the external weather conditions. Whilst not fully waterproof it is still an important component of the waterproofing system.
Keeping leather in good condition and well proofed can almost guarantee dry feet even without a waterproof lining behind it. However, after a day or 2 of a leather boot being flexed while walking in a wet environment it will start to absorb the water and slowly feel like it is leaking, this is where the added Waterproof membrane really comes into its own.
Synthetic uppers, fabric or a mixture of the 2 are generally not as waterproof as a leather upper, due to the open weave of the fabrics and all of the stitching holding the panels together. These types of boots are entirely reliant on the waterproof membrane inside them to keep your feet dry. Yes, the upper materials are water resistant and when well proofed shed a lot of water, however, submerging a boot like this would soon result in the water leaking straight through the upper.
A good example is comparing the 2 boots below. The Salewa Crow is a fabric and suede mix of panels which if you damaged or wore out the waterproof lining inside, will leak fairly quickly. Whereas the Scarpa Delta with its full grain leather upper would stay fairly if not fully waterproof for a day out when well proofed even if the waterproof lining was damaged.
Moving on to the Waterproof lining
Sitting just behind the upper is a fully laminated footwear shaped waterproof sock or bootie as it is known in the industry. This sock is your absolute protection from the wet while still allowing your feet to breathe and not get too hot and damp from sweat. Any moisture that makes it through the upper meets this layer and is repelled keeping your foot dry. It is really that simple
There are many waterproof linings used in the boots we stock but they are all based on the same principle as above, with different design elements and materials used to create different performance from one piece of footwear to the next. For example, a designer would not use the same waterproof bootie in a trail running shoe as they would in a winter mountaineering boot.
We have listed a few examples of the waterproof membranes you might find in footwear we keep below
Provides a great solution to those soggy days. With optimized breathability and GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ protection, your feet stay dry and comfortable all day, all year round. Gore-Tex is the original waterproof but breathable lining, repelling liquid water while allowing water vapour to pass through. Made of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) more commonly known as Teflon.
There are several different versions of Gore lining used in footwear.
The INSULATED COMFORT Footwear 4-ply laminate is designed primarily for cold weather outdoor activities in winter.
The PERFORMANCE COMFORT Footwear 4-ply laminate was developed for a wide range of activities in changing weather conditions and utilises a thinner insulation layer.
The EXTENDED COMFORT Footwear laminate is only 3-ply as it is intended for warm weather use and has no insulation layer.
Sympatex is another waterproof lining well regarded in the outdoor industry, similar in construction to Gore-Tex. With a higher measured hydrostatic head, it provides the ultimate in durability when used in a waterproof bootie inside your walking boots.
H-DRY is a waterproof membrane which is slightly different in the way it is used. It is directly bonded to the inside of the upper of your waterproof boots, and as such, eliminates any chance of water that penetrates the outer fabric or leather sitting between that and the waterproof bootie.
There are also linings like KEENDRY and other proprietary linings from On-running which utilise the same waterproof bootie construction.
Footwear for the right activity
Choosing footwear for the correct activity can certainly be a daunting task but we’re here to help.
We keep a massive selection of waterproof footwear that we feel covers all levels of UK Hillwalking, from boggy moorland walks to snowy winter gully scrambling.
Our staff in the stores have excellent footwear fitting skills and know our range well, so feel assured that if you visit any of the three stores you will be fitted with a boot that is suitable for the use you will be putting it through.
Here are a few great suggestions of Waterproof Boots from our extensive range
The Meindl Peru GTX is a 3 season walking boot that is suitable for demanding walks in the UK as well as lower level paths in the Alps or Pyrenees. The soft waxed and Nubuck leather upper is paired with a GORE-TEX lining for complete waterproofing. PU cushioned sole unit grippy rubber sole complete the all round package of this do-it-all boot.
The Nordkapp is a classic 3 season hill walking boot, suitable for Lakeland Fells and the Scottish hills. The upper is a seamless one-piece construction, made from first grade 2.6mm Italian Nubuck, backed up by a Sympatex waterproof lining. Built on the AForme last the Nordkapp provides an incredibly secure and snug fit. Durability and quality are guaranteed.
The Salewa Crow is designed for use on general alpine terrain and alpine trekking, it has a crampon-compatible Vibram Mulaz sole unit that offers excellent grip on rock, and traction in mixed mountain terrain and snow. The GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort lining delivers optimized climate comfort should the weather close in on you, and there’s a full rubber rand for protection against rock and scree.
The Ribelle is described by Scarpa as a next generation fast-paced mountain boot, and it’s easy to see why. A mix of new synthetic materials with a quality fit and construction means all day comfort on any terrain. H-Dry membrane, Sock fit tongue and the Pentax precision sole unit are just some of the innovations Scarpa have brought to this boot. If you are a summer alpine or Winter mountain walker then give these a serious look.