Aquaseal or bust!

1:38 a.m. on November 9, 2009 (EST)
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Okay, I read through another thread on this, but all I heard were people arguing over Snoseal without much of a mention of Aquaseal.

From what I've read, the silicone and water-based components make Aquaseal the best for waterproofing boots.

The type of boots I'm talking about are NuBuck Timberland to give you a clear idea.

I'm not a serious hiker and in all honesty I'd probably only use my oldest pair for any outdoor use, but I'm wondering whether Aquaseal NuBuck Waterproofer will be adequate to keep my feet dry in a light rain while hiking the trails in Arizona (winter).

For more serious hiking, I use my Nike ACG because they have the best traction.

Also, one more thing..........I'm a military veteran and have many fresh pair of desert jungle combat boots, which are basically the most indestructable type of hiking boots I've ever had. How would you guys rate these boots compared to what you consider quality?

Remember, the desert jungle Army issue boots.........

I don't know what kind of leather is used for them, but what kind of waterproofer/sealant would you recommend?

Aquaseal or something else?

10:59 p.m. on November 9, 2009 (EST)
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My personal experience with combat boots is that they are really uncomfortable. But that's because my foot shape is not the "standard GI foot" shape (I have never met anyone who actually does have that last - you just get used to the boot after awhile). And these days, doing a lot of competitive orienteering, I see active duty folks on leave who come to the meets wearing their boots, all set to do the Blue courses (longest, most technical navigation) and almost all the time failing to finish the courses, often because of foot problems (these courses are entirely off trail, and in this area, on steep hillsides). By the way, as an old desert rat, much of the experience I had with combat boots was hiking in the deserts of central and southern Arizona.

To answer your question about the proper treatment for footgear - different manufacturers use different methods for preparing the leather for bootmaking. Some methods involve silicone, some are water-based, and some are oil based (animal oils usually, not petroleum oils, occasionally vegetable-derived oils). The manufacturers base their recommended treatments on compatibility with their preparation of the leather. So it is best to use the manufacturer's recomendations. That's why the outdoor boot treatment people (like Nikwax, McNett, Graingers, and others) make a variety of products for oil-tanned, silicone, etc leathers.

SnoSeal is a beeswax based product, where Aquaseal, as you noted, has silicone and water-based components. Snoseal, as true for most waxes, tends to stay on the surface of the leather and is generally considered to be a fairly temporary treatment, unless you go through a complex and arcane process to get it to soak in. Aquaseal is also considered to be fairly temporary. Neither is recommended by any of the manufacturers of boots using Nubuck. In part that is because of the way Nubuck is made. The surface is the outer (and tougher) part of the animal's skin, but has been sanded to give the suede-like feel and appearance. This also means that Nubuck stains pretty easily. Plus the "fuzz" wears readily in high impact areas, like the toe and heel counter.

Although there are people who like them, I never had any luck with Timberland boots lasting. One of the best boots I ever had was my custom-made Peter Limmer's. Limmer is based in New Hampshire, and currently makes some off-the-shelf versions, as well as still making their custom ones (Peter Limmer the elder and founder passed away some years ago, and I think his son runs the company at this point). Off the shelf, I find Merrill, Scarpa, La Fuma, and a few others to fit me well, with a last that is pretty close to my foot. They won't necessarily fit your foot, though since everyone's foot is different. (one size and shape definitely does not fit all).

8:08 a.m. on November 10, 2009 (EST)
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Timberland doesn't have any recommendations for waterproofing, none that I've seen at least.

I bought some Aquaseal NuBuck Waterproofer and will try that.

They recommended I give the boots four coats, one per day before wearing them in wet weather.

For me, Timberlands are comfortable and don't need to be broken in, but the ones I bought are fashion boots, not really for hiking.......they were expensive.

I have a four year old pair of Timberland Wheat Roll Top boots that are fairly worn that I'll probably use as a test for the Aquaseal to see what it does.

I stripped the boots with Saddle soap and it's made the NuBuck very smooth and soft, ready for waterproofing.

As far as the desert jungle boots, I think those are a rough leather similiar to NuBuck, but not sure.

The ankle supports are dri-fit material and the sole is some kind of indestructable rubber. I've got twenty or so pairs fresh, so those are probably best to use for hiking.

I would think boots that are made specifically for mountain/desert terrain would hold up for some light trails and mountain areas down in Phoenix.

As far as the waterproofers, I was warned to stay away from Snoseal and anything purely water-based because it's not strong enough.

The Aquaseal has silicone as well as water-based properties, which make it better supposedly.

Thanks for the help.

2:01 a.m. on December 8, 2009 (EST)
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134 forum posts

I put snoseal on, and then turn a hair dryer on it until it soaks in. Or set my boots in the sun. Is that complex and arcane?

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