can I waterproof leather boots with a goretex liner

3:18 a.m. on June 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a new pair of all leather hiking boots with vibram sole and goretex liner.  can I or should I use sno seal or some water proofing on the leather before I go on a glacier trip like mt rainier or mt hood?  no info came with the boots.  so far I am very happy just hiking around with these boots. crampons fit well too.


7:14 a.m. on June 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I've used snoseal on leather for 30 years. But, you should check with your guide or friends about using a leather boot on a glacier trip. Personally, I'd probably use an insulated plastic mountaineering boot with a removable liner to keep my feet warm and in case I had to spend the night out. Leather boots can absorb a lot of moisture and freeze if you stop moving or take them off.

11:39 p.m. on June 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Be careful with Sno Seal.  I used it for many years on my older boots with Goodyear Welt construction, with great results.  But on some modern boots with glued-on soles, the Sno Seal can cause delamination.  I learned that the hard way with a pair of Vasque boots.  And even worse, the use of Sno Seal voids the Vasque warranty, which they don't state on their website or on any of the materials that come with the boots (at least they didn't when I bought mine).  I argued that point with Vasque, but they wouldn't budge on the warranty issue and I was out of luck.  Last pair of Vasques that I will ever buy.

Try other waterproofers - I like Nikwax Aqueous now for boots with glued soles.

8:33 a.m. on June 17, 2011 (EDT)
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12:49 a.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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i am not really all that in the know about gore-tex but i believe that any waterproffing with a wax base is going to plug up the gore-tex. i would definitely do more research before i put any wax on gore-tex boots. there is probably more info on this site. try the search feature. best of luck

9:23 a.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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You shouldn't need to snoseal the boots as they are already waterproofed with the gore-tex. Also if you ever plan to have them resoled, dependant on how the sole is attached, you won't be able. Many boots nowadays have the sole glued on and if you use snoseal the glue isn't able to adhere to the leather. There are other ways to attach the sole but many manufactors aren't using them anymore as its just cheaper an easier for them to glue the sole on.

8:40 a.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Most people say that any petroleum-based wax waterproofer will either damage the GoreTex Membrane or plug the pores that allow it to pass water vapor.  For those of us that aren't sold on the breathability of GoreTex in boots anyways, this is a moot point.  For others that wish to protect this feature, water-based polymer waterproofers like NikWax are the ticket.  Boot treatments designed for GoreTex will usually say so on the label.

11:18 a.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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I have several boots with, and without GoreTex. I go backpacking in some very wet environments like river gorges, lakes, swamps, etc.

The reason I have tried to waterproof my boots made with GoreTex was to keep the boot leather dry, not necessarily my feet. In the past if I was wearing a nubuck or suede boot with GoreTex the leather upper would eventually wet out making it heavy and taking a long time to dry out.

If this happens to untreated leather while in dirty water like you find in swampy areas, mud puddles and such, the boot will dry out but leave the fine sediment or silt in the boot leather.

Now my GoreTex boots (suede / nubuck) are treated with NikWax and my FGL boots are treated with Obenauf's LP.

I mostly relegate the cheaper GoreTex boots to dayhikes or short trips in wet, muddy areas. When I get home I just toss them on the porch to dry and I don't worry about them too much because I view them as being expendable.

2:33 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Rocky mountain socks

10:55 a.m. on June 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I am with Seth & TH on this one. The only reason I use a product on a boot with a membrane is to keep the saturation of the leather to a minimum. Especially in colder seasons when the boot can actually freeze. Been there done that not fun.

After my last trip I am really hating footwear with membranes(let's just say I was wet.)

As soon as I got back I bought a pair of Scarpa SL M3s. No more membranes for me. I would of been just as well off hiking the 80 miles in my Tevas.

The points made above are spot on. I use NikWax n Obenhaufs. If ya ever plan on having your boots resoled go with a water based product.

Jake brings up a very good point.

I know on my NikWax products alot of them specify on the bottle that they are compatible with wp membranes.

Out of curiousity what type of leather, smooth, nubuck, etc?

Alot of times I contact companies directly and go with what they recommend. If ya just go with what ya think you can run into warranty issues if they delaminate, etc.

1:52 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks every one for your input.  I have used the nik wax cream for years and just wondered if there was another product out there I had missed.  The Mt Hood trip was perfect as we started cimbing above the ski lifts around midnight with a three quarter moon over our shoulders.  Taking the old shute, we arrived at the summit about five minutes before sun rise.

2:08 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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What kind of boots are they? Can ya post a pic? If not just give us an idea of what they are? All leather, gore liner, vibram sole.... Could be Asolo 520s, a whole pile of different Lowas, Crispis, blah blah blah... They could be a pair of Rocky hunting boots for all I know. :)

This is just a bit vague. To be quite honest, I am just curious as to what you were wearing.

8:20 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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I use Nikwax on my Asolo 520's and apply a coating before each winter trip---I only use my 520's in the winter.  Nikwax has at least three different treatments, and on the back it says, "recommended for Gore-Tex, SympaTex and eVent."  Like Trouthunter says, I do it to get the leather to bead up the water and slide off, not to keep my feet dry.  The gtx works reasonably well for this.

9:24 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a pair of Keen boots, with their "Keen Dry", I guess a "clone" of GoreTex.  I was ready to buy a waterproofing for them, and was talked out of it by what appeared to be a knowledgeable staff member at the gear store.  His argument was (as was suggested above) that the waterproof lining will keep the water out, and the waterproofing will inhibit the breathability of the boot.  He suggested the wetness we see on the boot surface is really just cosmetic.

I'm not 100% sure I'm totally on board with this POV, but I've held off on purchasing waterproofing for now... and will see how the boots do on wet trails (so far have only used them on dry summer trails).

I did use waterproofing on my previous (real GoreTex) boots, Asolo Fugitive GTX.  I'm not sure if it helped or hindered.

10:36 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

I have a pair of Keen boots, with their "Keen Dry", I guess a "clone" of GoreTex.  I was ready to buy a waterproofing for them, and was talked out of it by what appeared to be a knowledgeable staff member at the gear store. 

 Which Keens? I have had quite a few(Oregons, Pyrenees, etc.) The leather on Keens sucks up water like a sponge. I make joke sometimes that the leather should have a"made by Shamwow" tag on it. 

I disagree with the knowledgeable salesman. 

1) If the leather is soaked, your boots are heavier due to the water retained. 

2) I have found with Keens if the leather is soaked for prolonged periods they will leak. I have had this happen on 2 different pair of Pyrenees, as well as my Oregon PCTs(which I now use as a day hiker, problem is I'm not a dayhiker.) I guess they should last forever. I have heavier boots that I like much better but that is a whole other conversation. 

3) Its still leather regardless of what is behind it membrane wise and all leather needs to be maintained as well as protected.  

I coated the leather portions of my Oregons with Obenhauf's Heavy Duty LP. As far as the fabric(synthetic) portion of the boot I use NikWax Fabric and Leatherproof. 

As far as the Pyrenees goes I used NikWax Nubuck and Suede Proof.

Oregon PCTs(Keen Dry)

Pyrenees(Keen Dry)

From the experiences I have had with their boots I will not purchase another pair... Ever. Not saying they are a bad boot, just not good for me. 

I do like their water shoes(currently own the McKenzie) and I really like their socks although I can't seem to figure out what the "R & L" are for on the socks. :p

2:28 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick, I have the Targhee II Mid.  As you can see from my review I have very mixed feelings about them.  If I could have, I would have rated them a "2.5".

Your feedback based on your experience with Keens is helpful.  As I mentioned, I've only used mine on dry trails in the Sierra summer (well a typical summer, not this year when it's reportedly still wet & snowy).  Based on your comments I will go get myself some Nikwax waterproofing.  I guess the sales guy must have been speaking from theory rather than experience (an example of why it's good to collect multiple opinions before forming a decision:).

Though I said in the review I planned to return them, I ended up keeping them.  I just have too much trouble finding boots that are comfortable enough to wear for long hikes.  I really like that these have lots of space in the toe area, especially on downhills, yet they still fit me well overall.   I have to watch the sole separation, though, to see if it progresses (and maybe I will try some cement)...

(image borrowed from the Trailspace review page)


2:46 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I will say that Keen makes a very comfortable boot. One of the biggest issues I have with Keen are the soles. I believe the Targhee and the Pyrenees use the same compound in the sole which is soft and if subjected to alot of rock very quick wearing. It looks as though they also utilizes the same mold from what I can see in pics.

The Oregons utilize carbon in the compound. IMHO too much for the purpose intended which causes the sole to chunk, tear, etc. I lost a lug on my last trip. Then again Rocksylvania is hard on boots. 


I have heard mixed things about the Targhees. Some think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread and other say they are.... well I will let ya fill that one in. 

I have had a bit of correspondence with Keen in regards to suggestions I have thrown at them. I think if they spend a lil more time in the area of R&D they will have a great boot. Nothing is perfect but with a bit of trial and error I think they can get it right. 

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