Tools of the trade – Danner waterproofing gel

I finished applying the second and final coat of Danners waterproofing gel today. It’s a quick and simple process. All you need is a rag and it takes less than 10 minutes. For any color other than black, it’s possible that the gel could slightly alter the color but for my black boots, it didn’t affect the color at all. So if you’re worried about the color of your boots, you should probably test a small area before applying the gel to the entire shoe.

I forgot to take a picture but afterwards I tested the water resistance using the sink faucet and sure enough the gel completely repelled all of the water leaving just a few beads of water drops which then slid off like you would expect to happen with a fully waterproof material.

You might be asking yourself “Shouldn’t these $230 boots already be waterproof?” While comparing the different boots from Danner, I discovered that the Bull Run Moc were not listed as waterproof and the only other boot in the style that I was looking for, that were also waterproof, was over $400. So the waterproofing gel and ten minutes of time was the best option. Not a bad solution for $13. And I only used about 1/3rd of the bottle.

With my original pair, which didn’t have the waterproofing gel, I got them wet a few times and the leather immediately started to absorb the water on contact so without a doubt, these boots do not come waterproof.

If you need truly waterproof boots, I would recommend doing some more research before buying your boots because this type of solution might not be the best for your use. Truly waterproof boots might have some sort of fully waterproof liner inside the boot while my boots do not. And they might have a different method of stitching as to avoid generating holes in the material. This waterproof gel will coat the outside of the leather but in the line of work that I do, the leather gets worn away really quickly which immediately eliminates the waterproofing coat because it gets worn away.

There is some level of absorption by the leather that occurs when you apply the gel so it might still be somewhat effective, even when the surface gets worn, but there is also the stitching to consider which is probably the most vulnerable area to water penetration.

So unless your boots never get scratched or worn, the waterproofing gel probably isn’t the best for working in seriously wet conditions. In our line of work, we rarely get wet and when we do, it’s not enough to require completely waterproof boots. When the surface of my boots get worn down, I plan to simply reapply the gel as necessary. I guess I’ll eventually find out how much absorption of the waterproofing gel occurs.

So here is the bottom line. If you work in seriously wet conditions, like constantly in the snow or rain or at an aquarium or something, this waterproofing gel on non-waterproof boots is probably not the best solution. But if you only occasionally briefly encounter wet working conditions, then the waterproofing gel is a great option.

waterproofing complete!

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