By Sheryl Craft
In modern-day vernacular, a lot of people switch out one word for another and, they get away with it.
However, this doesn't apply in the world of footwear. If you're looking for the difference between water-resistant and water-proof boots or shoes, I've got your back, or rather, your feet!
Although waterproof and water-resistant shoes sound similar, they're absolutely not. There's a huge difference between these two, and it goes beyond the name.
Before diving headfirst into the world of footwear,you need to know about all this waterproof and water-resistant jargon, right?
Don't worry; I've got your back, or rather, your feet!
What are Waterproof Shoes?
"Waterproof shoe' is a type of footwear that's impervious to water, irrespective of environmental factors.
Waterproof Footwear export in the United States grew by 29.1%, from $1.36B in 2020 to $1.76B in 2021.
Some of the features of these shoes include the ability to:
When companies describe their shoes as water-proof, they're encouraging you to trek in the rain or walk across streams without worrying about wetting your feet.
The most popular waterproof shoe is the rain boot. Since they're made from rubber with perfect, shin-high fit, water rolls off the shoe surface keeping it as dry as possible.
Traditionally, waterproof shoes are usually "boots"
Even today, the "waterproof" quality is mostly advertised in snow boots, work boots and hiking boots.
Fortunately, tech advancements have paved the way for the creation of waterproof athletic gear, including water-proof running shoes.
What are Water Resistant Shoes?
On the other hand, is the water-resistant shoes which can:
Unlike waterproof shoes, water-resistant shoes are somehow resistant to water.
So, although you won't get hurt with a few splashes here and there, you can get wet.
Usually, these shoes are made of materials with innate water-resistant quality. The materials are also less porous, reducing the chances of water permeating the shoe.
So, apart from the above-mentioned water-resistant feature, these shoes lack additional reinforced or water-resistant feature.
That's why they're prone to becoming heavily saturated, especially when exposed to too much water (for example, during heavy downpours).
If you're not yet convinced about the difference between waterproof and water-resistant running shoes, continue reading.
The IP Rating System
Water-resistant shoes fall on the other end of the spectrum. However, this isn't just a figure of speech.
There's a standard rating system used to determine the waterproof level of footwear. It's called the Ingress Protection or the IP rating system.
The rating for footwear reads the "IPS" along with a number range of 0 to 8. The higher the waterproof, the higher the number.
A high-quality waterproof shoe will have an IPX8 rating and a totally non-waterproof shoe will have an IPXO rating.
Water resistant and waterproof are different terms used to segment the scale.
Water resistant qualifies the rating on the lower side of the scale while waterproof qualifies the rating on the higher Side of the spectrum.
Here's a video explaining the IP Rating.
What Makes Waterproof Running Shoes Resistant to Water
Resistant to Water
First things first, what makes a running shoe waterproof is its resistance to water. You see, not all shoes are created equal in this department. Regular old sneakers might soak up water like a sponge, but waterproof running shoes stand strong against H2O, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
The secret sauce starts with the upper part of the shoe. This is the fabric or material that surrounds your foot.
Waterproof shoes often have uppers made of materials like Gore-Tex or specially treated synthetic materials.
These materials are like the fortress walls that keep water from seeping in.
Waterproof running shoes have an inner membrane. It works like the shoe's own personal raincoat for your feet.
This membrane is designed to let sweat escape but stops water from getting in. It's like magic, but better!
Of course, I can't forget about the design. Waterproof running shoes don't have to look like clunky rain boots.
In fact, they come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find a style that suits your taste while keeping your feet dry.
What's that special sauce I mentioned earlier?
Well, it's often a chemical treatment applied to the shoe's materials.
This treatment creates a barrier that repels water, like a force field for your feet. Next time you're out for a jog and the skies decide to open up, fear not. Your waterproof running shoes have got you covered – literally.
Waterproof Shoes Vs Water-Resistant Shoes
As you probably now know, waterproof shoes are more impervious to water than water-resistant shoes.
But these are not the only differences.
Waterproof Shoes: These boast a high Ingress Protection (IP) rating, indicating their superior resistance to water infiltration.
They are engineered to keep my feet completely dry, even in the most adverse conditions.
Water-Resistant Shoes: While they offer some degree of water resistance, it's important to note that they have a lower IP rating.
They can withstand light moisture but are not suitable for heavy rainfall or submersion.
Waterproof Shoes: Typically constructed with advanced waterproof materials such as Gore-Tex or eVent, together with treated uppers. These shoes are like fortresses against moisture. They create an impermeable barrier to keep my feet dry.
Water-Resistant Shoes: These shoes utilize water-resistant materials like treated leather or synthetic coatings. They offer a moderate level of protection but may eventually allow water to seep through in prolonged exposure.
Work boot construction methods also play a key factor in water resistance. Boots with Goodyear Welt construction have a greater degree of water resistance in the space where the upper and the ousole of the boot are attached.
Waterproof Shoes: The superior waterproofing technology and materials come at a premium price. Expect to invest more in these shoes, viewing them as a long-term investment in foot comfort and dryness.
Water-Resistant Shoes: These shoes are generally more budget-friendly, making them accessible for everyday use without breaking the bank.