What is the Difference between Water Resistant, Water Proof, and Water Repellent Footwear?

Are you planning to go on a hiking trip soon?

While hiking is incredibly fun and an adrenaline-pumping adventure, it is also extremely dangerous, especially for beginners. Hazards are along the way, from slippery and steep paths to weather elements. It is why expert hikers always remind beginners to wear the right gear and bring all essential tools for survival.

One of the significant gears you must wear on a hiking escapade is a durable hiking shoe. This type of footwear will protect your feet from potential hazards. Likewise, it’ll help you walk faster and reach your destination comfortably.

Unfortunately, looking for functional hiking footwear is not an easy job. There are lots of options in the market from different brands, materials used, to features. But one factor you must never forget when searching for a pair of hiking shoes is its ability to resist water. If you have already browsed the web or in some stores for possible options, notice that some hiking shoes are labeled as waterproof, while others are said to be water-resistant and water repellent. Now, how all of these variables?

What does Waterproof Mean?

Waterproof footwear means it can be submerged in the water. And despite being soaked in water, the materials will remain completely dry.

Waterproof shoes keep your feet dry, even when you trudge in mud, puddles, or walk through a shallow river. Usually, footwear of this kind is made of rubber and synthetics like neoprene and polyurethane. Therefore, waterproof shoes allow you to hike comfortably regardless of the weather and the trail you’re taking. One of the top hiking shoes in the market that is semi-waterproof is Moab 2 by Merrell Men’s. This Moab 2 from Merrel meets all the expectations of high-quality hiking footwear. You can assure this hiking shoe will protect your feet and keep it comfortable.

What is a Water Resistant Shoe?

A water-resistant shoe will protect your feet from the water to a certain degree. It stays dry for a moment after being submerged into the water; however, the moisture quickly soaks into the material.

Water-resistant footwear is more breathable and lightweight compared to full waterproof shoes. However, you can only use it for light hiking. Going into the storm or during a heavy snowfall using this footwear is not a good choice. This type of shoe usually came from gore-tex, leather, nylon, and other coated materials.

What is a Water Repellent Shoe?

This type of shoe is a middle ground of water-resistant and waterproof footwear. Thus, water does not soak into the material, but it is not completely resistant. However, water repellent shoes quickly dry, which is a big advantage.


The best option for hiking is a waterproof shoe. But you have to assure the footwear is comfortable and easy to wear. Also, consider a waterproof hiking shoe that is guaranteed durable and practical to wear in outdoor conditions. For example, it must withstand various weather conditions and tough terrains.

If you need more details about the best footwear for hiking, check it out here at Hikers Shop.