Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots: 6 Key Differences

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We’ve all seen people using the terms ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’ interchangeably. But are they really alike? When it comes to comparing footwear, we need clarity. 

The basic difference between waterproof vs water resistant boots is that you can submerge waterproof boots in the water without damaging them whereas water-resistant boots will only endure moisture to a certain level. 

It’s not simple to explain the difference in those words. So, let’s dive a bit deeper. 

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots: What Do They Mean?

There are several differences when we are comparing these two types of boots. But first, it’s important to get our basics right. The term water resistant refers to when something can withstand water to a certain level. For instance, water-resistant boots are protected from water if it’s lightly raining, or water splashes on them. 

However, you cannot submerge water-resistant boots into the water. These boots go through a test before they are labeled as water-resistant. The test determines how much water it can withstand before it leaks inside the boots. The amount of water pressure that can label a shoe as water-resistant is 200 mm. 

Waterproof boots, on the other hand, can withstand water even if you submerge them in the water. They are usually made of different materials and cost more than water-resistant boots.

Not understanding the difference between these two terms is what creates disappointment. When something is advertised as water resistant and they don’t perform well when they’re entirely submerged in the water, people tend to get disappointed. 

Nevertheless, you need to understand that there’s a limit to which a water-resistant product can withstand the effect of water. So, make sure you’re paying extra attention when choosing anything labeled as water-resistant and waterproof.  

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots: 6 Basic Differences

The terminologies are not the only thing that differs from one another in this case. There are some significant differences between waterproof and water-resistant boots. Let’s take a brief look at them. 

Aspect Waterproof Boots Water-Resistant Boots
Material Nylon, waterproof fabrics, leather Canvas, leather, rubber with coating
Price Usually more expensive Generally more affordable
Breathability Less breathable due to non-porous materials More breathable
Effectiveness Long-term protection from moisture and water Short-term protection from moisture
Durability Withstands harsh weather, lasts longer Less durable than waterproof boots
Insulation Better insulation, retains heat Less effective insulation
Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots Basic Differences


Water-resistant boots can be made of canvas, leather, or rubber. Regardless of what material is used, there is usually a protective coating that makes the boots water-resistant. 

Waterproof boots are usually made of nylon, waterproof fabrics, or leather. The outsole of waterproof boots can feature rubber, polyurethane, or neoprene. These materials are non-porous, making them perfect for the waterproof feature.


As you can guess, waterproof boots are usually more expensive than water-resistant ones. So, if you are thinking about getting a waterproof pair, make sure to keep your budget higher than usual. 


Water-resistant boots are certainly more breathable than waterproof boots. Even with the coating that makes a pair of boots water-resistant, these boots are usually a lot more breathable compared to waterproof boots. 

The non-porous materials used for making waterproof boots prevent water from getting water inside the shoes. As a result, the breathability of the boots get affected


Both boots come with some upsides and downsides. Which one is better for you depends on the purpose. If you need a pair for long-term protection from moisture and water, it’s better to invest in a pair of waterproof boots. 

On the other hand, if your primary concern is breathability, price, and short-term protection from moisture, water-resistant boots will be a better choice. 


Waterproof boots win this round with flying colors. Because of their waterproof feature, they can withstand harsh weather and last longer than water-resistant boots. 


The waterproof materials also come in handy when you’re in search of better insulation. Heat can’t escape and air can’t enter waterproof shoes, making them stronger against temperature. 

So, if it’s freezing cold outside and you want your feet to be warm, waterproof boots will certainly perform better than water-resistant boots. 

Advantages Of Waterproof And Water Resistant Boots

Let’s summarize what advantages you will get if you go for any of these boots. 

Advantages Waterproof Boots Water-Resistant Boots
Protection Provides highest protection from dirt and water Provides a level of moisture resistance
Insulation Offers improved insulation, keeps feet warm More breathable, comfort for longer periods
Styles Available in wide range of styles Lightweight, stylish design
Longevity Typically lasts longer than many other boots Often comfortable
Water Submersion Can be submerged in water without damage Suitable for most situations, slip prevention
Versatility Suitable for various weather conditions, all-season choice Easy to clean, versatile
Affordability Comparatively higher cost Generally more affordable
Slip Prevention Can offer better grip Helps prevent accidental slips
Comfort May be less breathable, depending on material Often more comfortable than some other boot options
Moisture Prevention Keeps feet dry and prevents moisture Provides a level of moisture resistance to keep feet drier
Advantages Of Waterproof And Water Resistant Boots

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Boots: Which One Is Better And Why? 

Aspects Water-Resistant Boots Waterproof Boots
Price & Breathability Win in terms of price and breathability May have a higher price, less breathable
Insulation & Durability May have less insulation and durability Offers better insulation, durability against water
Weather Consideration Suitable for light moisture, drizzles, and splashes Essential for heavy rain, muddy areas
Suitability for Activities Suitable for walking, hiking in various conditions Necessary for heavy rain, mud-prone activities
Long-Term Investment May be a more economical choice initially Ensures shoes remain unaffected by water over time
Water Resistant Boots

As you can understand from today’s discussion, the better choice could be any one of them depending on what you are looking for. When you’re comparing these two options based on price and breathability, water-resistant boots will certainly win.

On the contrary, if you are concerned about insulation, durability, and keeping the shoes unaffected by water, waterproof boots are the ones you should invest in. 

It’s smart to think about the weather and the purpose before buying a pair. if you work indoors and don’t want to spend a lot of money on your shoes, water-resistant boots will do fine.

They can excellently withstand light moisture, drizzles, and splashes. You can walk and hike easily wearing water-resistant shoes. 

Nevertheless, if you visit somewhere muddy on a regular basis, or it rains heavily in your area, it’s very important that you invest in a pair of high-quality waterproof shoes.

Initially, the price difference between these two options may make you think that it’s better to get a pair of water-resistant boots.

However, if you ruin your shoes with water, there is no use in saving that small amount of money. 

Final Words

There you have it. The detailed differentiation between waterproof vs water-resistant boots. If you are about to buy a new pair of boots, it’s smart to get your facts straight.

No matter how much someone says waterproof and water-resistant boots are the same, they are not. Now that you know what to measure to differentiate these two, you can be a better buyer without spending your money in the wrong place. 


  1. https://www.overlookboots.com/blogs/boots/waterproof-vs-water-resistant-vs-water-repellent-boots-what-is-the-difference 
  2. https://www.vionicshoes.com/blog/whats-the-difference-between-waterproof-and-water-resistant-boots/

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