We’ve all been there at least once – it’s a snowy day, and we must go out and work (or play) in it, but we just don’t have the proper footwear. What about leather boots? I will discuss what to look for in leather boots worn in the snow and how to protect them from moisture damage.
Leather boots can be worn in the snow if treated with a waterproof spray, wax, or leather conditioner. The best leather boots for snow are made from top grain, full grain, or faux leather, have good traction, and are lightweight. Insulated leather boots provide extra warmth for wearing in the snow.
Are you looking for the best leather boot types for a snowy climate? Are you wondering what can be done to leather boots to make them hold up to snow better? Let’s check out the variables for wearing leather boots in the snow.
Can You Wear Leather Boots in the Snow?
Leather boots can be worn in the snow if appropriately prepared in advance. Leather boots are water resistant rather than waterproof, but materials including waterproofing spray, wax, and leather conditioner can be applied to increase their water resistance.
What We’ll Explore
- Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
- Does Wearing Leather Boots Keep You Warm in the Snow?
- Types of Leather Boots to Wear in the Snow
- Does Snow Ruin Leather Boots?
- How to Protect Leather Boots in the Snow
- The Best Boots to Wear in the Snow
- How to Care for Your Leather Boots in the Winter
- My Personal Research Into Wearing Leather Boots in the Snow
- Helpful Insights on Wearing Leather Boots in the Snow
- Key Takeaways
Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions
One misconception about wearing leather boots in the snow is that they are waterproof. This is untrue because leather is porous and will absorb moisture unless treated with a waterproofing substance. Another myth regarding leather and leather boots is that any type of moisture will ruin them. This is primarily false because many types of leather are moisture resistant, thanks partly to the processing and tanning used to make them.
Does Wearing Leather Boots Keep You Warm in the Snow?
Some leather boots can keep feet warm in the snow, but not all leather boots are created the same. Some leather boots are made with insulating materials, while others are not. Wearing thick or insulated socks with leather boots can help keep feet warm in the cold, but leather boots will allow air to circulate unless they are well insulated. The best way to keep feet warm in the snow is to wear thick socks and insulated leather boots that have been waterproofed.
Types of Leather Boots to Wear in the Snow
Because not all leather boots are made the same, some are good for wearing in snow. Let’s look at some of the best leather boots for cold and snowy weather.
|Leather Boot Type||Details|
|Snow boots||Mid-calf shaft, no laces or holes, heavily insulated, waterproof rubber soles|
|Hiking boots||Mid-calf shaft, heavily insulated, excellent traction with non-slip rubber soles|
|Knee-length boots||Knee-high shaft, insulated, good traction|
|Booties||Mid-calf shaft, heavily insulated, waterproof rubber soles|
|Wellington boots||Mid-calf to knee-high shaft, insulated, waterproof rubber soles, excellent traction|
Does Snow Ruin Leather Boots
Snow has the potential to ruin leather boots because of moisture and any surface treatments that may have been applied to sidewalks and roads. Snow exposes leather boots to moisture, and leather is not waterproof, only water resistant.
Surface treatments use various types of salt, which melts ice and snow and can dry out leather boots. Conditioning leather boots and using waterproofing methods can help prevent damage to the leather when it’s snowy outside.
For information about wearing leather cowboy boots in the snow, check out this helpful video from Jeremiah Craig.
How to Protect Leather Boots in the Snow
Waterproofing spray works by filling in leather’s pores to prevent water droplets from absorbing into the material. Waterproofing spray can be used on leather boots, shoes, jackets, and more. Clean the leather boots, cover any zippers before applying the waterproofing spray, and reapply monthly to maintain water resistance.
Beeswax and carnauba wax can be used to make leather boots waterproof. The wax creates a barrier and adds a sheen similar to patent leather, which resists water and prevents damage to the leather. Leather wax must only be reapplied once every two to three months to keep the snow from absorbing into leather.
Leather conditioner creates a water barrier on leather boots while keeping the material soft and supple. Clean the leather boots before application and reapply every month during snowy or wet weather.
The Best Leather Boots to Wear in the Snow
Top grain, full grain, and faux leather are the best leather boots to wear in the snow. Top grain and full grain are thicker, more durable, and stand up better to snow and moisture. Faux leather is perhaps the best because it is made from plastic and often covered in plastic material.
Snow and ice can get very slippery so traction on leather boots is key. Rubber soles with thick treads will grip better on slick surfaces than cowboy or fashion leather boots.
Not all leather boots are made the same, especially regarding insulation. The winter snow and ice call for thick insulation to keep your feet and toes warm while allowing for breathability. For the best leather boot insulation, key terms to look for include:
- 3M Thinsulate
- Optiwarm Design
The best leather boot design to wear in snow includes a rubber sole with traction, insulation, and no laces or loops for laces to decrease portals of entry for water. According to researchers Richmond, Potter, Looney, and Santee, walking in snow is more physiologically demanding; therefore, boots worn in snowy or icy weather should be lightweight.
Waterproof spray, leather wax, or leather conditioner can be applied to leather boots to make them more water-resistant in snow.
How to Care for Your Leather Boots in the Winter?
Winter weather varies by location, but leather boots worn during this time should be cared for properly to keep them in great shape. When it’s cold and dry, make sure leather boots are cleaned and conditioned regularly to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking. Rain, ice, and snow can cause damage to leather with excess moisture, so apply a waterproofing treatment to increase water resistance.
My Personal Research Into Wearing Leather Boots in the Snow
To learn more about what top leather boot producers offer regarding snow and cold protection, I researched online to find the most popular leather boot insulation. Below are the top insulation materials used by popular leather boot retailers.
|Leather Boot Insulation Material||Frequency of Use by Top Retailers|
|Sherpa||17% – UGG and Carhartt|
|Faux fur||25% – UGG, Columbia, and Sorel|
|Techlite||8% – Columbia|
|Fleece||17% – Merrell and London Fog|
|Thinsulate||8% – Wolverine|
|PET Fleece||8% – Timberland|
|ThermoLite||8% – Totes|
|Microfleece||8% – Sorel|
|Sheepskin and wool blend||8% – Bearpaw|
Helpful Insights on Wearing Leather Boots in the Snow
How do I make leather boots snow proof?
Leather boots can be made snowproof using waterproofing treatments. This includes applying spray-on sealants, waterproofing cream, or leather conditioner to the leather boots. For frequent exposure to snow and moisture, reapply waterproofing treatments at least monthly.
What kind of boots are best to wear in snow?
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The best boots to wear in snow are cowboy boots, booties, knee-length boots, and insulated boots. These will better protect feet from cold and moisture while allowing them to breathe. Also, wear thick or insulated socks for even more protection in snow.
How do you protect leather in the snow?
Leather can be protected from snow and moisture with waterproofing treatments. Regular application of treatments along with leather conditioner and proper drying techniques can keep any leather item in good condition and prevent cracking and water damage.
Will snow salt ruin leather boots?
Snow salt has the potential to ruin leather boots because it draws out moisture and can lead to cracking. The best practice is to clean off leather boots after wearing them in the snow, then apply leather conditioner. Reapply waterproofing products at least monthly to continue protecting leather.
- Leather boots are water resistant in snow, not waterproof.
- Waterproof spray, leather wax, or leather conditioner can be applied to leather boots to make them more water-resistant in snow.
- The best leather boots to wear in the snow are made from top grain, full grain, or faux leather, have rubber soles with traction, are insulated well, and are lightweight.
It’s always a good idea to wear insulated waterproof boots when navigating ice and snow, and many leather boots fit the bill. With the proper leather waterproofing product and a cozy pair of leather boots, anyone can enjoy a day in the snow without frozen toes.