Do waterproof leather boots really exist?

bbags

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I just got back from an enjoyable but unsuccessful sheep hunt, and my boots were the weakest link in the gear category. I have a quality ($350) pair of well waxed, leather boots that have a waterproof/breathable membane. After 1 day of hiking in light rain, through wet tundra, my feet were swimming in water. I could easily wring the water out of my socks. It made for an unpleasant experience, and under different circumstances it could have been dangerous.

So, from your experience, is it possible to have a waterproof leather boot?
 

Erik in AK

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Were you wearing gaiters?

Assuming your feet weren't sweating profusely (I know mine do) then you might just have a defective pair of boots.

Best way to test them is dry them completely, place them in a tub, or cooler, or some container big enough for them to sit on their soles, and fill the with container with 3" of water and see where they leak.
 

4merguide

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So, from your experience, is it possible to have a waterproof leather boot?

For the most part I would have to say no.....not completely. A good quality gortex/or similar boot, (like yours should have been at $350), should be good for at least a few good days in wet conditions. After that it's a toss up, as sweat from the inside along with water from the outside is really going to be hard to keep a boot dry. In my experience my Meindls would stay pretty dry even walking through swamp off and on, for at least 4-5 days. If it was warm and I was sweating a lot then maybe less than that. Then on some hunts they would stay pretty dry the whole time.

Of course yours could have been defective from the get go. Did you wear them in water before the trip to see if they leaked? If they are new and a Cabela's goretex boot, they probably will take them back.
 

hoose35

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Last fall I used a new pair of meindl's on a goat hunt. I was in there for 5 days and it rained every day, my feet never got wet. That being said, we were up in the mountains, not hiking in tundra. IMO, leather boots are always going to get wet in tundra/swamp conditions.
 

0321Tony

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Re: Do waterproof leather boots really exist?

I have 4 years on my kennetreks and love them. I have been in some nasty weather and always stay dry. I even use them to cross creeks with by just tapeing my waterproof pants tightly around my ankles the only time I ever got wet feet with them is when I go over the top. I just make sure they have a good coating of Hubert shoe grease on them

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
 

wykee5

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Danners=Multiple pair that leaked. Kennetreck=Multiple Pairs that Leaked. Lowa=pair that leaks. As much as I would love to have some faith in goretex boots, in wet and soggy conditions I have yet to find a pair that consistently keeps my feet dry. That being said, I can cross rivers most of the day without getting wet feet, but continous walking through wet stuff I have never had a pair last even a year. If you think yours are waterproof, weight them down in a cooler of water and see how long it takes before they are wet inside. Conversely, fill them with water when they are dry, and see how long it takes for water to show up on the outside. If you go the latter route, just make sure you have a few days to dry them out before you need them:)
 

jimss

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I've worn my Scarpa and Lowa boots treated with Nikwax for several weeks at a time and never had wet feet. Make certain to take the insoles out each night so your insoles, socks, and boots can air dry. You may want to switch to a thinner or different material socks? That may be the root of your problem? You may be getting wet from the inside from perspiration rather than water coming in from the outside?
 
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I use West German officers Jack boots, tough as hell, all Leather outside and leather lined inside with no "breathable but (NOT!) waterproof" synthetic stuffs to fail.
I slather them in Minkoil and wear 'em all summer with a felt insole on the bottom to keep the damp warm. Just like Cowboy/Russian/Cossak and others who worked outside and wore high boots, they slip on and off, and 15 inch tops protect and keep your lower legs from rocks and stumps, and keep 'em dry all the doo da day, ('cept persperations ~~LOL!!~~) just as good as any rubber boots, any day.

I buy them one size larger than my foot to fit the wool bottom and a thick wool sock or two.

130$ well spent, and very comfortable, indeed, Boating, Tundra, Mountain sides and Home.
 

cory100

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done 9 sheep hunts and numerous boo/moose with three different type of boots. Honestly the cheapest pair (merrels) were the best and pretty water proof. decent support and grip and never got to wet. Next was Kennetreks. I know their are a lot of fans of these boots and I was stoked to get them. They are the worst boots I have ever had. Get watersoaked in almost any precipitation and can't seem to not get blisters. I've tried numerous insoles and sock combinations. My wife has a pair as well and they get wet to. They do have superior grip on the rocks and good support, I'll give them that. This last hunt I went with a pair of Asolo. They stayed fairly dry and were comfy but lacked gripping ability and not as supportive as I would like. I think the best you can do is buy a quality pair and grease them good. Also let them air dry, not quick dry, so as to not damage the leather.
 

4merguide

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Next was Kennetreks. I know their are a lot of fans of these boots and I was stoked to get them. They are the worst boots I have ever had. Get watersoaked in almost any precipitation and can't seem to not get blisters.

Man I hate to hear this......I just bought a new pair. Never owned them before. Hope I get lucky. I do believe though that the key to keeping a gortex boot water proof, it to always wash the dirt off them and keep the leather conditioned....
 

Erik in AK

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I use West German officers Jack boots, tough as hell, all Leather outside and leather lined inside with no "breathable but (NOT!) waterproof" synthetic stuffs to fail.
I slather them in Minkoil and wear 'em all summer with a felt insole on the bottom to keep the damp warm. Just like Cowboy/Russian/Cossak and others who worked outside and wore high boots, they slip on and off, and 15 inch tops protect and keep your lower legs from rocks and stumps, and keep 'em dry all the doo da day, ('cept persperations ~~LOL!!~~) just as good as any rubber boots, any day.

I buy them one size larger than my foot to fit the wool bottom and a thick wool sock or two.

130$ well spent, and very comfortable, indeed, Boating, Tundra, Mountain sides and Home.

Hey stranger,
No goose-stepping while you're out goose hunting.

jus' sayin'
 

fkroosher

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Cory might I ask where you get the blisters? I also have the Kennetreks and back of left heal blistered pretty bad after 5 days in them.
Fred
 

PAcWest

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I know their are a lot of fans of these boots and I was stoked to get them. They are the worst boots I have ever had. Get watersoaked in almost any precipitation and can't seem to not get blisters.

That is a fair assessment of the waterproofing quality of the boots, but blisters are your fault. Your boots are not the right size. They may be the right length, but the width, height, or flexibility need to be checked. A lot of people have no business wearing factory boots, but most never use them enough to realize that.
 

bowhunternak

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I just did 6 days on the haul road and wore my Danner's and the only wet on my feet was from sweat. I hiked in the 5 miles in them to get my 10 yr old son his first bou and really was surprised at how well they worked! First pair that held up that good ever for me but I will stick with them that is for sure!
 

LuJon

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Do waterproof leather boots really exist?

Interesting thread. I have a set of Kenetrek mtn extreme 400 boots and the leather gets wet but I never noticed my feet getting wet. I have stood in rivers and never felt that cold sting of glacier water getting through. I wear nothing but merino wool socks and have never had a blister with them. Hot spots a couple times but always treated them and was good to go by the next day.

I used aqueous wax on mine and am a little worried that it helped soften the leather. It also could be the fact that I am over 265 lbs though and still chugging up and down mountains ;) I never found the Kenetreks to be especially rigid but that may be a weight thing. I have hauled 100+ lb loads bringing my total weight perilously close to 400lbs on those boots. The leather has gotten loose when wet since day one but now in season 4 they are flat "wollered out" for you southern boys. There really is no ankle support to speak of now but they don't seem to leak yet. I don't plan to throw them away but their mountain days are over. I would be interested to hear reviews on the full grain leather Kenetreks as they seem like they would be stiffer. Mine will continue to serve me for moose and caribou but I am taking the plunge on plastics for the mountains. I have a shiny new set of Koflach Degree plastics sitting here and hopefully I will get some time off to go scuff them up soon!
 

Duckhunter01

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I have the same boots and love them. Never been wet!, snow, rivers, creeks, you name it. Great product.

Interesting thread. I have a set of Kenetrek mtn extreme 400 boots and the leather gets wet but I never noticed my feet getting wet. I have stood in rivers and never felt that cold sting of glacier water getting through. I wear nothing but merino wool socks and have never had a blister with them. Hot spots a couple times but always treated them and was good to go by the next day.

I used aqueous wax on mine and am a little worried that it helped soften the leather. It also could be the fact that I am over 265 lbs though and still chugging up and down mountains ;) I never found the Kenetreks to be especially rigid but that may be a weight thing. I have hauled 100+ lb loads bringing my total weight perilously close to 400lbs on those boots. The leather has gotten loose when wet since day one but now in season 4 they are flat "wollered out" for you southern boys. There really is no ankle support to speak of now but they don't seem to leak yet. I don't plan to throw them away but their mountain days are over. I would be interested to hear reviews on the full grain leather Kenetreks as they seem like they would be stiffer. Mine will continue to serve me for moose and caribou but I am taking the plunge on plastics for the mountains. I have a shiny new set of Koflach Degree plastics sitting here and hopefully I will get some time off to go scuff them up soon!
 

Duckhunter01

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4merguide...just use the Kennetrek oil, put it on right and let it soak in. You will not get wet. You will be very happy you bought them. Maybe just me and about another dozen friends I know that have them have been lucky..but I doubt it!

Man I hate to hear this......I just bought a new pair. Never owned them before. Hope I get lucky. I do believe though that the key to keeping a gortex boot water proof, it to always wash the dirt off them and keep the leather conditioned....
 

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