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How Do You Waterproof Tactical Boots? Detailed Instructions

Tactical boots are often used for challenging terrain, different environment and weather conditions (including rain and snowy seasons).

Therefore, it would help a lot if your tactical boots are waterproof.

Even if your boots already have some protection like the TEX-membrane, they still need extra waterproofing layers to protect your tactical boots, especially suede, nubuck or rough out leather ones.

But how to waterproof your tactical boots the right way? We’ll get you covered all here.

How do you waterproof tactical boots?

Waterproof is the first step to keep your boots withstand the wet conditions.

Waterproofing tactical boots can make the leather soft and supple, prevent moisture and keep your boots breathable. In this way, your feet can stay dry and comfortable.

Also, waterproofing your tactical boots facilitates the cleaning process and prolongs their lifetime.

Here is what you can do before embarking on waterproofing your tactical boots:

  • Remove all the laces for your convenience
  • Determine the material part on your tactical boots to choose the suitable methods and waterproofing products
  • Clean your tactical boots carefully, if they are heavily dirty, you can learn how to clean tactical boots thoroughly here!
  • Pick the suitable waterproofing for your tactical boots

Although you can waterproof your boots while they’re wet, I highly recommend to wait until they’re dry for your convenience and ensure the effect of waterproofing.

After waterproofing your tactical boots, store them in a dry and well-ventilated place.

For Leather Tactical Boots

What you need to prepare for waterproofing leather tactical boots include:

  • A cloth, a rag or a sponge
  • Waterproofing gel, cream, wax or spray
  • A hair dryer (optional)
  • Horsehair brush and applicator brush (if you like)
  • Leather cleaner/saddle soap

To waterproof leather tactical boots, there are 4 types of waterproofing products for your choice: Gel, Cream, Wax and Spray

Use Gel

You should note that waterproofing gels are used for full-grain leather only as it is specially made for this material.

To apply waterproofing gel for your leather tactical boots, follow our steps:

  1. Clean the leather tactical boots thoroughly
  2. Use a cloth to rub the waterproofing gels all over your tactical boots
  3. Let the coating sit for 2-3 minutes to dry out
  4. Use a clean cloth to wipe all the excess
  5. Repeat the process to apply the second layer on your tactical boots for the best results
  6. Leave your leather tactical boots overnight to absorb all the waterproofing gel

Use Cream or Wax

Cream will leave oils on the leather to protect your tactical boots from dirt and water.

Meanwhile, beeswax can melt and form a protective coating to resist water.

It can penetrate leather deeply while still keeping the breathability of leather boots.

  1. Carefully clean your tactical boots, pay attention to the welt, the seams, the sole, etc.
  2. Use a rag and rub it on the cream/wax. Take an adequate amount and apply generously all over the leather. You should rub across the surface in a circular motion and make sure the cream/wax spread evenly on the surface.
  3. Let your leather tactical boots dry for some hours.
  4. Repeat applying a second layer on the leather surface.
  5. Wipe all the excess and buff your tactical boots.
  6. Let the boots sit overnight for waterproofing cream/wax to penetrate deeply in the leather.


Before starting to waterproof your leather tactical boots, you can warm up the wax to easily rub it on the leather.

You can use a hair dryer to make the leather dry faster, but remember not to set the temperature too high and not hover one position.

It’s recommended to let the leather tactical boots dry naturally.

Use Leather Spray

If your leather tactical boots are not 100% leather and have some fabric and suede part, it is smart to spray them.

After cleaning your tactical boots, spray evenly on the surface of tactical boots. Let them dry naturally a few minutes before applying a new layer.

Then wipe clean the boots.

For suede tactical boots (also apply to nubuck, rough out leather)

For tactical boots made of suede, nubuck or rough out leather, you can spray to make them waterproof – this process is really fast, convenient and effective.

Choose the suitable waterproofing spray for your suede tactical boots and get ready to do your job.

  • A cloth, a rag or a sponge
  • Suede and nubuck waterproofing spray
  • Suede cleaner
  • Suede brush
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Use Nubuck and Suede Spray

Contrary to leather tactical boots, suede, nubuck and rough out leather tactical boots need special care since they have distinct characteristics and construction.

For example, these materials are very sensitive to water so it is very necessary to waterproof them.

To waterproof your suede tactical boots, do the following steps:

  1. Clean suede tactical boots with a suede cleaner and suede brush
  2. Spray on the boots, you can overlap the layers to make sure your suede tactical boots are sprayed consistently
  3. Then use the suede brush to brush your boots
  4. Let your suede boots to dry naturally, don’t use a heat source to speed up or you may crack your boots
  5. After the suede boots are dry, you can spray and brush again for extra protection (repeat step 2 & 3)
  6. Use the suede brush to clean all the excess on the surface

For nylon fabric tactical boots

Use Fabric Spray

Similar to the suede methods above, spray your nylon fabric tactical boots to form a waterproofing seal.

  1. Clean your nylon fabric tactical boots thoroughly
  2. Spray evenly on their surface, overlap each layer to make sure that your nylon fabric boots are all covered.
  3. Let your boots dry naturally a few minutes before applying a new layer.
  4. Then wipe clean your nylon fabric tactical boots.

Some notes:

  • You should avoid using the heat source to your tactical boots and let them dry naturally. It is best to store them in a warm room after the waterproofing process.
  • You don’t need to waterproof tactical boots every time you take them out.
  • Some conditioner and polish can waterproof your tactical boots.

Beeswax is highly appreciated for waterproofing ability than the normal wax, though it doesn’t give you a high shine.

Alternatively, if you are a fan of Bickmore, you can opt for the Bickmore Leather Conditioner.

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Top 4 Waterproofing for Tactical Boots

KIWI Boot Protector

Kiwi has a unique silicone formula to create a barrier on the fabric tactical boots while allowing them to breathe.

Kiwi Boot Protector is easy to use, just shake it before using and follow the directions of the product.

Also, this waterproofer will make your fabric tactical boots rich in color but doesn’t change the color much.

This product is very helpful in the rainy season! Your fabric tactical boots will hold up very well and challenge all kinds of weather, even the heavy rain.

When spraying, it has a very strong smell but will fade away once it dries. Don’t worry!

Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing

This is one of the best waterproofing wax for leather tactical boots. It is highly appreciated by customers.

Sno Seal can work great on the leather and even the seams of your boots.

When applied across your leather tactical boots, it creates a waterproofing seal to protect the boot surface from water, dirt, mud.

Then your feet are dry and comfortable throughout the day.

Also, the beeswax makes it easy to clean your tactical boots and restores the look of old leather boots.

Interestingly, Sno Seal has plain beeswax and no chemical, that’s why many people love and trust it!

On the convenience side, you can use this waterproofing for a very long time as it is contained in a big can.

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather

Nikwax is a popular brand for waterproofing the leather boots.

Contrary to the huge can above, this Nikwax waterproofing wax is a small tube with the convenient tip for you to apply directly on the tactical boot surface.

Moreover, you can easily carry it to make the leather waterproof as it can produce instant water repellency for your boots.

It works immediately after applying. You can try it out!

The package includes a sponge-on applicator but it doesn’t seem to work well. You might want to use your tools.

Notably, if you don’t want to soften the leather much, then Nikwax waterproofing wax is the only way to go.

Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Proof Waterproofing

Suede is a delicate material and very susceptible to water. It needs proper care, especially in the rainy or snowy seasons.

With Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Proof Waterproofing, it’s no big deal anymore!

This Nikwax spray is very easy to use, just spray it across suede tactical boots evenly and enjoy the result.

Plus, a big point is that this product doesn’t discolor your suede tactical boots.

It might be a bit pricey for its size but you can use this spray for a long time. Believe me, this Nikwax waterproofing spray won’t disappoint you!

Before you leave

Waterproofing tactical boots is essential to make them withstand wet conditions and extend their longevity.

You can clean your tactical boots easily and quickly once they are waterproofed.

However, you don’t need to waterproof them frequently since the waterproofing seal can last a certain time.

With each material of tactical boots, choose the suitable waterproofing product to get the best results.

Besides, you should note that some conditioners have the waterproofing ability for your convenience.

Hope this article is a great help for you!

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