A common question we are asked in the store is:
"Are these shoes waterproof?"
So here is our answer. We grade our shoes into 5 levels of water resistance.
Fabric shoes such as Skechers trainers or shoes with fabric uppers or fabric panels offer no water resistance. Its just not possible. Some trainers are sold with water repellent uppers and while this does help a splash or two to run off, water will eventually soak through if kept wet for long enough.
2) Low level
Leather shoes with heavy stitching. Especially shoes where the sole is stitched to the upper. Brands such as Rieker stitch the soles onto the uppers creating ultra light-weight and flexible designs but the stitching is the entry point for water.
3) Medium level
Shoes which have an injection moulded sole or a sole glued to the upper create a tight seal that takes a long time for water to bypass. Our Gabor shoes often use this construction technique. The rubber soles are a little chunkier and heavier but on the plus side the water resistance level improves.
4) High level
Injection moulded soles with a water resistant membrane such as Gabor-Tex or Rieker-Tex offer the best protection. The seams and soles are sealed. The only place for water to pass through is the Zip or between the tongue which is why these shoes stop short of being 100% water proof.
5) Water proof
Unfortunately we haven't found any shoes to be totally 100% water proof (except for wellies)
A note on suede: Our suede shoes and boots are as waterproof as our leather ones. Its a common myth that suede isn't suitable for wet weather but tests show suede can keep out water for as long as smooth leathers. If they do leak it will be along stitching lines.
So if you do find your shoes are letting in water then some good old fashioned shoe polish works wonders! A tin of wax Kiwi polish and a brush worked into the welts and stitching lines will drastically improve the water resistance level of your footwear. And for suede and textiles, waterproofing spray works well too.