How to Seal Winter Boot Seams

dirty hiking shoes

mmpile/iStock/Getty Images

You want to keep your feet warm and dry when hiking or trekking through the snow -- or just walking around in it. The seams where a leather boot is attached to the sole or up the sides and back of the boot are the areas most vulnerable to leaks. Leaks can occur when the stitching begins to fray from wear on older boots or when the needle holes for the thread create minute gaps in seams that let moisture in. Reseal your winter boot seams to extend the life of your boots and keep the snow out so you and your warm, dry feet can enjoy the season.

Examine your boots along all the seams for frayed stitching, loose areas or tiny gaps, cracking and dried out sections, or seams that are beginning to pull apart.

Clean the boots well. Brush off any dried mud or other dirt with a soft brush, and wipe the boots down with a damp cloth. Use an old toothbrush to work out any dirt that has become packed into the seams.

Apply a urethane sealer to the seams. First, remove any old wax or waterproofing from the area with isopropyl alcohol. Squeeze the sealer directly on the seams of the boot and allow it to dry overnight. This is a permanent adhesive that will give you a clear, flexible, rubber coating over the seam. Be sure to work in a ventilated area when applying the new seal to your boots.

Try a traditional sealer that has been a favorite of alpinists for decades, as an alternative. Clean the boots thoroughly and apply Sno-Seal, a beeswax-based protective seal that you can rub on with a soft cloth. Bead extra sealant into the seams with a toothpick. Use a hairdryer to melt the sealant into every crevice. Let it dry overnight to set.

Protect boots with a rough nap without ruining their appearance. Select a sealant made especially for suede to avoid darkening the leather or gluing down the nap. Check that the product is clearly marked as safe for suede, and then sponge or spray on according to manufacturer’s instructions.