What is the difference between Waterproof and Water-resistant?

Whether in competitions or regular sports, the feet are the human body parts in direct or indirect contact with the outside world. Therefore, people pay more and more attention to the protection of their feet. Among them, the use of waterproof and breathable shoes is user-selective. More shoes enable users to increase the comfort of the feet during exercise, so the requirements for waterproof and breathable shoes are getting higher and higher. Waterproof grades are generally divided into two: waterproof and water-resistant. Now, let’s look at the difference between waterproof and water-resistant!

black waterproof shoe

(This picture is from Xin De Sheng shoe factory)


The waterproof material is usually made of a fabric or material that is itself waterproof and can also be waterproof by strictly applying it to fabrics (e.g., PVC, PU, or rubber). Then, it is tested for water permeability resistance as a waterproof material.

brown waterproof shoe

(This picture is from Xin De Sheng shoe factory)

The waterproof material is completely waterproof and does not allow water droplets through the fabric even under rougher conditions; therefore is commonly used where enhanced waterproof safety is required. Waterproof materials are expensive because of ultra-high quality materials and increased testing of waterproof materials.


The water-resistant material is only mildly waterproof. Tightly packed holes also provide waterproofing of the fibre, so the density of the fiber can even make some materials waterproof.

brown waterproof boots

(This picture is from Xin De Sheng shoe factory)

The denser the fibers, the longer the water seeps into them. The material was not tested for waterproofing and had a lower waterproof grade.

In worse conditions, this material is not entirely waterproof. This material is much cheaper because of reduced cost as no tests were performed to ensure waterproofing and the lower quality required for production compared to waterproofing materials.

brown waterproof shoes

(This picture is from Xin De Sheng shoe factory)

  • The difference between waterproof and water-resistant
  • Waterproof is entirely waterproof, while water-resistant is mildly waterproof.
  • Waterproof has a high quality even in harsh conditions; water-resistant has a low waterproof grade and is low in harsh conditions.
  • The Waterproof materials use high technology to increase waterproofing; water-resistant is waterproofing using wax or PVC coating.
  • The waterproof material is strictly waterproof; water-resistant is not.
  • Waterproof materials are more expensive because of high technology and continuous testing, while untested water-resistant materials are cheaper.
  • The production standards and testing standards of waterproof shoes
  • All waterproof shoes must be waterproof to the lowest first eyelet.
  • All waterproof shoes must use a full waterproof sock liner and a waterproof membrane sock liner under the insole and above the midsole. The waterproof sockliner must be made of the following materials: 22 mm wide waterproof strip; wave lining + 2 mm foam + waterproof membrane + tricot.
  • The waterproof sockliner must extend to the top of the tongue of the shoe or 5 mm above the waterproof line.
waterproof shoe drawings
  • Each waterproof sockliner must be tested for inflation in a sink. Socks found to be leaking must not be used.
  • Threads with a waterline at or below the waterline must be sealed with a waterproof adhesive or waterproof strip to prevent moisture from penetrating the pinholes. The waterproof strip must be covered with a layer of hot-melt adhesive.
  • Ensure that the waterproofing glue is applied twice when sealing the lines and that the glue is completely dry before the second application.
  • Threads located at or below the waterline should be nylon or coated with a waterproof substance to prevent moisture from penetrating the shoe along the thread.
  • Use gusseted tongues where possible to prevent moisture from penetrating around the tongue.
  • All upper leathers used below the waterline must pass a water resistance test of 15,000 bends in a Maeser water resistance flex test machine.
  • The textile material of the upper must be treated for durability and water resistance.
  • The lining of the waterproof membrane must be tested for water resistance.
  • A minimum of two coats of waterproof glue is required (the seam area must be tapped firmly and flat after each coat)
  • If the upper has a combination of materials that cannot be directly bonded by the waterproofing glue, such as oily leather, PVC, EVA, nylon etc., it must first be washed with a solution. The combination of different materials will make the waterproofing process more difficult in the needle shop and should be avoided if possible.

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