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Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

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Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby jstluise » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:26 am

I have a couple pairs of leather boots (Asolo Powermatics and Lowa Mountain Experts). Both are GTX, and I have been searching around for a good leather treatment/waterproofer. My main goal is to eliminate the leather from wetting out. This has been a BIG problem with the Mt. Experts. The Powermatics aren't too bad, but they are a smoother leather.

I've used Granger products in the past, and as far as conditioning the leather, everything is good. But repelling the water is another story; it doesn't take long before the water stops beading off and starts to wet the leather.

I've heard of Sno Seal, which is a beeswax waterproofer. My initial thought was that putting a beeswax waterproofer on GTX boots would completely inhibit the breathability of GTX liner, but Sno Seal claims it is safe to use on GTX because it allows the perspiration to escape out the leather. This doesn't make sense to me, because wouldn't that mean it allows moisture to go the other way, into the leather? I've seen mixed feelings about using Sno Seal on GTX...

What do you think? Are there any other recommendations for a product that does a good job at preventing wet out?
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Re: Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:52 am

I have a pair of Gore-Tex leather mountaineering boots. (Scarpa Summit GTX). Aside from the fact that Gore-Tex in foot wear is a stupid joke, using a bee's wax based sealer has not affected the breathability. I use Nikwax brand bee's wax type paste, and have been using it for 20 years. IMNSHO, it waterproofs better and lasts longer than Biwell or Sno Seal brand products. Nikwax has a large range of products for various uses on boots and clothing, including special wash in DWR treatments for Gore Tex garments.
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Re: Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby tonyo » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:56 am

I use sno seal on my leather boots (La Sportiva Thunder II) with no ill effects, but I probably just don't know better. I do know my feet don't get wet after a day of post-holing and stepping in water.
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Re: Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby jstluise » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:19 am

Thanks for the replies.

ExcitableBoy wrote:I use Nikwax brand bee's wax type paste, and have been using it for 20 years. IMNSHO, it waterproofs better and lasts longer than Biwell or Sno Seal brand products.


What product would you recommend? I looked at their products and the "Nubuck & Suede Proof" seems like a good bet (it says it is wax), since my Mt.Experts are split-grain leather. I was planning on getting Tectron Sno Seal, since it is available at REI, but I will look into Nikwax.


tonyo wrote:I use sno seal on my leather boots (La Sportiva Thunder II) with no ill effects, but I probably just don't know better. I do know my feet don't get wet after a day of post-holing and stepping in water.


I'm not having any problems with my feet getting wet, just the leather wetting out makes the boots heavy and it is especially bad on multi-day trips when the soaked leather gets cold and freezes...the next day my feet never warm up because of the freezing boots. Does the Sno Seal do a good job at beading off the water?
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Re: Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby Mark M » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:39 am

I have a boot with full grain leather similar to the Mountain Experts and use this type of treatment. On regular boots with smooth grain leather, I use the wax.
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Re: Sno Seal (beeswax) on Gore-Tex?

Postby JHH60 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:46 am

REI and several other websites quote Dave Page (a well known mountain boot cobbler) as saying that you can't resole modern (glued sole) mountain boots that have been treated with Sno Seal as it can't be removed from the leather and prevents glue from adhering to the leather upper. Too bad, Sno Seal kept my beloved leather-lined, stitched welt, non-Gore Tex Fabiano mountain boots dry through two decades and several resoles. This might not matter with many modern boots that have traded durability for light weight, and aren't designed to be resoled.

All that said, Nikwax was what Asolo and Sportive recommended for the leather boots I've bought in the last ten years and it seems to work fine though has to be reapplied every so often. The Full Grain Leather product seems to last a bit longer (I assume because it also seems to have more wax per unit volume of treatment) than the Suede and Nubuck. The Full Grain product darkened the rough out leather on my boots a little more than the Suede and Nubuck, but I'm not sure why anyone would care about that for a hiking or climbing boot.
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