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There was a time when I was 'working outdoors' a lot that I considered myself quite the conniseur of waterproofing treatments for shoes.
Regular hiking boots were out of my price-bracket at the time, because I would've needed multiple pairs of them (additional pairs to wear while the other ones were drying out). It wasn't stepping for a moment into a pool of water or a stream that would get your feet wet; no, it was the water-soaked vegetation that was the problem, and aside from your fully-waterproof rubberized leather or welly, common consensus was that a pair of multiple-eyelet British Army issues combat boots, regularly waterproofed with solid Nikwax out of a tin was the best bet for keeping ones feet dry on a budget - certainly during the long hours of trudging through dew and rainwater-soaked vegetation that my 'job' at that time entailed.
The solid Nikwax that I used a lot of at this time (and which is still my waterproofing treatment of preference) is sold in flat, round, metal shoe-polish-style tins, and has to be rubbed well into the leather of whatever shoes that it's being applied to. It had a soft wax consistency, and a tendency to dry out towards the end of the tin, but as a treatment to make leather supple and to waterproof it, it was an excellent product. Application of the solid Nikwax is done ideally by hand - as the heat of your fingers aids proofing of the leather by warming the wax, and brings whoever is 'using' the Nikwax into undeniably very close and prolonged contact with the waterproofer, which as it has a strong, faintly-turpentine-odour does gets pretty heady pretty quickly. While I can understand why this 'old style' Nikwax is no longer fashionable, having tried some of the water-based spray-on waxes that are now made by the company, I still think the solid wax in tins did a much better waterproofing job.
Old-style Nikwax can still be found occasionally - mainly in army surplus / lower-end camping-type shops where it costs about £3-£4 for an 180ml tin. Unfortunately it has been replaced almost everywhere by the newer 'bottled' Nikwax range of products, and has become difficult to get hold of (certainly in the shops near where I live, all they stock are the very numerous new varieties of liquids / sprays - some of these are for cotton clothes, others for nubuck, even more are marketed as 'conditioning agents' - whatever that means, etc. etc. etc.). As sprayable liquids, these are a lot easier to use but don't in my opinion do as good a job as the original stuff.
Nikwax tends to be the waterproofing agent recommended by most big name outdoor clothing manufacturers, so when I decided that my Berghaus waterproof coat and trousers needed rewaterproofing I thought that I ought to follow their advice. I used the Tech Wash to clean them, followed by the TX Direct Wash-In to waterproof them, as instructed. These products can be applied either using a washing machine or by hand. I decided to hand wash the garments as it would be quicker than two washing machine cycles, and I was pleasently surprised by how straightforward they were to apply. I was also quite impressed with how much dirt the Tech Wash removed from my already clean looking clothes! The only inconvenience was that I had to choose a time when I was unlikely to need my waterproofs for a few days, as they take quite a while to dry out fully without placing near artificial heat!
The TX Direct certainly rejuvinated my waterproofs, and I am now much more confident about going out walking all day if I'm expecting the weather to be very bad. My only disappointment was that it did not reinstate my coat's original water repellancy, and water still doesn't form droplets on the surface as it once did.
I ised Nicwax down wash and down proof twin pack on my down filled puffa jacket and wasn't really impressed with the results. The product was expensive, in the region of £10 and was a bit fiddly to use. It required the jacket to be washed seperately with the different liquids quite a few times. When the jacket came out it looked and smelt no different from when it went in. Either this means after 12 months of use the jacket was not dirty (I doubt it) or the products didn't make much of a difference. I think Nikwax plays on the fact that you have bought an expensive piece of outdoor cloting and therefore want to prolong its life - I think a cool wash and reproofing would be all that is needed, Next time this is what I am going to do as I have some of the reproofing solution left but none of the wash solution left.
I would also have hoped that the products were slightly fragranced so the jacket smelt nice when it dried and was worn for the first time- this would have gone some way to compensating for all the time and effort washing and reproofing this product took but unfortunately it just smelt of nothing.
Product - Nikwax Waterproofing Products - Specifically Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Spray
Cost - Can be found on websites priced from £6 to £10 or from all good Outdoor Attire Shops priced around £8 to £12
Availability - This product is readily available on the internet and is not too hard to find in shops.
Purpose - For use on any outdoor or sports wear made of leather or suede. I use it to water proof my daughter riding boots and chaps. It is ideal if you want to buy a cheap, non-water proof product and make it more weather resistant. It comes in the form of a spray and is very easy to use. It also comes with different application methods and for different types of materials.
Results - This product is great and although it may seem expensive it actually saves you money buy allowing you to buy a cheaper alternative and water proof it yourself. It makes footwear completely water-repellent and does not alter the colour or texture of the product to which it is applied. It does not cause any damage what-so-ever to the item it is applied to and is fairly long-lasting. I usuallly recoat my daughters riding gear every three months, and these get extremely heavy use.
In conclusion I would definatelt recomend this product to anyone with children or that enjoys being outdoors. It is good value for money and has a fairly long life-expectancy.