UGGs are snug, warm, and comfortable, which is why many believe them to be the ideal winter footwear. However, if you live in a climate with especially humid winters, you might understandably be wary of how the traditional wool-blend UGG fabric would fare in the rain or snow. To the dismay of UGG lovers around the world, in this article, you’ll find that the brand’s boots and slippers might not be the ideal winter footwear after all.
Most UGGs aren’t waterproof. The company has come out with a few models made out of waterproof material, but their signature wool-blend boots and slippers don’t share this quality. However, UGG sells a protector spray, which, when used on their footwear, can make them more water-resistant.
In this article, I’ll be diving more into why most UGGs aren’t waterproof, which of the brand’s products are the exception to this rule, how to waterproof your UGG footwear, and which sprays are best to use for this purpose. Therefore, if you’ve invested in a comfy, warm pair of UGGs to wear throughout the winter, keep reading.
Why Most UGGs Aren’t Waterproof
If you take a look at UGG’s “Our Materials” section, you’ll find that their footwear’s most used fiber is repurposed wool. Their trademark material is highly sustainable: its production uses less energy and water, emits less CO2, and reduces the use of virgin wool.
However, while most types of wool (including the one that UGG uses) are water-repellent, they’re still not fully waterproof. The material reacts to water similarly to human hair. The outermost layer (epicuticle) is able to repel water, a quality that also benefits from wool’s natural lanolin content.
This means that when wool comes in contact with water for a short period of time, the surface will get wet, but the liquid is unlikely to penetrate the fabric. However, depending on the type of wool in question and its manufacturing technique, the water volume the material can handle before getting soaked will vary.
After a while, water molecules will start getting trapped within the fibers, and soon the liquid will penetrate layer after layer until the material is wet to the touch.
Considering the amount of rain and snowfall the average person has to look forward to during the colder months, it’s safe to assume that your traditional wool blend UGGs aren’t going to be the most waterproof choice.
However, this isn’t always the case. As you’ll see in the following sections, finding waterproof UGG footwear isn’t impossible. First of all, the wool-blend fabric isn’t the only material that the brand utilizes for its products. In the last few decades, they’ve come out with some excellent waterproof boots that are guaranteed to keep your feet warm and dry no matter how harsh the weather conditions are.
Moreover, even when it comes to your standard wooly UGGs, you can still make them a bit more water-resistant by coating them with a protective spray. If you’re interested in transitioning your UGGs from autumn to a rainy or snowy winter, you should take a look at the rest of this article.
Waterproof UGG Footwear
As mentioned, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to whether UGGs are waterproof. The company has expanded its product range so much that no two models are made of the same material or feature the same qualities.
If you’re looking for an investment piece to wear throughout the winter, you can always search specifically for rain or snow boots on the company’s website (or, as UGG calls them, all-weather boots).
There are two main types of all-weather boots that UGG sells at the time of writing this article. Here’s what you need to know about them.
The Adirondack III boots are the ultimate winter footwear. The Adirondack model has long been a UGG bestseller—however, with this version, the company has taken its quality and comfort to the next level.
These boots perform outstandingly even in the harshest weather conditions, providing you with a remarkable range of motion despite being thickly insulated. The cushioning insole makes the Adirondack III as soft and comfy as any other pair of UGGs you know and love. However, this model can easily keep you warm in temperatures as low as -32˚C (-25.6°F).
Even though these boots are on the pricier side (even when compared to other UGGs), I’d say that the cost is entirely justified. Not only are they comfortable, warm, durable, and fully waterproof, but their production also helps support women in the company’s supply chain, meaning that the funds allocated to this line are used to pay factory workers a fair living wage and to further advance their education and skill set.
Design and quality-wise, there’s not much to say about these boots – they’re as good as it gets. The trademark UGG sheepskin lining provides that additional level of comfort and warmth you’ve grown to expect from your UGGs. On the other hand, the rubber sole is made out of a premium-quality material designed for optimal friction and longevity.
The exterior is made of UGG’s DryTech membrane, which serves as the waterproof barrier that will keep your feet fully dry regardless of the weather conditions.
Even though the Adirondack III is an excellent winter boot, if you’re into that classic UGG aesthetic, they might not be the style you were looking for. Luckily, the Classic Clear Mini on Amazon.com is an excellent waterproof alternative to your traditional UGGs.
Coming in a wide range of colors and patterns, these boots are guaranteed to keep your feet warm, comfortable, and, most importantly, dry during the winter. As far as design goes, you’ll be able to find a pair that goes with any style and aesthetic. You can choose between the classic neutrals, the fun bright colors, or the exciting patterns.
These boots provide the best of both worlds: you’ll still get that signature UGG look and feel, but you’ll be able to confidently wear these out in the rain or snow. Classic Clear Mini UGGs are designed to keep you warm in temperatures as low as -20˚C (-4°F).
Moreover, they’re much more affordable than the Adirondack IIIs, so if you’re more of a casual wearer who’s after look and comfort rather than performance, these are the boots for you.
How To Waterproof UGGs: Step by Step
If neither of the previous options appeals to you (or if you’ve already purchased a pair of non-waterproof UGGs), the good news is that there’s still a way to keep your feet dry and warm during winter while wearing your favorite pair of boots.
Before diving into a step-by-step approach on how to waterproof UGGs, I want to quickly take you through the advantages of this practice.
If you’ve made it this far, you know that the traditional UGGs are made of a unique wool blend that’s trademarked by the company. Some of these models also feature suede, which is a material sourced from the underside of an animal and then sanded and rubbed until it gets that signature look.
Even though suede is usually far softer and comfier than traditional leather, it can be harder to maintain because it shows and retains spills and stains much easier. And, more importantly for this article, suede isn’t waterproof.
Therefore, taking the time to spray your UGGs with a protectant spray will not only help them become more durable and long-lasting, but it can actually improve their water-resistance as well.
Now, keep in mind that this approach won’t make your UGGs as waterproof as the Adirondack IIIs or the Classic Clear Minis. However, it can help make your boots water-resistant enough for you to comfortably go out during a light drizzle without having to worry about your pricey boots getting ruined.
If you live in an area that’s rarely affected by heavy rain or snowfall, this might be an ideal solution for you.
Here’s how to waterproof a pair of UGGs:
1. Clean the Boots Beforehand
It’s best to waterproof your UGGs as soon as you purchase them. However, if you’ve already worn your boots, it’s essential to give them a clean beforehand. You want a clean, debris-free canvas before applying the waterproof spray.
Remember that it’s not advisable to put UGGs in the washing machine. It’s best to dab them with a clean wet sponge or cloth instead.
2. Spray the Protectant Evenly Over the Boots
Even though UGG sells its own protector spray, there’s no shortage of options in the market you can choose from (more on this in a moment). You’ll want to make sure that the process takes place in a well-ventilated area. Spray the boots liberally until their surface looks wet but not soaked. Afterward, all that’s left to do is allow the boots to dry.
3. Allow the Boots To Dry
Again, proper ventilation is essential. During this process, you’ll want to stuff your UGGs with newspapers or kitchen towels to help them retain their shape. Make sure to allow for at least 24 hours for the boots to dry fully. If you want to move the process along a bit quicker, you can add one or two silica gel packs inside the UGGs. Avoid placing your boots under direct sunlight or heat at all costs.
4. Brush the Boots With a Suede Brush
Now that your UGGs are fully dry, you can remove the newspapers/ paper towels from their interior. Afterward, you’ll want to brush the boot’s exterior with a suede brush, and if possible, apply some suede conditioner.
Congratulations! You’ve now successfully waterproofed your UGG boots. However, there are still some maintenance tips and tricks you’ll have to keep in mind from this point forward to make sure your footwear lasts as long and performs as well as possible.
How To Care for Wateproofed UGGs
Here’s how to care for waterproofed UGGs:
- Avoid getting them soaked. As mentioned, this waterproofing technique won’t make up for the fact that the material itself doesn’t fare well in water. Therefore, while you can go out wearing your waterproofed UGGs during a drizzle with peace of mind, you’ll still want to avoid getting them excessively wet.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners on your UGGs. The first step of the waterproofing process calls for you to clean your boots. However, when doing so, keep in mind how delicate and soft suede can be. To avoid any possible damage, it’s best to opt for mild cleansers and detergents—preferably ones that are specifically designed to be used on suede. The same goes for the tools you’ll be using: softer, gentler brushes are your best bet.
- Let the UGGs fully dry before putting them in a storage unit/ box. Storing your boots while they’re still damp from the protectant spray can mess with their shape and structural integrity, which is why you’ll want to leave your UGGs dry in indirect light and heat for at least a full day.
Best Waterproof Spray for UGGs
I want to note that when waterproofing your UGGs, not any protectant spray will do. The safest bet is to go with the brand’s own waterproofing products. However, depending on your budget and preferences, there are plenty of other options in the market that might suit you better.
No matter the type of waterproof spray you purchase, always make sure that the formula is specifically designed for suede.
I highly recommend buying any pair of non-waterproof UGG boots along with their respective protector spray. The formula is efficient, compatible with the material, and doesn’t leave any sticky or shiny residue. While it won’t magically turn your boots into all-season footwear, the spray will at least ensure that your UGGs withstand light rain.
If for any reason, you can’t get your hands on a bottle of UGG Protector or if it seems too pricey, this US-made Angelus Brand Boot Spray on Amazon.com is an excellent substitute. Its formula is very similar to the real thing, providing the same level of efficiency and high-quality finish. The color and sheen of your boots won’t change upon using this spray.
UGGs as waterproof, final thoughts…
Most UGGs aren’t waterproof, but they can be made more water-resistant if you coat them with a protector spray. If you’re looking for all-season footwear able to withstand even the harshest conditions, you can check out UGG’s Adirondack III and Classic Clear Mini models.