Footwear Waterproof Membranes

In this blog post, you will read: The article provides a comprehensive comparison of the best waterproof membranes for footwear. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each membrane, as well as how they are used in various types of footwear. Overall, the article provides a great overview of the current options available for waterproof and breathable footwear.

When it comes to choosing the right waterproof footwear for wet muddy weather, there are a few things to consider.

First, you need to make sure that your shoes are properly waterproofed. Otherwise, you’ll end up with soaked feet and ruined shoes.

Second, you need to choose a pair that’s comfortable and won’t rub your feet raw.

The waterproof membrane is the key factor that should be first considered for a pair of waterproof shoes.

To help you with your decision-making process about waterproofness, we’ve put together a comprehensive comparison of the best waterproof membrane brands on the market.

We’ll give a brief overview of each membrane, followed by a more in-depth analysis of its structure, features, price level, and so on. 

By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of which kind of membrane is right for you.

(images from

1. Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex is one of the most popular waterproof membranes on the market. It’s well-known for its durability and high level of protection against the elements.

(Image from Gore-Tex Website)

Before helping you understand its waterproofness, you should have a clear concept of Gore-Tex Membrane and Laminates.

(Image from Gore-Tex Website)

The Gore-Tex membrane is an extremely thin layer of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) that is usually bonded to an outer textile and, in many instances, a lining. It is the key feature of all GORE-TEX products, is inside the shoes and therefore not visible.

(Image from Gore-Tex Website)

The Gore-Tex Laminates are the specific products in which the Gore-tex membrane is bonded to high-quality textiles and reinforced with other materials (Mesh/Tricot Fabric/ Insulation…) for specific end uses, which usually come as 2.5-layer, 3-layer or 4-layer laminates.

Each stitch might be a potential leak, so Gore had to think about a solution to ensure they can hold on to their promise GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™. The result is the GORE-SEAM Tape. GORE-SEAM Tape is waterproof and seals each seam in GORE-TEX clothing, shoes and gloves. This step during the production process gets only fulfilled by trained producers in certified factories.

GORE-TEX Most Breathable Laminates are designed to maximize end-user comfort in moderate and warmer conditions and/or during higher activity levels. It includes the following features:

  • Durable waterproof protection
  • Extreme / very high breathability
  • No insulation
  • Windproof: optimum heat conductivity
  • 2.5 and 3-layer laminates

Here listed the Goretex Lamilations below:

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

The GORE-TEX membrane is made of ePTFE, which has a special structure with over 1.4 billion pores per square centimeter, which are 20,000 times smaller than water droplets and 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. This allows the membrane to keep your feet dry while still being breathable. And ePTFE is resistant to chemicals and has a higher melting point that makes Gore-Tex membranes extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Durably Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Have a complete Certified Manufacturers System


  • Can be expensive
  • Have a negative impact on the environment
  • It requires regular maintenance in order to upkeep breathability and quality of performance.

Application in Footwear

Gore-Tex membranes are typically used in high-end waterproof shoes, such as hiking boots and ski boots. They’re also often used in military, work boots, or casual sneakers.

image from

(Image from



WOMEN’S NORVAN LD 2 Trail Running Shoes

Leveraging waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX fabric with lighter, more comfortable with Invisible Fit Technology, and built with an all-season Vibram® Megagrip outsole utilizing their LITEBASE technology, the Norvan LD 2 GTX’s progressive materials and construction make it lighter and more durable than the original without its sacrificing award-winning performance and comfort.




GORE-TEX Invisible Fit product technology




The Nucleo High II GTX offers best-in-class breathability in a mid-duty waterproof hiker/backpacking boot. Featuring award-winning GORE-TEX Surround™ technology, this hiking boot is the ultimate combination of durability, protection and comfort.




Built on the foot-shaped BIOM® last for anatomical support and ground control, this men’s golf shoe is enhanced with GORE-TEX SURROUND® Technology for 360° breathability and 100% waterproofing.

Find more here:

2. eVent

image from

eVent is a waterproof and windproof membrane composed of millions of micropores. These pores are able to wick sweat effectively outwards, but they also act as protection against the penetration of raindrops.

Unlike similar materials, eVent repels sweat and moisture immediately, without the need to accumulate a certain amount of body heat, which is one of its biggest benefits. This technology is called Direct Venting ™.

Direct Venting™ technology is engineered to keep you in the ‘dry zone’ – a steady state of temperature and humidity that reduces the wild swings our bodies go through to stay in balance during physical exertion. 

The result is that you’ll spend more time performing at your best and less time fussing with your gear. And when conditions are bad, that can make all the difference.

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

It is composed of millions of micropores. These pores are able to wick sweat and moisture effectively outwards, but they also act as protection against the penetration of raindrops.

image from
image from

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Repels sweat and moisture immediately


  • Some waterproofing products can be less effective in very cold weather
  • Not as durable as Gore-Tex

Application in Footwear

eVent membranes are often used in high-performance outdoors waterproof shoes, like hiking shoes, ski boots, running sneakers & lifestyle walking shoes.


L&S Mountain Hunter™ Elite

The L&S Mountain Hunter™ Elite hunting boot features a multi-terrain traction system that facilitates easy movement on rough ground. It boasts of a breathable mesh, durable design, eVent Waterproof Lining and superior cushioning. Our waterproof hunting boot is ideal for use on surfaces with snow, ice, and water.



Aggressive performance lives large in this athletic boot that features a polishable, full-grain waterproof leather, and an eVent® waterproof breathable and blood borne pathogen resistant membrane.



The Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid is ready for adventures of all distances—day hikes, overnighters, week-long treks, and even multiple month-long excursions. Built around an eVent™ weather-resistant bootie construction, the Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid also features a durable DuraTread™ outsole and a responsive Altra EGO™ midsole. This hiker is ready to go and ready to go far.

Discover more waterproof footwear made with eVent Membrane:

3. Sympatex

image from

(Image from

The Sympatex membrane

The Sympatex membrane is a waterproof and windproof membrane that’s made of a synthetic, water-repellent polymer. It’s highly breathable, durable, and comfortable, and it’s often used in high-performance outdoor gear.

(Image from

The Sympatex laminate

The Sympatex membrane (5 – 25 µm) is connected to a wide range of possible base materials such as woven textile, knitwear, fleece, foam or leather to form a laminate for a specific application. The application of tapes tailored to the specific usage of the laminates is what makes the end product (for example a jacket or shoe) into performance functional textiles.

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

The Sympatex membrane is made of a synthetic, water-repellent polymer. In terms of construction, it is a non-porous membrane, unlike the ePTFE of Gore-Tex.

But what happens to breathability?

In contrast to other membrane technologies, the poreless compact Sympatex membrane is based on a physical and chemical principle. The water-attracting (hydrophilic) part of the membrane absorbs the moisture from the body and emits it to the outside by evaporation. The water vapor molecules are transported outwards along the hydrophilic molecular chains. The molecular structure (hydrophilic components) of the Sympatex membrane swells in moisture and therefore provides space for vapor transport and fast evaporation. This effect increases as the difference in temperature and moisture rises.

A partial pressure gradient, which results from different temperatures and humidity inside and outside, is the driving force for the water vapor transport through the membrane.

image from

Advantages & Disadvantag


  • The environmentally-friendly compound of polyester and polyether.
  • No fluorocarbons (PFCs) are used in the lamination process.
  • 100% recyclable
  • Breathable
  • Windproof
  • Durable


  • Some waterproofing products can be less effective in very cold weather.

Application in Footwear

Discover waterproof shoes made with Sympatex Membrane

Image from


Crusader Wide Fit Brown Waxed Waterproof Work Boot

The Vibram sole is our most rugged walking design and the Sympatex Cordura lining makes sure the boot is 100% waterproof and breathable – far in excess of British Waterproofing standards.


Skarvan Shoes Mid Men’s Waterproof Trekking Boot

Thanks to the environmentally friendly Sympatex® membrane (made from 100% recycled materials and completely PFC-free), this mid-cut trekking boot is absolutely waterproof and breathable. 


RICOSTA GABRIS – Kids Waterproof Winter Boot

Two Velcro fasteners near the instep and the ankle ensure an optimal fit with every step. In rainy weather, the waterproof SympaTex membrane protects the feet in the high boots from getting wet.

4. Outdry Membrane

OutDry® is a type of waterproof fabric patented and exclusively produced by Columbia Sportswear.

This patented construction process, makes gloves, backpacks, and footwear fully waterproof and breathable, without leaving any seams or gaps because the membrane layers are heat-bonded together. So it is not a fabric in itself, but a binding process that makes the upper achieve maximum water resistance.

image from

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

OutDry works much like Gore-Tex: tiny pores in the fabric let molecules of vapor go from the inside but shed water on the outside because larger liquid molecules won’t fit through the pores.

Previous waterproofing technologies used in footwear, allowed water to pass through the outer layers of the item before being stopped by a waterproof membrane inner lining. However, Outdry all starts with the membrane that is then heat-bonded to the inner side of the outer layer of fabric. This results in a seamless, gapless construction that is guaranteed to prevent water from coming into the upper. 

(Ref link:

(Images from

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Its bonded construction makes it more durable and less likely to leak. It is also lighter weight than Gore-Tex.
  • OutDry is also one of the most durable waterproof membranes available. The tough, abrasion-resistant material can withstand repeated wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for outdoor activities.


  • less flexible than other waterproof membranes on the market, which can make them less comfortable for some people.
  • Less breathability.

Discover footwear made with Outdry Membrane

If you’re looking for hiking shoes or snow boots that offer the ultimate in waterproof protection, breathability, and durability, then you should consider shoes made with OutDry membranes.

Here are some of our top picks:


Columbia Men’s SH/FT™ OutDry™ Mid Shoe


An Outdry™ waterproof-breathable stretch-knit hiker with full-grain leather overlays and a custom, sock-like fit.


Columbia Men’s Hatana™ Max OutDry™ Shoe – Wide

Weather won’t stop you with innovative OutDry™ waterproof-breathable protection.


Columbia Men’s Peakfreak™ X2 Mid OUTDRY™

OutDry™ waterproof, breathable construction.


Columbia Men’s Facet™ 60 Low OutDry™ Shoe

OutDry™ breathable waterproof protection.

Discover more footwear made with Outdry Membrane:

5. Polartec Neo Shell

NeoShell is a waterproof fabric produced by Polartec. It is designed to be a direct competitor of GORE-TEX, OutDry, and other waterproof membranes. Unlike most of its competitors, however, NeoShell is reasonably elastic and focuses more on breathability than waterproofing. At the same time, NeoShell is waterproof enough to keep you completely dry in wet conditions.

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

NeoShell consists of a membrane of millions of nanofibers that provide an effective barrier against water and wind while allowing air and sweat vapor to move away from your body. Polartec® NeoShell® allows more breathability through its sub-micron membrane structure at the core of the fabric.

This membrane has a breathability rating of 30,000g/m2/24h mark, which considerably outperforms the industry standard of 20,000.

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Remarkably elastic
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Soft + Quiet


  • Can be expensive

Application in Footwear

At present, NeoShell is featured exclusively in footwear produced by Altra, which offers active waterproof shoes for men, women, and children. Altra primarily includes NeoShell in its trail running shoes, light-trail boots, and hiking boots due to this membrane’s impressive breathability.


Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Polartec Neoshell Trail-Running Shoes – Women’s

The Lone Peak 3.0 Polartec Neoshell waterproof trail-running shoes are the solution to unpredictable weather and terrain. Waterproof uppers fend off the elements, and aggressive tread grips the trail.

Discover more shoes:

6. The FutureLight Technology Membrane

Method Mag The North Face FUTURELIGHT Outerwear

The North Face FutureLight Technology Membrane is a next-generation waterproof membrane that’s been designed to provide unparalleled breathability and comfort. The membrane is made from a nanoporous material that’s been infused with millions of tiny pores. These pores are small enough to allow vapor to pass through, but they’re also large enough to block out water droplets. This means that your feet will stay dry, even when you’re sweating.

The North Face | FUTURELIGHT™ Technology

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

The North Face tapped into a unique production method called nanospinning which creates nano-sized fibers small enough to allow air to flow through a membrane while keeping water out.

(Image from

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Exceptionally breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Durable


  • Can be expensive

Application in Footwear




7. Hydroguard

HydroGuard is a registered trademark of Starensier/Cosmo. It is a Polyurethane Membrane that can be laminated to basically any textile. the membrane is watertight and very stretchable, thus particularly suitable for use in footwear and apparel.

Principle of waterproofing & breathability

HydroGuard waterproof-breathable membranes are covered in billions of microscopic pores, giving the laminate its unique waterproof-breathable properties. Water droplets are too large to escape through the membrane, keeping you dry, but the pores are the perfect size to let small vapor molecules (sweat and body moisture) escape rather than building up inside of your boot.

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Less expensive than other waterproof options


  • Less expensive than other waterproof options
  • Not as durable as Gore-Tex or eVent

Application in Footwear


RockRooster Tactical Waterproof Boots with Hydroguard

Hydroguard waterproof membrane, breathable material keeping water out while venting moisture leaving your feet dry and comfortable.


Women’s Waterproof Hiking Shoe Hydroguard Hiking Boots for Outdoor

Hydroguard footwear lining and 100% waterproof head-layer nubuck leather. It lets cool air in and reduces odor and keeps unwanted precipitation out, keeps your feet dry and ventilation as you stomp through puddles. It features breathable, durable, flexible and great protection characteristics.


All of the membranes mentioned above are great choices for those who are looking for a waterproof and breathable option.

However, it is important to choose the right one for your needs.

If you are looking for a durable option that will last you for years to come, then Gore-Tex or eVent is a great choice.

Outdry is a great choice for durability and waterproofing, but if breathability is your priority, eVent may be a better option.

If you are looking for a less expensive option that is still waterproof and breathable, then Hydroguard is a good choice.

And finally, if you are looking for a versatile membrane that can handle all types of terrain and weather conditions, then the Futurelight, Polartec neo shell is a great option.


Awesome! Share to: 

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    I’m Aling Here

    To Assist You

    Get a Quick Quote

    You will get a free quote or get more details about your specific project within 24 hours.

    Please pay attention to the email with the suffix “”.

    slip ons (9)

    Build range
    staying on time track

    • A team of 35 full experienced professionals in the development center, which process from initial patterns to cutting, sewing, assembling and quality checking.
    • Dev sampels completed in 15 days.
    • Confirm samples are completed within 7 days.
    • Sales samples require 14 days for completion.
    • We can help you finish 500 models and 3000 pairs each year if needed.

    Ask For A Quick Quote

    If you would like to have a chat then get in touch today, we are ready to assist 24/7.