It isn't always easy to understand the difference between a water repellent pair of shoes and a waterproof pair. We have looked into this for you!
The differences between these two treatments reside in the following:
in the period of use and the intensity of the downpour you need to cope with
in the level of breathability of your product
The time spent in the rain...
Water repellent treatment is an in-depth treatment which prevents the fabric from absorbing water → put more simply, a water repellent product keeps you dry for about half an hour in light rain, which is perfect for short journeys when it is raining.
Waterproofing, at its highest level, provides total resistance against rainfall: snub the rain, you can confront all the elements!
The breathability property
We all know about it: one of the most waterproof products is a plastic bag. This is simply waterproof in both directions: nothing can get in and nothing can get out either!
Although a product with a 'water repellent' treatment will retain its breathable properties (unlike a plastic bag), full waterproofing (or sealing) will not provide you with a breathable product. A good compromise is also available: technologies developed by Novadry and Goretex (a membrane, made of plastic bonded to a fabric), which provides waterproofing and a certain amount of breathability.
Finally, you should know that the seams of waterproof or water repellent products are rarely sealed and therefore the product will absorb water at the seams, unless they are 'thermal seamed' or have received a wapearl treatment (→ check out our article on this unusual technology.
In short, the more waterproof your product is, the less breathable it will be on the inside...
Need any more information? Or would you like to share your own experience? Feel free to leave us a comment.