Proper Care of Hard-Working Leather
Sno-Seal provides maximum waterproofness and durability for smooth full-grain leather footwear. Oil or chrome tanned leather accepts Sno-Seal readily after removal of any factory coating. (Glycerin or Carnuba, wax which are water-soluble, is often applied for a temporary shine and scuff resistance). A new boot should be washed with a soft brush using Sport-Wash or a mild liquid dish washing soap, and allowed to dry completely before applying Sno-Seal.
Sno-Seal also protects split, sanded, suede, rough and recycled leather. These materials need the protection of Sno-Seal for rugged use, but application of Sno-Seal will change their appearance. As Sno-Seal coats the exposed fibers and fill surface gaps, these non-top grain materials become darker and slicker.
Sno-Seal can also be used on silicone treated leather when the silicone is scuffed and worn off and no longer works. Spray or dauber application of ATSKO's Silicon Water Guard. is quick, easy, and superior to any other silicone, but no silicone can provide the durable waterproofness of Sno-Seal. When silicone treated boots can no longer resist water, simply scrub the remaining silicone out of the leather with Sport-Wash, saddle soap or dish detergent. Then, slowly dry them for a couple of days and apply Sno-Seal according to directions.
Gore-Tex® fabric lined boots should be protected with Sno-Seal the same as you would treat them if Gore-Tex® was not present. Sno-Seal does not effect Gore-Tex® and Gore-Tex® does nothing to protect the outer boot form water and other abuse. To benefit from the breathability of the Gore-Tex® liners, the inside of the leather must be dry and free of oil, grease, or animal fat so that it can absorb perspiration from the foot. At night this moisture will evaporate thru the Gore-Tex® and pass out of the boot leaving it dry and comfortable for the next day's use. The Gore-Tex® line will hold water away from your foot, but Sno-Seal will keep your boot warmer and lighter by preventing water from being absorbed by the outer layer of the boot or leaking into the space between the leather and the liner. When the leather is wet it can add 1 1/2 pounds to a boot.
Why is Sno-Seal so good?
The superiority of Sno-Seal results from the combination of its ability to remain fixed in the outer layer of the leather and the superior water resistance of beeswax. Beeswax has a melt point of about 146º F. It is very dry and oil free. Thus once applied it is not only waterproof but extremely durable.
Sno-Seal provides just enough lubrication to prevent hardening of leather in typical use. It does not soften leather. It was invented in 1933 by Ome Daiber to waterproof leather mountain climbing and downhill ski boots without destroying the stiffness required to climb or steer a ski. Boots, gloves, holsters etc. will maintain their strength for years if treated only with Sno-Seal. A baseball mitt can be softened with a light application of mineral oil. When exactly the right ball pocket and fit have been achieved, applying Sno-Seal will maintain exactly the same form for the life of the glove.
Grease, oil, animal fat, and most other wax formulas are liquid (or at least soft enough to migrate thru leather) at wearing and storage temperatures. Sno-Seal is not. After application, when the volatile components have done their task of drawing Sno-Seal into the warmed leather, they evaporate completely leaving solid wax that cannot migrate at less than 146° F.
Similar methods of waterproofing
Grease, animal fat and oil, including some brands of silicone oil, soak away from the surface and penetrate through the leather. They require frequent re-applications to maintain effective concentration on the surface. After a time the heel counters and box toes soften. The leather becomes soft and spongy then the product begins to appear on your socks indicating it has soaked all thru the leather. Animal fats become rancid, decaying leather and promoting fungal growth until one day the leather is so rotten the eyelets pull out when you lace up your boots. Saturated leather cannot absorb perspiration and loses its insulation value so your foot feels clammy and cold. With Sno-Seal, the beeswax stays where you need it, in the outer surface of the leather. The balance of the thickness remains open and dry for insulation and the absorption of foot moisture. By resisting migration Sno-Seal assures that there will be no weakening of thermal or adhesive bonds, a common problem with silicones and other liquids.
Who can you trust when choosing a waterproofing product?
For obvious reasons, many Boot marketers recommend a waterproofing product with their name on it, even if something else is better. Perhaps the surest way to get the right product for a boot is to find a Boot manufacturer that provides a sample of a waterproofing product (one they don't make themselves) in each pair of new boots. Boot manufacturers experience a dramatic reduction in warrantee claims when they encourage customers to properly care for leather boots by providing a compatible product. From L.L. Bean to Sorel, more new boots, around the world, include a sample of Sno-Seal than of any other brand.
Other uses of Sno-Seal include gloves, oiled canvas coats, chaps, belts, hats, and any other wearable leather that is exposed to water. Topsiders and other leather footwear and gloves can easily last 4 times as long in severe salt water use if protected with Sno-Seal.
Industrial environments including acid, alkaline, blood, and abrasives can shorten the life of shoes, boots, gloves, aprons etc. These leather items will last longer, clean up easier, and provide better protection if maintained with Sno-Seal.
Wood can be wax finished with Sno-Seal for a durable "unfinished" look. Sno-Seal can be applied over an oil stain for a satin finish that resists water damage.
Equestrians recognize the value of Sno-Seal for harnesses, saddles, scabbards and all leather protection. Sno-Seal will make an old horse blanket absolutely waterproof. Farriers apply Sno-Seal to hoofs to prevent softening from excess moisture and also to prevent brittleness and splitting from excessive dryness.
For over 60 years customers have been telling us about their great results using Sno-Seal to protect severely dry abused skin, hands, feet, knees, elbows, lips, etc. A new formulation of Sno-Seal has been created for these applications. Pro-Tech-Skin,, a similar beeswax formula, is now available for application to the skin. Pro-Tech-Skin, has already proven itself effective for psoriasis, diaper rash, and dry and cracking skin and cuticles associated with frequent washing, dry cold weather, and advancing age. By sealing in natural moisture Pro-Tech-Skin, allows your skin to heal itself.
Silicones offer easy application but less water resistance and protection than Sno-Seal.
Silicones resist water 2 different ways. The first is similar to wax, oil, animal fat, and grease: it simply occupies space in the leather so that water can't occupy the same space. This is of limited value compared to Sno-Seal and other wax products that occupy space better, more permanently and with less migration. The second method is by reducing surface tension so that water beads up and does not "wet" it. This is similar to the function of Fluoropolymers but Fluoropolymers - when successful - reduce surface tension further so that even oil and some solvents can't "wet" it. (This is why Fluoropolymer is superior for stain resistance.)
Silicones are usually in solvent systems for water repellent products because water systems (aqueous emulsions of silicone) can't match the performance of the solvent systems. A variety of solvents will work but there are advantages and disadvantages with each.
ATSKO Inc. makes a Heavy Duty catalyzed silicone product called Silicon Water Guard
The only silicone product to score 100 on the ASTM D1913 water spray test. We use a premium solvent that has a higher flash point, (less dangerous because it will not flash until it reaches a much higher temperature), lower odor and the most environmental acceptance of any in its category. This solvent requires more drying time but we believe that our customers would make the same choice if given the facts. Because we use a high concentration of top quality catalyzed silicone (a resin that cross-links for maximum durability), Water-Guard delivers effective repellence with a single application saving the time, cost, and solvent of a second application. Silicon Water Guard comes in an all steel can that can be recycled. Steel is the most recycled material in the world. Our Aerosol propellants is harmless C02. It is collected as a byproduct of other processes and only two grams Of C02 are necessary to empty a 12 ounce can. Many of our competitors use over 2 1/2 ounces of explosive Propane-Isobutane gas as propellant. Using fuel as a propellant does not improve their products but it is very heavy, very cheap, and is included in their statement of net weight.
Fluoropolymers are designed and intended for use on textiles for stain protection. They require an absolutely clean surface for adherence and 300° F heat is used at the mill to orient the molecules for maximum effectiveness. Applied under perfect conditions they work well and last for many washings if washed only in Sport-Wash residue free detergent.
Fluoropolymers are generally superior for oil and stain repellency but generally inferior to silicone and waxes for water repellency. Factory applied Fluoropolymer treatments on textiles can be restored to full effectiveness by washing with Sport-Wash to remove residue and then Ironing on Steam setting.
Fluoropolymers can give inconsistent results depending greatly upon what surface they are applied to. Baking at 300° F as in textile mill applications is impossible for boots and it is also difficult to keep boots clean enough for maximum repellency. In any case Fluoropolymers are better left for applications where Appearance is more important than Long Term Heavy Duty Waterproofness.
What is the bottom line for boot protection?
When appearance is more important than waterproofness, especially on light suede, consider Fluoropolymers like Scotchguard or Teflons. On cloth shoes you can use our water based Permanent Water-Guard. Use Silicon Water Guard for silicone tanned, and rough finished leather. Use Sno-Seal for oil and chrome tanned full grain leather. Sno-Seal has been the most effective, longest lasting, and best protection for hard working leather since 1933. Sno-Seal the original Beeswax Waterproofing is still the best today. Sno-Seal is now available in Black and Brown.