I love my Bormio FiveFingers. They have rocketed to the top as my most used pair of Vibram FiveFingers. A little background I work as a Real Estate Photographer in Washington State. I need a shoe that is comfortable, classy, and durable. The Bormio fit the bill perfectly.
I was concerned about how waterproof the shoes might be. After doing some research I found a forum post on the forum created by MCVet. He had successfully applied waterproofing solution to several different pairs of VFF with varying results. I decided to give this a try on the Bormio boots.
Find out what I did to waterproof my Bormio FiveFingers and the results I had after the jump!
I purchased some Liquid AquaSeal online. When it arrived I applied it generously to the leather on the Bormio. I made sure to get lots of the liquid in between the toes. It took a few days for the shoes to get dry enough to wear.
Note: You may want to keep that in mind and set aside some time for the shoes to dry appropriately before you have to wear them again. If they are still wet they will have a oily wet silicone feeling to them. Once they were dry I gave them a buff with a shoe brush.
The AquaSeal will darken the shade of the Bormio somewhat. It will look several shades darker then the original shade the first week. Over time though the boot will lighten back up to a shade closer to the original shade. For reference I did not apply AquaSeal to the leather zipper pull tab. It stays the original color in all the photos so you can compare the change in shade.
Here is an example of the Bormio one day after being waterproofed:
Here is a waterproofed Bormio (on the left) after a few weeks of wear and a new, untreated Bormio (on the right) side by side:
The Final Result:
Once the Bormio boots were dry I did not have to wait long in order to test them out. During a rainy day in Seattle I headed out in the boots. I made sure to step in puddles that would normally soak my KSO Treks. Surprisingly my socks and feet stayed bone dry.
It was not until a week or two ago that I had my biggest test yet. During two back to back rainy/muddy days I had to photograph two houses each day. This includes standing in wet grass and mud for extended periods of time in the front and back yards to take the exterior photographs. I wore the waterproofed Bormio boots on the job site. They held up better then I could have ever imagined.
Aside from natural foot perspiration my shoes stayed pretty dry. I was able to walk in the muddy/wet back yards for long periods of time without feeling like my feet were getting soaking wet. Keep in mind this was not as waterproof as pair of mud boots but it did a better job them my previous pair of leather loafers did in wet conditions. At the end of both days my socks were a little damp (from perspiration mostly) but not enough to ring a drop water out of them. That is a success in my book!
More thoughts on waterproofing Bormio FiveFingers
I have a second pair of Bormio boots that I did not waterproof. While they do not preform as well as the Aquaseal pair they still do a pretty good job of keeping out the rain and water. You can still do some walking in puddles without your feet getting soaked. You just can't stay in the puddle as long as you can if you applied Aquaseal to the boot.
If you only need to use your boots in casual settings and don't plan on spending extended periods of time in the rain then you could get away just fine without waterproofing your boots. They should hold up well running from your car to the grocery store in the rain without leaving your feet cold and wet. On the other hand if you are outside often in wet conditions I would strongly consider applying some Liquid Aquaseal to your Bormio.
I was also asked about how the zipper effects the waterproofing. Someone wanted to know if the water would seep through the zipper easily. I stood in a few puddles that went a little ways up to the zipper and I did not notice the water gushing in through the sides. There is a piece of leather on the inside of the boot that covered the zipper so that it does not rub against your skin. This piece of leather also helps keep the water from seeping through the zipper instantly.
Final Thoughts on Waterproofing Bormio VFFs
Keep in mind these are not %100 waterproof. You can't go running through a river and expect your feet to be dry on the other side or stand in ankle deep water for 10 minutes. When you compare the Bormio boot to other VFF styles though they do an incredible job at keeping your feet dryer in wet conditions then the most of the other VFF styles.
I can't recommend the Bormio FiveFingers enough. If you have been intrigued by their design and thought about picking up a pair I would not hesitate any longer. They are a fantastically comfortable shoe that looks good in almost any setting. I even wear mine to the Opera and Ballet now instead of the KSO Trek I used to wear.
A special note about the fit. At first the Bormio felt a little tight in my normal size. The leather will become much more pliable and stretch as you wear them. After a week or two of wearing around they loosened up and my feet no longer feel tight in them at all. In contrast I also have one size larger that fit well at first but now feel a bit loose after the leather has had time to stretch. I would keep that in mind when you are trying them on.