Gumboots 101

Which boots suit which job?

With Wayne being the largest manufacturer of gumboots in Africa, we know that there’s a lot more to gumboots than what meets the eye. We take a look at five of the most common questions around gumboots and selecting the perfect pair for the job.

1. What industries are gumboots used for?

There are many different types of gumboots based on the industry and application that they’ll be used for. Wayne gumboots are divided into four ranges:

Fast fact: All Wayne gumboots come with a knitted nylon sock liner instead of a brushed nylon liner to prevent the absorption of moisture and make them easy to clean on the inside.
  • Mining, quarries and construction:
    Heavy-duty gumboots, most of which have a steel toe cap and midsole for added protection.
  • Food processing & hygiene:
    Suited to numerous applications within the food processing, hygiene, cleaning and medical industries due to their anti-staining and slip-resistance properties.
  • Agriculture & forestry:
    Engineered to tolerate the specific tough terrain and dangers associated with the agriculture and forestry industries. NB: PVC gumboots are not suitable for veld or forest fire conditions and people who work in these conditions require more specialised footwear.
  • General-purpose use:
    Gumboots that provide everyday protection for domestic and light industry applications.

2. What is the difference between PU and PVC gumboots?


PVC gumboots are versatile, durable and provide reliable protection against a wide range of substances and even greater resistance than PU to the harsher acids, oils and chemicals that are present in some industrial environments. Wayne’s range of premium polyurethane (PU) gumboots is fast growing in popularity due to their compelling benefits.

  • Longer lasting – they can last up to three times longer than PVC gumboots.
  • Lighter in weight.
  • Stain resistant.
  • More flexible.
  • Better breathability and hygiene.
  • Overall more comfort for the wearer.

3.   How long should a pair of PVC gumboots last?

This will vary depending on their application. Based on deep-level mining, where boots are subjected to the worst possible conditions for up to 12 hours per day, mines require a shift-life of 90 shifts (approximately three months). In general, Wayne gumboots exceed this time, especially if they have been properly cared for and not subjected to physical damage or high concentrations of chemicals, solvents or oils.

4.   How do you select the right specs for the job?

Specifications are theoretical by nature in that they relate to controlled laboratory conditions and should therefore only be used as a guideline. Working conditions are variable and tests should therefore be conducted in the specific areas where the boots are to be used to ensure that the correct specs are aligned to the application. Steel toe caps and penetration-resistant midsoles are the exceptions, as these are designed to provide adequate protection.

5.   What is the correct way to care for gumboots?

Taking the correct, regular care of gumboots can greatly affect their lifespan and the wearer’s foot hygiene and comfort. Gumboots should be cleaned as often as possible to avoid the build of bacteria or germs. Clean the exterior of the boot with mild soap and water. Never use chemicals or solvents, as these will make the boot brittle, causing it to crack. Use mild soap, water and a scrubbing brush to remove soil build-up in the sole tread pattern. Wash the boot interior with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. To dry, place the boots in direct sunlight, where there is good air circulation, like outside. Never use heat to speed up the drying process. A clean pair of absorbent cotton socks should be worn every day.

Fast fact: All Wayne gumboots come with a knitted nylon sock liner instead of a brushed nylon liner to prevent the absorption of moisture and make them easy to clean on the inside.