Is neoprene really waterproof?

Depends on the application
Older wetsuits were not “waterproof” but the theory was that the water that seeped through would prevent further water from getting in and your body would warm the water that was there and form a kind of barrier. I don’t know if that was the real principle or not but I did windsurf in cold wind/water in comfort. The booties that we wore were of the same material. I am certain that material is better today (I have surfing wetsuits that are very good at keeping me warm). But it can’t hurt to ask when the foot ware was made.

holes from stitching are not waterproof
Neoprene is waterproof, but the holes from stitching garment panels together are not waterproof (unless they are sealed). Using aquaseal or seam grip will fill the holes and make them waterproof.

You can also get punctures or tears.

Technically, the pores in neoprene are large enough to let individual water molecules through. Fortunately, water molecules are rarely found in nature by themselves.

It also depends on the thickness
The thinned the neoprene is, the more likely it is to have leaks and develop them over time. 2mm and thinner neoprene will generally either leak immediately or develop leaks pretty quickly in use.

Depends on how you define "waterproof"
Replies have pointed out that it depends on the age of the material and other factors. Suiram’s reply was especially interesting because it mentions the specific structure of the material, which can break down over time.

what about neoprene skirts
I have what I thought was a good snapdragon skirt. But in rough water, in fact, even in smooth water, I end up with water in my cockpit. I had the boat (Impex Force Cat 3) checked out, and I think it’s ok. So, is it possible that water just soaks through the neoprene

skirt ? Anyone have this problem with skirts…or perhaps with Impex boats?

My waders are neoprene & waterproof
Well one pair is anyway. With waders it is just a matter of time until you have to patch something. Waders live a hard life stumbling through cold rocky water and thorny brushes on shore.

Find the leaks and Aquaseal them.

Holes in neoprene make the construction not waterproof.

I have used them for several years
I only noticed the leaking very recently. I still love these boots.

here’s a dumb question from me:
I don’t doubt it’s waterproof. But why then can I wring it out?

1 Like

Because when closed cell neoprene foam is used as a wet suit or spray skirt fabric it is typically faced with Nylon or Polyester cloth. Most of what you are wringing out is water that is held by the facing. A bit more from the bubbles that are open to the surface.

thank you, from the physics-challenged
That does make sense.

I know my body is usually pretty dry when I peel it off, unless I take a few swims.

Water seepage in neoprene skirt
On a rainy day, I get a little water seeping through my neoprene skirt, and not near any seams. Is it supposed to do that. I kinda thought neoprene was supposed to be waterproof.