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by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Here’s a simple, easy to remember tip that could save your feet if you have to work in wet weather. If you don’t have rainboots, you can waterproof your shoes with duct tape.

This is an excerpt from my new book, Duct Tape 911: The Many Amazing Medical Things You Can Do to Tape Yourself Together.

Chapter 18

Waterproof Clothing

Being wet makes being cold worse. Wet skin or clothing conducts heat away from the body very fast, possibly leading to frostbite or hypothermia. And keeping your feet in cold, wet socks and shoes for a long time can cause tissue damage.

Trench foot is an example of the latter. It’s been a problem in wars, like World War II and the Vietnam War, when soldiers have had to stand hours upon hours in cold water. The result can be permanent tissue damage. Wearing wet socks can cause trench foot also. That might happen if you’re dealing with the aftermath of a flood, for example.

And flood water poses more dangers than wetness. No matter how clear it looks, it’s contaminated with whatever chemicals and sewage it’s come in contact with. Viruses and bacteria can enter through skin scratches and cause bad infections. And chemicals can cause nasty rashes.

Since duct tape is waterproof, you can use it to keep moisture out of any item of clothing—shoes, boots, caps, gloves. Just tape over the item. Be sure to overlap the strips and leave no
gaps for leaks. In a pinch, you could even make your own gloves, hat, or shoes out of the tape, by either just taping it to your skin or, preferably, taping the two sticky sides together so they don’t touch your skin. (Either way, duct tape isn’t breathable, so it’s not good for your skin; this is a temporary, emergency-only solution.)

To waterproof a shoe, wrap the entire shoe, overlapping the tape to avoid leaks. If you’re going to be in water above the shoe tops, extend the wrapping to the sock or pants leg. Of course, don’t wrap tightly enough to cut off circulation.

Waterproof your shoes by duct taping them. From the book "Duct Tape 911." | The Survival Doctor


Get your copy of Duct Tape 911 here. Also available on (affiliate link).