Nikwax vs. Sno Seal: 5 Important Differences

Two popular options for waterproofing your gear are Nikwax and Sno Seal. Each product has certain benefits and uses that will help keep you cool and dry no matter the weather.

Nikwax is a popular waterproofing treatment that you can apply and bond to leather and fabric materials. Sno Seal, on the other hand, is a beeswax waterproofing treatment you apply specifically to leather surfaces. Although they differ in some ways, they also have similarities in their functions. 

In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the qualities of Nikwax vs. Sno Seal. Read on to learn what distinguishes the two substances from one another.

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What Is Nikwax?

Nikwax is a wax-like treatment used to coat leather and fabrics with TX. 10i water-repellent molecules. As a result, this treatment will bond to non-water-repellent surfaces.

Nikwax treatment is durable yet flexible, meaning it won’t soften your leather, but it will keep it protected from stiffening and damage caused by moisture.

Nikwax also lasts long so that you don’t have to keep reapplying it, even if you wash the garment or shoe.

What Is Sno Seal?

Sno Seal is another wax treatment used to waterproof leather materials. It has a composition primarily of beeswax, and it’s designed specifically for cold weather use, as it repels water, snow, salt, and sun rays. It’s silicone-free and animal fat-free.

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Sno Seal has the added protection of locking in warmth beneath the leather surfaces you coat it on. Sno Seal treatment is long-lasting and works great on ice skates, leather shoes, leather snow gloves, and more.

How are Nikwax and Sno Seal Similar?

Nikwax and Sno Seal have the same main purpose of waterproofing/sealing leather fabrics. They keep out moisture to protect the quality of leather and keep your skin underneath from getting wet.

Leather-Compatible

One of the main similarities between these two products is that they both work well on leather. Whether you’re using them on leather jackets, shoes, or gloves, both Nikwax and Sno Seal will effectively repel moisture.

This keeps leather safe from getting wet, which would otherwise cause it to dry up and become stiff or misshapen.

Similar Purposes

Nikwax and Sno Seal are also similar in that they’re both designed to protect leather garments or surfaces from water damage. They’re both pretty durable, breathable, and effective at keeping moisture out of leather shoes, gloves, etc.

This means that they both help you to improve the longevity of high quality leather goods, even when the weather is harsh.

How are Nikwax and Sno Seal Different?

There are some key differences between Nikwax and Sno Seal, which is why some users tend to prefer one over the other. Mainly, Sno Seal’s design is for different seasonal purposes, while Nikwax’s design is not.

Physical Makeup

Nikwax and Sno Seal differ in their composition since Sno Seal features beeswax as its waterproofing agent. In contrast, Nikwax features a synthetic makeup composed of an elastomer material that’s based on EVA. This material is hydrophobic, but it also allows molecules to be elastic to prevent the tearing of the leather.

This also means that Sno Seal is more natural when compared to Nikwax.

Appearance

Sno Seal and Nikwax differ in appearance when you apply them. While Sno Seal dries clear on leather, Nikwax is more likely to dry as an opaque coating that may darken the color of the leather.

Performance

Sno Seal is more of an all-season water repellant than Nikwax is. While Nikwax does technically repel snow, as well as rain, Sno Seal is more specifically designed to repel moisture in cold weather situations.

Additionally, Sno Seal is specifically designed to keep warmth inside the fabric it’s applied to. For example, if you’re wearing leather shoes in the winter, Sno Seal treated shoes are more likely to keep your feet warm than Nikwax treated shoes would.

Sno Seal even stays elastic at -0° temperatures, and it won’t crack as you flex the leather beneath.

And finally, Sno Seal is somewhat less breathable than Nikwax is. Nikwax is more likely to keep leather surfaces breathable, whereas Sno Seal focuses on keeping warmth inside. This is why some people prefer Nikwax if they don’t expect to need protection from snow or very cold moisture on their leather.

Resistance to Other Substances

Sno Seal also has the advantage over Nikwax in that it repels sun and salt as well. This means that it protects your leather from sun fading and snow/salt stains that could arise in the winter season.

Final Thoughts

Nikwax and Sno Seal are both effective treatments for waterproofing leather. Sno Seal is your best bet in terms of all-season weather, while Nikwax is great for regular wet conditions.