Is Gore-Tex Waterproof?

Gore-Tex is a breathable, synthetic textile that’s popular with anyone who loves the outdoors—even when it’s a bit rainy! Gore-Tex is among the most popular materials for windbreakers and coats because it’s light, windproof, and extremely durable.

Before we go any further, we should make one thing clear. We’ll mostly be discussing the Gore-Tex fabric in this article, as opposed to the Gore-Tex brand. Gore-Tex is the brand that holds the patent for Gore-Tex, and they make a wide variety of products under that brand name.

Before we let you know if Gore-Tex is waterproof, we’ll let you know the most common products made of Gore-Tex and what makes Gore-Tex special. After that, we’ll give you a quick rundown as to which Gore-Tex products you can expect to be waterproof and which you can’t.

Where Is Gore-Tex Commonly Used?

Since Gore-Tex is a synthetic textile, you can find it in a variety of items. It’s an extremely thin, versatile fabric that you can find in any outdoor clothing. Here are some of the most common things you can discover Gore-Tex in.


Gore-Tex is probably best known for its outerwear. Since Gore-Tex is an ultra-light and malleable membrane, the manufacturers can easily incorporate it into any gear. Some of the most common pieces of outerwear with Gore-Tex are:

  • Jackets
  • Pants
  • Ski or Snowboarding Gear
  • Gloves

Hunting and Fishing Gear

Gore-Tex has developed items specifically designed for activities such as hunting and fishing. Frequently, hunters and fishermen are outside in heavy conditions and need to know their gear will keep them dry. Due to the unique waterproof properties of Gore-Tex, you’ll be comfortable spending hours upon hours outside.

Gore-Tex makes products for fishermen like waders and attachable jackets. For hunters, Gore-Tex products include jackets, pants, belts, backpacks, and other essential items.


The manufacturers of Gore-Tex realized its thinness and breathability are perfect for footwear. We know our boots get warm when we go on winter hikes, so it’s always a bonus if there’s a breathable shoe on the market. Some of Gore-Tex’s best-known footwear products are:

  • Running Shoes
  • Boots
  • Socks

Medical Settings

Gore-Tex is an extremely versatile material that you can find in many products, including some that aren’t related to clothing. The most common non-clothing item you can find Gore-Tex in is medical devices.

Since Gore-Tex is a thin, porous membrane, doctors sometimes implant specific devices to help your body function better. Most of these devices are mesh netting. Gore-Tex is inert, so it doesn’t have any adverse side effects. Some of the various Gore-Tex medical products include:

  • Endoprosthesis
  • Cardiovascular Patches, Grafts, and Occluders
  • Stents
  • Surgical Reinforcements
  • Soft Tissue Patches and Sutures
  • Catheters

Other Common Uses

You can use Gore-Tex in a variety of other contexts. Some industries use Gore-Tex as an insulator for wiring. Not only does it keep the wiring dry, but it also doesn’t conduct electricity, so it’s as safe as rubber. Gore-Tex even makes insulation for high voltage wires.

Other industries also use Gore-Tex as a sealant, either in tape form or liquid glue. Both forms are suitable for sealing pipes, joints, ducts, or any other household job. Gore-Tex has uses in other fields, including water filters and waterproof coatings.

Technical Makeup of Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex is a fabric made from stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which you may know as Teflon. It may sound a little off-putting to you, but wearing Gore-Tex materials is perfectly safe.

PTFE is a one-of-a-kind fabric. It’s a synthetic material, so Gore-Tex is an artificial product. The first step in making stretched PTFE is creating the PTFE. PTFE is created in lab settings by adding four chemicals (fluorspar, hydrofluoric acid, chloroform, and water) together in a heating chamber at over 1000ºF.

Once the manufacturer produces the PTFE, it’s stretched to create a thin, porous membrane. The first step of the stretching process includes heating the PTFE to between 95º and 600ºF. The PTFE is attached to a stretching mechanism capable of stretching the fabric to a thickness of 0.01mm. The final product is the Gore-Tex membrane.

The Gore-Tex Membrane

The membrane is around 0.01mm thick, which is thinner than a strand of human hair. The thinness contributes to its versatility, as manufacturers can put Gore-Tex into almost any product. Despite its incredible thinness, every square inch has nine billion holes.

It sounds counterintuitive to want holes in a waterproof fabric, right? It’s one of the main reasons Gore-Tex has become so popular. Each of the microscopic holes allows air to ventilate in and out of your jacket, shoes, or other Gore-Tex products, leaving you feeling cool and dry.

What makes the membrane so unique is that the holes don’t allow water to enter the membrane but allow air to filter through. Each of the nine billion holes is about 1/20 000 the size of a liquid droplet of water, so nothing can get by this membrane.

Even though those holes are too small for liquids to get by, that doesn’t mean you’ll be left sweaty. Sweat evaporates when it gets trapped near your body. Even though Gore-Tex stops liquids, it won’t prevent sweat vapor from escaping, keeping you dry, even inside your coat.

Is Gore-Tex Waterproof?

Before we give you the definitive answer about Gore-Tex’s ability to stop water, we should give you a quick breakdown as to the differences between waterproof and water-resistant products.

Simply put, waterproof products stop 100% of liquid from getting through their layers. Waterproof materials are either rigid, not letting air or water circulate, and others, like Gore-Tex, are breathable but stop any water from getting in.

On the other hand, water-resistant products don’t stop all the water, but they absorb or wick some moisture away from your outerwear. It won’t keep you totally dry, but it’ll keep you dry enough to find some shelter.

Now that we know the difference between waterproof and water-resistant, we can find out if Gore-Tex is waterproof. Yes, it is! It was specifically designed to wick water off your outerwear and keep you dry.

The Gore-Tex membrane is what keeps you dry under your outerwear. As we mentioned before, the membrane has nine billion holes per square inch to let you breathe, but those holes are too small for water to get through.

Which Gore-Tex Products Are Waterproof and Which Are Not?

Although the Gore-Tex membrane is waterproof, Gore-Tex doesn’t make all their products with it. Gore-Tex has two lines of products, original Gore-Tex and Gore-Tex Infinium. All original Gore-Tex products, including their jackets, pants, gloves, boots, and more, are 100% waterproof and come with the Gore-Tex membrane.

Original Gore-Tex products have the Keep You Dry promise. That means if you aren’t satisfied with the water protection provided by the outerwear, you can get it repaired, replaced, or return it for a refund.

Gore-Tex created Infinium to cater to those outdoor enthusiasts who don’t need full water protection. Infinium products are water-resistant but not waterproof.

When you’re shopping for a Gore-Tex product, you should know how to differentiate the two lines of products. The Infinium products are labeled with a white diamond, while Gore-Tex marks their original line with the original Gore-Tex logo, a black diamond.

The Last Drop

That’s it! To summarize, Gore-Tex is indeed waterproof, just make sure to do your research on which types of Gore-Tex products you need first.

Interested in the waterproof properties of other fabrics? Check out these related articles below.