This is important. I taped up the vents in my winter boots before a 200km audax in Wales in December a few years ago. By the time I got to Bala at 80km every pedal stroke resulted in a jet of ice water up my leg, think welly full of water. Spar provided sandwich bags and tin foil on that occasion.Those holes are to let the water out.
I used to stuff mine full of old newspaper then after a few hours I would remove and put some more old newspaper in and then leave overnight then I discovered stuffing an old towel into the shoes dries them out far quicker.The annoying thing is that it's taken so long for the shoes to dry out.
Eager spats with waterproof trousers over the top - eliminates ingress from above but doesn't help much with 'breathability'.Remember there's the big hole at the top which your foot goes in. Hard to waterproof that.
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