Leather, whether a leather jacket or leather shoes, that is exposed to water can lose its natural oils allowing the water to leave stains and become stiff when it dries. Waterproofing leather shoes is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your shoes while preserving their quality and value. Waterproofing or weatherproofing simply involves applying a waterproof surface coat to the leather that acts as a barrier that water cannot penetrate.
Things You Will Need
Wax, oil or spray leather dressing
The first step is to determine the type of leather you have. Harsh silicone waxes as well as traditional oils, waxes and oil based silicone sprays cannot be used on thin, delicate split leathers such as suede and nubuck. In contrast, hiking or work boots will not receive enough protection from a suede or nubuck leather coating.
Next decide on the type of waterproofing product you are going to use. Heavy duty dressings, oils and waxes are brush or rub on products. They are usually oil based combining tanning agents and waterproofing agents. These work well on shoes or boots with mixed materials such as nylon and leather. Sprays are more convenient and take less time to apply. Silicone sprays repel water and give a slippery feel. Oil based silicone sprays are good for boots and shoes while water based silicon sprays can be used on more delicate leathers like suede. Acrylic copolymer sprays are best for split or nappy leathers and are also good for suede and nubuck.
No matter which type of waterproofing product you use you need to remove all excess dirt and debris from your shoes prior to treating.
For applying waxes, oils and dressings, start with a clean cloth or brush and apply the product on all areas of your shoes and work into the leather as evenly as possible. Next, use a clean cloth and wipe off any excess and let them stand over night.
To apply sprays, hold the can 6 inches from your shoes and spray an even coat over them. Allow them to dry completely.
Waterproofing leather shoes is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your shoes while preserving their quality and value.