How to Waterproof Leather Boots and Shoes

Leatherwork boots and shoes can be expensive, which means proper maintenance is needed to protect them. To ensure your leather boots and shoes are protected, you need to know how to waterproof them so they can withstand the elements. Let’s take a look at the best way to waterproof leather boots.

Waterproofing Leather Boots

Can you waterproof leather boots? The answer is yes! However, the method for waterproofing leather hinges on the type of leather boots you own. For example, how you waterproof suede leather boots will be different from full-grain leather.

Nubuck and Suede Leather Boots and Shoes

For these types of soft and textured leather, there are protective waterproof sprays available. Once you have the dedicated spray, follow these steps to waterproof your shoes:

Nubuck and Suede Leather Boots and Shoes

  1. Make sure the boots are clean. You can do this by taking a soft, damp cloth to wipe off loose dirt and mud.
  2. Spray the entire boot with the spray at a distance of about 10 cm. This will ensure an even coating without any centralized spots.
  3. When the entire boot has been coated, leave your shoes to air dry in a cool, shaded area away from sunlight.
  4. Once the boots are completely dry, go over them with a suede brush to smooth out uneven patches and restore them to their original cleanliness.

Grained Leather Boots and Shoes

Do you ever wonder how to make boots waterproof if they are full-grained leather? Grained leather is naturally water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you can wear them in a downpour without any consequences. Little splashes and raindrops won’t do much harm to your leather boots and shoes, but we still suggest wiping them off when you get home.

Grained Leather Boots and Shoes

If you want to give your grained leather footwear extra protection against wet weather, follow the outlined steps below.

  1. Clean the boots. Before protecting any type of shoes, it’s important to always make sure they are clean. This is easily done with full-grain leather, just take a warm, damp cloth and wipe off the surface.
  2. Next, let the boots dry naturally. This type of leather shouldn’t take too long, but make sure you don’t apply heat to hasten the process. Doing so can damage your leather shoes.
  3. Instead of a spray, you should be using wax for full-grain leather boots – dubbin wax to be exact. Take a small amount of the wax, the size of a pea or penny to get started and apply it to the entire surface of the boot. You may need to soften the wax a bit if it’s too solid to rub. You can do this by applying low heat with a hairdryer. Be careful not to leave it for too long.
  4. When the entire surface is coated, you can leave the boots to air dry. Because it’s not a liquid, the wax won’t completely dry, so waiting for around one hour should be enough. Again, resist the temptation to apply heat to your waxed shoe, or you could risk cracking the leather.
  5. When the boots are dry, you can wipe off the excess wax with a soft, dry cloth.

Extra Tips

There are a few things to be aware of when waterproofing leather footwear. Always allow them to air-dry, and don’t apply heat as it can crack the leather. Choose the correct wax or spray that corresponds to the type of leather that you own. For example, you have the choice of silicone and beeswax. Vaseline can also work for some types of leather.


Even if your leather boots and shoes aren’t expensive, it is still in your best interest to protect them from liquids. A leather shoe that is drenched will be ruined, and it probably won’t feel comfortable on your feet. It’s never too early or too late to waterproof your shoes, so we suggest getting started as soon as possible to ensure they stay protected. Remember to take into consideration what not to do when waterproofing shoes.

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