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All you need to know about waterproofing shoes

When you’re walking around wearing your favourite pair of shoes, a puddle of water or a quick drizzle is all that’s needed to ruin your shoes, which can consequently ruin your mood as well. While many shoes are designed to withstand some exposure to water, there are some types of shoes that can be ruined by water or that are not recommended for use in wet conditions. Shoes made with materials such as canvas, suede, and leather are more susceptible to damage when exposed to water. Therefore, it’s important to consider the materials and design of your shoes when deciding whether they are suitable for use in wet conditions. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid exposing your shoes to water, or to take steps in waterproofing them to protect them from damage.

Why waterproof your shoes?

Waterproofing shoes is necessary to protect your shoes from water damage and to keep your feet dry in wet conditions. Here are some reasons why waterproofing shoes is important:

Protection from water damage

When shoes get wet, they can become damaged and lose their shape, structure, and support. Waterproofing shoes can help prevent water from penetrating the material of the shoes, which can help avoid damage.

Longer lifespan of shoes

Shoes that are exposed to water regularly are more likely to become damaged and wear out more quickly. Waterproofing shoes can help to prolong their lifespan and keep them in good condition for longer.

Improved comfort

Wet shoes can be uncomfortable to wear and can cause blisters, chafing, and other foot problems. Waterproof shoes can help keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions, which can help prevent these issues.

Better performance

Waterproof shoes are essential for certain activities, such as hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities where exposure to wet conditions is likely. Waterproof shoes can help keep your feet dry and comfortable, allowing you to perform at your best.


Waterproof shoes can be worn in a variety of weather conditions, making them a versatile and practical choice for everyday wear, especially during the rainy season.

Overall, waterproofing is important to protect your shoes and keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions. By taking steps to waterproof your shoes and maintain them properly, you can help prolong their lifespan and ensure that they continue to protect your feet for years to come.

How to waterproof your shoes

Waterproofing shoes is important if you want to protect them from getting damaged by water. There are several waterproofing agents to choose from, depending on the material your shoes are made of; these products include sprays, waxes, and creams. You should choose a product that is suitable for the material of your shoes. Here’s how to waterproof your shoes using different waterproofing agents:

1. Wax

You can choose to treat your shoes with either beeswax or wax from a clear candle. But before using any wax, make sure it is either colourless or complements the colour of your shoes. Canvas shoes and other fabric shoes benefit most from the use of wax since it melts and becomes part of the fabric. For the best outcomes, adhere to the guidelines below:

  1. Get the shoes clean and dry. This is very important. After all, you don’t want stains to show up on your shoes after you waterproof them because you won’t be able to clean them.

  2. Test the wax on a small part of the shoe upper first. Make sure the wax won’t stain or change the colour of your shoe.

  3. If the shoe doesn’t change colour, rub the wax all over the upper to make a thick layer. Make sure you put it on all the parts. The easiest way to do this is to look at how even the wax layer is.

  4. Once you’ve spread the wax evenly on both shoes, you need a heat source to melt the wax into the fabric. You can do this step with a hair dryer set to high heat. Once the dryer is hot, wave it towards the shoe and go over all the waxed parts until it all melts.

  5. After heating the pair, you can do a moisture test by pouring water on the upper to see if it repels the water. If not, you can put more wax on the shoes until they are completely waterproof.

2. Waterproofing spray

There are a lot of protectant sprays on the market, and they are great for shoes made of materials like suede and canvas, which absorb water. Once you’ve chosen the best spray for your suede or fabric, you can waterproof it by doing the following:

  1. Clean the shoe’s upper. Before waterproofing, make sure it’s clean, as you can’t clean it afterwards. To avoid creases, dry the shoes in a cool, dry location with shoe trees.

  2. Spray the upper with the can from at least 6 inches away once the shoes dry. Apply to the uppers and seams. Apply two layers to ensure no part is missed.

  3. Blot excess spray with a dry microfiber wipe, as paper towels can leave fibres that adhere to the fabric.

  4. Let the shoes dry for at least 24 hours in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight. Since these sprays don’t last very long, you may need to do this process more than once if you wear your shoes a lot.

3. Shoe polish and waterproof spray (Leather boots and shoes)

If you have real leather shoes or boots, you should exercise caution when waterproofing them. The following is the best leather waterproofing treatment:

  1. Clean the shoe down with a moist towel to remove any dirt or mud. To remove stubborn scuffs, wipe the shoe or boots using saddle soap. Avoid soaking the leather shoe or boots in water or using harsh chemicals that can damage the material.

  2. After cleaning the shoe, let it dry in a cool spot away from direct sunlight.

  3. Polish the shoe using a dry cloth. Remove excess polish with a clean towel.

  4. In this step, choose a spray that is easy on leather and spray it all over the upper to make it waterproof. Make sure you follow the instructions on how to spray leather from the company that made it.

How to maintain and store your waterproof shoes the right way

Maintaining and storing your waterproofed shoes properly can help prolong their lifespan and keep them in good condition. Here are some tips on how to do this:

Clean your shoes regularly

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your shoes in good condition. Remove any dirt or debris with a soft brush or cloth, and use mild soap and water to remove any stains or marks.

Allow your shoes to dry completely

After exposure to water, make sure to dry your shoes thoroughly before storing them. Stuff them with newspaper or a shoe tree to help them maintain their shape as they dry.

Store your shoes in a dry, cool place

It’s important to store your shoes in a place that is both dry and cool, as excess heat or moisture can damage the material. Avoid storing your shoes in direct sunlight or near a heat source.

Use shoe bags or boxes

Store your shoes in breathable bags or boxes to protect them from dust and dirt. This can also help prevent them from rubbing against each other and becoming damaged.

Reapply waterproofing as needed

Over time, the waterproofing on your shoes will wear off, especially with frequent use or exposure to water. Reapply the waterproofing product periodically to maintain its effectiveness.

Avoid excessive bending or folding

Try to avoid excessive bending or folding of your shoes, as this can weaken the material and cause creases or cracks.

By taking care of and storing your waterproof shoes the right way, you can make sure they last longer and keep protecting your feet from the weather.

What drawbacks are there to waterproofing shoes?

While waterproofing shoes can offer many benefits, such as protecting them from water damage and prolonging their lifespan, there are also some potential downsides to consider:

Reduced breathability

Waterproofing agents can create a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping your shoes, which can result in reduced breathability. This can make your feet feel hot and sweaty, especially in warm weather.

Increased weight

Some waterproofing agents can add weight to your shoes, which can make them feel heavier and more cumbersome to wear.

Altered appearance

Depending on the type of waterproofing product you use, it may alter the appearance of your shoes. For example, some sprays or waxes may darken or discolour certain materials.

Reapplication required

Most waterproofing products will eventually wear off, especially with frequent use or exposure to water. This means you will need to reapply the product periodically to maintain its effectiveness.

Environmental impact

Some waterproofing agents may contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and their production and disposal can have negative impacts on the environment.

Overall, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of waterproofing shoes and consider whether it is necessary for your particular situation. If you live in an area with frequent rainfall or plan to wear your shoes in wet conditions, waterproofing may be a good idea.

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