How To Waterproof Your Leather Boots: A Comprehensive Guide
Shoes add to the style of a person. No doubt, it speaks of your personality.
But like any other wearable shoes, especially leather boots, are also prone to the external environmental factors like water, snow, sand etc. If not cared and protected well, they may soon loose their shine & shape and you will end up changing your pair too often.
Although, most of the boots have an already coated waterproofed protective layer on them but its not everlasting. You need to coat them regularly at fair intervals.
It might seem too much work but it's not and you can add months to your boot's life with a few minutes job.
I leave you with this step by step actionable guide to know all about how to waterproof your leather boots.
Read and Enjoy.
Why You Should Take Care Of Your Boots?
Simply, so as to lengthen it's life. A little extra care can become a distinctive line between your shoe's health and visits to a cobbler. A new pair changes it's shape so as to fit your feet in properly. That's normal but its exposure to the water deforms it inappropriately.
The other big reason should be protecting your feet. A wet boot can trouble your comfort and harm your feet-skin. Additionally, it may cause slippery moments.
It might seem a bit awkward but a wet-shoe can ruin your professionalism. Do you want to walk-in your interview or meeting with an irritating sound made by your shoes at every step. Believe it or not, a moisture-socked shoes makes that creaky sound. Albeit, the sound makes you a person holding everyone's attraction 🙂
Long story short, you need to protect your boots against:
- Water: A leather is nothing but the fat layer, made up of protein, of cattle and animals that needs a set level of moisture to survive and shine. Over-exposure to water will soon leave your boots with pulpy characteristics and wrinkles. Even though, it doesn't got much wear & tear yet you might have to replace your pulpy pair with a new one.
- Salt: In a chilly winter environment, snow is a big foe to your boot's youthfulness. Snow doesn't only contain water but salt as well which speed up the ageing of the leather. The salt available in snow quickly discolours the shoes and the water makes it pulpy and full of wrinkles. In a harsh environment, sand and dust does the harm as same as snow.
How To Make Leather Boots Water Resistant?
The creams or pastes available in the market are more of a shoe nourishing product rather boot waterproofing. In a true sense, these can not make your boots 100% water resistant. On the other hand, in case, you are continuously exposed to the rain or you work in a butchery where you don't get a chance to drying up your boots, you can't manage to protect them much. But in general, you must take a few steps as follow:
There are many contradictions regarding which works as the best waterproofing compound. An overwhelming range of products might distract you. Chill, till the end of this article, you will have all the necessary information to make a wise decision. Let's understand the various options:
- Wax Based Polishes: The best among the available ready-made options. It offers ease of use and is effective as well. It creates a wax layer between the boot leather and the outer environment. Just ensure applying it after every few wears and your boot will retain its charm for longer.
Do not use any shiner or shoe nourishing cream if you apply a wax-based polish. As you know, it creates a waxy layer and disconnects the leather to the outer world so any shiner or toner will not reach to it.
- Spray Compounds: Although it is widely used and is effective as well yet I am not a big fan of sprayed solutions. Reason being, it changes the colour of the leather to a slightly different tone. No doubt, they are effective but before spraying to the whole shoes spray a small patch on the back of the shoe, let it dry, notice if the colour changes, check if you are happy with the resulted colour. If everything goes OK then apply to the whole shoes. That's my take on sprayed compounds.
- Special Waterproof Compounds: These are special chemical based formula designed to act as effectively as wax-based polish but sticks for longer than the wax. A drawback follows this method. It doesn't create any shiny layer on top of the shoes so you may need to use some additional nourishing pastes to bring life to your shoes.
No matter what formula you go with, don't forget cleaning your boots for any dirt or mud before applying the compound. Use a paper towel and wipe thoroughly or it may reduce the effectiveness of the compound.
Bees Wax- Best Water Proofing Solution
This one is my favourite. Although you might end up with doing some additional work but it works like wonder and gives a true water resistance nature to your boots.
I enlisted step by step instruction on it. Mind following it but do not forget removing the boot laces before performing these steps:
- As is cleared from the name, Beeswax is a waxy compound that is made by bees to store honey. Usually, it is available in form of blocks and is not sold as flakes. Just buy a small chunk from a reputed manufacturer.
- Slice a small piece with a knife. Scrape it as flakes. Now take one metallic jar and one saucepan. Pour the wax flakes into the metallic jar. Pour some water into the saucepan. Now heat the water up. Hold the metallic jar (filled with wax flakes) dipped into the heating water. It is the best way to supply only as much heat that is needed to the wax for melting. Do not melt the wax on direct flame or wax will get hotter or start boiling. As a result, it may take longer to cool down and also might scorch you
- Sift it through a sifter with a wide net so as to remove any contamination.
- Now take a small wooden stick or wooden teaspoon. Wrap a piece of cloth on it's one end.
- Dip the clothed end into the melted wax and apply it carefully to the whole leather part of the shoes.
- Take a paper towel, Rub to further spread the applied wax. Rubbing also removes the excess amount of the wax.
- Keep it near a fire-source like fireplace so as the wax melts further and seeps into the leather of the shoes.
- Once the wax completely disappears, place it at a dry place to cool it down.
- Make sure that it cools down at room temperature. Do not freeze the shoes or put them before or under the fan or it may cause cracks in your shoes. Let it cool down naturally and your shoes will be OK!
- Once the wax is cooled down, voilà, your boots are waterproofed with a shiny appearance. You can repeat the process every few months
Once the melted wax is poured, out of the metallic jar, onto the shoes, clean the metallic jar as soon as possible. Otherwise, the remaining wax will freeze that is harder to clean. To clean the metallic jar, do not use water. Use a spoon and a cloth or a paper to wipe the walls of the jar. Otherwise, wear a thick heat-resistant gloves while wiping as it might be hot and can scorch your hands.
Other DIY Waterproofing Methods
Although beeswax trick is a kinda DIY method yet I love to over deliver and can't help delivering a few more tricks to you for shoe waterproofing. These are much easier than the beeswax way yet effective.
Candle and Hair Dryer are usually available in everyone's house. Take a candle and rub it all over your leather boots so as the wax covers the whole surface.
Once the surface is well-covered with the wax, set the hair drier to the hottest point and roll all over the shoes. Soon the wax will be melted and seeped into the pores of the boots. At times, the shoes might get very hot so you can take breaks rather doing the heating process in one go.
Let me warn you. The process make turn the leather colour to a slightly darker tone but the difference is so minute that it can be overlooked.
As an alternative, you can chose lavender oil or tea tree oil as well but buy only by from a reputed brand. On the other hand, instead of melting beeswax, you can rub it directly on your shoes and use the hair-drier trick to ease your job of waterproofing the boots.
What To Do If Your Shoes Get Wet?
In case, you get your shoes drenched or soaked with water, do not take any inappropriate action to speed up the drying process. If you are thinking about putting them before a fireplace or heating them up on flame, just discard the idea. It will cause cracks in your shoes. The cracks cannot be repaired and you might have to buy a new pair. Just follow some simple steps to dry the shoes without harming them:
- Place your shoes leaned along a wall for a few minutes so as the extra water drops down.
- Now stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels. You can use rags as well. They will slowly suck the extra moisture.
- Replace the stuffed material every hour.
- Leave the shoes at room temperature for a day or two. The natural air and heat will vaporize the water.
Now you know more than an average person on how to waterproof your leather boots and are all set to care for them. Either use the ready-made solutions or do the beeswax trick, they all are fine. Afterall, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Just put a regular care and you will have your pair with all it's charm for a longer period of time. My final words are to the laziest people, if you can't do anything else just make sure polishing your boots everyday. Every polish comes with a sort of water-resistance capability (Although not very effective). It will give your shoes the minimum care that it requires.
Hope that helped.
Let us know about your ideas and ways by leaving a quick comment below.