How To Waterproof Leather Boots

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How To Waterproof Leather Boots

Leather boots are expensive. If they can survive winter, you have a good pair.  If they are poorly made and can’t withstand all the winter moisture, you will be replacing them in about three months. One way to extend their life is to learn how to waterproof leather boots. By doing this, they can withstand the snow, ice, rain, and snow that comes in the winter months.

The leather is delicate, and you need to protect it if the shoes are going to last. Leather needs to be flexible to handle this variety of conditions and to do that they need a certain amount of moisture. Leather boots tend to absorb and release moisture quickly.  This allows it to dry out and even crack.  Proper cleaning and maintenance help but to make them last longer they need to be coated with a waterproof coating. If you learn how to waterproof leather boots and do it correctly, you can prevent your feet from getting wet. Wet feet are very uncomfortable and can make you sick.

Waterproofing Methods

You have to be careful which method or compound you use.  Some can discolor your boots or make them dry out worse and cause damage that can not be repaired.  There are a few methods that are used to waterproof leather boots and how well they work.

Oils are commonly used and have been used for a long time to waterproof leather shoes.  They work good at repelling the moisture but can cause the shoes to start discoloring if used for a long time. Sometimes the leather will absorb the oils and begin to break down or disintegrate.  Oils most often used are mink oil and neatsfoot oil.  These oils are sometimes added to shoe creams to repel water.

Another method is wax. Wax will not cause the shoes to disintegrate as oils can.  This is because wax is not absorbed into the leather. Natural beeswax works better than most other waxes. It is easily found in most stores and leather shops including both online and regular stores. It is inexpensive and very affordable.

A  third method that is commonly used is wax sprays.  Sprays are a lot less hassle to apply, and most have silicon in them. They coat the shoe with a water-resistant acrylic or silicon.  The Acrylic is more effective.  The downfall is that the spray doesn’t last as long as the other methods and needs to be repeated more often. Sometimes a second coat will need to be added.


Learning how to waterproof leather boots is essential. Learning to do this the right way will save you money in the long run.  The first thing you need to do is to clean the leather with saddle soap and make sure it is dry. It contains lanolin which will help to add moisture to the leather and can effectively and safely remove any stains. Let the shoes dry naturally at average room temperature.

After you are sure the shoes are dry, you need to do a patch test. Spread a little bit of the compound you will be using in a hidden area of the shoe. Spread it around really good and let it sit for about thirty minutes. Check the shoes for discoloration. If there is none, then you can proceed.

Next, cover the entire surface of the shoes evenly with the compound after removing the laces.  Check the particular compound you are using to see how long they need to dry, but most require a thirty minute waiting time.

Winter is the time of year that takes the most toll on your shoes. By taking good care of them and waterproofing them regularly, you can make them last much longer.