How To Waterproof Leather Boots? Some Innovative Techniques


Work boots are not only your part of clothing and accessories but a work tool that lets you concentrate on your progress peacefully. You will never be able to go on with irritation at your foot. These work boots are pretty expensive and used in the rough environment but water or salt damage could be really serious for these shoes.

To avoid those issues it is always better to use waterproof ones but if you don’t have one, then there is no problem. You can easily turn your normal work boot into a special one and here we will discuss how to waterproof leather boots to make the most out of it.

Before we discuss the waterproofing technique we first need to concentrate on why we should take this trouble to perform this thing at the very first place.

Why do We Need to Waterproof the Leather Boots?

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The leather is usually the cattle or horse skin which is made of fat. After the tanning process, there is a certain amount of moisture in the skin that gives the leather strength and ensures its long life by preventing cracking.

If by any means, the moisture leaves the upper skin, the leather starts to get damaged, crinkled and then they starts losing their finishing as well within some days you will need to see some cobbler or throw it out.

The elimination of moisture could be because of many things like alkaline, acid water or salt. Direct contact with any of these will damage the leather permanently by dehydrating the moisture.

While working in the rough environment it is very easy to come across these special water so we must know how to keep our shoes away from water and this the most relevant reason to waterproof our leather boots.

Another vital reason is a comfort. No ones like to start his/her day with a wet shoe and soggy feet. Most of us will not get any chance to remove our shoes and roam around in socks at work so it’s better we use waterproof shoes to avoid any unpleasant condition.

Different Ways to Waterproof the Leather Boots

There are several ways to make the work boots waterproof and sometimes the process depend on the type of the boot. First, we will discuss the different ways that we can choose while waterproofing our boots.

The most famous three ways are,


Waterproofing Waxes, Creams, and Pastes

The first step is to remove all the dirt and mud from the shoe. Use some boot cleaning cream or some kind of dish washing gel would also work and then dry it using hands or any clean cloths. The next step is to apply the waterproofing wax or cream or paste. Apply it carefully on the outer layer, especially minding the seams and clean the excess product off the shoe. Now let it dry overnight and you are going to get a waterproof shoe.

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Waterproof Spray

FRYE Women's Weatherproof Spray, 6 oz (180 ml)

Spray cans are always easy options.

  • First, clean the shoe and dry it.
  • Then start spraying holding the can 6 inches away from the boot. It is effective to apply few thin layers than one thick coat and this way finish the boots.
  • Let them dry for the night and if necessary you can try another coat considering the instructions on the item.



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If you need to do it immediately and there not much time to let the cream, paste or spray to dry off you can use some other methods which are temporary. Although they will work fine for the time being, but they will damage soon and before you apply any permanent thing, you need to rinse it off completely.

You can try transmission oil for this purpose, if you have some of it, you better smear it over the boots before you leave. It will work fine but your shoes may turn red.

Another option is enamel spray. It will work for that time but crack soon leaving a scratchy look on the shoe. Another option is Vaseline cream. You can easily apply it like other waterproofing creams but it won’t last long and needs no time to dry.

How to Waterproof Your Boots and Shoes?​


Now that we have discussed the basic ways we can now talk about the steps.

1. Select the Right Waterproofing Compound:

There is always debate on which compound is best for waterproofing the boots. Not only the manufacturers but all the shoe experts are also sharing the different views. There are different compositions of waterproofing elements which are appropriate for dissimilar shoes.

  • Wax Based Polishes:
Lincoln Shoe Wax Polish 3 Fl Oz (Neutral)

Usually, the pastes and creams are designed to nourish the leather but the wax is different as they provide a thin layer on the leather to protect them from water, salts or alike elements that affect it.

They also offer a shine on your leather that makes it look attractive. There are renowned makers like Lincoln and Meltonian that offers extraordinary wax in a wide range of colors.

The key point is that you need to apply the wax continuously after a specific number of wears and if the weather is wet then you need to repeat after every wear.

  • Special Compound:
Obenaufs Heavy Duty Leather Preservative 8oz

There are particular compounds like Heavy Duty Leather Preservative or Sno-seal Weather Protectant which are used particularly for waterproofing. They do not add a polish or cause shine to the shoe but they do a wonderful job to keep moisture out.

If you apply these on shoes, you don’t need to repeat this activity frequently as they last long. However, if you apply these, you might need to apply a shining element after the waterproofing compounds dried.

Otherwise, you can try the spray on that we mentioned before or other elements according to your needs. Now the next step is preparing the items and run a test.

2. Prepare and Test on the Shoe:

The next step is very important to you are dealing with any black shoe. You will definitely not want your black shoe to look different so you may like to run a test on your shoe to make sure the leather reacts fine to the compounds.

Most of the manufacturers claim that their products will not affect any of the leather but there could be an exception. So apply a little of the compound on the end of the shoes, and let it dry and then apply a bit more and if it seems right, you can apply it all over after cleaning the shoe.

how to waterproof the leather boots (1)


3. Apply the waterproofing compound:

Clean the dirt and mud from the shoe effectively with some liquid washing gel or some other formula. Then dry it off with a clean cloth or hand. Now you can prepare the mixture and apply evenly on the shoe. It would be better if you apply several thin coats instead of thick coats. This will result in effective waterproofing.



4. Choosing the Right Shoe and Opting Right Method:

There are always different kind pf shoes that demand different methods of applying. It is very necessary that you follow the proper steps while waterproofing your boots. Depending on the material the boot is made of, the steps may vary a little.

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5. Full Grain Leather Boot:

In the case of full grain leather boots, conditioning after reproofing is very important. The first step I'd reproofing and the second step is conditioning.


  • Clean the shoe completely and let it dry.
  • Then apply the wax sparingly all over the shoe. Full grain leather boots must follow this technique. If the wax is too hard to use any hair dryer or another alike heat source to soften it.
  • Let it dry for some time but don not put it so extra heat. The room temperature is fine otherwise, the leather may crack.
  • Buff off the wax.
how to waterproof the leather boots



Conditioners for leather boots are very important as they keep the boots supple. You can apply the conditioner any time your leather feels to crack or dry completely but do not condition very often or the boot will soften which will hamper the main purpose of the boot.

You can follow these few steps while conditioning the boots.

  • Apply the conditioner in thin coats with the help of hands or some clean clothes.
  • Let it settle in the room temperature and rinse off the extra conditioner.
  • Let it dry without providing any extra heat source.

In the case of suede boots you can apply the waterproofing component with a brush or a sprayer and follow the other steps as discussed above.



Sometimes the boot is already wet but you need to waterproof them. So here are few steps you can follow while waterproofing your wet shoes.

  • The first and foremost thing is to dry the boots. If the boots are wet, your duty is to keep the moisture out. You can put dry towels or newspaper inside the boot and rub the outside with dry towels gently.
  • Keep changing the newspapers or towels with dry ones until the moisture keeps coming out.
  • Let them dry at room temperature, do not put them in direct heat as they might crack the leather and nothing can fix a shoe with cracked leather.
  • Once it is dry, you can apply the waterproofing cream or wax and do the rest.


This is almost everything you need to know on how to waterproof your leather boots so now you can get up, get some spray or cream or paste and start working on your expensive boots to lengthen its lifespan.

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Lamont Ly

My name is Lamont Ly and I have spent the countless number of hours researching and studying the best solutions for foot care related problems. My goal is to save your time as well as money by offering all the assistance backed by relevant and reliable information so that the health of your feet is not compromised in any way.

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