How To Make Any Shoe Waterproof
While your wellies are convenient for soggy situations, they’re not going to get you through a marathon and they are bound to draw some attention at the dinner table. Come rain or shine, certain situations require specific attire, shoes included. While you might be reluctant to wear your favourite pair of kicks out in wet weather, we can assure you that keeping shoes looking brand spanking new is not an impossible task. From hiking over moist and mud-clad trails to simply wading your way through the rainy season, we have a few tricks that will keep your boots, trainers, heels, and strappy thongs dry and in good condition.
Your waterproof running shoes might come packed ready for splashing through wet tracks and backcountry trails, but this is not the case for every pair of footwear you own. Some shoes are simply not cut for rainy weather and puddles of mud. The good news is that there are ways to make them more water repellent no matter what materials they have been made from. Here are a few of our favourite techniques:
Waterproof Spray – Waterproof sprays are the quickest and easiest solution to adding a waterproof layer to shoes. Most sprays are safe to use on an assortment of fabrics, including suede and leather. In fact, sprays are the most popular option for suede shoes because they work really well without damaging the fabric.
Beeswax – Wax is the perfect material when it comes to waterproofing hiking boots and canvas shoes. Beeswax is particularly popular because of its natural properties and its nifty ability to absorb easily into certain fabrics.
Waterproofing Products – There is a wide variety of specially formulated products on the market that have been created to seal fabrics, making them reliably water repellent as a result. From foolproof waxes to cleaning gels and shoe detergents, you’ll find a range of brands that will protect the materials of your shoes while nourishing them at the same time.
Genuine leather shoes tend to be on the expensive side and you certainly don’t want to ruin them in the event that you get caught in the rain. While leather kicks are great for keeping your feet safe from the elements, if not maintained correctly, the material will absorb moisture and deteriorate over time.
To keep your leather strong and in excellent shape, you can apply the following steps:
- Start by cleaning your leather boots/shoes using a warm and damp cloth. It’s important that this cloth is free from harmful chemicals and it shouldn’t be too wet. Wipe away dirt, debris, and mud.
- Now, polish your shoes using a colour that matches the shade of the leather. If you are using a product for the first time, apply it to a small area on the material first to make sure it doesn’t cause any discolouration. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and use circular motions over the shoes, applying the polish evenly. Use a similar clean cloth to remove excess product and to further buff the polish into the leather.
- In this last step, you need to apply a waterproofing product that is gentle on leather. If it has been specifically formulated for this type of material, all the better. Follow the instructions of the brand you have selected – this will typically include rubbing or spraying the solution onto the surface area.
Depending on how often you wear your boots, you might need to repeat these actions at least once a week if you want to keep your kicks looking and feeling good.
Remember to store your shoes in a moisture-free area and away from direct sunlight.
Waterproofing Hiking Boots
Hiking boots tend to get the brunt of what the elements throw at you and since you depend on them to get you through many obstacles and far distances, you need them to remain fresh and dry for both comfort and convenience. Much like maintaining leather shoes, your hiking boots also deserve the following tender love and care:
Once again, clean shoes provide the best foundation for applying waterproofing solutions. Use a soft bristle brush and warm water to scrub away built-in stains and dirt. Leave them out in the sun to dry before you move on to the next step or alternatively, you can dry them using a hairdryer on a low setting.
You can now apply a water sealant product to your shoes or you can go the Beeswax route and buff the softened substance in using a cloth. If the wax is a little hard, use a hairdryer to warm and soften it so that it absorbs into the fabric well. You might want to repeat this step so that there’s a reliable amount of wax covering the exterior of the footwear.
Finish off with a waterproof spray for extra good measure.
Again, remember to store your boots in a dry spot that receives little to no sunlight.
Consider Wearing Water Shoes
If you live in an area where the rain and snow never seems to stop falling or if you’re the type who seeks the thrill of adventure, you might want to consider investing in a pair of water shoes. This type of footwear is usually made from gor-tex, a synthetic and waterproof fabric that’s permeable to air and water vapour. Carry a pair of these handy shoes in your backpack or keep them in the boot of your car and swap them for your less water-friendly kicks when you’re surprised with wet weather and soggy terrains.
Please note: we highly recommend that you always test waterproofing products on a small area of your footwear before applying a full application. Some products and DIY techniques might harm the fabric or change the colour of a shoe. So, please do take care to test before you dive straight in and possibly ruin your shoes while trying to rescue them.