How To Protect Leather Shoes From Rain

You might not notice at first, but rainwater causes damage to leather shoes, especially when they aren’t properly maintained. 

It decreases the lifespan of your favorite leather boots or shoes, stripping away the natural oils and making them brittle. 

The water seeping into the leather also promotes mold growth, making the leather appear white. 

Read on because this article will share practical tips to weatherproof your leather footwear during rainy season. 

Follow A Cleaning Routine

Similar to maintaining a hygiene routine, your leather boots or shoes need regular cleaning. It removes debris and grime from the leather pores, allowing leather conditioning products to soak in. 

Here’s an effective cleaning routine to follow:  

  • Use a soft cloth to clean the leather surface.
  • Remove laces (if necessary).
  • Brush off the dirt and debris stuck in the leather pores using a hard-bristled brush. 
  • Shoe seams and stitching might need extra cleaning as dirt wedges into the crevices during the process. 

Using A Leather Conditioner

Waxing and conditioning the leather preserves its softness and shape during a downpour if you’re looking to protect leather boots. The leather conditioner makes a protective layer on the leather surface, preventing moisture from soaking from the pores.

Conditioning your shoes regularly keeps the leather in good shape. Leather conditioners are available in many forms, including leather honey, mink oil, wax, and cream. 


It’s necessary to choose the correct type of conditioner, as different leather types require other conditioners. 

For example, mink oil is preferably used on work shoes and saddles, whereas leather honey would be an excellent choice for dress shoes. 

Let’s break down the shoe conditioning process for you to follow:

  • Put a pea-sized amount of conditioner on the application sponge and spread it evenly on the surface of the leather shoes. 
  • Keep spreading the conditioner until you see an even coat.
  • Always start with less, as applying too much conditioner blocks the pores, making it harder for the conditioner to seep into the leather. Doing this only decreases the overall results. 
  • Leave the conditioner on for at least 20 minutes, and then use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess material. 
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Polishing Your Leather Footwear

Besides conditioning leather footwear, regularly give them a good polish for the leather’s longevity. 

Regardless of whether you have waterproof leather shoes or not, cream polish is an excellent choice to nourish the leather, whereas wax polish maintains shoe shine by adding a glossy layer.

If you have a couple of pairs, invest in essentials like cream polish, wax polish, and conditioners for a full shoe shine. Begin with applying conditioner over the leather for a few minutes, then a cream polish, and finish using wax polish. 

If you have suede shoes, cream polish or wax won’t do. A shoe-cleaning brush with stiff bristles is a must-have cleaning tool for suede leather footwear. Suede protector sprays also work well and provide an extra layer of protection. 

  • Lay some old newspaper or a plastic sheet as polish stains are hard to remove. 
  • Put a small amount of polish on a polishing cloth and spread it evenly using a circular motion. 
  • Similar to shoe conditioners, too much shoe polish darkens the leather tone and color. 
  • Wipe any excess polish with a soft cloth and leave them to dry for 15 minutes. 
  • Using a wiping cloth makes the polish seep into the leather to provide consistent coloring and shine. 

Selecting The Right Type of Leather Shoe

A leather sole soaks up a lot of moisture when worn during the rainy season. Your leather dress shoes or Chelseas are not the best option to wear in certain weather conditions. 

Fortunately, several shoe brands are making waterproof suede shoes that can even be worn during a heavy downpour. In areas experiencing light rain showers, replacing a leather sole with a rubber prevents moisture from seeping and provides an excellent grip on wet surfaces. 

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Checking the Welts

Over time, the stitching or glue holding the sole and shoe together wears off, resulting in water seepage into these spaces called welts. 

Water seeping into the welts indicates that your shoes need to be repaired.

Using a Waterproof Protector

Besides polishing and conditioning leather shoes, using a waterproof cover on leather footwear or work boots saves them from unexpected water damage. 

Waterproof protector sprays add a thin layer directly on the surface, making it repel water and prevent water stains. Here’s how to use a waterproof protector:

  • Lay down plastic or old newspaper and place your leather shoes on it.
  • From a distance of 30 centimeters, spray the protector evenly on the shoe surface and let it dry for 10 minutes.
  • Spraying is recommended once a week when using leather shoes in damp and humid weather conditions

Drying Your Shoes

No matter how wet the shoes or leather boots are, don’t use a heat source to dry them. For example, a hair dryer cracks the leather and makes the oils dry. 

The best way to dry wet shoes is by using a household fan or leaving them to dry naturally at room temperature.  

Store Leather Boots and Shoes the Right Way

Leather shoes need extra care, especially during winter and the rainy season. Wooden cabinets and storage spaces can absorb moisture, causing further damage to the leather. 

To protect leather shoes, stuff them with paper and keep the boots covered in a cloth bag for added protection. 

Placing silica gel inside the shoes prevents moisture and helps them stay dry and protected. Placing sodium bicarbonate in storage spaces also avoids moisture retention.  

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Using Galoshes

The galoshes we find today are sleek in design, complement the footwear, and prevent rainwater from seeping through the leather surface. Galoshes are made of plastic and easily slip over a variety of shoes as shoe covers. 

They also provide traction when walking on wet surfaces. Galoshes can easily slip off your shoes, making them a practical option.

Maintaining the Shape

Soft leather shoes quickly change shape and warp up when soaked in water. Maintaining their shape is crucial. 

You can use shoe trees or stuff them with paper so they can retain their original shape when drying. 

Final Thoughts

It’s crucial to understand that most leather shoes are not meant to be worn when raining. You can sometimes opt for faux leather if you know the weather is going to be terrible but still want to look classy.

Still, following a shoe maintenance routine and choosing the right type of leather makes it easier to flaunt your stylish leather footwear without worry.