How To Waterproof Leather and Suede Boots

Ironically, suede is not a naturally water-repellent material, yet it can be waterproofed in several ways. Originally suedes were only used in making gloves, but with the level of warmth and comfort it provides, they were further used in making boots as well. Suede is a much more delicate material than nubuck and leather and requires extreme care under certain weather conditions.  

how to waterproof suede shoes

Suppose you have suede boots and are looking forward to wearing them in the rainy season. Then it's best advised to treat them first with some waterproofing solutions so that you can walk carelessly around in the rain without worrying about ruining your suites.

In this article, you will learn some amazing and quick methods on how to waterproof leather boots and how to waterproof suede boots naturally.

IS SUEDE WATERPROOF?

Is suede waterproof? If you are stuck with this question in your head while wearing your suede boots. Then the clear answer is no. As I already mentioned, suede leather is quite delicate as compared to other types of leather and thus cannot be treated the same way as other leathers.

Due to their delicate texture, these types of leather are prone to scuffing or tearing, which is heartbreaking because you have invested in those shoes and expect them to last longer. Several reasons why suede leather is not waterproof,

  • It is porous: This is one of the major reasons why suede boots are not waterproof. Due to their porous or permeable properties, you cannot make them waterproof unless treated. Suede leather is made with real leather that is further treated with chemicals and stuff to make them soft and velvety. The wide pores and hair follicles let water and air in and out, especially water, so if the leather comes in contact with water, it will get soaked in no time. 
  • Not pre-coated: Another reason why suede gets ruined in the rain is that they are not coated with chemicals, unlike many other types of leather on the market. Most of the leathers are pre-treated, due to which the surface becomes smooth, which also helps in minimizing moisture in the leather. But that is not the case with suede leather, it will retain the water, and there is no scope for it to dry anytime soon. b
  • Extra soft: Wearing suede boots in the rain is risky because there's always a chance of them getting wet because these leather materials are highly fragile and soft. Hence, it is more susceptible to moisture. 
  • Uses original animal skin: Suede leather may not be waterproof because these leathers are directly extracted from animal skin and not treated with many chemicals. Thus suede leather shoe waterproofing is trickly. 

These are all the reasons why you cannot use suede shoes in the rain. If you are willing to waterproof suede, then you will have to use certain natural and chemical methods. 

Can You Waterproof Suede?

Yes, you can waterproof suede by using various natural and chemical waterproofing treatments.

You can use Stain repellent, protectant spray, or wax treatment that will largely reduce the water retaining capacity of your suede leather boots. Some natural or household items can also contribute to making your suede boots waterproof. 

Although, I am not certain that the natural methods or treatment will be 100% effective. Ideally, I would not recommend using suede shoes during rainy or icy conditions, but if you have made up your mind and want to use them anyway, you can definitely waterproof them by applying various techniques and methods.

How To Waterproof Suede Boots ?

Here I will share some effective ways to waterproof suede boots. So, keep reading! 

Baking Soda

This is a good water-repellent agent that you can use to make your suede waterproof. Sprinkle some baking soda for 1 hour before using the suede. Let it sit for some time, and brush off the extra powder from the boots.

Then dip the boots in warm water and scrub off the powder using a toothbrush until it's completely gone. Repeat this process as many times as you want or until you're satisfied with the waterproofing effect.

Baking Soda

Wax is a good option to waterproof your shoes. There are plenty of brands available that produce waterproofing wax that you can also use. Apply a generous amount of wax to every little part of the shoes.

If you miss any spot, there's a chance that water will enter the boots. Thus, do not miss out on even those hard-to-access spots around zipping and laces. Let the wax sit overnight or until it's entirely absorbed in the shoes.

Olive Oil

If you are looking for a quick fix for your suede boots, then Olive oil is the best and most effective choice. Although it is effective, it can get messy sometimes and need reapplying. Take a cloth and dip it into the olive oil, and rub it on your boots.

Do not apply too much in the first application itself. Apply a thin layer of olive oil and leave it for 30 minutes or more. Test it with water, if the water doesn't stay on the boot, it means the application was successful.

If you still have water entering the boots, you go with your next application of olive oil.

Waterproof spray/Protection spray

It is one of the easiest and quick fixes for your suede boots in rain use. However, not all the protection spray is for suede leather. Some sprays might discolor your shoes on frequent use. Hence, you have to be careful while choosing the spray.

To start with, first, you need to clean your boots with a suede brush so that all the residues are removed at once. Spray the mist onto the boot evenly without leaving any spot. Let the mist dry for a few minutes, then apply the second coat. Leave it overnight for good results and use it the next day.

Some of the best suede shoe protection sprays are,

KIWI Suede & Nubuck Cleaner, 4.25 oz (1 Aerosol Spray)
KIWI Suede & Nubuck Cleaner, 4.25 oz (1 Aerosol Spray)
Restore suede and nubuck to its original appearance; Removes tough stains, shiny marks, and water spots
Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Spray-On ,4.2 oz. / 125ml
Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Spray-On ,4.2 oz. / 125ml
Adds water repellency to nubuck & suede footwear while preserving texture; Clean first with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel for best results

Can You Wear Suede Shoes In The Rain ? 

By this time, you all might know that suede leather is not water-repellent. Suede is made with real animal skin, which clearly makes it the strongest leather of all, but it gets weaker around water.

Having said that, suede leather cannot resist moisture, unlike plastic-coated leather however it can still handle moderate rain, only if properly waterproofed. If you want, you can wear your suede shoes in the rain, but you must also be prepared to face the downsides that come with it.

Let's see what the downsides are,

  • Discoloration: The most noticeable part about using non-waterproof suede boots in the rain is the lightening of the boots. When these shoes come in regular contact with water, they will slowly start to fade your suede leather items, including shoes and jackets. 
  • Stretch: Suede leather is porous, when you take it out in the rain, the leather will get wet and eventually stretch out. Maybe the next time you wear your shoes, they might feel loose. 
  • Watermarks: When you take out your suede boots in the rain, they get wet very easily. But the problem is when it dries. It leaves watermarks on the boots. 
  • Shape: Suede leather is quite fragile, so when it frequently comes in contact with water, the shape of the leather gets distorted. This is another major reason why you cannot wear suede shoes in the rain. 

What To Do If Suede Shoes Are Soaked Wet?

When the damage is already done, there's nothing much you can do than prevent further damage. Here's what you can do to save your suede shoes, 

  • Blot the shoes: The easiest way to dry your soaked suede shoes is to take a dry towel or microfiber cloth and dab the cloth on the shoes until all the water is out. Ensure you don't rub but blot instead, as over-smearing or rubbing can shatter the fabric. 
  • Rub using a soft bristle brush: There must be soft brushes lying around your home. All you have to do is take them out and brush them over your suede shoes. Just remember not to put too much pressure on the suede, or you will tear the leather up. Brush the shoes in a circular motion, not in a random direction.
  • Dry them up!: If brushing the shoes is not working, you can try to use the hair dryer over your shoes. But this method will only work after blotting. You cannot run the hair dryer on soaked shoes. It will create more damage to your shoes. Make sure not to use direct or continuous heat on the shoes. You can turn on and off the heat while running it all over the boots.
  • Suede cleaning solution: If you think none of the above methods are working and are tedious for you, then you can go for some commercial suede solution that will have an immediate effect on the shoes. Besides this, you can also give your shoes to professional dry cleaners who will do wonderful work too!

How To Clean And Protect Suede?  

Depending on the amount of dirt you have on your suede, the cleaning remedy can be implemented. Here are some effective ways of cleaning your nubuck and suede leather. If you want to know how to protect suede boots? Read below! 

  • Cleaning Kit: If you want to do basic cleaning, then get the listed equipment ready such as a suede brush, suede eraser, microfiber cloth, repellent spray, and suede spray.
  • Brush the shoe: If your suedes are covered in sludge, get a soft brush and brush off the dried dirt in a circular motion.
  • Stain remover: Depending on the type of stain, your cleaning approach will pertain.

In case of oil stain* Use baby or talcum powder on the shoes and let it absorb overnight. The next day brush off the excess powder and use it again.

In case of water stain* To remove the water stain, you will need water. I know this sounds strange. But to cover the water patches, you have to apply a little more water and even it out.

In case of mud stain* There is nothing much to do with this method. Just wait for the mud to dry completely, and then brush off the dirt using a soft bristle brush.

How To Use Suede Shoes Protection Spray?

Waterproof spray for suede shoes is the best thing to have if you want to use your suede leather shoes in the rain. 

  • Buy a silicon-based protection spray. 
  • See the instructions for how to use the spray and for what type of fabric you can use it. 
  • First test the spray. Spray a little bit on a cotton ball and apply over a corner to see the effect. If satisfied, continue applying for the rest of the parts. 
  • Before spraying the entire shoe, remove the laces and cover the embellishments, if any. This is important because the spray might damage the buckles or laces because they are not made with suede leather and the spray is only meant for suede leather. 
  • Once applied, leave it to dry for 30 minutes, then go for the second application. Then leave it overnight or for 24 hours straight. I am sure the results will be satisfactory. 

This is how you can use the protection spray on your suede leather boots or shoes. 

How To Use Suede Shoes Protection Spray?

I believe you understand the need to save your suede shoes from moisture and dirt. The suede cannot withstand both without proper waterproofing. So to protect their natural shape and appearance, store them in a cold place with no direct sunlight.

Shoe Trees are another best place to store your suede if you are not using them frequently and still want to preserve the shape.

If you have any suede hiking boots that you know wouldn't be useful daily, then you can wrap them up in a plastic bag and keep them in your storage cabinet. Preserving the frequent cleaning of your suede leather is important, or else it will fade away its shine forever.

CONCLUSION

Waterproof leather shoes when you can. In my opinion, the best way to protect your suede leather is by using the protection spray or rubbing it with waterproofing wax. I preferably would not suggest using natural methods because they are time-consuming and not effective in the longer run.

I assume I have answered all the answers that could possibly emerge while discussing suede leather. Lastly, follow all the instructions mentioned to get the best outcomes. 

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