How To Waterproof Virtually Any Pair Of Shoes

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There's nothing worse than walking around in wet, squishy shoes. If you're on a quest to learn how to waterproof shoes, you basically have two main treatment options: wax or spray. Each one has some pros and cons. But before diving into them, it helps to first know the proper steps to take before treating your shoes.

Steps to take before you start:

  1. Break in your shoes: As you wear your shoes, you create natural creases in the material. The waterproofing treatment needs to be able to get inside those folds so it's important to break your shoes in first. If you try to waterproof brand-new shoes, you'll have to do it again as soon as these creases develop.
  2. Test the treatment on a small spot: Lots of brands say that their treatment works on various colors and materials but unless your shoe is black, it's a good idea to do a spot test, especially on leather. Pick a part of the shoe underneath the laces or in another hidden spot and test it before applying it everywhere.

With that in mind, read on to learn how to waterproof shoes.


Treat Your Shoes With A Waterproofing Spray

Spray-on shoe treatments are great because they're extremely easy to use. Unlike wax, which can be a bit more involved, all you have to do is spray the formula on, wait for it to dry, and you're all set to go. However, these treatments don't work as well on leather (because they don't allow it to breathe), and they only last for a few wears.

This spray-on waterproofing treatment is extremely easy to use, according to customers, and it works on a variety of shoe materials. The popular spray, which has more than 1,200 reviews on Amazon, is made with a clear, silicone-free formula that goes on smoothly and dries fast. You can use it on leather, canvas, knits, suede, and other common shoe fabrics. Just be sure to do a test patch first.

One reviewer wrote: "THIS. STUFF. WORKS. [...] I sprayed this stuff on knit, canvas, leather and suede and it is killing it! I ran all shoes under the sink and the water rolled right off. Super easy to use and good coverage with every spray. I did one thick coat per shoe - about 3 to 4 sprays per side and called it good. Great product. Oh! And I didn’t notice any discoloration at all. Dried clear as advertised!"


Apply A Waterproofing Wax To Leather Shoes

Generally speaking, wax offers a stronger waterproofing seal than spray treatments do, and the results last longer. It also adds a bonus shine to leather, and protects your shoes from salt damage. That said, wax takes more effort to apply and it doesn't perform as well on non-leather materials.

If you have genuine leather shoes that you want to treat and you don't mind spending a little extra time doing the job more thoroughly, this waterproof shoe wax is just the ticket. On top of making your shoes fully waterproof, it nourishes the leather and adds a soft shine. Simply apply the treatment, wait for it to dry, and rub it in a buffing motion using a gentle cloth or brush. It works on a variety of colors and lasts a long time, according to reviewers. Just note that this wax isn't compatible with non-leather materials.

One reviewer wrote: "I can’t believe I missed out using this product as long as I did. This balm is exceptionally emollient. It soaked into my dried-out leather boots & made them feel soft & look new with a somewhat satin lustre. A little goes a long way, especially when applied with a tack sponge. I’d rate this 10 stars if I could. A+++"


Wear Lightweight Rain Covers Over Your Shoes

If you'd prefer not to use a spray or wax and deal with the periodic maintenance that comes along with them, there is another alternative. A leakproof pair of rain shoe covers can be slipped right over your footwear before you head outside and taken off later on to reveal perfectly dry feet.

These popular rain shoe covers are made from 100% waterproof PVC that protects all kinds of footwear from rain, mud, slush, and other weather elements. Although this option won't actually make your shoes waterproof, it's a great, low-effort way to keep your kicks dry without going through the hassle of treating them with a spray or wax. Best of all, this set comes in a wide range of sizes, so you can get the perfect fit.

One reviewer wrote: "Bought these for rainy days in Disneyland. They worked GREAT!! We were able to wear our comfy tennis shoes and just slip these over so we didn’t have to worry about blisters or sore feet from rain boots. Our feet stayed comfy and perfectly dry and they packed flat in our backpacks when we didn’t need them."