Protect Your Pricey Shoes From Rain, Snow, & More With These Waterproofing Sprays

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Although a waterproof spray won’t replace truly waterproof shoes like rain boots, they will allow you to get more wear out of leather and fabric shoes. The best waterproof sprays for shoes can be used on everything from leather to performance materials to create a barrier that repels water and helps keep your feet dry. And since even shoes that come treated for waterproofing can benefit from re-waterproofing after extended wear, it's a good idea to stock up.

Sprays are the most common type of waterproofer and are a much easier choice than more traditional beeswax treatments. After removing laces (if necessary) and cleaning the shoe, most just require an even spray that covers but does not saturate the shoe. After that, the coating should be allowed to dry before wear. However, there are also some treatments you can add straight into the washing machine.

Note that not all waterproofing treatments are best for all shoe materials. Some are suited for fabrics like cotton canvas or athletic gear, while others are safe for leather and suede. So be sure to check that your spray is safe for all the materials you’ll be applying it to before using.

To make shopping easier, here are the best waterproofing sprays for almost every shoe material:


The Best For Suede & Leather

Formulated especially for colorfast suede and leather, even lighter shades, this spray can be used to treat shoes as well as leather bags, jackets, and more. In addition to making your shoes water repellant, the invisible layer helps protect them from scuffing and stains from things like grass and dirt. The spray helps keep shoes supple and conditions leather as well, though it does need to be reapplied every few months since it wears off with use. To use, simply spray items at a 6- to 9-inch distance but don’t oversaturate them. Let the shoes dry before wearing them. This spray won’t stain light-colored leather, and it dries in under an hour. However, it's not the best choice for unfinished or raw hide.

What fans say: “Practically odorless, does repel water! I live outside of Seattle, so this is important. … It works well with new or older shoes."


The Best For Hiking Boots & Gear

This silicone-based protector leaves a strong layer of water-resistance, suitable for heavy-duty use. The spray is also good for reapplying to shoes and products that have lost their factory weather-proofing. Reviewers write that it won’t leave a shiny finish but is still effective. To apply, spray shoes or desired product from about 9 inches away and reapply after two hours. Allow to dry (for up to 48 hours) before using items that have been treated.

What fans say: “I think I bought 4 bottles of this in a two week span. Water proofed two tents, a backpack and some trail runners. I treated them twice and let them sit for 48 hours. Last night I ran them under a faucet and they are as dry as a bone. Just in time too. I am hiking on Friday where there is 100% chance of freezing rain.”


The Best For Gym Shoes

Designed with athletic and performance materials in mind, this waterproofing spray from Sof Sole can also be used on real leather, but not faux leather. Spray on to shoes and other items, and let dry for a few hours. You can also apply a second coat for longer-lasting waterproofing. Best yet, items remain breathable even after applying, but depending on use, you may need to reapply the spray every two to three months.

What fans say: “Was told a long time ago by a shoe salesman to spray on almost every pair of shoes. Even my tennis shoes. Ever since he told me that, i have sprayed on every pair and they have lasted me through years of winters without any salt/snow marks once drying. This is my go to [product]!”


The Best Treatment For Canvas Shoes

Designed for cotton products like canvas shoes and coats. This waterproofer treatment is machine-wash-safe, making it good for canvas outerwear or other items that get dirty often. This waterproofing liquid (which is not a spray) can be applied by hand or in the wash after the items have been thoroughly cleaned and no detergent residue is left. (Nikwax recommends using the brand's Tech Wash for this.) Then, like the other products, allow your items to fully dry. The water-repellent treatment also keeps canvas items clean by repelling dirt. Once treated, products can be dried in the dryer.

What fans say: “Waterproofed my vans with these the other day -- works great.”


Also Consider: A Leather Conditioner

While leather conditioner won’t waterproof as much as a spray or other treatment, it will condition and repair leather that is already stained from rain. This conditioner also helps make items water-repellant, but not waterproof, while it softens and moisturizes them. Simply buff on shoes and other items that you have wiped clean, removing the laces if necessary. Once the leather is dry, a treatment should last up to six months. It's good for vintage leather as well as for new products. However, it is not designed for suede or faux leather, and it's a good idea to spot test first, as it may darken some leathers.

What fans say: “Bought this for my new Frye boots - the oil darkened them quite a bit (they went from lightish brown to a really nice dark brown), but with wear, they lighten in the areas of the leather that move more. They look well cared for, but also like I wear them a lot (which I do!). The oil makes them help repel some water when I walk across dew-y lawns. Great product, would definitely buy again”

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