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How to Waterproof All of Your Shoes, From Leather to Canvas

Is there anything more miserable than wet feet — apart from knowing you’ve ruined another pair of shoes in the rain? There’s no need to accept your fate when you get your favorite pair of canvas sneakers or leather shoes wet. Instead, we’ll teach you how to waterproof your shoes! 

Every footwear material from canvas to leather can benefit from waterproofing. Learn the right techniques and best products to use on your shoes to protect them from weather, puddles, and everything else in between.

How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes

  1. Remove excess dirt & debris from the shoes with a damp cloth or a soft brush.

  2. Dry the shoes completely, if they’re not already.

  3. Apply a waterproofing spray designed specifically for canvas material. Hold the spray about 6 inches away from the shoes, and evenly coat the entire surface. Tip: You may want to patch test the wax/spray on another leather material before applying to the entire shoe – it could potentially alter the color.

  4. Dry the shoes again, avoiding direct heat or sunlight. If you have time, it’s easiest to let them dry overnight.

  5. Test the waterproofing by gently sprinkling some water on the shoes – it should roll right off the canvas. 

How to Waterproof Leather Shoes

  1. Clean your shoes with a dry cloth or brush to remove dirt & debris, then let them dry.

  2. Apply a leather conditioner to prevent the leather from drying out during the waterproofing process. Rub it in with a soft cloth and let it dry.

  3. Apply an even coat of waterproofing wax or spray to the entire outer. Tip: You may want to patch test the wax/spray on another leather material before applying to the entire shoe – it could potentially alter the color.

  4. Buff the shoes with a brush after it has fully dried to form the protective, waterproof seal.

  5. Dry the shoes naturally and away from direct heat or sunlight.

  6. Test the waterproofing by sprinkling some water on the shoes – it should bead and remain on the surface, rather than be absorbed into the leather.

Tips for Leather Waterproofing

They’re chic & breathable – leather shoes belong in every woman’s wardrobe. And the best part is, they’ll look great for years if you protect them from water. Spray and wax both work well to waterproof leather boots like this or even other types of shoes, like Mary Janes.

Taos Work It High Lace Up Combat Boots

If you use a wax product, simply rub it into your shoes in circles using a clean cloth, and wipe off any excess. As for spray, you have some things to consider. Waterproof shoe spray creates a barrier to stop water from getting in, but it can also prevent leather from breathing, and absorbing polish or conditioner. To avoid this, spritz on a water-repellent spray every few weeks instead.

Make Your Suede Shoes Water-Resistant

Wax and suede? Not friends. With their soft texture, suede shoes like our Future Mid prefer a waterproofing spray. Invest in a waterproof spray for shoes that’s designed for suede, and spray it on lightly. As for the prep work, suede shoes should always be cleaned with a brush.

Taos Future Mid Suede Bootie Sneaker Hybrid

How to Waterproof Boots

Designed for colder weather, urban boots like Taos Crave need stronger protection than everyday shoes. After cleaning, warm them with a hairdryer to help absorb the sealant. Spray and dubbin wax are both good to use to waterproof leather boots, but whatever you choose, pay particular attention to the seams so that water doesn’t seep in.

Taos Crave Lace Up Ankle Boots

Choosing the Right Canvas Waterproofing Spray

Canvas sneakers like Star go with everything, but it’s no fun when they get soggy. Luckily, you don’t have to buy separate canvas waterproofing spray; some suede and leather sprays also work on canvas (just watch out for silicone, which doesn’t always agree with acrylic fibers). If you prefer wax when waterproofing shoes, coat your canvas shoes with beeswax and heat with a hairdryer while you work it in. We hear that candle wax makes an effective alternative.

Taos Star Canvas Lace Up Sneakers

It’s always a good idea to know how to waterproof your shoes before you think you need to; follow our tips and you’ll be prepared for any rainy day.

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