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How to Waterproof Your Shoes

While it’s good to protect your best and most expensive shoes by carrying them with you and changing when you need to walk in inclement weather, you can waterproof shoes of all materials in just a few minutes so they’re protected from rain and snow. This is especially important when the seasons change and spring arrives and when you spend hundreds of dollars on your shoes. After all, you want to protect that investment!

The way you waterproof your shoes will depend on the material. You use different treatments for suede, leather, vinyl, and other shoe materials and will also use different application methods. The easiest way to waterproof your shoes is to purchase a spray that is meant for the shoe material in particular and use that over all parts of your shoes, but even with this treatment method you need to use caution. Some sprays are very lightweight and don’t protect well and may not work for all the materials of shoes you have.

Wax-based polishes are good for waterproofing various forms of shoes as the wax provides a thin coating over the shoe material which repels water as well as dirt, salt, and mud. The wax also nourishes and moisturizes leather and vinyl materials so they’re less likely to crack. If you polish your shoes once per week with a wax-based polish you’ll be providing it with a waterproof coating at the same time.

Specialty waterproof compounds are made to provide a barrier against moisture but don’t give your shoes that shine that you’ll get with wax. These compounds are usually found in those sprays you purchase but the better the brand, the better the seal you’ll get. It’s often recommended that you use your waterproof compound and then a wax polish on top of that. Those that are sold in solid form will be thicker and provide a better seal for your shoes.

Before you use any type of waterproofing material on your shoes, you want to determine if the material will withstand the treatment without fading or changing the color. Choose a part of the shoe that won’t show such as the back of the heel and test just a part of it. Before you waterproof your shoes, clean them thoroughly with a brush or wet rag so you’re not waterproofing over dirt and mud. Make sure the shoe is completely dry.

It’s good to waterproof once a month during winter or any rainy season so you know your shoes are completely protected. Be sure you treat them everywhere, including along the sole and the stitching between the sole and body of the shoe, and the heel. This will keep your shoes dry and comfortable all season long.

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