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How to Protect Leather Footwear in the Rain

How to Protect Leather Footwear in the Rain


Fine leather shoes, boots, sneakers, or sandals will last for many years with minimal maintenance. But one of the questions men often ask is how to protect their leather footwear in rainy weather. There are several options and layers of protection you can use, and they are all simple and easy.

Built-In Protection

You may not be able to predict when you’ll be caught in a rainstorm, especially in the rainy season. That’s when routine maintenance goes beyond making your footwear look beautiful.

Polishing shoes and boots also helps safeguard them from moisture and dampness that can cause leather shrinkage or mildew. Use a good quality cream polish, like those made by brands such as Saphir. That will soak into the leather, to soften it and extend the life of your footwear, while also offering you a topcoat of water resistance.

An Extra Layer of Protection

During rainy weather, apply an extra coat or two of polish so that the moisture will bead-up on the surface of your footwear. When your boots or shoes get wet, first gently wipe off any dirt, mud, or grit with a soft and slightly damp cloth. Then you can dry your footwear using a clean microfiber cloth or small towel carried in your coat pocket or vehicle. But paper towels from the restroom or any clean, nonabrasive rag or paper napkin will work if you’re caught in a rainstorm or step in a puddle.

The Best Level of Protection

Specially designed shoe covers are lightweight, affordable, and easy to put on and pull off. They’re made of somewhat stretchy rubber and you can think of them as a pair of rubber gloves for your footwear. The bottom of the shoe covers you buy should be thick enough and have enough tread to provide durability and traction. They’ll fit in a jacket pocket or shoulder bag, so buy as many pairs as you need, stash them here and there, and you’ll always have superior shoe and boot rain protection close at hand.

Careful Drying

Oftentimes it is not water that damages leather footwear, but the way that wet shoes or boots are dried. Too much direct heat can cause them to shrink or warp. Yes, it’s a natural tendency to want to dry them out quickly. But resist that urge.

Don’t make the critical mistake of putting them by a space heater or roaring fireplace or on a hot sunny windowsill or radiator. That can do extreme harm to fine leather.

Instead just stuff the insides with crumpled newspaper or paper towels. Then set them in a well-ventilated room, away from direct heat or harsh sunlight. Let them dry out gradually and then polish them again. That kind of care and patience can help them last a lifetime.

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