Leather boots look very classy and add to the style of our clothing as well as our personalities. But, have you ever imagined the plight of leather shoes during monsoons or when they come in contact with water?
Water can certainly ruin the condition of your raw leather boots and make them soggy, crumpled, and hard to dry. They eventually start stinking and can also cultivate some fungi and molds that can be terrible and allergic to your feet. Imagine having to sink your feet in such soaking leather boots each time you go for work and feel uncomfortable throughout the day!!
While you want to keep your leather shoes protected from the monsoon and watery conditions, we come up with some live-saving hacks and tips that can help you protect your leather boots and keep them fresh as new, even during the monsoons.
Can Leather Be Made Waterproof?
If we talk about leather being waterproof, then water and leather don’t quite blend well. Water-resistant materials can easily sustain in the wettest of conditions whereas waterproof materials need to be treated in order to protect them from water contact. This means that waterproof material will remain protected for a limited amount of time in slight amounts of water after which the treatment can wear out which can eventually spoil the material.
Leather is not water-resistant and leather has a permeable nature that allows easy penetration of water causing the material to become stiff and hard. However, if you want your leather materials to last longer even in wet and moist conditions, you can use various treatments and measures to make it waterproof and durable.
Tips to Remember before Waterproofing Leather Workboots
If you are new to waterproofing your leather work boots or want to be extra careful before starting the process, here is what you can take care of before getting started:
- Make sure that before you begin with the treatment, the boots are clean, dry, and warm. This ensures that the chemicals get well deposited and settle on the surface of the shoe for better absorbance.
- Remove the laces as you don’t want other components of the shoe to get spoilt.
- Waterproofing leather may involve the use of certain chemicals that can cause damage to unprotected surfaces. Make sure you use a layer of newspaper or cardboard as your workstation before you get started off with the treatment process to avoid any damage to surfaces at your house like wood or marble.
- It is also important to protect your hands while carrying out the process for which it is strictly recommended that you use rubber gloves to cover your hands and prevent any stains or smell from lingering around your hands.
- Find a well-ventilated spot before you start with the treatment process as these treatments and chemicals applied may take time to dry off. A fan or a boot dryer can also aid in the drying process.
- One of the best times to carry out the waterproofing process is during sunny or fall days when the surroundings are warm and dry.
How to Waterproof Leather Work Boots?
By now we have realized that be it leather materials or leather workboots, they are not quite waterproof. However, if you are keen on comparing a variety of waterproof work boots, check out abc.com for an awesome collection.
Waterproofing leather work boots require you to invest in some pastes, creams, and wax while the process needs to be carried out once a week. Here are some methods or materials you can try to get started with:
Oil droplets are naturally known to resist water as water and oil are not miscible when mixed together. The same theory applies in the case of shoes. You can use various types of oils like coconut or mink oil, mineral oil, to increase their lifespan.
However, while applying make sure to use an applicant like a brush that uses only meagre amounts of oil and is evenly dispersed on the surface to avoid overuse.
Excessive use of oil can damage the leather fibers and cause the fibers to separate and discolour the shoe. You can use a soft cloth and pour the oil on the cloth followed by spreading it and wiping your shoe with the cloth to distribute the oil properly on the surface.
There are various types of oils that are even available in hardened block form. You can use these blocks to rub across the surface of the shoe. Oil also imparts a beautiful shine on the shoe surface making the leather look as glossy as new.
Oil waterproofing method can be done once every 4 weeks.
Silicone Polymer Spray
Silicone polymer sprays are probably one of the easiest methods to waterproof your shoe. These are also easily available in any retail store or sporting goods retailers as well as online. In order to use Silicone Polymer Spray, make sure to keep the surface of the leather dry and clean and prepare the shoes for the process.
Then, in order to maintain the shape of the leather boots while the spraying process, you can insert newspapers to keep the shaft and the toe area going stiff. Once the preparation is done, make sure to protect the surrounding working areas with newspaper or cardboard.
Hold the nozzle of the spray 8-12 inches away from the boots and make sure to keep your face away. Gently spray one to two times on the top of your boots and spread the layer evenly. Based on your waterproofing needs, apply a second coat after drying.
Silicone polymer sprays need to be applied once a month or if your shoes are about to be subjected to heavy amounts of moisture.
Acrylic Co-Polymer Spray
A stronger and a much better alternative to Silicone Polymer Spray is Acrylic Co-Polymer Spray. It follows the same principles of applications and precautions as that of silicon spray, with the difference that these sprays are almost impenetrable to external moisture and also allows the leather to retain its breathable nature.
These acrylic sprays require a greater time to dry off and allow in better protection and waterproofing of your leather boots.
Creams & Pastes
There are special creams available that are waterproof one of them being Lanolin. This has been a traditional waterproofing applicant and the Lanolin cream is extracted from sheep’s wool oil.
When cooled, Lanolin attains a cream-like texture and consistency that can be used for applying on leather work boots. The soft and creamy textured Lanolin material is applied on the boot and spread with a cloth to make the leather waterproof.
Since this is a natural oil derived cream, it is not recommended for man-made leather-like suede leather materials. This may be used for application each time you plan to tread with your leather boots on a wet surface.
The same goes for pastes that are available in various brands and hold a cream-like consistency that is easy to spread and apply on the leather boot surface. Make sure that your leather boots are clean & dry and rub it across all the zones of the boot that need thorough waterproofing. You can use a cloth to apply and spread the paste across the shoe.
Using wax has been another traditional method for waterproofing shoes. One of the most popular types of wax that comes into use is natural beeswax that can be found in retail and grocery shops.
You can start this waterproofing process by warming the wax and the leather boots first to make it easily applicable and pliable across the surface of the shoe for better deposition. Make sure to rub the wax across each corner and use your fingers to rub across the small crevices and cracks of the leather shoe to prevent water from entering and getting deposited there.
You can heat the boots again to apply evenly on the areas that may have missed out. Keep the shoes in a warm and dry place for a day to allow the wax layer to cool. Your leather may start looking darker and feel stiff.
Leatherwork boots do not come cheap and it is not always possible to avoid water puddles and avoid exposing them to water especially during the monsoons.
While leather is not naturally water-resistant, it can be made waterproof by trying the above-mentioned methods of waterproofing to help your work boots last longer as well as keep your feet protected within the leather boots for all-day comfort.