How to Waterproof Leather Shoes, According to a Shoe Repair Expert

Of all the items in your closet, shoes are the most likely to suffer from inclement weather. And with spring just around the corner, water damage ruining your favorite pair of leather ankle boots or suede loafers is understandably a concern.

Thankfully, you can protect your prized footwear with a handy waterproof shoe spray. In order to avoid potential damage, California-based shoe retail and repair shop owner Stephanee Oberhauser says it’s best to consult an expert before going through with your purchase.

“Shoes are made with a range of material variations. Don’t assume, for example, a spray that claims to work on leather is safe to use on every type of leather. For optimal results, ask your local cobbler to help determine the exact material of your shoe and what product is safe to use on it.”

Tips:

  • Opt for an aerosol spray, which offers a more even application compared to pump-style alternatives.
  • Avoid products that contain ingredients like beeswax and lanolin, which can ultimately dry out the leather.
  • Don’t panic. “If you are using a quality spray, it will darken the exterior upon application. Once it’s dry, though, the shoe will be restored to its original look.”
  • Don’t stop in the middle of application. “Always finish your application, even if you end up with a result you don’t like. If someone uses the wrong product on just one shoe and stops, it’s almost impossible for experts to get the shoes to look like a pair again once the finish dries.”

Oberhauser did reveal, however, there are two tried-and-true products she recommends for nearly any type of shoe. Shop them both below, as well as a range of other top-rated options on Amazon, to help keep your footwear looking pristine.

Oberhauser’s Picks:

1. Terrago Nano Protector Spray

“At the shoe repair conventions we attend throughout the year, we tried every waterproofing spray we could get our hands on — and this one was by far the best. We’ve used it on everything from expensive nude-colored nubuck shoes to hiking boots and canvas sneakers without any discoloration or altering of the finish.”

 Terrago Nano Protector Spray
Terrago Nano protector spray.
CREDIT: Amazon

2. Saphir Medaille Waterproof Spray

“Saphir’s option skips harsh petroleum-based ingredients and instead opts for natural mineral and animal waxes that are gentle on materials. It’s also made with pine-based turpentine, so it smells pretty nice too!”

Saphir Medaille Waterproof Spray
Saphir Medaille waterproof spray.
CREDIT: Amazon

Amazon’s Top-Rated Aerosols:

1. Kiwi Rain and Stain Protector

Amazon review: Dubbed an Amazon choice product, Kiwi’s Rain and Stain Protector works on all materials to extend the life of shoes. “My husband recently took a new pair of white Adidas sneakers to Boston, where he walked all weekend,” one reviewer wrote. “Before he left, I treated them as directed by coating twice. They came back looking brand new! He even walked through the rain part of the time. Amazing stuff!”

Kiwi Rain and Stain Protector
Kiwi rain and stain protector.
CREDIT: Amazon

2. Apple Brand Garde Rain and Stain Water Repellent 

Amazon review: Ideal for leather, suede and fabric finishes, Apple Brand’s repellant is designed to protect against water and other liquids — wine included. Customers also loved it for its versatility, claiming it works equally well on handbags and furniture.

Apple Brand Garde Rain & Stain Water Repellent 
Apple Brand Garde rain and stain water repellent.
CREDIT: Amazon

3. Crep Protect Universal Protector

Amazon review: Crep Protect’s Universal Spray is designed to perform on suede, canvas, and nubuck materials. According to Amazon user Dave, “it doesn’t stain or mark and repels dirt to keep all kinds of shoes — from leather to suede — clean longer. I have repurchased this product twice, and I only need to reapply every couple months to refresh the coating.”

 Crep Protect Universal Protector
Crep Protect universal protector
CREDIT: Amazon

4. Scotchgard Suede and Nubuck Protector

Amazon review: Safe to use on suede and unfinished leathers, this spray helps repel water and tough oil stains. For a price of just $9, reviewers claim the quality can’t be beat.

Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector
Scotchgard suede and nubuck protector.
CREDIT: Amazon

All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.

Want More?

7 Shapers That Will Keep Your Boots Looking Like New

11 Chic Shoes You Should Buy on Amazon This Week

This Quirky Foot Heater Looks Like Conjoined Booties — and Is a Must-Have for Winter

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content