How to Waterproof Boots

Owning boots presents certain challenges or duties that in the long run ensure that you get to use your boot for a couple more years. Some of these duties include waterproofing and regular cleaning. This two help prolong or in other words increase the lifespan of your boots.

Waterproof boots require regular cleaning to remove dirt particles that in the long term ensure that dirt does not accumulate on your boot making the fibers weak and vulnerable to breakdown. Dirt particles also block the membrane that makes your boots waterproof which hinders effective functioning as the membrane tries to waterproof your boots.

Waterproofing should be done regularly but that does not mean that you reproof your boots each time you wear them. The frequency and intensity of reproofing your boots will depend on the material used to make the boots. Fabric boots require different care compared to leather or suede boots which can take a blow once or twice without much damage.

How to Waterproof Leather Boots

Leather boots are naturally water repellant but that does not mean they do not require reproofing once in a while. Leather boots require some sort of aid to enhance their water repellency which in this case is dubbing wax.

Over time, the leather skin begins to crack due to poor care. The cracks can be attributed to the loss of moisture and natural oils which may require leather conditioning to soften the leather cracks.


  • Thoroughly clean your boots
  • Apply dubbing wax on a piece of cloth and sparingly rub on your leather boot. If the wax appears to be too hard use a hair dryer to make it soft.
  • Repeat the above steps if necessary
  • Leave the boot outside to dry for about 30-60 minutes. It is recommended that the boot should be allowed to dry naturally rather than applying direct heat to increase the process of drying.  Use of direct heat may result in your boot’s leather cracking.
  • Rub the wax off using a dry piece of cloth.

How to waterproof boots


Conditioning boots made from leather is most effective when the boots are dump which allows for maximum absorption of the conditioner.

Use of leather conditioners should not be overdone since the result we all intend to get is a supportive boot instead of a boot that is every soft. Therefore, conditioning should be done only when it is absolutely necessary.

  • Apply a small amount of the conditioner to either a piece of cloth or your fingers. Apply a light coat all over your boot.
  • Allow it rest for a few minutes at room temperature.
  • Carefully remove the excess conditioner and then leave it to dry naturally.

Nubuck Leather and Suede Boots

Dubbing wax cannot be used in this case since it designed to work only on smooth leather. That only leaves us with one option, which is the use of a reproofing spray. Below is the procedure of using a reproofing spray.

  • As usual start by cleaning the boots
  • Choose a reproofing spray that suits your needs especially one that is specifically made for use on Nubuck leather and Suede Boots.
  • Spray your boots when you are about 5cms away. Spray an even reproofing coat all over the boot.
  • Allow the boot to dry before commencing use.
  • Lastly, use a suede brush to recover the original finish.

Fabric Boots

Fabric boots are difficult to clean compared to their leather counterparts. They require more effort to ensure that the original glow is restored.

The more dirt the boot accumulates the more its lifespan is greatly reduced. However, with good maintenance and regular cleaning you can use your fabric boots for long.

  • Thoroughly clean your boots
  • Choose between an aerosol reproofer and a spray to complete your task. Spray reproofers are a favorite due to their increased concentration.
  • Reproofing fabric boots doesn’t depend on whether the boot is dry or wet since it works in both cases effectively. Spray your boots and then leave them overnight to dry.
  • Leave the boot to dry naturally before deciding to wear it.


Boots require reproofing and regular cleaning to maintain a nearly perfect condition and also to increase the duration of usage. Reproofing allows your boots to prevent water entry which in turn keeps your feet dry.

With the above procedures, it will be easy to waterproof your boots regardless of the material used to make it.

Irene Sanders

I am an assistant store manager at the largest independent footwear retailer in North America. I have over 5 years experience in the footwear sector having worked previously as a store sales representative helping people find the best men's, ladies, and kids footwear.

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