Can Leather Boots Get Wet? ( 2023 Case Study )

Leather is a widely common element for footwear and is known for its strength, quality and rich expression. But usually, while purchasing leather shoes, people worry about their poor usage during hurricane weather.

My roommate wears his rider boots every day, and since we live in south Louisiana, that means his rider boots get wet. Can leather boots get wet He later complained about some of his boots missing their shape and ability. After reading to him how to take charge of his boots, I understood this is something others can profit from.

Leather rider boots get wet, and it’s typically not a difficulty if they’ve been used with a water-resistant conditioner. It’s necessary to protect your boots from moisture damage before and after they’ve been exposed to water if you want them to last. Check 12 Best Boots For Security Guards.

While Leather offers a lot of flexibility to Rain, it needs to be managed with care if you want your rider boots to last. With proper care, your rider boots can look as good as new for years. Study on to learn about how to take charge of those shoes.

It is true that too much water can be a problem for your leather shoes but does that suggest you need to slide them to the end of your shoe drawer during rains? Fret not; we have covered all your possible rainy weather+leather boots doubts below.


Leather is a porous substance that soaks water immediately. When this water dries out and gives the element, it leads to premature damage and, mostly, breaking of the Leather. You will be shocked to know that it is related to other materials, and pure Leather is the most effective. If you have shoes made of real Leather, expect them to dodge any water loss for a considerable time and avoid twisting too fast. Not just water, skin footwear is also normally safe to wear during winter time and on low ice.


Now, we know that you are not letting your shoes get soaked in the Rain on purpose, but life happens, and sometimes you end up stepping in that wet ditch or get trapped in an unexpected rain shower while using your personal leather boots. Here’s how you can protect your gorgeous

leather shoes during rains:

  1. Keep your boots clean.

Before applying any waterproofing method to your leather shoes:

  1. Make sure they are thoroughly clean.
  2. Try to knock off any dirt with a stiff shoe cover as dirt can enter the Leather and become strong or hard to get rid of.

If the shoes are too dirty, use a wet cloth to rub away any new stains.

1. Weatherproofing

Rule number one to get while trying most weatherproofing tricks is- it is not always. A popular method is to coat new leather shoes with a coat of wax that gives a water stop. This wax layer can deplete over time; hence it’s crucial to remember that the weatherproofing of your shoes is not hard, and you should repeat the procedure once in 15 days, depending on the number of times your leather boots might get soaked. Possessing said this, it is always better to buy water-resistant or waterproof leather footwear. At Urban Shepherd Boots, we like leather footwear as much as you do. Our leather boots are water-resistant and almost waterproof!


If you live someplace where it is unlikely to avoid rains often, and it rains frequently, we suggest buying a good insulated cover for your leather shoes. Keep a pair of shoe coverings stashed in your pocket or in your car to keep some important shoe shield handy. After all, your premium-made leather shoes are valuable!



1. Dry Shoes Quickly

As soon as you arrive home or your workplace – take the shoes off and allow them to dry out completely. Gradually wet feet can change the fit of your leather shoes as well, so make sure you place some paper or shoe tree inside the boots to preserve the shape before putting them aside. The best way to lay your shoes is on their teams. Like we said – Leather leads to dry out soon, which in turn can cause weakening of the surface. Therefore, you don’t want to lay them close to a heat reservoir.

2. Restore the moisturization

Once the leather footwear is excellent and dry, apply a colorless leather conditioner, which will restore flexibility in the fibers and help prevent any further cracks from the humid weather. Transfer shoelaces before conditioning and use only a nickel-size number of leather conditioners onto a clean cloth or soft sponge and apply all over the boots outer cover.

To conclude, YES, you can wear your leather footwear in the Rain…as long as you keep our tips in mind to avoid any water damage to your boots. Your leather shoes will become the backbone of your rainy-weather wardrobe, subtly supporting your light knits while you take proper protective measures.

Can Leather Boots Get Wet? (Case Study)

We conducted a case study on 20 leather boots on what happens when we wear them in water.

First, we found out the shocking results when we wore them in Rain and water for over 30 days and jotted down every minute detail.

Then, to treat those wet leather boots, we looked at how to fix those gross problems. Can leather boots get wet?

After wearing the leather boots in water (Rain) for the first day, they got fixed just by drying them under the fan. But we had to condition them and add a waterproofing coating to the boots after seven days which lasted for two weeks straight after that. In a nutshell, leather boots can get wet, but there is a way to prevent them from getting wet by applying a waterproofing coating over them.

Can you Wear Leather Boots in the Rain?

You are bound to experience Rain throughout the year, whether you live on the east coast, west coast or somewhere in between.

1.) Leather is unique to other materials because it is more durable and susceptible to damage caused by moisture.

2.) When the leather boots were exposed to small amounts of moisture, it did not cause any significant issues with the Skin. However, when the Skin was exposed to substantial amounts of water over a prolonged period, it caused some changes in the Skin’s texture.

3.) Actually, rather than the skins, the other parts of the boots like glues, embellishments, insoles, metal zips, etc., gave away once thoroughly wet.

After a few days of continuous wear in the Rain, the first thing that we noticed was that the leather fibers started to get off from some of the shoes but not in the ones that had waterproof coating above the leather layer. We also noticed some amount of discoloration in some of the boots.

However, we found some valuable precautions and measures to treat these wet leathers to your relief.

Therefore you can wear leather boots in the Rain, keeping in mind specific points that we will discuss further down below because it’s not the raindrops that cause the damage but the stagnant water that does the job. But yes, Raindrops strip the layer of oil from over the leather layer, taking away some of the shine from it.

Does Water Ruin Leather Boots?

By now, you have known that water does damage leather fibers to some extent.

But our research was to what extent is the damage caused?

Leather can never be 100% waterproof due to its permeability, but it has some water resistance properties.

When the leather boots were exposed to drizzle and a short period, they dried out completely fine without any damage.

But the problem arose when we continuously tested them against heavy Rain and dipped them in water for a prolonged amount of time.

  • This time they showed some changes in the leather texture and color.
  • The drenched Leather, when dried up, turned to be a bit harder, losing its flexibility and shine.
  • The color also seemed to change. In some, it became pretty lighter and in some a shade darker.

And when 5 of the pairs of boots which we continuously dipped in water for one month were taken out, they accumulated fungus and moles, and a few were rotten. This is mainly because Leather is generally dead animal skin. When animal skin emerges in water for a long time, it will rot and ruin the Leather fibers.

Why is Water Bad for Leather?

Though Leather can withstand some amount of moisture still, a lot of amounts and stagnant water can undoubtedly cause some damages to the leather boots, including leaving behind water stains, fading the dyes, and stretching out the leather fibers.

If the Leather is made with a thick part of the hide and is vat dyed, it can get wet without causing any damage. But smoother and thin leathers caused some changes as follows:

With light moisture:

It caused just a tiny mark on the Leather that could be got off easily.

With wet-damp moisture:

It caused watermarks and color fading.

With heavy moisture:

It caused puffing up, shrinking, warping, and fungal onset, becoming limp, and tearing off.

Does Leather Shrink When Wet?

In our study, we found out that Leather is made up of fibers held together by proteins.

Wet Leather shrinks because water bonds with the tanning oils above the leather layer and displaces them, leaving behind its fibers and proteins wholly exposed to the air as it dries gradually.

We concluded that some of the leather boots shrink when they have hardened after drying. However, it didn’t become small in size, leaving the fact that they were now uncomfortable to wear because of the hardened texture.

Are Leather Shoes Water-Resistant?

Different qualities of Leather:

Aniline Leather: Aniline leather is the smoothest and the lightest. It is the most original one. It is of the most fragile type and has a natural color and odor.

Semi-aniline Leather:  Semi-aniline Leather is smooth but not like that of the aniline one. It receives a coating on its surface, which alters its color and texture and even the odor.

Pigmented Leather: Pigmented Leather is the most treated one. It is coated with a strong layer that makes it durable but takes away the Leather’s original color.

Full-grain Leather: Full-grain Leather uses only the topmost layer of the animal skin closest to the air, the toughest, most durable and most beloved. It has creases and a unique color. It’s the most expensive one. This is the most water-resistant form of Leather.

Top grain leather: Top grain leathers use the next layer of the animal skin and work on it to remove imperfections. This type of Leather is also water-resistant.

Bonded Leather:  In bonded leathers, the shavings from all other leather grades are collected, grounded up and mixed with an adhesive liquid to make a piece of Leather.

Faux Leather: This type of leather is made of plastic polyurethane with very different waterproofing needs. Therefore, this type of Leather is waterproof.

Synthetic LeatherThis type of Leather is usually lighter and cheaper than Genuine Leather and absorbs water. Therefore, they are not waterproof.

See Also:  How to Shine Military Boots: A Comprehensive Guide

NUBUCK leather: This is a buffed-down version of full grain leather that resembles durable suede. Like Leather, NUBUCK is naturally resistant to only a tiny amount of water but needs further waterproofing.

In general, Leather is only waterproof to a certain extent. But if you want to wear them in continuous Rain and dip them in stagnant water, you need different waterproofing methods.

How do you Protect Leather Boots from Rain?

After witnessing all the damages caused to our leather boots due to Rain and water, we decided to invest our time in searching for protection against them.

And we found out that following some of the easy hacks mentioned below, our jobs were done!

1.) Wear a waterproof cover over your leather boots:

Neither does a waterproof cover for your boots cost much, nor are they hard to find out. We recommend using USTH Black Waterproof Rain Boot Shoe Cover with a reflector.

If you stay in a marshy place where it rains 24*7, it is advisable to wear a waterproof cover for your shoes. This will prevent rainwater from touching your leather boots and thus prevent them from getting damaged.

2.) Try coating your Leather with wax:

Wax coats a preventive layer over your Leather, thus creating a barrier for rainwater to touch the fibers of your leather boots. We recommend using Granger’s Waterproofing Wax.

Take a brush and a tin of hot wax. Brush a layer or two of hot wax over your leather layer and set them to dry.

Rainwater will slip down the boots touching the waxed layer.

3.) Cover your feet with plastic bags:

Plastic bags are readily available, and you can grab one of them over your boots to keep your shoes safe from the rainwater.

4.) Add a water-repellent barrier over your leather boots:

Applying Sno Seal Waterproofing ( Fast and Effective Method )

We used heavy-duty leather preservatives and leather conditioners, and Sno-seal weather protectants to seal out moisture from the leather boots.

They worked the best in protecting our leather boots from the Rain and caused no damage in severe weather conditions.

5.) Do not get them dirty in the mud:

We found out that when we got our leather boots dirty in the mud, the dirt accumulated in the pores of the Leather and later made it hard to clean them after being drenched in water.

Dirt gets into the pores and clogs them, and after the boots are wet, it is even more challenging to get rid of the earth, and it damages the fabric of the Leather and leaves behind dark scars on the Leather.

6.) Do not overexpose to heat:

Water does not do such damage to your boots as will heat do. Excessive heat damages the fibers, color and texture of the shoes.

When we tried to dry out boots in a fireplace and under the constant sun, it dried out the Leather and cracked it. Heat causes steam and vapor to develop inside the Leather thus, attacking the leather fibers. And once the boots cooled, they became brittle and hardened.

How do you Fix Leather that has got Wet?

Now, this was the end part of our survey where we sought out means to recover our wet boots and treated them using certain substances and method:

Step 1: (dry the boots)

First of all, we gently wiped off any standing water and allowed the boots to dry naturally without applying extra heat through a hair dryer or blow dryer.

Next, we stuffed some newspapers inside the boots to soak any moisture in the shoes and hold back the original shape of the shoes.

Step 2: (condition the boots)

While the boots were still damp, not wet, we applied a generous amount of leather conditioner, making a thick coat over it.

Then we allowed the conditioner to soak overnight and replenish the natural oils in the Leather that were stripped off by the water.

Step 3: (protection of the leather boots)

We found that some leather boots still felt dry. To those, we once again applied a second coating of conditioner and continued the same process.

Finally, we applied a coating of water repellant sprays over our boots to prevent them from any damage by the water.

Let’s find out really – Can Leather Boots Get Wet?

I wore a pair of Timberland Boots over one month and tested them over one month for their waterproofing feature!

The very first day, I wore them and dipped them in water; they were not thoroughly wet, I just let them dry under the fan overnight, and they were great to be worn for the next day.

I kept on wearing them in the water for seven days, and then what I noticed is that they started to get hardened after repeatedly getting wet and drying.

So, I decided to clean my boots and apply mink oil on them to condition them. Note that mink oil has a bit of waterproofing effect to it. So, after using the mink oil, my boots were back to life and became quite soft again, and they were able to repel water for the next 3 to 4 days.

After two weeks, my boots lost the water-repellant capacity, and that is when I decided to go with the age-old waterproofing treatment on them that is applying a coat of wax sealant on them. I applied two coats of wax sealant on my boots and let them rest the entire night. Can leather boots get wet the next day, I just used a horsehair brush to polish my shoes and give them a shine.

Workgearz fam; this waterproofing coating on my boots lasted for more than a month, after which I had to redo the layer again, and it’s been almost two years, my shoes are serving well in the water.

How to Waterproof Leather Boots?

Why get your boots wet in the water when you can easily waterproof your shoes with our super easy tricks?

  • Start by cleaning your boots with a clean rag to get off the loose dirt.
  • You can then use a damp rag to take off the settled dirt from the boots.
  • Dry the boots under the fan.
  • Now you can use either a good leather conditioner or mink oil to condition the Leather. Mink oil will act as a pretty good waterproofing agent for the boots.
  • The next step has two options for waterproofing: you can either use a silicone spray or wax sealants.
  • If you use the silicone spray, you will have to spray your boots with 2 to 3 coats of the silicone spray and then leave the shoes to dry naturally overnight. We recommend using KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent Spray.
  • If you choose the wax sealants, you will have to massage the wax in the boots using your fingers in gentle circular motions. You can apply two coats but not more than that, or else the polish will start to crack after a few days.

Check out the complete boot waterproofing guide.

How to Protect Leather Boots from Rain?

If you want to save your leather boots from the Rain, the only option you have is to waterproof your shoes. Just follow the steps mentioned in the above section (how to waterproof leather boots?):

  • Cleaning of the leather boots using a rag
  • Conditioning of the shoes using a good leather conditioner or mink oil
  • Waterproofing the boots using silicone spray or wax sealants.

Can Cowboy Boots Get Wet?

Cowboy boots generally come in water-resistant options, and they are very durable. But if you are hell-bent on dipping them in water for the entire day, they will get wet once the waterproofing coating starts to fade away, and that won’t take long in this situation.

If this is the case, you can do only two things to save your cowboy boots from the damage:

  • Dry your boots instantly
  • Add a waterproofing coating to them.

Dry your boots instantly:

It’s just like nipping the vice in the bud; the moment your boots get wet in the water, take them off and keep them aside to dry them naturally under the sun. But be sure not to keep them in the direct heat for a long time, or else the Leather will get hardened. Once they are dry, you again wear them and keep on working.

Note: You need an extra pair of boots for this purpose! While you let the wet boots get dry, you wear the second pair.

Add a waterproofing coating to them:

Even if your boots are waterproof, it’s always better to be double sure and extra protection, thus adding a coating of silicone spray on the shoes.

How to Dry Leather Boots?

You can dry your leather boots using any one of the following methods:

  • You can dry the shoes using a boot dryer (We recommend The Original Peet Dryer)
  • You can dry them using a hairdryer
  • You can dry them under the fan
  • Or you can keep them in the shade and let the air dry them naturally.

Can you wear leather boots in the rain?

Chelsea boots are generally made of two materials: Leather or suede.

If your Chelsea boots are made of suede, you should avoid wearing them in the Rain because the suede material will completely get damaged in water.

But if your Chelsea boost is made of Leather, you can wear them in the Rain with prior waterproofing them using a silicone spray or wax sealant and drying them thoroughly as soon as possible after they have got wet.

What did we conclude?

It’s impossible to do without leather boots and that too when choosing one as your work pair.

So, considering the Rain, we advise you to go for waterproof leather boots.

And still, if you have already bought an average leather pair, we hope that our survey has come to your use.

Don’t forget to write us back in the comment section below regarding your struggles with the wet leather boots and the solutions you have come up with!

Till then, take care. And stay happy

Can you wear leather boots in the rain?

Because leather is a porous material, it will quickly soak in that water. This rapid influx of water, followed by a release when the water dries, can lead to premature damage and cracking of the leather. Letting your shoes get soaked in the rain is no way to take care of your investment.

Is it bad to wear leather shoes in the rain?

And while leather soles do provide great traction and a classy appearance, wearing them in the rain can ruin them. Here’s why, as pointed out by style blog PutThisOn: Leather soaks up water like a sponge. … But this amount of water can damage the leather, and make it break down prematurely.

FAQs for Can leather boots get wet

What is the best waterproofing for leather boots?

  • Saphir Medaille d’Or Super Invulner Waterproof Spray.
  • Tarrago Hightech Nano Protector Spray.
  • Apple Brand Garde Rain & Stain Water Repellent.
  • Skidmore’s Leather Cream.
  • Kiwi Boot Protector.
  • Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector.
  • Bickmore Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent

Is WD 40 good for leather?

WD-40 makes stiff leather items soft and supple. It’s equally useful on leather-like materials, such as automobile and boat upholstery.

What is the best way to soften leather?

  1. Alcohol + Vaseline. Apply a generous portion of rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad.
  2. Coconut Oil. Leave the leather item in the sun for 10 minutes or use a hair dryer to heat its surface.
  3. Conditioner. Apply a leather care conditioner (lanolin-based product), to the leather.
  4. Mink Oil.

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