If you have ever walked through a puddle in shoes that are not waterproof, you will know just how annoying and unpleasant that can be. Most shoes are either not waterproof as standard, or the water resistant coating wears off after time. That means that in order to keep water out of your shoe, you will need to make an occasional application of some sort of waterproofing spray or wax in order to keep your feet dry. Nobody wants to spend time with a hair dryer trying to get their boots dry again after a wet walk!

The world of waterproofing shoe products can be a confusing one, particularly as leather boots and canvas shoe designs require different waterproofing products. Here at Shoe Adviser (rights reserved), however, we are here to help you get a sense of what product you will need to use to keep your boots as dry as possible. Read on below for our guide to the best products to use to waterproof your boots and keep them like new without water damage!

Can you Waterproof Shoes?

Any type of shoe can be made water-resistant at the very least. Some types of shoe are easier to waterproof than others, like leather boots, for example, but even lightweight shoe styles like simple canvas trainers can be waterproofed effectively.

You may well find that some types of shoe need a more frequent application of spray and also wax products, while others stay waterproof for a longer time. As long as you use the right product for your particular shoe choice, though, you should be able to keep your feet dry and comfortable, and also avoid spending too much money on advanced products and fancy new shoes.

Does Waterproof Spray-Work on Shoes?

There are several different types of spray that you can buy, each of which may or may not make your particular shoes waterproof, depending on what type of spray you are using and also on what kind of shoes you are attempting to use the spray on.

You can’t just use whatever type of spray you like on your shoes, as different spray options may not work on certain materials. Let’s run through some of the best waterproofing spray options for different types of shoe to help you ensure that you are buying the right type of spray to use for application on your chosen shoe.

What is the Best Waterproof Spray for Shoes?

There is no one single best waterproof spray for shoes, just like there is no single best pair of shoes. Different materials have different properties, and different spray options that work just fine for shoes like trainers may make no difference to the water-resistance of leather boots, for example. Using the wrong product on your shoe will get you nowhere and may well only lead to getting your nice dry feet very wet unexpectedly, which can make for a bad day for anyone! Different sprays have different best uses, and it is important to make sure you use the correct spray for the type of shoes you are trying to keep dry. Let’s run through some of the most common types of shoe and the best way to waterproof them with a spray-on waterproofing product.

Best Waterproofing for Canvas and Suede Shoes

Most standard spray options are ideal for shoes made from canvas or suede but are much less effective for leather shoes. These sprays will give a high level of water resistance to your canvas or suede shoes but might need to be resprayed fairly regularly, as any kind of sprayed coating will be very thin and may wear out quickly.

Sprays are the only real option you can get for waterproofing suede shoes. Suede is a very soft material, and most waterproofing options will damage the surface, potentially ruining your shoe. Most types of sprayed waterproofing products should work fine, though. Just make sure you check the label before you buy anything for waterproofing suede shoes!

Best Waterproofing for Leather Shoes

If you are trying to waterproof leather shoes, then most spray product options aren’t going to do all that much beyond the natural water-resistance of the leather. However, the brand Nikwax offers a range of gels, waxes, and other options that are great for leather shoes. These act as powerful water repellents, as well as polishing up the leather surface and helping your shoes to look fresh and new once again.

Best All-purpose Shoe Waterproofing

If you own several different types of shoe made from a wide range of different materials, then you will want a waterproofing spray with a silicon base. Many waterproofing sprays are made with other formulations, which are only really appropriate for canvas, as the spray can soak into the fabric, but silicon-based waterproofing sprays are far more versatile. These work well for waterproofing everything from leather boots to canvas trainers or synthetic sneakers.

Waxes for Waterproofing Shoes

Rather than using waterproofing sprays to protect your shoes from moisture, you can instead try wax-based waterproofing substances. There are several different types of wax available, just as there are several different sprays available, and different waxes are suited to different shoe materials. Most wax-based options are better suited for canvas shoes and trainers than for leather or suede, but there are exceptions.

Best Wax for Waterproofing Canvas Shoes

One of the most useful options for waterproofing canvas shoes is a simple beeswax. This can be found in all sorts of different stores, from crafting stores to shoe care stores to candle stores. All you need is a solid chunk of beeswax, and you are ready to go. Just take your piece of beeswax and rub it onto your canvas shoes until you start to see a layer of beeswax building up on the surface of the shoe. Then, grab a hairdryer and, using a low heat, gently melt the beeswax into the shoes to work it into the fibers of the canvas.

If you can’t get hold of beeswax, then a regular candle can make a great DIY alternative in a pinch. Using the same techniques as you would with beeswax, just rub your candle all over your canvas shoes. Keep going until the surface is a visibly lighter color from the wax rubbing off the candle and onto the canvas. Once you have got the entire surface covered, take your hairdryer and warm up the wax. The wax will melt into the canvas fibers, waterproofing the surface properly. You will know when you are done because the shoes will return to their original color as the wax melts away into the fabric.

Best Wax for Waterproofing Leather Shoes

If you are having problems with leather shoes getting wet and leaking water around your feet, then regular household vaseline might be one of your better options. This common household product has a nearly limitless range of uses, and waterproofing leather objects is just one of those many uses. Most people have a tub of vaseline in their house somewhere, and it is a great option for temporarily waterproofing your leather footwear.

This option won’t do much in the long term, but a quick coat of vaseline can make a huge amount of difference to the waterproofing of your footwear in the short term. Make sure your shoes are properly cleaned and dried beforehand, and then simply slather on a thin layer of vaseline and let it soak into the surface of the shoes properly. It is not perfect, but it should do a great job in a pinch!

Will WD 40 Waterproof Shoes?

Popular lubricant spray product WD 40 is one of the most useful and versatile household tools available. You probably know that it can be used to lubricate stiff hinges and help things to move, but did you know that you can also apply WD 40 to waterproof boots and shoes?

WD 40 forms a barrier over the surface of your shoes that water cannot penetrate. It is also a great option for removing salt stains from your shoes and boots during the winter – in general, it is perfect for looking after your boots and keeping them looking fresh and performing at maximum effectiveness!

Just spray a coat of WD 40 onto your shoes and wipe away any excess with a clean rag, and you will be done. You don’t need to scrub it in or heat it up or anything like that – all you need is a solid coat of WD 40 over the surface of your shoes, and it will keep them perfectly waterproof with no issues at all and barely any effort required from you! This is one of the easiest and most useful waterproofing options out there, and almost everyone has a can of WD 40 lying around somewhere, thanks to its many uses!

How to make a Shoe Waterproof

It is important to remember not to dive into waterproofing shoes enthusiastically until you have tested out your chosen product. Try it out on a small area of your footwear before you apply it to the entire thing. This is because some of the options available may change the color of your shoes a bit, so you should be cautious and test them out first if you don’t want to risk discoloring your shoes!

First, you will want to make sure that your shoes are fully clean. Remove the laces and wipe them down, and gently scrub every surface of your shoes clean. Dirt will prevent your chosen waterproofing method from properly bonding to the materials of your shoes, so it is important to be thorough here.

Then, all you need to do is rub or spray your chosen waterproofing product into the shoes. Take your time and be slow and methodical with this. Any places you miss won’t be waterproof, so it is essential that you cover every bit of the surface of your shoes!


We’ve listed some of the easiest and most useful options for waterproofing your shoes at home. There are many other options available, and a wide range of expensive waterproofing product options on the market that promise great results. In most cases, you don’t need anything more expensive or more advanced than a simple wax or spray product, and all of these are easy to do yourself at home! So if you are tired of having cold, wet feet in the winter, then don’t worry! Just grab a spray can or a chunk of good beeswax and get to work, and your shoes should be waterproof and reliable again soon!

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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