If you’re like most people, you own items that you really want to be waterproof. Some are items that may be designed to be used for the outdoors, so they’re supposed to be waterproof. In this article, we’ll talk of safety boots and the best boot waterproofing spray.
Some items, such as safety shoes in this case, aren’t supposed to get wet at all but accidents happen. Maybe you’re supposed to just stay indoors, but then you find yourself on the streets and then it rains. Now what?
In both cases, what you need is the best waterproofing spray you can find. A spray like this can make your items much more waterproof, so they’re not damaged or stained by water. This added level of protection can make “water-resistant” items actually waterproof, while those that are susceptible to water damage can at least have some sort of water resistance.
The problem is that not all waterproofing sprays are equally effective. Some are so bad that they can even damage your items instead of protect them. Some sprays also offer better protection than others.
Here are some outstanding waterproofing sprays you should check out:
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1. Kiwi Suede & Nubuck Protector
Suede is basically leather that’s been turned upside down, so you get the fuzzy face up. Its look is quite unique, and it feels very nice too. Nubuck has a similar feel, though it’s generally cowhide leather that’s just been rubbed on the outer side of the hide to make it feel like suede. These materials are generally softer and thinner, so they’re more susceptible to water damage.
And that’s where the Kiwi Suede & Nubuck Protector comes in. While the Kiwi brand manufactures may types of waterproofing sprays, this particular one is specifically for suede and nubuck. It protects these materials against water and stains and it works for all colors and types of suede and nubuck.
To use this, first make sure that your suede or nubuck item is both clean and dry. You then have to shake the Kiwi bottle well before you use it. Hold the can about 6 inches from the item. Now spray to apply an even and light coat. You’re not supposed to saturate the item.
Let your item dry, and then apply another coat. You should spray your item again when you’ve used it in wet weather.
Kiwi does recommend that you use their Kiwi Suede Cleaner first if your suede item is very dirty. This is meant to also prevent stains, but if your suede item already has stubborn stains then you can remove those stains with the Kiwi Suede and Nubuck kit.
This doesn’t discolor the suede at all, and that’s certainly a good thing. Expect this effect, so you don’t saturate the item with the coating. The formula includes a special polymer which gives your suede item an invisible protective shield.
However, there will be a strong odor and fumes so you need to apply this in a well-ventilated area. You should leave it outside to dry for an hour or so before you can use your item.
You’ll find that it’s very effective in protecting suede and nubuck items such as suede boots from inclement weather. The water will just wipe off the shoes instead of being absorbed by the suede material. However, this doesn’t give you the license to just submerge the suede items in water for a very long time. But if you’re wearing suede boots and then you’re caught outdoors in a rainstorm, this gives that protection you need.
- Easy to use
- Works well for suede and nubuck
- Doesn’t discolor the leather
- Not good for other types of materials
- Has a strong odor
2. Sof Sole Water Proofer
It protects against water and stains, while at the same time it maintains the breathability of the item. It works for a wide variety of materials, including leather and various athletic shoes.
To use it, just spray back and forth consistently so you don’t focus on one spot. While the guide says it starts protecting in minutes, it’s best if you wait an hour or 2 to let it dry first before you apply a second coat. Once you let the second coating dry, your item is good to go against water and stains for the next 2 months.
The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t discolor the items as long as you don’t spray too much in just a single spot. There’s no other type of damage either. There’s a smell when you use it, but it’s not too bad.
Lots of people have attested to how very effective this is. It has protected athletic shoes and leather shoes from inclement weather, and some items can even stay completely dry with this when you use them for hiking trips in the wet snow. It can help your athletic shoes maintain their bright colors.
While your shoes may inevitably suffer some stains when you’re playing outdoors, because of this spray it makes removing those stains so much easier.
- Works for many types of materials
- Easy to use
- Protection lasts for 2 months
- No damage to the items
- You need to try it out first to see if it works for your particular shoes
3. Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Waterproofing
As the name of this waterproofing makes clear, this is meant for suede and nubuck items. It’s a waterproofing product that’s ironically water-based, and it’s meant for footwear. It is designed to maintain the texture, support, and also the breathability of suede and nubuck shoes. This is also recommended for special materials Gore-Tex and eVENT.
When your suede or nubuck shoes absorb water, their breathability becomes reduced. This means your feet can get sweaty inside the shoes, and so your shoes get wet inside as well. Since the material isn’t as breathable as it ought to be, the moisture inside the shoes is unable to escape and you end up with wet feet. That’s why you need this, as it maintains breathability.
To use this properly, you first need to make sure that your suede footwear is really clean. That may not be true if you’ve been using conventional detergents, which may be leaving behind a thin water-absorbent film on the nubuck or suede material. This makes the material less able to repel water.
It’s for this reason that Nikwax recommends that you use their Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel first. So beforehand, use a damp cloth to brush off the dirt on the shoes and then clean the shoes using the Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.
Once you’re sure that your nubuck or suede shoes are clean, you can then apply the Nubuck & Suede Proof Waterproofing. First you should shake the bottle well. Then press the sponge applicator to break seal.
You can use this even when your shoes are already wet. Moreover, you don’t have to first wait to let it dry before you use it. Just spray Nikwax on from a distance of 5 cm or 2 inches. You can also apply this by hand with a sponge. Just use a generous amount.
After about 2 minutes, you can then remove the excess amount of coating with a cloth. You can then let it dry first before you use your suede or nubuck shoes. Leave it to dry at room temperature. Don’t dry your shoes near radiators or a fire, because you don’t want the shoes to dry too quickly. Accelerated drying can crack the leather material and peel of bonded soles.
Stuff some bits of paper into the toe area of your shoes to absorb some of the excess moisture. But replace these bits of paper when they absorb moisture.
One of the reasons why this is so good for breathable waterproof shoes is that it doesn’t contain dangerous compounds. It is completely nonflammable, unlike the Kiwi Protector and Sof Sole Water Proofer. Nikwax also doesn’t have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause harm to your health. It also doesn’t use fluorocarbons, which can also cause long-term health issues and also pose a potential risk to the environment.
On the downside, your nubuck or suede item can look darker after the treatment, especially if it is light colored. You may want to test this on a hidden area of the material first, to see if you don’t mind the resulting color.
- Easy to use
- Very safe formula
- Meant for suede and nubuck
- May turn your suede item darker
- May not be best for other materials
4. Crep Protect Ultimate Rain & Stain Shoe Spray
You can use this for a wide variety of materials, which does help if you have a large shoe collection that uses different materials. You can effectively use Crep Protect for footwear made from fleece, fly knit, mesh, nylon, canvas, suede, and nubuck.
As you should notice, regular leather material is not part of this list. One customer review mentioned how this ruined a pair of black leather shoes.
The treated shoes should be able to repel most liquids (up to and including ketchup!) and stains can be washed away with just water or a damp cloth.
To use this, first you need to make sure the shoes are clean. Shake the bottle well, and then spray evenly on the shoes from a distance of about 8 inches (20 cm). Let the first coating dry for about 10 minutes before you apply a second coat, which you should also let dry for 10 minutes.
A single canister can protect up to 12 pairs of sneakers, and the protection can last up to 4 weeks. It doesn’t really keep your shoes completely waterproof, but it keeps most of the water out. It doesn’t prevent all stains, but it’s able to let you remove the stains more easily.
This is the go-to waterproofing spray for sneaker collectors. So it’s a great choice for use with your sneakers.
- Great for sneakers
- Easy to use
- Month-long protection
- Repels most liquids
- May not be best for leather shoes
- It makes shoes more water-resistant, but not completely waterproof
Buying Guide for Shoe Waterproofing Sprays
How do you know which ones are best for your needs? You should read the product descriptions carefully so you know what to expect from these sprays. Then it’s a good idea to also check out the customer reviews, which can give you a more accurate assessment of their performance.
When you’re reading the product descriptions and customer reviews, pay close attention to the following considerations:
The level of water resistance the spray can provide will vary.
- Water repellent. This is the most basic of waterproofing. The spray keeps your item from absorbing the water. The water just beads on your item, so you can just shake the water off or wipe it off.
- Water resistant. This means your item, after the spray application, won’t be damaged by a certain amount of water. This is good enough for non-extreme conditions.
- This offers complete protection from water, so in theory your item can even be submerged in water. In general though, your item should already be “waterproof”. And you’re using the waterproofing spray to just reinforce this feature.
Some sprays don’t just protect against water damage. They may also protect against salt (which can damage leather shoes), stains (dirt can get into your shoes), or oil.
Sprays are often materials’ type specific. And the top waterproofing spray brands explicitly provide this information. Shoes’ materials, which you use these sprays on, include polyester, cotton, nylon, or synthetic leather. A spray can therefore be designed for suede, but not for polyester.
Only use a spray on the recommended shoe materials. Not only will the spray fail to make the wrong type of material waterproof, but the spray may even damage the item instead.
If you’re planning to use a spray on an expensive item and you’re not sure if the spray is appropriate, test the spray first on a swatch of the fabric that you plan to use the spray on. You can then see for yourself if it will damage the fabric.
Obviously the change you want to see is that your item becomes more resistant to water. But typically the spray will also cause your item to turn a darker hue. If you have a good spray, then this color change shouldn’t be drastic at all.
But if you have a bad spray, the color change can be extreme. It may even damage material or fabric of the item you’re using the spray on. Sprays may also affect the breathability or flexibility of your shoes.
Do remember that applying the spray the wrong way can lead to disastrous effects, so make sure you read the instructions first.
Some sprays are somewhat easy to apply, as there are no intricate directions to follow to the letter. Others may require more complicated application processes, which may require more of your time and may even require a level of skill you may or may not possess.
Some sprays just offer a few days of protection, so you may have to use it frequently. Others may offer longer protection periods, lasting weeks or even months.
Some sprays are harmless even if the chemicals do come into contact with your skin. Others may irritate your skin, but the spray bottle design may minimize the risk of the skin contact. However, to be really safe you may have to use gloves for some of these sprays.
There may be a strong odor as well, as the spray can contain rather powerful chemicals. This means you should apply the spray in a well-ventilated area. But the odor should disappear once the spray dries.
Some of the compounds found in these sprays may pose a risk to the environment. These can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fluorocarbons.
Whether or not you have a collection of expensive shoes, it’s certainly a good idea to protect them with some waterproofing spray. By applying Nikwax on your expensive shoes, you protect them from water damage. Consequently, your shoes will last longer since they won’t be getting soaked every now and then.
Water can actually break down fibers over time, so they can come loose and fall apart. Liquids can also cause unsightly stains that can make even good-looking shoes to look terrible and unkempt.
With the best waterproofing spray, you can make sure your shoes look good all the time while they also last a longer time. You’re able to keep the water from penetrating the fibers of your shoe material, so your shoes can last longer. You’re able to keep stains away from your shoes, or at least make it a lot easier to get rid of these stains. Your shoes can then look much better.
Just stay away from the bad waterproofing sprays that are not only ineffective, but also dangerous for your shoes and for your health. So your part by following the instructions, and by keeping realistic expectations!