Protecting leather footwear and clothing against wet weather

Winter has brought with it storms and heavy rains, which is bad news for leather shoes, boots and clothing. Water and leather don’t make good partners and it’s always the leather that comes off worse after a drenching.

As well as leaving stains, including the tell-tale salt marks, water can damage the suppleness and overall look of leather.

So, if you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to weatherproof your leather footwear, bags and clothing. Ideally, this should be done when you purchase the items. While most leathers will have had some waterproofing treatment in the tannery, it is advisable to apply additional protection, especially for the more porous leathers, such as aniline, suede and nubuck.

There is a range of water-repellent agents on the market, the most effective of which are the solvent-based ones, which come in a spray can. Water-based products can leave marks and those that have to be washed in are only suitable for leather that can be washed.

If applying spray to used items, wipe them first to remove any dirt. Spray the protector generously and leave to dry. You may need to apply up to two to three times a week over the winter.

Removing water stains from leather

Should you neglect waterproofing and your leather footwear or clothing gets a soaking, don’t despair. First, let the leather dry naturally – don’t be tempted to place shoes and boots by the fire or radiator as excessive heat can cause the leather to crack. Place paper napkins or pieces of kitchen roll inside the shoes to absorb moisture.

Once the leather is fully dry, remove any marks using a leather cleaning spray or cream. Apply directly to the stain, leave for a few seconds and gently wipe away with a dry cloth. Stains that have penetrated the surface on Aniline leather, suede and nubuck are extremely hard to remove. Contact us with photos of the stained area for more assistance.




Long-term care

It’s important to remember that leather is a skin so, like our own skin it needs moisturizing to prevent it drying out. Applying a waxed leather cream regularly will help to bring back the moisture to your leather footwear, as well as keeping it clean and supple.

Finally, make sure you re-apply waterproofing spray so you don’t get caught out next time it rains.


At Colourlock, we stock a range of products for protecting and caring for leather, including:

COLOURLOCK Waterproofing Spray for Nubuck, Suede and Textiles

COLOURLOCK Aniline Cream or Gloss Cream – waterproofing and care for all dull and gloss aniline leathers

COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver – offers water-resistant and care properties

COLOURLOCK Leather Care & Waterproofing Oil – ideal for small accessories

COLOURLOCK Aniline Water Stain Remover – for removing water stains from aniline leather