How to keep your leather boots waterproof

How to keep your leather boots waterproof

Even though there are now many boots manufactured using high tech man-made materials, traditional leather boots remain extremely popular and with regular care and attention they can ensure your feet stay dry, comfortable and provide years of reliable service.

Over time and without proper care, leather can dry out and crack as natural oils and moisture are lost. These must be replaced if the natural performance of the leather is to be maintained.

Dubbing wax, more commonly known as Dubbin, is a classic leather care product made of oil, tallow and natural wax that has been in use for centuries to soften, condition and waterproof leather. Apart from restoring the waterproof quality of leather boots, dubbin helps to protect boots from the build-up of dirt and stains, as well as refreshing the look of the leather by making it more supple.

There are however some key things to do to ensure leather boots remain thoroughly water resistant:

  1. Clean thoroughly

Before starting the waterproofing treatment, clean the boots thoroughly and ensure they are completely dry. 

  1. Apply heat

The use of heat applied to both the boots (and to the dubbin to soften it up), will aid penetration of the wax into the leather. An ideal heat source is a hairdryer but take care not to overheat the leather.

  1. Apply dubbin

Apply a small amount of dubbin to a cloth and rub gently over all the leather surfaces. Dubbing wax leaves an oily film on leather surfaces, so it should be applied sparingly.

  1. Leave to dry

Leave the boots to dry naturally for between 30 to 60 minutes.  Do not apply any direct heat, this can cause the leather to crack.

  1. Buff and repeat

Use a new, dry cloth to buff-off the dubbin to bring out the natural texture and shine of the leather. Repeat the application of dubbin and buff as many times as considered necessary. 

Regular reproofing will help to prolong the water resistant properties of the leather. A final step to further enhance the shine and colour of the boots is to apply a leather shoe polish. The freshly waxed boots should now be revitalised and waterproof, and ready for use in all seasonal conditions.

An important note: Dubbin is great for leather boots, but not suitable for suede or nubuck materials. Never use dubbin on suede or nubuck leather, as these types of leather can be damaged by the oily nature of dubbing wax.


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