Does using beeswax for waterproofing shoes work?

This article explains which types of shoes need to be waterproofed and how to waterproof leather boots using beeswax.

Updated

leather shoes with wax, polishing cloth and brush

There are plenty of cleaning hacks featuring less orthodox methods and products. One of them is using beeswax for waterproofing shoes, but does it really work? We've tried using beeswax for shoes to answer all-important questions like how to protect suede shoes, how to waterproof leather boots and whether you really can use beeswax for waterproofing shoes.

Only ever use good quality beeswax to waterproof your shoes.

Leather waterproofing: Does it really work?

It can do! Using beeswax for shoes is a technique that has been used for many years and it can be successful. Below you’ll find our go-to guide on how to waterproof leather boots. Before jumping ahead, however, it’s worth being aware that this technique comes with risks. Wax can leave marks on a shoe’s surface and the heat you need to apply it has the potential to damage the leather, so if in doubt, go for more conventional options.

Which shoes need waterproofing?

Lots of people ask things like “is suede waterproof?” or “do I need to add extra protection to my leather shoes?” The answer depends on the kind of shoes you have. Check the labelling instructions or information that came with them. Shoes can really vary in terms of their ability to withstand major weather events and it also depends on what treatment has been applied during the manufacturing process.

As a general rule, to waterproof suede shoes you should use a specially designed product. Suede can be pretty sensitive so to avoid damaging the fabric, ask in your local shoe store for the suede-protector and follow the pack instructions. When it comes to leather, however, we tested out the suggestion that beeswax for waterproofing shoes made from leather could be a good solution.

How to waterproof shoes: A step-by-step guide

That all being said, if you want to try beeswax for waterproofing shoes, here’s how:

  1. Clean the shoes first to remove any dirt. If you use water to do so, make sure the shoes are completely dry before going on.
  2. Melt the beeswax. This can be done in an old pan on the stove or using an oil-burner (the kind you might use to heat essential oils with a tea light).
  3. Apply the wax with a clean towel. It will turn white on the shoe’s surface as you apply it – don’t worry, this is completely normal.
  4. Apply heat to seal the wax into the leather. The safest way to do this is with a hair dryer. Just be sure to keep it at a good distance from the shoe to avoid overheating the leather.
  5. Rub away any excess wax with the towel.
  6. Admire your newly-waterproof leather shoes!

If you’re wondering how to waterproof shoes, beeswax is one potential option for shoes made out of leather. Always check the shoe’s label before starting and enjoy wearing your shoes once you’ve finished the job, knowing they will remain sturdy whatever the weather.

Key steps

Wondering how to waterproof leather boots using beeswax? Here are a few key steps:

  1. Be sure to use good quality beeswax – any dirt in the wax could damage your shoe.
  2. If you’re unsure whether to use wax, try a patch test first on the least visible part of the shoe.
  3. When heating the wax, be sure to keep the heating element far enough away from the shoe to prevent it causing any damage.

Originally published