How can Men Waterproof Dress Shoes? – Save Your Premium Leather Shoes from Wet Conditions

How can Men Waterproof Dress Shoes? – Save Your Premium Leather Shoes from Wet Conditions

The elements, dirt, rain, snow, and heat they all play a part in the life of your premium leather shoes.  wet roadsWith the right knowledge, and shoe care products – you can enjoy your shoes for many years to come.  In this article we will discuss tactics to brave the wet elements.  We’ll show how men can waterproof dress shoes.  Let’s get shiny…


So, those stylish Magnanni calfskin leather shoes cost you a pretty penny, you love how they look, and they’re so comfortable you could wear them to bed. But in fact, as the seasons pass your shoes will end up facing all the harsh elements of life. So what can you do to preserve their original beauty, and keep them looking as good as the day you bought them?


Calfskin Shoes are Skin Without a Body – Gross but True

One of the best things about good leather is that as it ages, it develops a special patina. As an organic material, leather will stretch to fit the contours of your feet and in time will feel like a second skin. And just as you wouldn’t let your own skin grow tired and dull-looking, you wouldn’t want your leather to lose its glow because it wasn’t correctly tended to.

Shoe Conditioner – Food for your Shoes

Leather, like skin, needs plenty of tender loving care to be properly maintained.  Regular conditioning and polishing is one of the easiest and most common ways to keep shoes looking amazing.  Your shoes will absorb the conditioner, and appreciate the moisture and nourishment it provides.  Polishing has a dual purpose: it makes your shoes look better and helps to erase scuff marks, and it also give a slight weatherproof effect to give a slight protection to the leather from the elements.

I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the Rain

While preparing your shoes for water resistance is great in case you get caught in the rain, step wet floorinadvertently into a puddle etcetera.  If I know that it is going to rain for the next 3 days I will pick up a pair or shoe rubbers.  The weather resistant techniques we are showing are for the unexpected wet elements, not for puddle jumping.

How to Waterproof your Calfskin Leather Shoes — ok Water Resistant

One of the best products for making your shoes water-resistant is a simple traditional material called Saphir Dubbin. Saphir Dubbin is mink oil based, using natural fish and animal fats, this traditional leather “food” will condition and soften your shoes and make the leather water-resistant.

Unlike shoe polish, dubbin doesn’t have any pigmentation.  When you condition your shoes with dubbin on a regular basis, you will see that the leather is as shiny as it was when you brought them home from the store. Not only that, your feet will remain dry even in bad rainstorms.

Let’s get to Dubbin

Here we will give a brief overview of using Saphir Dubbin.  See the Ultimate Guide to Dubbin with a video tutorial click The Ultimate Guide to Saphir Dubbin.   While you can apply Dubbin at any stage of the wax/polish building stage.  We recommend the Dubbin be initially applied on the base below all the waxes.  This process is only needed once per year, twice if you encounter really wet conditions.

The shoe care products you will need available are:  A cotton chamois, or cotton t-shirt, horse hair brush (for buffing), a horse hair brush (for dirt removal), Saphir Reno Mat, Saphir Dubbin, Saphir Renavateur Conditioner, appropriate color cream polish, appropriate color wax polish, Saphir Sole Guard.

First, use a horse hair brush to remove any loose dirt or debris.  We are preparing the shoe for application of the Reno Mat product.

Calling All Strippers

Next, to strip any polish, and wax build up – apply Saphir Reno Mat.  Saphir Reno Mat will remove stripper shoesany polish and hard wax build up to your fine leather shoes.  Reno Mat is formulated to work on quality leather shoes.  Lower quality shoes, with a subpar dying process may find the Reno Mat disturbs the finish.  But, the dying process on quality shoes will be fine using Reno Mat.  Of course, always test Reno Mat on the inner heel before proceeding.

After the Reno has been applied, wipe with damp cloth.  Let dry for 30 minutes.  Now, apply the Saphir Dubbin with a cloth chamois or cotton t-shirt strip.  Apply in circular motion covering the shoe, using light to medium pressure.  It is best to let the Dubbin absorb all of the nutrients and fats over a 24 hour period.  Leave the horse hair brush in your shine box, no brushy brushy yet.

See you tomorrow:  We are back.

Now we use our horse hair shoe brush with light to moderate pressure – we are buffing away any excess Dubbin from our shoes.

Next Layer – Shoe Conditioner

Ok, now that we are all Dubbed up – we are adding the next layer of nutrients.  The Saphir Renavateur Conditioner.  Apply in small circular motion, allow to dry for 5-10 minutes.

Now you have a nice weather resistant, and conditioner base on the leather.  The shoes are now ready for polishing and/or waxing.  But, this is an article about water resistance.  So we will now move to the next area of the shoe for water resistance – the sole.

Save your Sole from the water elements

Weather proofing the sole is not a very common practice, but vital in protecting the leather from getting water logged.  Using a stiff horse hair brush with 1” bristles.  I have a special brush in my shine box for using on my soles, and when the shoes get really dirty.  Say I had to park in a dirt lot, to walk across to see my daughter play softball.  This excessive dirt/dust that build up I reserve a special “dirty brush”.  I have brushes for buffing, and one dirty brush for the heavy dirt/dust removal.  This keeps my other brushes available for buffing.  Make certain to rinse your dirty brush after use, so it does not embed dirt and potentially scratch your shoe finish at some point

With any loose dirt removed it is now time to apply the sole guard.  Saphir Sole Guard is a highly refined vegetable oil with water-proofing properties.  Apply the sole guard with a cotton chamois or cotton t-shirt in small circular motion.  Allow one hour to absorb/dry if you wish to apply a second application of Sole Guard.  If one layer applied allow 6 hours to dry before wearing.  If two layers of sole guard applied, we recommend 24 hours to fully dry before shoe is worn.    Once dried the sole guard will not rub off.


If your shoes are subject to wet elements, it is best to use these techniques to help resist the elements and protect your leather from wet conditions and diminish their useful life.  If you are knowingly going into severe wet conditions shoe rubbers are your safest bet.  But, for the unexpected downpour, having your premium leather shoes prepared with give you added protection and peace of mind.

How do you prepare your shoes for weather resistance?  Did I miss any products you feel are necessary?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Keep it Shiny.


This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Very informative! You are very knowledgeable when it comes to taking care of shoes. I have honestly learned a lot. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Make sure to stop by from time to time and say hello. Thank you for your input.

  2. This is very interesting to say the least. I never thought too much about caring for my shoes once I bought them. But it make sense because shoes aren’t cheap today and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
    And I’ll admit my shoes do take a beating from the elements. Great advice! My questions is how long does shoe conditioner last?

    1. Hi Rob,
      Thanks for stopping by. If the shoes haven’t had any tender loving care for a while you may want to condition them once per week, for a month. Once they are fully hydrated, once per month should be sufficient. When you polish and care for your own shoes, you’ll know when it’s time for more treatment. Cheers

  3. Great post Frank!

    I personally don’t own a pair of leather shoes but my old man sure does. I will have to direct him this way! He is always looking for different ways to keep his shoes clean and maintained.

    1. Hi Brandon,
      Absolutely direct your pops this way. I’m sure he can give ME some helpful tips. My Dad was a shoe shine boy growing up, and there certainly is technique and finesse with the process. I’ll be posting more soon.

  4. Thanks for sharing these tips Frank! I think that these tips will also apply to my leather heels 🙂 I’ll try some of the Saphir Dubbin on an older pair that needs some protection.

    1. Hi Christen, thanks for stopping by. Dubbin is great protection, but I’m sure that gentlemen near by will lay down their coat for you over those puddles. Can you tell I’m old? Lol. All the best.

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