My favorite pair of leather boots became quite scuffed and discolored after I used them a lot. The exposure of the leather to the sun, rain and snow caused the color of the leather to fade. I wanted to find a way to both waterproof and condition the leather, so that I could keep using the boots and increase their lifespan.
After doing a lot of research, I found a good way to treat and waterproof the leather is to apply a combination of coconut oil, beeswax and carnauba wax. The coconut oil conditions the leather, while the beeswax protects the leather from water and adds a shine. The carnauba wax also waterproofs the leather but adds more of a high-gloss finish. After applying the wax combination I used a heat gun to melt it, so that the leather from the boots could absorb it.
To help you protect and maintain your own leather shoes, I described the step-by-step process of caring for and waterproofing the leather boots, as well as the materials and tools required.
I recommend buying the waxes in pellet form, because that way it is easier to accurately measure and melt.
The recipe I used is as follows:
|Beeswax||1/4 cup (22.5 grams)|
|Carnauba wax||1/2 tablespoon (2.5 grams)|
|Coconut oil||1/8 cup (25 grams)|
This gives about 50 grams / ~2 oz. of final product, which is enough for several pairs of shoes.
The ratio of the ingredients can be adjusted to your liking. The amount of coconut oil can be varied to change how much the leather gets darkened. More coconut oil means the leather will become darker. Less and the leather will end up with a lighter color. More carnauba wax will give more of a high-gloss finish, but too much carnauba wax and the mixture will become too hard and too difficult to work with.
The leather does not look scuffed and discolored anymore and my feet stay completely dry in rain and heavy snow. The waterproof boots were especially useful during my road trip through Romania, where I walked a lot in various weather conditions.
The shoe care wax lasts a lot longer than the waterproof sprays that are available. I think this is partly because the leather actually absorbs the wax, and because of that the wax does not wear off that easily. I expect that reapplying the wax once a year is enough to keep the boots looking good and to keep them in good condition.
I do not recommend using this method for waterproofing suede shoes, but it works great for leather shoes and boots and it is possible that it works with canvas shoes as well.
If you liked reading this article or have any questions about this project then feel free to leave a comment or check out some of my other projects linked on the all projects page.
Last update on 2019-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Affiliate Disclosure