Global leader in safe, high performance waterproofing, cleaning and conditioning for outdoor gear

How to Clean & Waterproof Shoes and Boots


IMG_4375Dirty, soggy shoes? Over time, shoes and boots get dirty and lose their original waterproofing. Even if your shoes have a waterproof membrane, like GORE-TEX, BDry, or eVent, the outer material will eventually soak up water. If your shoes are wet on the outside, that means water vapor (foot sweat) can’t escape, and soon, pruney swamp feet will follow. Luckily, it’s easy to clean and re-waterproof your shoes and boots to keep your feet dry and happy.

Here’s how:

Clean first. 

Clean your shoes? Yes please. If you want to re-apply waterproofing, you need to do it on a clean surface. Brush off clumps of dirt and mud, and then scrub your shoes with Footwear Cleaning Gel. It is designed to remove embedded dirt particles, and prepare shoes for waterproofing.

Then Waterproof.

Once your shoes are sparkly clean, apply the appropriate waterproofing product for your type of footwear.

Apply the waterproofing while your shoes are still wet. Let sit for a few minutes, then remove excess with a damp cloth. If you’re using Waterproofing Wax for Leather, buff out all excess by rubbing it into the leather much like lotion.

Let your shoes dry naturally.

Do not place next to direct heat, as it can cause soles to de-bond and leather to dry and crack. If you want to speed things up a bit, put newspaper or paper/cloth towels in your shoes to soak up excess moisture.



  1. Love this product, recommend it to anyone

  2. What would I use for my white, full grain leather golf shoes? Will the Waterproofing Wax For Leather discolor the white?

    • Hi Ken,

      Great question! If you’re worried about discoloration we would recommend testing a small, inconspicuous are before applying to the entire shoe.

  3. Hi. I have this.

    What you recommend? Can wax affect breathability?

    • Hey there! We make a product called Fabric & Leather Proof that comes in our footwear bundle, that would be perfect for those boots. It is different than the Waterproofing Wax for Leather. It is more geared toward mixed fabric boots, like the ones you linked to. It can be found HERE. I’m confident it will work perfect for you! – Brennon

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