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Inside The Outdoors

How to Waterproof Leather & Fabric Boots

27.07.2018 | Hiking How to Guides

This guide will show you how to waterproof your leather, suede, nubuck leather and fabric walking boots to ensure your feet continue to stay dry.

Waterproofing Leather Boots

Over time and without proper care, leather can dry out and crack as natural oils and moisture are lost.

Dubbin can help restore waterproof properties whilst conditioning and softening the leather.


Mountain Warehouse Dubbin Wax

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  1. Clean the boots thoroughly (see how to clean hiking boots or shoes).
  2. Use a hairdryer to gently heat your boots up, this will help them absorb the dubbin.
  3. Apply a small amount of dubbin wax to a cloth and rub over the leather sparingly. If the wax is too hard to rub onto your boots, use a hair dryer to soften it.
  4. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Leave to dry naturally for 30-60 minutes. Don’t be tempted to apply direct heat to the boots to dry them quicker, this can cause the leather to crack.
  6. Buff wax off with a dry cloth.

Conditioning Leather Boots


A leather boot conditioner will help keep your boots supple but it’s important not to overdo it as leather walking boots are designed to be supportive and not too soft. Only condition when you feel the leather is getting dry or cracked, not every time you wear your boots.

Conditioning leather boots tends to work best when they are damp as the product will absorb better. As the water evaporates, it will pull the conditioner deep into the leather’s pores.


  1. Using a very small amount of conditioner either on your fingers or a clean cloth, work a light even coat into your boots, including the welts and seams.
  2. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
  3. Remove any excess conditioner with a cloth and allow to dry naturally. Do not apply a direct heat source.

Mountain Warehouse Leather Conditioner

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Waterproofing Suede and Nubuck Leather Walking Boots


A waterproof spray designed for footwear works to restore the water repellency to nubuck and suede boots.

Do not apply dubbin wax to suede or nubuck leather boots. Dubbin is designed for smooth leather and can ruin the ‘furry’ feel of nubuck and suede and is also likely to stain.


  1. Clean the boots (see how to clean hiking boots or shoes for full details).
  2. Using a re-proofing spray, spray all over from a distance of 5cm. Make sure you have an even coating over the entire boot.
  3. Leave to dry before use. Don’t try to dry your boots faster with a hair dryer or heat source, allow them to air dry naturally.
  4. A footwear brush can be used to restore the boot to its original finish.

Mountain Warehouse Footwear Proofer

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Waterproofing Fabric Boots


A Spray on Proofer will help you restore the water repellency of fabric walking boots.

Fabric boots can be harder to clean than leather boots but it’s worth making the effort to ensure they are cleaned properly. Dirt particles left in the fabric can cause the fibres to decay and reduce the lifespan of your boots.


  1. Clean the boots (see how to clean hiking boots or shoes for full details).
  2. Fabric boots can be re-proofed whilst wet or dry. You may prefer to clean and dry out your boots, apply the reproofer the following day and leave to dry overnight again before next use. Although this takes a little longer, you will be able to see where you have sprayed the proofer on much easier than spraying on to wet boots.
  3. Whether you apply to wet or dry boots, once the proofer has been applied, leave to air dry completely before wearing.


All of the products needed to restore the water repellency to your boots or shoes are available from our range of clothing and footwear waterproofers. If you’ve reproofed your boots and they continue to allow moisture in, it may be time to replace them. Click here to view our range of walking boots!

Waterproofing Boots Video Guide