Fall Is Here: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Waterproofing Shoes


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If there are any certainties that come with the end of summer, it's that the temperature drops and boots are back. But before you brave bad weather in your brand-new pair of ankle boots, consider doing one thing that will protect your statement shoes and keep them looking fresh for years to come. Waterproofing shoes is the number one way to keep shoes looking good through the fall and winter. "If done right, waterproofing can extend the life of shoes or bags by a long time," says Smbat "Sam" Bedrossian, owner of Fast & Best shoe repair in L.A. (and trusted specialist of many a Who What Wear staffer), to whom we reached out to give us the lowdown on the subject. Bedrossian notes, it's always smart to consider "if the shoes are worth taking to a professional or you can handle it at home." One differentiating factor is that professionals typically have a waterproofing product that's a little stronger than one that would be provided in retail, but in most instances, it's completely reasonable to take on waterproofing shoes yourself. Keep reading to see Sam Bedrossian's advice for waterproofing shoes at home.

WHO WHAT WEAR: When do you recommend waterproofing shoes?

SAM BEDROSSIAN: The best time for waterproofing is right after purchase, mainly because the material has to be clean so it can be waterproofed or else the preexisting stains will stay on the leather or suede.

WWW: Are there any shoe styles or materials that should be waterproofed?

SB: All materials can be waterproofed—it's just a matter of how effective it can be at preventing watermarks and stains.

WWW: What product do you recommend using to waterproof shoes?

SB: I recommend Moneysworth & Best ProTex Water and Stain Fabric Protector ($14).

WWW: What is the best method for waterproofing shoes at home?

SB: Make sure the shoes are clean of any dusts or stains. Apply a light coat of the protector and let it dry for 20 to 30 minutes. After it dries, you can apply another coat of the protector, and let it dry for 30 minutes.

WWW: What are the biggest mistakes people make when waterproofing shoes?

SB: They apply too much spray and damage the suede hair on their shoes, or they wear their shoes out and try to waterproof them when they're already dirty.

Still on the search for a fresh pair of shoes for the new season? Shop the only ankle boots you need this fall.