Here at Vionic, suede, nubuck leather, mesh, and canvas are some of our favorite materials for crafting our men’s and women’s arch support shoes. But no matter how much we love wearing them (and seeing you wear them), they aren’t all cut out for rainy weather.
If you’ve got a pair of kicks you’d like to rock in the rain, you might be wondering how to waterproof shoes. The footwear pros at Vionic want you to have the confidence to get where you want to go, no matter what the weather has in store. Along with offering an impressive selection of both slip resistant shoes for women and men and water resistant shoes, we’re committed to providing you with the information you need to make your shoes work for all-season wear.
How to Make Shoes Waterproof
Whether you live in a notably rainy climate or just want to be prepared for the occasional drizzle, weather-proofing your shoes or boots is a smart idea. If you want to know how to make shoes waterproof, there are a couple of routes you can take. One option is to use a waterproof shoe spray, and the other involves beeswax and a hairdryer. Find step-by-step instructions for each method below.
The Waterproof Spray Method
The waterproof spray method is relatively straightforward. First, you’ll need to get a high-quality waterproofing shoe spray, which you can find online or at a majority of shoe stores. There are virtually endless brands and types on the market, but most contain many of the same active ingredients. When browsing weather-proofing sprays, look for acrylic or silicone polymers, as these create a barrier for water repellency.
Step 1: In your garage, covered deck, or another ventilated area, place your shoes on a sheet of newspaper, paper bag, or sheet of plastic.
Step 2: Hold the waterproofing spray bottle about 8 inches from the shoe and start by evenly coating the upper portion. Then work your way down the sides and toward the heel, making sure you cover the entire uppers. Pay special attention to the seams and where the soles connect to the uppers, as water can make its way through the cracks. Go slow and be careful not to completely saturate the shoes—you don’t want them to be dripping wet.
Step 3: Once the shoes have an even coat of waterproofing spray, allow them to air dry for at least 24 hours. Though the material might be dry to the touch after an hour or so, it’s best to let the product do its thing. To really ensure water-resistance, you might want to repeat the process every month or so—give or take depending on the weather and how often you wear the shoes.
While you can use a waterproof spray to treat almost any shoe material, it usually works best on canvas or other textile uppers because the fabric is more absorbent. Suede is also somewhat absorbent, so you’ll probably get good results with suede boots or shoes too.
If you have a pair of Vionic shoes that you want to make weatherproof, we recommend using our Rain & Stain. This spray provides a layer of protection against water, dirt, and stain.
The Beeswax Method
The beeswax method of waterproofing shoes is slightly more involved, but anyone can do it. You’ll need about a lime-sized chunk of beeswax. (You probably won’t use it all, but the point is to have a big enough piece that you can grip it in your hand.) Beeswax can be purchased online and at most hardware and craft stores.
Step 1: Since dirt and dust stick to wax, they can get trapped underneath. For this reason, it’s important to start with clean shoes. If they’re brand-new, you won’t have to do anything, but if you’re working with slightly worn shoes, you’ll want to clean them using a damp cloth. Allow them to air dry completely before continuing.
Step 2: Before applying wax to the entire shoe, you’ll want to test a small part to make sure it doesn’t stain the material. We suggest making an inconspicuous mark along the inner sidewall. Since beeswax is naturally pigmented with a golden hue, you’ll probably notice some slight contrast, especially if you’re working with light-colored footwear. This is usually OK, as most of the golden tone will disappear once it melts.
Step 3: If the wax doesn’t create any drastic discoloration, you’re good to continue with the rest of the shoe. Rub the beeswax all over the uppers using a back-and-forth motion, almost like you’re coloring in a drawing. The goal is to create a generous layer of wax without any spaces, making sure to cover every inch of the material. Carefully inspect each shoe to make sure it’s evenly coated and that you haven’t missed any spots around the eyelets, toes, and any seams.
Step 4: Once your shoes are evenly coated with beeswax, you’re ready to seal it with heat. With a blow dryer set to high heat on full blast, run the hot air a few inches from the uppers, one area at a time. As the wax heats up, it will liquefy and then disappear into the material. Once it rehardens, you’ll have a transparent waterproof seal—and your shoes should look just like they did before you started.
However, with either method above, it isn’t guaranteed that you won’t damage the integrity or quality of the shoe’s material. This is why instead of waterproofing your shoes, our best recommendation is to buy shoes that are water resistant already.
Ready-Made Weather-Resistant Shoes from Vionic
Depending on where you reside, you might be used to significant rainfall each year. In other regions, rainy days are more unpredictable, which can be frustrating when you realize your footwear of choice isn’t going to cut it.
Sometimes, you find the perfect pair of shoes for a special occasion, then upon seeing rain on the forecast, a sense of panic kicks in. We’ve been there—we get it! Waterproofing a pair of shoes is usually a low-risk DIY project. However, with pre-treated styles, you don’t need to know how to waterproof or winterize shoes.
If you want to save yourself a bit of time and elbow grease, we encourage you to check out the ready-made water-resistant footwear from Vionic. We carry weather-treated shoes for men and women that you can wear out in the rain as soon as you put them on. All you’ll need is a rain jacket and maybe an umbrella, and you’re good to go! You have a pair of shoes for rainy days that are stylish and comfortable.
For ladies, we’ve got ankle boots, heeled boots, casual booties for women, and slip resistant work shoes for those of you who work in restaurants, hospitals, and more. And for guys, Vionic has Chelsea-inspired boots, chukkas, oxfords, driving moccasins, and non-slip trainers. With patterned tread on the bottom of the outsoles, our waterproof shoes for women are made to grip the ground, no matter the weather. Our designs are lightweight and versatile, and we’ve got something that’ll work for any occasion.
You should be able to step outside your door, not worrying about what precipitation or puddles might do to your shoes. We want you to strut your stuff with confidence instead of puddle-hopping for fear of getting your kicks wet. Whether you’re anticipating an all-out rainstorm or a light drizzle, your feet will stay dry in our fashionable styles.
Vio-Motion Support Technology
Each of our weather-resistant footwear designs is embedded with our proprietary Vio-Motion Support technology. With unbeatable arch support, contoured cushioning, and reliable stability, you can really feel the difference with our shoes. Whether you’re walking, standing, or dancing, you’ll feel comfortable and pain-free for hours on end. Best of all, the orthotics are entirely hidden within the soles. With our footwear, you don’t have to choose between comfort and fashion—and you don’t have to choose between fashion and weather-resistance, either.
While you can’t predict the weather, you can take control over your cold-weather wardrobe. The team at Vionic believes that uncomfortable or impractical footwear should never prevent you from doing what you want to do. That’s why we design stylish and water-resistant shoes for days when the forecast is less than ideal. Rain or shine, you can’t go wrong with a pair of shoes or booties with arch support from Vionic.
Take footwear fashion by storm and shop the wet-weather shoes for men and women from Vionic today.