Stopping shoes from acting like sponges.
October 2, 2006 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I bought some nice leather shoes a few months ago. I recently had to walk around the rainy streets of London for half an hour or so, and during this time the water soaked right up through the leather soles and into the uppers. Is this a) normal? b) preventable?
posted by Kiwi to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't lived in rainy locations for decades, but I have had leather-soled shoes soak through. I once purchased a German product for this: I think it was wax dissolved in some sort of volatile liquid (acetone or something). You were supposed to apply enough of the liquid to soak the sole; the liquid would evaporate and leave the (water resistant) wax behind. You might also want to try mink oil on the uppers and the stitching holding the sole on.
posted by spacewrench at 10:23 AM on October 2, 2006

Leather soles aren't designed to be rain shoes. Through a parking lot is probably fine; a few miles of walking through wet ground definitely isn't.

If you think your soles are soaking up way too much water, see a cobbler, who might treat them or who might suggest putting on a thin layer of rubber. (I do this anyhow to new shoes, for a bit better traction and so I can just keep going through the rubber instead of wearing down the sole.)

Note that leather soles are thin enough that the uppers might just be getting wet on their own, without the soles' help, in which case you need to polish your shoes more often.

But generally, getting stuck in the rain in dress shoes is why there are overshoes and taxicabs.
posted by mendel at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

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