How do I make my sneakers water resistant?
June 17, 2008 8:51 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to make my sneakers water resistant? Details inside.

Adidas Samba Classic Indoor Soccer shoes are my favorite day-to-day shoes. I'm headed to a country that has a monsoon wet season and I'd like to make them as water resistant as possible.

Would it be better to use something like Atkos Sno-Seal, a beeswax based waterproofer?
Or something like Repel Weather Shield, a silicone based spray?

Or both? (If so, in which order?)
posted by sharkfu to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total)
I would use something water-based, like this. You want something that will be absorbed into the leather. Sno-Seal is not too bad on hiking boots, but it tends to sit on the surface and it needs reapplication quite often, so it probably won't be ideal for your shoes. I don't think a silicone based spray is going to absorbed very well either and I would be wary of any product that isn't made specifically for leather.
posted by ssg at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2008

I'm not familiar with those shoes, but if the uppers are all leather, and no suede, then saddle soap and mink oil should do the trick. Clean them off, then apply the saddle soap. Let them sit a while, then wipe off the excess. Then apply the mink oil as thickly as you can. Get the kind that's a paste, not the liquid. Really slather it on, and work it in. Dispense with any sort of sponge or applicator; use your fingers and thumbs to massage it into the leather. Let it dry for a couple of hours, then wipe off as much of the excess as you can. You should be good to go.

I've never lived in monsoon-prone areas, but this method has gotten various pairs of work boots through many Oklahoma Winters and Springs.
posted by Shohn at 9:58 AM on June 17, 2008

Unless you have really low expectations regarding water resistance, I doubt you'll be able to achieve any satisfactory results regardless of what product you use.

In order to make a shoe waterproof/water resistant, you need to make the upper impermeable and seal the seams. The Beeswax Sno-Seal would probably make the leather waterproof, but wouldn't seal the seams unless you really gunked it on. Also, the wax-based products will change the appearance of the shoes, giving them an (unsurprisingly) waxy, sticky look and feel. The silicon-based spray is probably useless for a smooth leather shoe like the Sambas; your shoes endure so much abrasion that the silicon you spray on would likely be wiped off too soon to be of use. Finally, even if you could make the shoes waterproof/resistant, any water getting above the laces is going to rush into the shoe through the tongue. Based on my experiences with monsoons in China, that kind of water is a definite possibility. In fact, most Chinese just took their shoes off, rolled up their pants, and walked through the cities barefoot.

But, it's not all gloom and doom. If you're willing to consider abandoning your beloved Sambas for different footwear, you might look at some of the Gore-Tex shoes. They're not particularly cheap, but they're totally waterproof (yes, even continuous immersion).

Good luck on your trip!
posted by EKStickland at 10:38 PM on June 17, 2008

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