Shoes in wet weather: The best ways to prevent rain damage

Monday, April 20th 2020
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Last month I wrote a fairly comprehensive piece on the ways to deal with rain damage on shoes, when it happens. 

In this article, I’ll outline the best ways to prevent that damage happening in the first place - both in terms of which shoes you wear, and how you look after them. 

As a brief summary of my own experience and opinions, a dark-suede rubber-soled shoe (as a chukka boot above, from Saint Crispin's) is my rain shoe of choice. Suede is great in the rain, despite its reputation, because it rarely shows salt stains. 

My second choice is cordovan, because it's essentially waterproof. It will produce white spots after rain, but these can easily be removed with cream. 

I never wear galoshes or other overshoes today, though I did for a few years. They’re just too irritating. 

Polishing

Normal, everyday care of leather shoes can make them much more water-resistant - and it’s something most guys don’t do regularly enough. 

Polishing shoes gives them a natural resistance to rain, filling in the pores in the leather. It will never be perfect, as the surface remains open anywhere it bends, but it’s a good start. 

Also, applying that polish along the welt of the shoe (where the stitching is) will help to waterproof this area, which is often where water gets in. Use a natural-coloured polish and apply with a small brush. 

Sprays

Waterproofing sprays do work, but their effectiveness is reduced when you agitate the surface - so brushing suede, polishing leather, or just everyday scuffs. 

If you care about how your shoes look therefore, and polish the calf regularly or keep up the nap of the suede, sprays will be of limited use. They are best on cheap shoes, with leather that has a treated surface anyway. 

I’d still say it’s worth applying a spray to suede or anything else you won’t polish often, though - particularly at the start of the winter or when you know wet weather is coming up.

Use ones without any silicone in them - such as Saphir Super Invulner (above).

Rubber soles

Leather soles can be slippery in the rain, but more significantly, they soak up a lot of water. This leaches into the welt and the upper of the shoe, as well as wearing down the sole itself quicker. 

I have cordovan shoes with leather soles that are fine in the rain, but rubber is usually going to be more effective. 

The only limitation is the smartness of the shoe. A thin rubber sole (above, from JM Weston) is often indistinguishable from a leather one, so this isn’t a problem. But the thicker the rubber and tread, the more casual the shoe becomes. 

I wouldn’t sacrifice the smartness of a shoe by putting on a big Dainite sole (below). But if the rubber is slim and hidden, it’s great. I have suede Dovers from Edward Green with a slim rubber sole that work very well in this regard (pictured at the bottom of this post). 

As to types of rubber sole, I’ve never noticed much of a difference between Dainite and Ridgeway, for example. But then it’s very rare in London to be walking on an icy surface. It’s worth getting someone else’s experience if you live in Stockholm or Toronto. 

Waterproofing leather soles

At one point there seemed to be a craze online for different ways to oil the soles of shoes. 

From seeing that, and the results from several friends, I would conclude two things. First, only ever do it with dedicated products. Otherwise you’re just as likely to soften the leather and make the sole more fragile, rather than stronger. 

And second, while there can be beneficial effects in the rain, they are small compared to every other option listed here. Plus, those benefits can be just as easily achieved with better aftercare, as discussed previously

The other option with leather is to just make it thicker: have a double sole. This doesn’t mean the shoe needs to look too chunky either - Stefano Bemer do it well, slimming from a double sole to a single in the waist of the shoe. 

Essentially, anything that keeps the upper of the shoe further away from the rain on the ground will help. 

Welt constructions

Which brings us to the welt of the shoe - the strip running around the edge, attaching it to the sole. This is an important area, because it is the easiest place for water to attack the upper. 

There are several types of shoe construction, but the basic understanding needed here is that shoes without a welt are generally worse in the rain; normal shoes with a welt are in the middle; and shoes with some type of Norwegian or storm welt (above, from Alden) are best. 

The latter can be identified by seeing that strip, the welt, curving up onto the outside of the upper, rather than appearing to run underneath it. 

The only problem, as with rubber soles, is smartness. That external welt is rather chunky and makes the shoe rather more casual. I tend to prefer suede shoes with a normal welt as a result. 

Suede

With that, onto options for the upper of the shoe. 

As stated at the start, I like suede because it avoids the main danger of shoes getting wet, which is the distortion of the leather by salt ridges. Suede can get absolutely soaked and still dry without any marking. 

The only time I’ve seen suede get salt marks is when surfaces are heavily salted against snow, and when shoes aren’t treated in any way after being outside

The other dangers with suede are that it just gets dirty (so avoid pale colours) and that the colour fades (a reason to avoid black). But the standard dark-brown suede (above) performs well. 

A last caveat: some European shoes are made with softer, thin suedes, and can be more delicate as a result. English ones tend to avoid this. 

Grain leather

Grain leather is normal calf, but printed with a particular pattern - such as pebble grain or country grain (above, from Stefano Bemer). 

Grain leathers aren’t necessarily more water-resistant than others, but because they’re not smooth, they don’t show marks anywhere near as easily. They also tend to be thicker than normal leathers. 

If you want leather and dislike cordovan, then a grain is the next-best option for the upper. 

Cordovan 

Cordovan is of course not really a leather, but a membrane that sits under the butt of the horse. It is tough, and becomes deeply oiled during the tanning process. (See our visit to the Horween tannery here.)

Cordovan is much more water resistant than other leathers, as in it doesn’t get soaked and saturated as easily. It is much less likely to develop salt stains and ridges as a result. (This also applies to oiled leathers such as Chromexcel - shown below, on my Wolverine boots.)

Men that buy cordovan as a wet-weather shoe, though, are often disappointed that it gets white water marks. This lessens with time, as you care for the shoes and add in cream and perhaps polish. 

And those marks are quick to remove with cream rubbed into the surface. The key point is that there is no permanent damage - your biggest fear when buying expensive shoes. And there is the advantage over suede that there’s no risk of discolouration. 

In the end, if you're after a shoe that has no negative effects at all from water, you need one made of plastic. 

Overshoes and galoshes

Which is a neat segue into the last area: overshoes. 

These are plastic covers which stretch over your normal shoe. They’ve been around for a long time, but became more popular when Swims introduced a sleeker and smarter version a few years ago. (As often happens these days, the company has now expanded into every possible water-related category.)

I have a pair of Swims (below), and used to wear them whenever it rained. But they do look a little silly, and they are a pain to get on and off. What killed it for me, though, was that they were uncomfortable. They tended to squash any slightly elongated shoe, and give me blisters across my toes. 

Personally, I’d only recommend them if you can’t wear suede or cordovan, and it’s raining heavily. 

There are a few other points we haven’t mentioned. 

Boots are practical if your socks get wet in rainy weather, and loafers less practical for that reason. But then you do have to wear the boots in the office all day. 

And you can swap shoes when you arrive at your destination - in which case you have far more options, from duck boots to wellies. But I know few men who have the patience to do that consistently. 

For me, a sensible dark-brown suede shoe with a rubber sole is the way forward.

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Ajbjasus

Interesting stuff Simon.

As an aside, for some reason I find dainite soles and especially heels don’t wear out anywhere near as quickly as Ridgeway. I always walk everywhere I can when in town so have a number of smart Derbys with dainite soles which do the job brilliantly. Not as a Smart as an Oxford with leather, but in a clean style with a good polish I never feel out of place.

paul

I’m always curious should you add rubber sole to a new pair of nice leather shoe for longer durability.
Leather sole seems expensive to repair compared to slapping a thin rubber sole on it.
Or is there a shoe collector right or wrong thing to do? Pls advice.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Anonymous

How long does it take until leather soles are soaked? In other words, when I only walk a little bit in the rain getting in my car in the morning and then from the parking to the nearby office (and the same in the evening), do I have to worry about rain?

Anonymous

Simon what do you make of adding an aftermarket thin non -slip rubber sole (Topy being the brand I know of) to leather shoes? Also is there any truth that rubber – soled shoes wear warmer/ heat up more than traditional leather – soled shoes?

Jesper Ingevaldsson

Nice article, with many good advices! Have to comment on a couple of things though.

Regarding waterproofing sprays, I don’t know from where you’ve learned the conclusions you do there. For suede I would say you should always use waterproofing sprays, it makes them much more water repellent and dirt repellent than if you don’t use it. Even if you don’t get the water marks, or “salt stains”, when soaked, no point in not using a product that will prevent this, and make them keep of dirt much better. Due to the texture of suede, the waterproofing sprays cause no harm to the leather (if, as you say, doesn’t contain silicone), it can still breathe, and today’s waterproofing sprays will stay on and protect very long, even if brushed regularly. Have a look at this film by a Swedish cobbler where a pair of suede shoes have been sprayed twice with Saphir Invulner, then used in Swedish winter with road salt and snow for three months without more spray, just brushed of after every use, and you can see that it still is highly waterproof (in Swedish, but you get the deal, he only brushed them off before putting them under the tap) : https://youtu.be/gl4reQ8eamw
Waterproofing spray and a renovateur spray every now and then to get in some caring substances is definitely the best way to have good looking, long lasting suede shoes, and will make them even more of a go to shoe for harsh weather.

When it comes to smooth full grain leather, the reason you shouldn’t use waterproof sprays there is that, even if they do protect from water and dirt, when you polish the leather with creams and wax polish the nourishing, highly essential ingredients of the products won’t go into the leather properly, the waterproof spray seals the pores. With time, the leather will dry out “from inside” so to speak, and crack much more easily. That’s the reason that your advice with good care with creams and waxes are the way to go for regular leather.

Also, think it’s good to state more clearly what you mean with “some European shoes are made with softer, thin suedes, and can be more delicate as a result. English ones tend to avoid this.” When it comes to welted shoes, a vast majority use the same type of suede, be it thinner split suedes in lower price ranges and full reverse calf suede for higher priced ones, but same goes for British as other European welted shoes, and to a large extent the same tannery’s are popular no matter which country (if anything, European-made shoes in midrange price segment have more reverse calf than the British makers in the same price point, where you see more split suedes). The thinner, more delicate suedes that I believe you refer to are for lighter types of shoes, light loafers, moccasin (or women’s shoes) etc (and British makers doing this type of shoes also often use thinner suedes).

Anyway, glad to see there’s more shoe content than regularly here lately, keep that up! 🙂

Anonymous

I have a pair of suede monks from C&J but was unhappy with their colour, known as Mink. I went to the main Jermyn Street shop and discussed possible treatments with their in store polishing expert. He suggested brushing with a wire brush, spraying with Saphir maron foncee, allowing to dry, thoroughly brushing again, then spraying with Invulner.

I did as suggested; that was about three years ago and I have worn them regularly ever since, without the reapply, despite regular brushing.

Henry

Jesper certainly has some good points here.

My experience with using Saphir Renovateur (for care) and Invulver (for protection) during rainy winters are that the products indeed help the suede retain its colour and protect the shoe’s surface from permanent stains. Of course, the effect of the Invulver spray is not permanent and therefore I usually re-apply it around three times during a long winter . Still, judging from my own experience, my shoes are much better off when I use a spray, rather than just having a laissez faire approach.

Also, just as Jesper pointed out, whether a thicker (and better quality) suede is used for a shoe has more to to with what you actually pay for the pair in question, rather than them being English or “European”. At least that’s my experience of suede shoes. I own a pair suede Italian chukkas from Astroflex (the maker of Drake’s chukkas), as well as a pair of suede boots from Carmina, and I can honestly say that the suede used for these are both thicker and of higher quality than the suede used for my Loake 1880 shoes.

Karol

Really nice article! One question though: how would you rate the resistance to rain in leather jackets? Are suede jackets fine to wear during rain as well? And what about other leathers? I guess horsehide would be about as good as suede, but what about the more delicate ones?

JamieMcP

I have a set of galoshes but they don’t get much use theses days. The only time I did really use them if I was hosting a meeting in my office where I had to be formal. I would just slip them one for my commute.

Job and life has changed now so when it’s wet I just wear C&J dark brown chukars

Samir

I think the new thin rubber sole which TLB Mallorca offer should serve the purpose , I always feel a little unsteady with leather soles especially when it’s raining

Peter Zottolo

I agree with you on St. Crispin’s yoyo rubber soles. They are one of my favorite soles period, but especially on wet surfaces. I wonder why other shoe companies don’t utilize it.

Stephen

Simon are those Dovers in the last picture the unlined variety? If so, do you wear them in all seasons or restrict them to the warmer months?

E L

As someone who walks in heavy rains for 30+ minutes frequently, I have a few thoughts.

1. Water sits on suede, so your feet will get quite wet if out in heavy rains for a long period of time. This can be annoying if you then have to keep those shoes on after you go inside.

2. I have never used shell (for various reasons) but I find a scotch-grain/pebble-grain works best. Some scotch-grains have a lot more texture than others; the ones with more texture work better. I think the texture prevents the water from sitting on the leather. Also, bumpy leather has a lot more surface area and thus takes a lot more polish/cream which repels the water.

3. A thicker rubber sole works better than a thinner one as it helps keep the shoe out of puddles and such.
—————–
Also, I don’t think overshoes have become more popular over time. 50+ years ago they were very popular. Now, I am not sure I know anyone who actually wears them.

Jay

Dear Simon,

To follow up on my comment from Friday, just wanted to leave a few thoughts on this topic for consideration.
My primary choice of footwear is various pairs of brown suedes, as I prefer to dress smart without the need to be overly formal.
As for the uppers, I’ve used Saphir Invulner in the past but, although effective, the cost and effort to keep the shoes saturated over a long Chicago winter didn’t way up to just giving it a daily brush combined with some rest in trees and perhaps the occasional Saphir suede shampoo bath.
As for the soles, I’ve tried many different options and come to the conclusion that for me manufacture applied thin rubber soles are the sweet spot due to their superior grip in wet/icy and minimal maintenance. When standing or walking, no one sees the difference with a leather sole, and the occasional view from the bottom when sitting cross legged I take for granted. Perhaps my attempt at sprezzatura.
I really hoped Saphir sole guard would be the fix to wearing leather soles through the colder months, but in my experience (even when dry out) it feels like motor oil on the bottom of your shoes, despite their “anti slip” claims.
Lastly, I would not want to be found dead wearing rubber overshoes and switching shoes is too much of a hassle.
Hope this helps.

William

Hello Jay (and Simon), fellow Chicagoan here, I’m curious as to what you mean by “manufacture applied thin rubber soles”? Is this something done TO your leather-soled shoes after you purchase them? Can you give an example of what you are referring to?
Also, for both Simon and Jay, what are your general thoughts about walking around cold, snowy, Chicago winters, in suede loafers? I realize every sartorial decision ends up being a personal, subjective choice, but am I crazy to wear suede loafers in winter?

Thanks

William

Thanks so much for your help!

Adam Jones

Ever since I moved from working in Hertfordshire to working in the city a few years back I am a complete convert to thin rubber soles and have had a few pairs I wear regularly to the office resoled this way.

It’s not just the fact they are harder wearing but it’s mainly grip. Leather soles are so incredibly slippy in parts of the city and have narrowly avoided some embarrassing situations on a few occasions. So my day to day workhorse shoes all now have the thin “city” style rubber soles. I have also had some really good results with the stick on soles applied by a good shoe repairer.

Yes they are not as elegant but day to day travel with wet slippy train platforms, pavements, polished office entrances floors they are a must. Much rather that that the obligatory trainers with suit combo I see all the time.

Barry Kearney-Luc

Dear Simon,

I am very happy with the rubber soles (Dainite and City Rubber sole by Harbourough Rubber Co) that Crockett & Jones. I also am very happy with the Commando soles from Alden.

with kind regards

Barry

EZEQUIEL

simon, would you generally recommend baby wipes for a quick cleansing as with your common projects?

Nick Inkster

Aaagghhhh…….

It’s been years since my children were small, but even today when I get a whiff of a baby wipe I’m afraid it only reminds me of the one thing they were originally intended for………..

Robert M

Since the trainers came up, a tangential question (I hope not too detached from the topic of the post) – how do you take care of the rubber sides of the sole on your trainers, Simon? The leather uppers are easy to deal with, but it’s much harder to deal with dirt on the rubber.

Robert M

I just found it a bit hard to get rid of dark marks on white rubber, and didn’t want to scrub too hard. I guess I don’t need to be afraid and just give them a good scrubbing. Thanks!

Ilia

Thanks for the article Simon! I am curious, what kind of Swims are shown in your picture? I have never seen a pair with the green felt around the edge like that. Thanks.

Peter K

I live on a cold, wintry climate and wear warm winter boots to work and then switch to dress shoes. I don’t find that a hassle at all.

It only takes three or four minutes and is that any more time than required for regular brushing, wiping and treating of dress shoes worn out in the snow and rain?

PS Fan

Simon,
I wear leather sole Lobb Chelsea boots in wet weather (keeps the socks/feet dry) paired with single breast suits, with a slightly narrow trouser at the bottom (no cuff/turn-up; ) so there’s less fabric to get wet. In wet/snowy (very) cold weather, I wear heavier fabric suits (DB, traditional width with cuff/turn-up). In light of your very informative article (cuffs are “more likely to look good on casual trousers: separates rather than suits”), is there some fashion leeway here, e.g. DB suits (with cuff/turn-up) paired with Chelsea boots? Your opinion is appreciated.

Triskel

My former cobbler (working into his 80’s but now sadly dead, and his son is a computer programmer – a sign of the times) advised against stick-on soles. He said that it was inevitable that water would leak into the sole from the welt but that it would be more difficult for the leather sole to dry out if prevented, by the rubber stick-on, from being exposed to the air.

This topic is especially noticable when travelling only with a hand luggage in the winter. All my shoes have leather soles and when I travel , I take maximum one extra pair of shoes so it is often a struggle to give the shoes adequate time for drying from the rain and snow. I am now considering if I should aquire a pair with a rubber sole.

Andreas

I think that thick Dainite or Tank soles add a lot of character to a classic shoe, and I tend to wear them year round (unless I‘m attending a wedding or a similarly formal event). It probably helps that I wear mostly Austrian Shoes, which are already on the chunkier side. Thin soles, no matter if they are rubber or leather, tend to look and feel cheap to me, but that’s of course purely subjective.

MIke

erHi Simon

This post is somewhat of a revelation to me. I was always of the belief that Suede would be damaged and marked severely in the wet. I own a lovely pair of C and J Chiltern’s in dark brown with a Dainite sole which I have been very weary of using in anything but a beautiful blue sky day.

I do protect them with a spray so I can now use them all year round in the UK with confidence

thank you

Feurich

I would like to make a point about rubber soles. I have always felt that rubber soled shoes do not breathe as well as leather soled ones. They run warmer and succumb to odor faster. I assume this is because, despite the thickness, a leather sole breathes and a rubber sole does not. I prefer leather soles as a result, even if it is pain when they get drenched.

Bjorn

I use suede chukkas with Dainite Soles as default casual shoe. This includes visiting playgrounds with the children and conditions from dry sand to mud. This gives me the feeling of looking put together while the mothers around appreciate seeing something different than the default trainers.
The shoes have done the job quite well, with the only downside of mud or sand gathering between the welt and the uppers.
The other day I cleaned them with warm water and curd soap (as my grandmother would did) just using a nailbrush.
The soap is super cheap and available at any grocery (at least in Germany) and you can also use it for washing your knitwear.
After drying the shoes was like new, no dust or stains was left and the leather was still smooth.

Lewis

A very useful article and I’m pleasantly surprised by your conclusion. Another poster mentioned Crockett & Jones Chiltern chukkas with a dainite sole and C&J have another unlined model with a leather sole. I have a pair of C&J monkstraps with what they call a “city rubber” sole, which has proved to be ideal for the London climate. Sadly the salt stains are a problem. So a few questions. Given that the Chilterns have a thicker sole, are they – or similar models – too chunky to wear with tailoring? Would a lined chukka fare better in wet weather than an unlined model? And, lastly, are shoe manufacturers missing a trick by not offering chukkas with a thinner rubber sole than the dainite? Thanks

Noel

Hi Simon,

Many thanks for the post.
Over time I’ve switched to thin rubber soles (when resoling or buying new shoes) because of the weather (I now live in Stockholm) but also because of cost. It seems to me that manufacturers have ramped up the price for a full resoling and leather soles need to be resoled more often than leather ones even if they are never rained on.

Feurich

I must have missed the reference in the text, sorry. My feet don’t run too warm, usually they are cold. I’ve nevertheless noticed the difference with rubber soles but maybe it is not an issue for others.

Michael Maglaras

Simon, I commend you…not only for this article….bu the way in which you keep the spirit of this site alive through this crisis. You have set an example for all of us with good taste, fair dealing ,and patience prevailing over the past few weeks on this site, when it would have been so easy to give way to doom and despair. I have only met you a couple of times….you and I share a love of the bespoke green alligator eyeglass case we both had made at Dunhill’s…but I wish you and your family well…and may the next PS-sponsored pop-up shop happen sooner than we had all imagined possible…Mike

Anonymous

Yes I agree that it would be easy to become depressed but Simon is always there to provide comfort and reassurance. We can get through the this.

Martin

Comfort and reassurance?

I thought this site was about clothes and the like. Does it have a role in wellbeing as well?

PS FAN

Arguably yes, because meaningful comments/discussions re style/clothes can provide comfort and reassurance, and thus enhance one’s wellbeing.

ANM

Simon,

No mention of “Mink oil” (actually a wax, that is now vegetable, or synthetic based) for the treatment of/sealing of leather soles?

It can work well, but if you wear your shoes too soon, you will be sliding around (depending on what you are walking), as it makes your soles nearly friction-less.

None the less, for light rain, etc., an application can do a great job on leather….

Ned Brown

Simon, I found a superb craftsman for the American audience in Weston Shoe Repair in Weston, Mass. However, be patient; he can take weeks. My Westie puppy managed to go into my shoe closet, and chewed the top lip of a favourite cordovan loafer to shreds. Weston did a masterful job of recreating it. Same for one of the tassels on a suede loafer. Hats, shoes… expensive puppy chew toys.

Peter

I live in Montreal and use Sno Seal, which has beeswax as the main ingredient to protect my full grain leather boots (with a Norwegian Welt) as well as wax calf C&J’s. Once the boots are clean and fully dry, I warm up the leather with a hair dryer and apply the Sno Seal. The boots will have a greasy sheen, but this disappears after a day or two and they can be polished afterwards. I do this three to four times a year and have yet to see any salt stains, water marks or get wet feet. It is not advised to use Sno Seal on suede or nubuck as it will flatten the nap.

NICO

Hi,
When wearing business casual eg sport jacket & odd pants with some texture, tweeds, flannels, I believe styles with heavy broguing / stitching, double or rubber soles, storm welts, work fine and should be the best choice as they complement the style.
For sleeker outfits I use a) Allen Edmonds dress shoes with so called “combination soles” (regular leather sole with thin rubber forepart sewn together with the welt), undistinguishable from plain leather soles, b) regular leather soles protected with a sole protection product from German top brand Burgol. I never noticed soles to get any slippery, contrary to some comment on Saphir.
On maintenance, I got the advice that leather soles should be not only waterproofed but also nourished. They are leather after all. I apply neutral cream to them as I store shoes for off-season (I rotate AW and SS sets).
Thanks for the tip on suede. I also believed it to be ruined in rain, and I live in the rainiest part of my country. In fact I never dared to spend beyond Loakes just in case. Maybe I will now risk them in experiment and go higher end if successful.

Ian

Hello there
Really enjoyed the article-thank you. I have a question, although not really linked to the article, if that’s ok?
I own a pair of Chelsea boots in calf leather and can go for months without wearing them, during this time they are stored in the cloth bags in their original box having first cleaned them. Is it advisable to clean them again after say 2-3 months of being stored away?

Rob

Hi Simon,
Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this but i could find anywhere else.
‘m thinking of buying these
https://www.trouva.com/products/astorflex-dukeflex-whiskey-boots
and was wondering what I can wear them with apart from jeans. would they go with a suit etc?
These would be the lightest shoes I’ve ever bought, usually wear black and dark brown shoes.
Many thanks in advance.

Rob

thank you SImon,

Muzammil Idrees

Hi (Simon)
Love what your doing on (Permanent Style)
Just wanted to give you a heads up that you were featured in my new article on(Why not use white shoes during rain?)
Here is the link -(https://bit.ly/3eTUXMX)
i really hope it delivers some new visitors to your site
cheers
(Muzammil Idrees)

Peter

Hi Simon – do you have any experience with sole protectors (could be called “half soles” too – often from Vibram)? I think they are essentially a thin piece of rubber that a cobbler can glue onto a leather sole, both protecting it from wear and presumably also water. How would that stack up vs. using a full rubber or Dainite sole? Thank you.

Piotr

Hi Simon!

Thanks for the article. Just to make sure I get your point well, as I’m new to proper shoe care honestly. I am unwilling to use a waterproofing spray for my suede shoes, basically because of their toxicity and environmental unfriendliness (or maybe I am exaggerating here??). Do I understand well that if I take proper care about them (drying them well, brushing and using a renovator from time to time) I can skip the waterproofing part? There are so many proponents of waterproofing here, and you say you don’t really do it, so I’m a bit at a loss. I would probably use them in wet weather, but change to tougher boots in case of snow (which doesn’t happen that often in Poland anymore anyway ;)).

Anyway, thanks for a very instructive article!

Jonas

You can always use a more environmentally friendly waterproofing spray such as the Saphir Medaille d’Or Protector Spray (not the original Super Invulver one).

https://saphir.com/the-new-saphir-medaille-dor-sneaker-care-range/ (scroll down to 4)

Piotr

Sorry, I’m not sure I understand, so ecology issues aside, with proper care I don’t need to waterproof them to maintain them in good state?

Piotr

Thank you!

Anonymous

Hi Simon any thought s of spraying suede shoes with Scotchguard (fabric and upholstery spray) to protect them? Do you think this would be effective? I’ve just taken delivery of a new pair of Carmina suede loafers and am keen to protect them…

Robert

Hey Simon-

I still wear galoshes in inclement weather (or as my Dad referred to them “rubbers”, which of course always gets an uncomfortable chuckle). Probably one of the last to do so.

And I wear them proudly. To me it means I care about my appearance and my footwear investment. Nothing I hate more than wet shoes. When I traipse around European city centers I always carry a pair in my satchel ready for the next downpour. Always.

And the most frequent snarky comment ? “…wow, are those galoshes? My Dad used to wear those…” And I respond “…sounds like you could have learned a thing or two from him…”

The men of a prior generation knew how to dress. They did it well. They protected their investment and dressed like adults. Footwear protection was as important as a wristwatch or a tie.

On another thread ( How Things Age: Bruce Boyer), someone posted that they didn’t want to dress like their father. I personally have no issue dressing like my Dad. My father never left the house in the rain without rubbers covering his lace up leather shoes. And they certainly weren’t St Crispin’s or Crockett & Jones. He protected them because he knew to replace them was more than he could afford. And I do the same.

Keep up the good work. Love what you do here.

Robert

Hey Simon-

Agree completely. They are definitely odd looking. And yes, they can “squeeze” the foot a bit. However, I’m not fastidious enough to keep up with an unprotected shoe. And until I am, galoshes will have to remain a part of my wet weather wardrobe no matter how stylishly awkward.

Felix

I always wonder what kind of lifestyle exactly requires to wear delicate shoes and at the same time spending so much time outside that exposure to weather becomes a serious issue.

Robert

Hey Felix
Even a short walk from my car to the office in a downpour without my galoshes is enough to get my day off to a poor start. My shoes aren’t delicate, but they are several hundred dollars. I find galoshes indispensable when travelling on holiday in Europe. I pack one pair of dress shoes and often eat at upscale restaurants requiring smart attire. Nothing worse than wading through water flooded cobblestones without my rubbers and then sitting through an otherwise wonderful Michelin rated meal with soaked feet. I know it sounds silly, but they have been a lifesaver in city centers throughout the continent.

Nico

Hi Simon,
I have been looking for shoes with a good balance of performance in wet weather and comfortable step. I have found a style I like which is offered both in:
– Cordovan + Rendenbach sole
– Boxcalf + Dainite sole
Regarding weather performance and concerning uppers I take it Cordovan has it; for soles I understand Rendenbach must forcibly be second to plain rubbers, but what would you say is the overall balance?
As for comfortable step, I have no experience with either sole, but own some shoes with Dainite replicas, and they are quite stiff, not the kind of cushiony rubber. Would you say there might be a noticeable difference between both?

Thanks,

Rob

Hi Simon, thanks for this great article. I am building a shoe collection at the moment and this has given me alot to think about in terms of which shoes are most versatile for as many occasions/situations as possible.

I that regard, and reading a few articles on the site, are your EG Dovers in suede with a rubber sole the most versatile shoe you own? You’ve mentioned elsewhere that a dark suede is great for spanning formal/casual occasions, while it seems from this article that they will also do well in the rain (am I right to infer that from their mention in this article?).

I am tempted by the Dover in London grain too, but I appreciate your comments regarding grains not being great with tailoring.

Many thanks.