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Is Suede Waterproof?

Is suede waterproof?

Nothing speaks style more than a great pair of shoes on your feet. You can now buy great quality and waterproof shoes from for your hikes, runs, or pure fashion. But first, let's talk about suede shoes and how you can handle them in wet places.

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If you have that pair of suede shoes you can't wait to wear soon, then you need to understand a few dynamics if you want it to last you a while. Suede is one of the most delicate materials, more delicate than nubuck and leather, and requires excellent care in all seasons.

How Different is Suede from Leather and Nubuck?

Suede is a material used by shoemakers and other designers to make footwear, bags, jackets, etc. It is obtained from the innermost side of an animal hide which contains a rougher texture compared to the surface.

Leather is a material obtained through tanning animal skin to make one of the most durable items in the manufacturing industry.

Nubuck is a material obtained by sanding the leather material to give the appearance of soft, short protein fibers.

Is it Waterproof?

Suede is not a waterproof material. However, you can waterproof your suede so it can withstand a little winter and a little rain. Still, you should avoid walking in heavy rain or cleaning the material with a lot of water.

Are Suede Shoes Waterproof?

The short answer is no; water will damage your suede shoes. As good-looking as suede is, it highly absorbs water and, if not dried properly, hardens the material to leave a nasty-looking stain. If you love your suede shoes, it would be best to avoid wearing them in the rain or even during winter.

If your suede boots get soaked in water, there are a few cleaning hacks you can perform to try and restore the shoe to its former glory.

What to Do if your Suede Shoes Are Soaked Wet

So, you went to a meeting in your favorite suede shoes, and it rained heavily, which meant there is nothing much you could do to avoid getting your shoes wet. If you didn't wait too long to try and salvage them, here are a few things you should do as fast as possible, and your shoes could get a second chance in life.

1. Blot the shoes

Using a dry microfiber towel of paper towels, bolt the shoes to get most of the water out of the material. Remember that this process is a race against time as you don't want your shoes to dry by themselves, in which case your shoes would be as good as ruined.

2. Brush the shoes gently

After you've blotted most of the water from your shoes, you should then brush them to prevent the material from sticking together to form sains.

Make sure to use a soft bristle suede brush or even a toothbrush, and gently brush the shoe in circular motions.

3. Continue brushing softly as the shoe dries

After you've brushed it for a few minutes, the shoe is ready for drying time. It would be ideal to use a hand dryer as you continue brushing the material in circular motions.

Brushing in this step is crucial in reviving the nap of the material, so it doesn't harden as it dries.

4. Restore and protect the shoe

To fully restore the shoe's appearance, you need to brush it even after it dries. You can also use a suede cleaning solution to restore the nap of the material. For best results and future protection guarantee, you can opt for a cleaning solution that repels water, dirt, and stains.

How to Clean Suede and Nubuck Shoes

Depending on the amount of dirt, the following are the steps of cleaning suede and nubuck shoes.

1. Get the right cleaning products

The following are some of the most basic suede and nubuck cleaning equipment you need to have;

  • A suede brush
  • A suede protector spray
  • A suede eraser
  • A sponge or microfiber cloth
  • A shoetree
  • A water and stain repellent

2. Brush the shoe

If your shoe is not wet, the first thing to do is brushing the material in a circular motion to remove any dirt that could be stuck.

3.Target stains individually

The following are the most common types of suede shoe stains and how you can clean them;

a) Mud stains

Wait for mud stains to dry and harden before removing them with a brush. Make sure you continue brushing the stain off in the same direction.

b) Water stains

If your shoe has a water stain, the best way to tackle it is by lightly coating the whole suede material with water. To do so, you need a damp cloth or sponge to soak the excess water on the shoe's exterior evenly. Put your shoetree in and let the shoe dry overnight. Once it dries, remember to brush gently.

c) Oil stains

To get an oil stain off your shoe, you can pour baby powder or cornstarch over it and wait a few hours for it to absorb all the oil.

How to Protect Suede Shoes from Outside Weather Conditions

Suede is a very delicate material that is bound to get damaged sooner than others. However, that does not mean you should not try some protective measures that could prolong its life. The best trick is using a waterproofing spray for both boots and shoes.

Some of the best waterproofing treatments, like the Bickmore Gard-More Water and stain repellent protectant spray or the Nikwax Nubuck waterproofing treatment, are ideal to use every week if you wear your shoes often. Follow these steps to spray and waterproof your suede and nubuck shoes;

  1. Clean and dry the shoes.
  2. Test the shoe spray on a small area of the shoe to see if any discoloration happens.
  3. If no color change happens, continue to spray the suede shoe's upper, taking care not to over-saturate.
  4. Use a suede or nailbrush to brush the suede material.
  5. Leave the shoe to dry for a couple of hours.

How to Properly Store Suede Shoes

You understand the need to protect your suede shoes from moisture and dirt to preserve their shape, texture, and appearance. As such, you need to store them in a place with UV protection, rain, or water.

The best place to store your suede shoes has enough air circulation and receives no direct sunlight. If you have items like suede hiking boots that you don't wear often, you can opt to place them in a dust bag or wrap them with a paper towel to store them in a shoebox. In addition, it is best to insert the shoetree to preserve the shape of the shoe.

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