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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What happens to good leather shoes if they are exposed to rain? Think extreme, like you are caught on a storm, have to walk a mile to your car, and you step ankle deep in 10 paddles till you get there :)
 

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OK, you guys are right.. let me rephrase my question..
When leather shoes get wet, like really wet, do they get destroyed? Does the color change?
If not, is there anything specific you need to do with them, or they just dry and they are as good as new?
 

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OK, you guys are right.. let me rephrase my question..
When leather shoes get wet, like really wet, do they get destroyed? Does the color change?
If not, is there anything specific you need to do with them, or they just dry and they are as good as new?
OK, here's the real dope -

The traditional advice is to stuff them with newspaper until they dry out. No trees. Definitely don't apply heat of any kind. (You probably know this, but some folks have actually baked them! :eek:)

As to the effect, it will vary from shoe to shoe and leather to leather. Will they ever be identical to what they were before? Probably not. Will they be wearable and look OK? Very possibly. After they dry, you may very well have water marks on the leather that appear as white residue around the areas that were wettest. Many, many years ago, I treated these with saddle soap, and they experienced significant improvement.

But there's now a whole host of products intended for such purposes to both remove stains and rejuvenate leather. This is one of the rare instances where adding moisture/oils back to the hide can result in significant cosmetic improvements.

A lot of people around here like Saphir products. I haven't used, them, but you may want to do a search here to see what folks have used to perform the process I suggested.

Obviously, shoes that are sewn as well as glued tend to fair better than those that aren't.
Good luck! :beer:
 

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This has happened to me more than once, usually in Tokyo. Let them dry completely. Treat with Saphir or similar product of choice. The biggest problem I have had is with the soles but a few good walks and they seem seem ok. The quality of the shoe will be the greatest determining factor
 

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I am one who, in most cases, wears my shoes/boots regardless of the weather conditions. Admittedly, if I know it's raining , I add overshoes to the mix and prior to my last retirement, I carried a pair of overshoes in my briefcase...for emergencies. However, on a number of extreme occasions my footwear has become soaked with puddled rain and/or melting slush. As long as you allow the shoes/boots to dry naturally (stuffing with old newspapers will speed the process), they will be OK and you will survive the experience. After they have dried completely, wipe away the white salt stains that may appear and moisturize the leather with a good leather conditioner. Polish as necessary to restore the finish. Good quality shoes/boots are like "Timex" footwear...they can take a licking and keep on ticking! ;)
 

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I am one who, in most cases, wears my shoes/boots regardless of the weather conditions. Admittedly, if I know it's raining , I add overshoes to the mix and prior to my last retirement, I carried a pair of overshoes in my briefcase...for emergencies. However, on a number of extreme occasions my footwear has become soaked with puddled rain and/or melting slush. As long as you allow the shoes/boots to dry naturally (stuffing with old newspapers will speed the process), they will be OK and you will survive the experience. After they have dried completely, wipe away the white salt stains that may appear and moisturize the leather with a good leather conditioner. Polish as necessary to restore the finish. Good quality shoes/boots are like "Timex" footwear...they can take a licking and keep on ticking! ;)
I agree with this but would point out that my experience has been that the uppers tend to survive wet conditions better that the soles. So if you have a rubber (Dainite or similar) the repercussions are much less than if you are dealing with a leather sole. I guess my greater point is that if you think it might rain and you don't have overshoes then wear shoes with rubber soles.
 

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I am one who, in most cases, wears my shoes/boots regardless of the weather conditions. Admittedly, if I know it's raining , I add overshoes to the mix and prior to my last retirement, I carried a pair of overshoes in my briefcase...for emergencies. However, on a number of extreme occasions my footwear has become soaked with puddled rain and/or melting slush. As long as you allow the shoes/boots to dry naturally (stuffing with old newspapers will speed the process), they will be OK and you will survive the experience. After they have dried completely, wipe away the white salt stains that may appear and moisturize the leather with a good leather conditioner. Polish as necessary to restore the finish. Good quality shoes/boots are like "Timex" footwear...they can take a licking and keep on ticking! ;)
My experience, too. As soon as you're home, wipe them down with a damp cloth to get off the yuck that floats up in streetwater, and use a toothbrush to get into the sole/upper join. When totally dry, I like to start with a cream well rubbed in, then a light polish.
 

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Significant water exposure is not good for any shoe leather and salt exposure is even worse. Water makes leather dry out. Once your shoes have dried I would rub conditioner into the leather, I use Saphir Renovateur. Whether you get visible water stains depends upon the colour and leather. If there's any risk of salt exposure then I rinse the outer leather under a tap as salt does more damage than water. It's best not to wear shoes you want to keep for a long time in weather that may be wet or turn wet. I have less expensive shoes for this purpose that are dark in colour so tide marks won't be visible.

I look after my shoes reasonably well but they all end up failing due to the leather uppers splitting in time. My evidence so far suggests that the highest quality fine and pliable leather splits sooner than cheaper harder leather although the latter takes more time to break in.

I have a pair of Magnanni double monks that were made using cheaper harder leather that have now broken in and softened beautifully and look better than shoes of the same age that cost much more and I expect them to last significantly longer. I have since bought two other pairs of Magnanni double monks.
 

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Does anybody remember huarache sandals from the late 60's? They were impossibly stiff when you first got them, and the common wisdom was to wear them in water, get them soaked, let them dry out, repeat a couple more times, and then they would break in and be as comfortable as slippers, and fitted to your foot like they were custom made. Not a process I recommend for dress shoes, but I think one of leather's virtues as a shoe material is its resilience.
 

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I've used this technique to break in many pair of military boots and never had a pair disintegrate. Admittedly, they have never had leather soles. I have seen leather soled cowboy boots soaked pretty badly and emerge unscathed. In either case, a dose on leather conditioner is a good idea.
Tom
 
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