How to Make Boat Shoes Waterproof

If you love sailing or spending time on boats, you probably own a pair of boat shoes. When selecting a pair it's a good idea to determine how waterproof they are, as salt water is corrosive and can rot the shoe or leave a white water mark. Most boat shoes have a rubber sole with either a leather or canvas upper, and will have some water resistance - but it's simple to add more protection using a cream or spray.

Make sure your shoes are clean and dry. Remove any laces.

Use a spray for canvas shoes. For leather shoes a spray or cream will work. Creams or sprays are readily available at shoe stores and discount retailers.

Spot test the cream or spray on a small part of your shoe, according to the product label, to make sure it will not harm the material.

Cover the upper, outside part of shoes before using a spray. Pay particular attention to any joins, seams or stitched areas. Spray the shoes outdoors. Allow to dry before wearing.

Rub cream protectants into leather shoes using a soft cloth. Make sure to apply the cream to joins, seams and stitched areas. Leave to fully dry.


Apply the protective spray or cream once every six months to prolong the life of the shoes.


Protective spray may stain lighter leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective cream or spray
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Soft cloth
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About the Author

Laura Maxwell has been writing lifestyle, e-commerce and educational web content since 1998. Her articles have appeared on the MSN UK shopping website, Orange UK lifestyle portal, "Muji UK" catalog and the London Business School AIM research website. Maxwell holds a Business & Finance Higher National Diploma (HND) from Gloucester University.