There’s nothing I love more than splurging on a new leather bag, jacket or a pair of fancy fresh shoes to breathe new life into my closet. Leather accessories will never go out of style — even throwing on a chic leather belt is an easy way to elevate even the most casual outfit. And since leather fashion items are usually a bit of an investment, I’m always looking for ways to protect leather goods, keeping them beautiful and elongating each item’s life.
I know many people swear by weatherproofing their leather accessories, but I’ve always been wary of doing it myself; the last thing I want to do is ruin something precious or brand new. But Vincent Rao Jr. of Vince’s Village Cobbler in New York City assured me that weatherproofing shoes and bags is an essential post-purchase step. “Beyond extending the lifespan of leather products, it also preserves their appearance and ensures they remain in pristine condition, even when exposed to elements,” he told HuffPost.
Rao explained that understanding the type of leather you are working with is incredibly important when water- and weather-proofing items on your own. “Materials like lambskin, nubuck and suede can be particularly challenging,” he said, especially when in a lighter color like white, beige or gray. He recommends doing a test patch on a discreet area before going forward with a full application to avoid causing widespread damage. It’s also important to note that weatherproofing is not a one-and-done situation. Rao encouraged periodic reapplication to ensure “continuous protection against water and other potential threats.”
He urged us to reap the rewards of investing time and effort into weatherproofing leather items. It’s the best way to preserve both the aesthetic and functional value of investment pieces so we can cherish them for years to come. Below, we’ve rounded up the best water- and weatherproofing products for leather items based on Rao’s recommendations. Pick up a few for yourself and enjoy your beautiful luxury bags, leather shoes and more for years to come.
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Sofsole mink oil
Kiwi Select All Protector spray
This convenient and effective spray is a great to quickly and easily repel the natural elements while also protecting leather from stains. It’s very highly rated and reviewed, and comes from Kiwi, a brand that Rao recommended.
Moneysworth & Best Pro-Tex Nano water and stain protector spray
“Another notable product is Moneysworth & Best’s spray,” Rao said, nothing “[it’s] versatile enough for almost any material or color.” It has an innovative formula that is long-lasting and can protect leather goods from water and stains easily and quickly.
Sno-Seal all-season leather protector
Meltonian boot and shoe cream polish
Rao says that off-the-shelf leather wax polish like this one from Meltonian incorporates “weatherproofing chemicals, offering dual benefits of shine and protection.” It comes in a wide range of shades and is a nice way to keep leather items looking fresh over time.
Kiwi no-buff nourishing cream
Similarly, Rao also recommended this polish from one of his preferred leather-care brands, Kiwi. Not only is it great for recently purchased items, but it can breathe new life into older shoes, bags and other leather items. While a cream like this might not be as heavy-duty as a spray or other type of balm, it’s a good option for those of us who are nervous about damaging our items.
Apple Brand Garde rain and stain repellant spray
I had to include this highly-rated option from Apple Brand as an editor’s pick. It’s actually designed specifically to adhere to fine leather goods, without altering their existing texture and shades or leaving behind any unwanted residue. A quick scan of Amazon reviews yields a veritable boutique’s worth of designer brand names whose leather goods have benefitted from the protection of this spray. The spray acts as an invisible shield against everything from scuffs to water to body oil or salt stains. Its sealing powers cause liquid and messes to bead up on the leather’s surface where they can be wiped away in an instant, all without interfering with the breathability of the material.