There’s nothing more romantic than walking in the rain, feeling the droplets on your skin making you feel alive. Until you realize your feet are wet and you’re starting to feel slightly annoyed..! Because of that, it’s important to wear the proper footwear for your little adventure. So, can you wear suede in the rain?
Because suede is leather made from real animal skin, it’s usually pretty hardy. However, wearing this kind of leather in rain can damage your shoes, so it’s important to know what are the cons before you expose them to water.
Suede isn’t as fragile as it may seem at first, but maybe you should think twice before you make your inner child happy and jump into the next puddle you see. However, if your suede leather has already been damaged by rain, don’t worry. There are ways to restore their beauty.
Before you decide to wear your suede on a rainy day, it’s crucial to know what are some issues you could be dealing with. If you’ve already made that mistake, we’ll help you save your favorite pair, so let’s learn all about it.
Can you wear suede in the rain?
So, can you wear suede in the rain? The short answer is yes. However, because it can’t withstand huge amounts of water, it’s important to properly waterproof it.
Since suede is made from the underside of an animal’s skin, it’s a pretty fine material that requires special care. It’s not as durable as regular leather, and even water can damage it. If you have no other choice but to wear your suede leather in rain, it’s important to protect them first.
Luckily, it’s easier to protect suede shoes than regular leather, so don’t worry. Still, even when you protect them, you should be careful. You still shouldn’t go running through every puddle you see. The protective layer on your suede shoes will be enough to protect them from a normal rainy day.
How to protect suede
Although the answer to the question “Can you wear suede in the rain?” is yes, we still believe there are much better options for you. If you have no other choice, knowing how to protect your suede shoes properly is a game-changer.
Because suede is not as waterproof as other types of leather, it’s always a good idea to treat your suede shoes with a water-repellent spray. Even if you don’t plan on wearing them in the rain, we still recommend treating them before first use, and then when needed throughout the year.
Although water-repellent sprays are really helpful, they’re not magic. Your suede shoes are still at risk if exposed to too much water, so be careful. Soaking them for a long period of time will definitely damage them, so put your suede shoes away if you notice it’s raining cats and dogs.
Before you get to waterproofing your shoes, you’ll need suede spray, shampoo, and a suede brush.
Start off by brushing the surface of your shoes. It will help you remove the excess dirt from your shoes. That way, you’ll prevent doing a sloppy job with waterproofing.
If you’re dealing with some stubborn stains on your shoes, make sure you use suede shampoo, following the instructions on the products. It’s crucial that you clean your suede before waterproofing. If you don’t, stains and dirt might leave permanent marks on your shoes.
After you’ve cleaned the suede leather, it’s finally time to apply the waterproof spray. Hold the spray can about 7 inches away from the leather and start applying the spray moving back-and-forth.
Don’t hold it over one spot for too long, and make sure you spray as evenly as possible. When you’re done, let the spray air dry before wearing your shoes.
Why is wearing suede in the rain a bad idea?
If you’re still wondering “Can you wear suede in the rain and is it such a bad idea to do so?”, maybe it would be helpful for you to understand how damaging it can really be.
Wet suede can be really annoying to deal with. Since the nap is made of tiny “leather hairs”, wetting your shoes can cause them to become stiff and brittle once they dry off. Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing that could happen to your lovely suede shoes.
Let’s see what are some things you might have to deal with if you decide to soak your suede shoes in rain today.
1. It can lighten your shoes
If you wear your suede shoes in rain, you’ll immediately notice their color fading. We know, noticing your beautiful pair lighten with use is truly a heartbreaking thing to see…
Rain easily erodes the dark color of suede shoes or any other item made of the same material, which results in a change of color. Over time, tiny bits and pieces of color come off, which gives suede items a faded appearance.
Also, rain can contain salt, which can then affect the original color of the suede material. That being said, you better wait for the rain to stop before wearing your favorite shoes.
More often than not, you won’t even notice your leather changing color while it’s still wet. It might take a few walks in the rain for you to notice changes, so it’s best to avoid wetting your suede shoes altogether.
2. Rain stretches suede
Not only can your suede shoes change color, but rainwater can also cause the leather to stretch.
Because suede is a porous material, it has a quality of stretching, just like natural leather. It’s also common that it changes form as well. Now, depending on what you’re looking for, this can be both a pro and a con. However, stretching suede isn’t really something you should look for.
The main issue with this is the fact that the material can tear apart after being stretched. If you often wear your suede shoes in rain, every time you decide to put them on, you risk ripping the leather.
On the other hand, if you look for a way to break your suede in shoes, this might help you. However, you don’t want to overdo it and tear your leather, so do it with caution.
Although one thing is true – you won’t have to wonder whether you can wear suede shoes in the rain or not if you end up ripping them apart.
3. It affects the nap of the leather
We all love suede because of its wonderful texture. Unfortunately, rain can change that in the worst possible way.
If you often opt for your suede boots as rain footwear, you might want to change that. Suede can become stiff and brittle, with nap breaking off from the surface, if often exposed to water. It causes permanent damage to the beautiful suede leather, and your boots might change forever.
When used properly, suede shoes are a real fashion statement. However, you should make sure you wear your suede items during a warm and dry day if you want to avoid the nap breaking off.
Because it’s designed with rough sandpaper, the surface of suede leather has that unique texture that we all love. When worn in rain, those hairs on your shoes can become matted or sticky. After they dry, they will lose their initial spark.
Unfortunately, this is something that you can’t undo. All of the dust will get into your shoe material which will make it almost impossible to clean. That is, without further damaging the nap, of course.
I know that suede is unique and different from other types of leather but, it also makes it more prone to damage. Because of that, it’s best to avoid exposing suede leather to rain often, even if it’s water-proofed.
4. Rain leaves watermarks on suede
No one wants to see awkward watermarks on their beautiful suede boots, but that’s what wearing them in rain often will get you. It’s hard to notice them when suede is still wet but, once it dries, you might see watermarks on the surface of the leather.
Unlike smooth natural leather, suede absorbs a lot of water and therefore dries differently. That’s why watermarks will easily form on its surface.
We all want to keep our pricey leather footwear looking new for as long as possible, but once the watermarks form, that becomes pretty impossible. The best thing you can do is avoid rain altogether, and wear them when it’s dry outside.
However, if you have no other options, there’s one thing that might help you avoid this issue. Wiping suede leather with a damp cloth before you get out into the rain might do the trick. That way, the fibers will get wet, and they won’t absorb too much moisture from the rain.
However, you should still be careful, as even doing this trick can leave watermarks.
5. It promotes mold growth
If you still have a hard time deciding and are still wondering “Can you wear suede in the rain or not?!”, maybe this will help you decide – exposing your suede to rain can promote mold growth. Who wants mold growing on top of their shoes!?
The worst thing about it is the fact that you’ll probably see mold once your shoes change color which is already a bit too late. Now your initial reaction will probably be to scrub it off. But bear in mind that this can cause discoloration of the nap and a change in the structure of the material.
Luckily, this doesn’t make mold impossible to remove, but you’ll have to be really cautious with it. With a special type of cleaner and a lot of patience, you can try removing it. However, you have to remove every little spore so it doesn’t keep returning.
The best way you can avoid this and save yourself some trouble is by cleaning your shoes every time they get wet and hoping for the best.
What to do if your suede shoes get wet?
Well, if your shoes are already soaking wet what matters then is what you can do to help keep your pair stay unaffected by the rain.
If your suede leather is wet, make sure you don’t dry it by placing it near an open flame, no matter how tempting it may be. It would do more harm than good. Instead of further damaging your lovely shoes, let’s see what are some steps you can take to restore their beauty.
1. Soak up as much water as possible
If your suede shoes are already wet from rain, the last thing you’d want to do is simply leave them to dry on their own, or near something hot. It could lead to the little hairs on the surface of the leather breaking off or becoming stiff, which could change the way your pair looks forever.
Instead, grab a clean cloth or a microfiber towel, and start lightly blotting the suede. That way, you’ll soak up as much water as possible, which would otherwise dry on the surface.
Make sure you tap the surface and don’t rub the nap. Your goal here is to dry out the suede and not cause any damage to the leather. Simple and gentle patting will be just enough.
2. Gently brush the shoes
This next step will require a soft bristle brush. While your suede leather is still pretty damp, start gently brushing the nap. Make sure you’re doing it in a back-and-forth motion on the surface, or the nap of the leather.
If you don’t have a soft-bristled shoe brush lying around, don’t worry. An old toothbrush will be just enough. Just make sure you do it gently while the leather is still wet.
3. Apply heat while brushing
Now that you’ve soaked up the excess moisture, it’s safe to apply a little bit of heat to quicken the process. However, make sure you don’t stop brushing the nap as you apply it.
We know, using a hair dryer to dry leather is never a good option because it can dry it out and cause it to crack. However, this time is different because you must keep brushing the suede while it dries. That way, you prevent it from becoming stiff.
Simply brushing it while waiting for it to air-dry would take too much time, which is why you’ll want to use a hair dryer or a heat gun. However, you still have to be careful and make sure that the heat isn’t too close to your shoes.
Keep enough space between the leather and the source of heat so that the suede never feels hot to the touch. If it does, it’s a good indicator that you need to create more space.
After you notice that the nap has dried, it’s time to brush it again. Your best choice would be to use a soft horse-bristle brush. After you’ve done with the last round of brushing, your suede leather should be just as soft as it was before your walk in the rain.