Patent leather shoes are such beautiful shoes and are highly water-resistant. But do they need to be waterproofed?
Patent leather shoes need no waterproofing because while it is sometimes made of real leather, patent leather shoe surfaces are covered in several layers and coats of plastics. This results in a shiny, colorful surface that is very effective in repelling water and other liquids.
When To Waterproof Your Patent Leather shoes?
While waterproofing your patent leather shoes may not be one of your main routine care and maintenance routines, there are times you may have to waterproof them.
1. Wear And Tear
One of the very few occasions where waterproofing your patent leather shoes may make sense is when they have lost their protective layer over time.
This can happen as a result of general wear and tear, or as a result of contact with harsh chemicals, and the plastic or protective coating on the surface of the shoes has been eroded.
In this case, you can use a patent leather shoe waterproofing kit to restore the patent leather shoes to their original condition.
2. The Wax Stitching
Also, the stitches on your patent leather shoes may need to be waterproofed so as to prevent them from drying and coming apart which can compromise the stability of your patent leather shoe sole.
Due to the hardwearing nature of the patent leather shoe, it may be necessary to waterproof the stitching. For this, you will need to use a welt brush to apply a wax-based waterproofing sealant to the stitching.
This will help keep the water out and protect your shoes against any further wear and tear.
As a matter of fact, because patent leather shoes are already so water-resistant, there are rather downsides to waterproofing your patent leather shoes if not done properly.
Downsides To Waterproofing Patent Leather Shoes
It may come as a surprise to many that waterproofing your patent leather instead of leaving it as-is can actually result in a variety of problems. Let’s get into how this can happen!
1. Waterproofing Your Patent Leather Shoes Makes Them Sticky
Some waterproofing solutions can actually cause the patent leather surface to become sticky and attract more dirt. This is not only unsightly, but it will wear out your shoes a lot faster.
While there are some water-repelling treatments that can help maintain the shiny appearance of patent leather shoes without making them too slippery or sticky, excessive waterproofing should be avoided.
This particularly happens if you are using a waterproofing solution that is not specifically meant for patent leather shoes.
In this case, it’s best to just stick with the regular care and cleaning routine for your patent leather shoes and avoid applying any kind of water-repelling treatment.
2. Can Leave Streaks On Your Patent Leather
Another thing that can go wrong when you waterproof your patent leather shoes, is that the water-repelling solution you use can leave streaks or marks on your patent leather.
Due to the high gloss nature of the patent leather surface, these streaks will be highly visible and take away from the beautiful appearance of your patent leather shoes.
This can happen if you use too much water-repelling solution, or fail to evenly distribute it across the entire surface area of your patent leather shoe.
Also, when you apply the waterproofing treatment and you do not wipe it off properly, you will leave behind streaks and smudges.
In this case, the best thing that you can do is to re-apply the solution and then wipe it down with a damp cloth after you finish.
This will ensure that no streaks are left on the patent leather surface, which makes your shoes look more elegant and beautiful.
3. It Can Leave A Cloudy Or Smoky Effect On The Patent Leather Shoes
When you waterproof your patent leather shoe surface which is already water-resistant, you may end up with a cloudy or smoky effect.
This happens when the water-repelling solution you are using reacts with the plastic layers on your patent leather shoes and produces a cloudy or smoky appearance.
Usually what happens is that a white or gray film is left behind when the waterproofing solution evaporates.
This happens because patent leather is already made water-resistant and chances are any additional waterproofing treatments you use can react badly with the surface.
So it’s best to avoid waterproofing your patent leather shoes, especially if they are already water-resistant on their own.
If at all possible, stick to regular cleaning and conditioning of the patent leather shoe surfaces so that no additional damage is done.
4. It Can Make Your Patent Leather Shoe Less Shinier
One of the main characteristics of patent leather is that it is very shiny and glossy, and this is something you want to maintain.
When waterproofing your patent leather shoes, especially if you use a solution that leaves behind streaks or smudges on the surface of the shoe, then it will definitely take away from that glossy appearance.
In this case, what happens is that some areas where the water-repelling solution has been applied, become less shiny than the rest of the patent leather shoe.
This is not only unsightly, but it can also be a sign that your shoes are starting to wear out.
So if you want to maintain the glossy and shiny appearance of your patent leather shoes, then simply using a soft cloth to buff the surface after you clean it with a damp cloth is the best way to do so.
This will help to get rid of any streaks or smudges that may have been left behind, and your patent leather shoes will look as good as new.
5. It Can Ruin The Texture You Patent Leather Shoes
Some waterproofing products are so wax-heavy that they can actually end up ruining the texture of your patent leather shoes.
This happens when the wax in the waterproofing solution clogs the beautiful patterns and designs on your patent leather shoes.
Usually, this will happen over time as the waterproofing solution you use will build up on the surface of your patent leather shoes.
When this happens, all of those beautiful patterns and designs become obscured by several layers of waxy buildup that dull their appearance completely.
In some cases, if not cleaned off properly it can even lead to permanent damage to the texture on your patent leather shoe.
6. Causes Cracked Effect On The Surface
Last but not least, waterproof solution build-up on patent leather shoes can lead to what is known as the “cracked effect.”
This happens when the waterproofing solution you use starts to crack and flake over time.
The problem with this is that once it begins, there’s very little you can do about it except for you to take it to a professional who would have to use a special solvent to remove all the build-up, and then condition it.
This can get quite expensive and is not worth it if you ask me since there are other ways that will keep your patent leather shoes beautiful without having any risks involved such as using an ordinary cloth or brush for cleaning instead of water or disinfectant solutions.
Here’s All You Need To Do To Maintain Patent Leather Shoes
Having said all of the above, below are all the things you can do to maintain your beautiful patent leather shoes without any hassles:
Although patent leather will always need very little care, it is still important to clean it on a regular basis.
This can be done by using a soft cloth and some warm water to clean the surface of your patent leather shoes.
Make sure that you don’t use any type of cleaning solution or disinfectant as this can damage the surface of your patent leather shoes.
In most cases, all the cleaning you would require for your patent leather shoes is simply buffing the surface with a clean microfiber cloth.
After you’ve cleaned your patent leather shoes, it is important to condition them as well. This is something that most people find hard to do, but it is very easy.
Simply apply a thin layer of polish or conditioner to the surface of your patent leather shoes and then use a microfiber cloth or your hand to gently work it or rub it into the surface.
This will not only give your patent leather shoes that glossy look while nourishing the natural leather material underneath the plastic coating. Trust me, it works like magic.
Once you’re done cleaning, conditioning, or oiling your patent leather shoes, it is important to use a clean dry patent leather brush to polish them.
This will help to remove any streaks or smudges that may have been left behind, and your patent leather shoes will look as good as new.
If you do not have the brush readily available, you can use a clean dry cloth as well.
Waterproofing is not really necessary for patent leather shoes, and in fact, it can do more harm than good if it is not used at the right time or if it is used too often.
The best way to maintain your patent leather shoes is by cleaning, conditioning, and polishing them on a regular basis using simple household items.
Doing this will help keep your patent leather shoes looking as good as new for a long time to come. Happy shoe-keeping!