Buffalo Leather: Waterproof or Not? (Here’s A Quick Experiment)

is buffalo leather waterproof

When it comes to leather, there are many different types available on the market. But one of the most popular options is buffalo leather.

This material is known for its durability and unique grain properties. But is buffalo leather waterproof? In this article, I will explore that question and provide some valuable insights about this popular type of leather.

Buffalo leather is not waterproof but can be water-resistant when treated with a protective finish like wax, conditioners, and oils. So, to answer the question of whether buffalo leather is waterproof, it depends on how it has been treated and finished.

Stick around as I delve into the details of buffalo leather, what makes it water-resistant, and how to care for it.

Let’s start off by looking at the properties of buffalo leather.

What Is Buffalo Leather? Quick Overview!

Buffalo leather is a type of leather made from tanned hides of Indian Water Buffalo that are sourced from rural parts of India and Pakistan.

It is a thick, durable material that is highly resistant to wear and tear, which makes it a great material for shoes, bags, and jackets.

The grain of the leather is also unique – its texture can be described as bumpy or pebble-like, with a distinct waxiness that gives it a nice sheen.

While buffalo leather is not inherently waterproof, it can become water-resistant when properly treated with a protective finish.

This is done by applying waxes, oils, or sprays to the leather. These coatings help repel moisture and protect the leather from water damage.

Why Is Buffalo Leather Not Waterproof?

Generally, buffalo leather is not waterproof because, like all natural hides sourced from animals, it is a porous material, meaning they absorb moisture.

The porosity of buffalo leather, like all hides, is a result of the grain structure. This makes it difficult for water to just run off the leather, hence the reason why it is not waterproof by nature.

However, you can make buffalo leather more water-resistant by treating it with a protective finish like waxes and oils that help repel moisture, making it less susceptible to damage from water or other liquids.

Here’s a quick experiment to show you how buffalo leather holds up against water when treated with conditioner and wax.

How Does Buffalo Leather Hold Up Against Water?

Here’s a quick experiment I did with three different pieces of buffalo leather; raw buffalo leather, conditioned buffalo leather, and waxed buffalo leather.

I started off by applying leather honey leather conditioner to the first piece of buffalo leather.

For the second piece, I applied beeswax and buffed it into the leather until it had a nice sheen.

And for my third piece of buffalo leather, I left it raw without any treatment.

Here are the before pictures.

buffalo leather water test

After letting the leather sit until the wax and conditioner were dry, I proceeded to test out how each piece of buffalo leather held up against the water.

I poured some water onto each piece of buffalo leather, and here are the results.

buffalo leather water test results

The raw buffalo leather absorbed the water more quicker than the other two pieces. Which was to be expected anyways!

But in all honesty, I was very impressed at how long the buffalo leather resisted the water until finally giving in at the 50 minutes mark.

This I will attribute to the natural waxiness of buffalo leather which helps hold off moisture.

But the real shocker came when after the water had been absorbed, there was a horrible water stain. On top of that, the buffalo leather also became very dry.

The conditioned and waxed buffalo leather resisted the water better, with both showing similar results of repelling most of the water droplets.

This is a testament to how effective a good quality leather conditioner can be in terms of protecting your leather from water damage.

But wait a minute! News flash!

The buffalo leather that was conditioned also got absorbed and left a watermark stain well after 6 hours. 

This means that if you happen to get your buffalo leather item wet, it’s best to get it dry as soon as possible to prevent any irreversible damage.

How To Fix Water Damage On Buffalo Leather

There are a few fixes you can try when it comes to water damage on your buffalo leather;

Use a Leather Conditioner

One of the easiest ways to fix water damage is to use a leather conditioner. Leather conditioners help restore natural oils and proteins that have been stripped away due to exposure to water.

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner is a good choice, as it helps replenish the natural oils in your buffalo leather while also providing protection against water and other liquids.

Apply Wax

Another thing you can do is use wax to help restore your buffalo leather back to its former glory.

A good quality wax like Obenauf’s Leather Oil can help restore and waterproof your buffalo leather and also keep it conditioned so that it remains soft and supple for longer.

Buffalo Leather Care Tips

Now that you know how buffalo leather holds up against water let’s take a look at some tips and tricks on how to care for your buffalo leather products.

  • First, you want to ensure the leather is clean and dry before applying any waxes, oils, or conditioners. This will help ensure the product adheres to the leather properly.
  • Next, always use a high-quality leather conditioner on your buffalo leather. This will help keep the material soft and supple while also helping to repel moisture.
  • Finally, waxing the leather is important in order to protect the material from water damage. You can use a paste wax or a spray-on waterproofer to help protect the leather against water.
  • Do not use any abrasive cleaners on buffalo leather, as this can dry out or leave scratches on your leather.


So to answer the question, is buffalo leather waterproof? No, it isn’t, but it can become more water-resistant if treated with a protective finish like waxes and oils.

These coatings help repel moisture and protect buffalo leather from water damage. This makes it great for shoes, bags, jackets, and other items that you want to keep waterproof.

So there you have it – an overview of buffalo leather and how to make it more resistant to water.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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