How to Waterproof Golf Shoes

Golf shoes are made for the course and have to contend with water conditions its wearer puts it through. Shoes have been made with leather for a long time, especially shoes that see a lot of outdoor activity. The material is naturally waterproof and needs little maintenance for it. However, in recent years, the focus has shifted from leather to fabric for the manufacture of shoes, particularly in warm, humid climates.

Keep in Mind

Of course, there are various types of golf shoes that can accommodate such weather with different levels of water resistance, some are completely waterproof, whilst some are only resistant and some aren’t. You’re definitely going to watch your shoes if you often golf in wet conditions. 

The first thing to notice when it comes to water and golf shoes is just how much exposure your shoes face during a round. Most of the time, your shoes are the hardiest of all your equipment, but this does not mean that they are bulletproof. Misuse and neglect will ruin your shoe and possibly affect your game. 

You can just replace your shoe, but not everyone has the budget to and, taking care of shoes is the sign of a good golfer. 

The first thing to know when it comes to waterproofing is what’s out there that can do the task water proofing, some products only enhance the water repellant properties of your shoe rather than completely waterproof it. 

Continue reading to learn how to clean, maintain and waterproof your golf shoes. 

Dirt, Dust, Water: What They Can Do to Your Golf Shoes

Let’s say that you play golf every other weekend or so. This is quite normal. Now let’s also say that you rarely clean your golf shoes. At one point you will notice a dip in your game and it will be attributed to your shoes. 

So what does the usual wear and tear of golfing do to your shoes? The first thing is staining. You’ll notice this with lighter colored shoes as they’ll take on a brown hue along the sole region, if left unchecked, the brown could be a permanent addition on your pristine white shoes.

Another thing is how it affects your soles, dirt can get into your cleats and foul them pretty badly, affecting the replacement of spikes. 

Water damage is very dangerous for shoes as it can completely disintegrate your shoe. Usually, if you tend to play around water hazards or in dewy conditions expect some type of water staining on your shoes.

It comes from the water drying and leaving behind the minerals on the shoe’s surface. Rain can affect your shoe quite dramatically if you choose the wrong type of shoe to play in. The water won’t just soak into your shoe, it’ll get into your socks, and that’s a quick way to catch a cold. 

Drying your shoes incorrectly can also lead to problems down the line. 

Another big thing is that clubs and courses have a strict dress code policy and showing up for golf with rather dirty shoes can make you look like a slob. 

Waterproof and Water Resistance: What Does It Mean?

On the surface, it sounds very simple but it isn’t. 

Firstly, a lot of thought goes into designing a golf shoe and secondly, a lot goes into implanting those design features in the final product. 

So, what is a waterproof golf shoe? It all starts with the use of synthetic materials rather than good old reliable leather. Whilst leather has a degree of waterproofing, it is not a light material and doesn’t conduce well to constantly wet conditions.

These synthetics are often completely waterproof and often come with a GORE-TEX® lining which gives it breathability and waterproofing. These shoes perform well in almost any condition and their ability to perform in wet conditions with little to impact on game is widely noticed and is slowly becoming an industry norm.

Water resistance is more debatable than something completely waterproof. A water resistant shoe can be made of leather or fabric, where coatings are used to give it some form of weather resistance.

Leather itself is water repellant but can take on water if left exposed to it. Waxes are often used to maintain leather’s water repelling qualities.

Keeping Your Shoes Clean: During and After a Round

Cleanliness is next to godliness and cleanliness in golf isn’t just for looks, it’s for function too. In any sport, one of the biggest things a player strives for is consistency and having good equipment lends to that consistency. 

One of the first things to take into hand is that cleaning your shoes is no big thing, it is quick, simple and doesn’t take anything away from the game, in fact, it may just make you look like a good player.

In between shots and holes, you can take the time to clean your shoes a bit with a wet wipe or a towel. When you’re finished, don’t put your shoes in the trunk but let them hang out inside your car, where it is cooler, the heat of the trunk can warp the uppers and make for an uncomfortable fit later on. 

After a round, the best thing to do, especially if your shoe needs a bit of a cleaning, you should use warm water and soap to wash the shoe. Getting into the crevices is definitely recommended. Where you can protect your shoe most comes in the after care.

Shoe Care after Washing

After you’ve washed your shoe, it is imperative that you let it dry. Stuff it with paper towels or newspapers to get out any inner moisture and then let dry naturally by leaving it in a warm space, leaving it in direct heat can lead to the shoe aging faster than normal. 

Once dry, you should apply a polish or wax, depending on what material your shoe is made of. The leather will remain supple due to the polish ‘feeding’ it. After your polish, it is time to apply wax. Use a natural wax like beeswax on your shoe as it won’t react with any of the materials your shoe is made of. 

Waxes provide a good amount of water repellence to already water resistant shoes.

How to Waterproof Golf Shoes

How to Waterproof Golf Shoes

Photo By: lo-sarno

So how do you do it? How do you waterproof golf shoes?

There are a lot of products on the market to help with this, the most prolific is waterproofing spray. To an extent, most fabric products have pores, these pores let substances in and out. Waterproofing spray uses a variety of silicone, waxes and oils to fill these pores so water can’t get in. 

It should be known that these sprays can affect the breathability of a shoe as they close up all the ways that moisture can escape and can create a certain degree of discomfort.

However, when used they are quite effective at repelling water but can come off with the usual rigors that a shoe faces. A golf shoe may see the repellent needing to be applied every now and then. 

An important thing to know before you waterproof your shoe is that can the product you’re using be used for it? Doing extensive research is important as it can affect the breathability of your shoe. In a way, it’s kind of a tradeoff, waterproofing for the loss of breathability. 

There are a lot of different sprays on the market and each have different types of product. Whether silicone or something natural. Companies like Nikwax sell a huge amount of waterproofing products that cater to the exact type of shoe you own. 

Now for the process of waterproofing your shoe, first take them time to clean your shoe, especially the upper as it will bear the brunt of what nature throws at it and any dirt can make the waterproofing not so effective as it needs to be.

Once clean and dry take your waterproofing spray and put on a few coats all along the upper. This will ensure that your waterproofing will stay for as long as possible. 

Since the spray works as a coating, you will have to respray it a few months or weeks later, depending on how much golf you play. A good thing you can do is to apply the spray every time you wash clean your golf shoes, in that way you’ll be able to keep your shoes water proof and clean on a regular basis.


No matter the weather and condition, a good golf shoe will perform and following a few simple steps can give your shoes a long and effective lifespan. A good pair of golf shoes, if taken care of can last a life time. Now that you know how to waterproof golf shoes you too can make your shoes last.

You can also read: How to remove soft spikes from golf shoes

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