How to Waterproof Tennis Shoes


The shoes you wear are the most exposed to extremely harsh conditions constantly. This makes them the most prone to weather damage. Having to replace your favorite pair of shoes can be very expensive. A good pair of tennis shoes that are comfortable and fit all your needs tend to be costly. The damage, however, can very easily be reduced through proper maintenance and care. One such method is to waterproof your pair of tennis shoes. 

What is Waterproofing?

Waterproofing is a process used to make objects, in this case, shoes, resistant to water. This makes them unaffected by rain, snow, mud, or other similar weather conditions. It also creates a barrier that protects your pair of tennis shoes from stains and damage due to debris. 

Why Should You Waterproof Your Shoes?

  • Waterproofing your tennis shoe will keep your feet dry.
  • This will make your tennis shoes stay in good quality for a longer period of time.
  • Waterproof shoes need to be replaced less frequently.

Now that we have established the importance and benefits of waterproofing, let us take a look at the process. There are many ways to make your shoes waterproof at home. Here is the most common and easy method.


For this method, you will need some beeswax. One can never go wrong with a ball of natural beeswax and you should be able to find it in most hardware stores. It is ideal to use 100% pure beeswax. If for some reason, you fail to find some, a clean odorless candle made of paraffin wax can also be used.

One important thing to keep in mind while using wax is to make sure it is not dyed. A dyed wax can stain your shoe.

You will want to start with a spotless surface; This will ensure that the wax settles properly on the tennis shoe. To remove dust and small debris, all need is a quick wipe down. For older pairs that have seen a lot of action, before you begin waxing, it might be appropriate to send them through the washer and dryer.

This is very important as waxing the shoes without washing them first will trap dirt that happens to cling to them. Since the shoes would be waterproof after the process is over, it will become quite tricky to clean them.

Make Sure to Test the Wax

On a discreet section of the shoe, test the wax before you start rubbing away. You can do this by making a small mark low down on the heel or sidewall of the shoe close to the outside sole and see how it looks. You can make sure it won’t stain that way. Bear in mind that, once the wax melts, much of the contrast will be eliminated.

The least noticeable will be a colorless or off-white wax form and will blend seamlessly with the materials and colors.

If you are using a colored wax, you should make sure it matches the shade of the shoe as closely as possible.

Rub the Wax Properly and Heat it with a Hair Dryer

Once you have tested the wax you can go ahead and rub it all over the surface of the tennis shoe. Rub the wax back and forth vigorously over every part of the shoe you want to make resistant to moisture. This will create a thick coating. Pay careful attention to the places where water has a possibility to seep in such as around the toe, heel, sidewalls, and laces.

You should double check to see that the entire shoe has been coated. Any spots that you have overlooked will be vulnerable to leaks.

It can cause noticeable discoloration as the wax builds up. However, this is nothing to worry about. As soon as you add heat, it will melt away and vanish.

Use a hairdryer to apply the heat. To allow it to warm up before blasting the shoes, turn on the hairdryer. The hotter the temperature, the quicker the wax will melt, and more fully. The heating coils in the hairdryer may take half a minute or so to warm up enough to melt the wax.

Keep the nozzle near to the shoe surface, so that the wax fully melts. Move the hairdryer from front to back over the shoe. Slowly go over the shoe, turning it or angling the hairdryer as desired. You can almost immediately feel the wax starting to melt into the shoe. When you are finished with one shoe, pass it on to the other.

Only work on one shoe at a time. That way, you will have a visual guide that will be handy to compare when the wax has absolutely set in. 

Continue to heat until all the wax vanishes. The wax should be integrated into the material as it liquefies, closing the small holes and forming a shield against moisture. It will then solidify again becoming a clear protective layer. The finished shoe is no different than what it felt like before you waxed it.

Before you put away the hairdryer, you should look closely for any parts covered in solid wax that you may have missed.

You should know that wax, even on the most porous fabrics, is naturally water repellent and non-penetrating, so it won’t damage the shoes to become part of their construction.

Before you decide to take the tennis shoes out in the rain, test to see if the waterproofing was successful. Pour a cup of water over the shoe’s toe section. The water should bead up and roll off right away. 

You may need to add a second and more extensive layer of wax if the water gets absorbed. You should wait until the shoes have dried.


We hope this article helped you find an easy solution to protect your tennis shoes from unavoidable weather conditions. Waterproofing your shoes will save you a lot of money in the long run, giving you all the more reason to try this out.

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