Can You Wear Suede Shoes In the Rain?

It’s a common misconception that suede footwear will be instantly ruined upon coming into contact with water. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth if you take the right measures to protect and treat them. Although suede is seemingly delicate, you might be surprised to discover that it’s stronger than leather which means you can wear it in the rain.

Besides looking chic, suede is sturdy and durable. Now that you know the answer to the commonly asked question, ‘can you wear suede shoes in the rain?’ read on to discover how you can show some TLC to this type of footwear and prevent unwanted stains.

Can Suede Get Wet?

Yes! A suede shoe can get wet and still be wearable. However, to prevent damage to your suede shoe, you’ll need to treat it quickly afterward, which can be tedious. If you suspect it might rain or you’ll be at a place where your suede shoes may get wet, it’s best to avoid wearing them entirely.

What Happens When Suede Gets Wet?

Normal leather is more water repellent compared to leather suede as the visible surface is the exterior of the hide, which is sturdier and more durable. Suede is different because the visible surface is the inside of the leather hide that has been partially deconstructed to form a velvety, smooth nap.

Made of countless tiny pieces of ‘hair,’ the nap becomes brittle and stiff when it gets wet or dries after coming into contact with water. Brittle hairs are more susceptible to breakage, and when that occurs, the suede becomes permanently damaged.

How Do You Safeguard Suede Shoes Against the Rain?

Waterproofing is the answer, particularly if you get stuck in unpredicted rainy weather. Although doing so protects them from water, that’s not your cue to jump in puddles of water.

How to Waterproof Suede Shoes

Let’s walk you through the step-by-step process of waterproofing your suede footwear.

  1. Start by brushing your shoes using a suede brush. The goal of brushing your shoes is to get rid of any dirt before sealing them.
  2. Now you’re ready to spray your footwear with a waterproofing spray. To do so, hold the bottle 6 to 10 inches away from your shoes. Then, in a back and forth movement, apply the waterproofing spray uniformly. As you do so, focus on the welt because you want to safeguard this entry point against water damage.
  3. Give it 24 hours for the spray to dry and repeat the process if need be.
  4. For an added layer of protection, you can use a sole guard to protect the soles of your shoes.

What Happens If Your Suede Shoes Get Wet?

You might be wondering whether it’s bad for your suede shoes to get wet. Although we advise against it, there are measures you can take to prevent further damage to your clean suede shoes.

Don’t Panic

It’s easier said than done but panicking only makes a bad situation worse. Keep in mind that water stains won’t cause permanent damage to your suede footwear; therefore, there’s no need to panic. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to act quickly. The faster you stop the stains from setting in, the easier it is to eliminate them.

Blot the Stain

Upon noticing that your shoes are wet, blot the water stain using a napkin, towel, or paper towel. You want to absorb as much water as possible to prevent it from setting into the fabric. It’s worth noting that you want to blot the water stain rather than scrub or rub it.

Using any type of fabric to rub the wet spot will likely leave stains that’ll be much harder (or nearly impossible) to lift. For the best outcome, apply the material to the wet suede area with a bit of pressure for maximum moisture absorption.

Suede Brush

When you run your hands across brand new suede footwear, the first thing you’ll notice is the extreme softness. That’s because the fibers are upright, which is known as the shoe’s gap.

Nonetheless, when these fibers get wet, they clump up or harden, causing stains. To prevent this from happening, use a suede brush to gently brush the nap when your shoes get wet. Doing so is perfect for general cleaning and great for your shoes when they get wet.

What Should You Do If You Don’t Have a Suede Brush?

suede brush

Image Source: Pexels

It’s advisable to use a suede brush on your shoes, given that many brushes have an eraser that comes in handy in eliminating stubborn stains. Nevertheless, if you don’t have one at the time, a clean, soft-brittle toothbrush will get the job done effectively.

Secondly, you can use steam. It’s an excellent way to revive the nap, particularly for shoes that have dried and begun looking matted. The best part is that you don’t need to shell out extra bucks on a pricey steamer; the steam from an iron or tea kettle will do.

To get started, hold your suede footwear over the source of steam, allowing it to mildly dampen your shoes. Once they’re damp, blot the water spots and use a suede brush to revive the nap.

Can You Eliminate Water Stains from Suede Shoes?

When your suede footwear gets soaked, you’re probably wondering if they’re ruined. The answer is no, but you need to act quickly before the water stains set into the fabric and dry.

The above suggestions come in handy if your shoes are a tad bit wet, perhaps a few water spots from trekking to work or walking out to your car. However, what should you do if your shoes get soaked, for instance, getting caught in a rainstorm?

The best course of action is to allow the shoes to dry entirely by tucking a paper towel, tissue, or newspaper into them. Doing so will absorb the moisture in addition to allowing the footwear to retain its shape. Bear in mind that while it might be tempting to place your shoes in front of a heater or fireplace to fast-track the process, refrain from doing so. That may cause the material to shrink, permanently damaging the shoes.

For the best outcome, allow your suede shoes to dry overnight or for up to 48 hours. Once they are completely dry, you can use a suede brush on the footwear. Use the eraser to revive the nap on the places you notice light water stains. If the stains are still visible after completing the process, use the steaming technique to mildly dampen your shoes, followed by thorough brushing.

How to Get Rid of Salt Stains

Like most types of footwear, salt is the main enemy. What should you do if you spot salt stains on your suede shoes?

  • Begin by brushing the stain using a suede brush. The endgame is to eliminate as much salt residue as possible.
  • The next step is to rub white vinegar directly onto the stain. It is worth noting that vinegar is a powerful solution, which means using too much can do more harm than good. Although you’re eager to lift the stain, start small.
  • Use a dry cloth to blot the wet spots.
  • Let the shoes dry.
  • Remember, rather than scrub the stain, the goal is to blot it. Scrubbing may damage the suede fabric.
  • Use a brush to revive the nap.


To wrap up, can you wear suede shoes in the rain? Yes, you can, but after ensuring they are waterproofed. It’s a no-brainer that you shouldn’t jump in puddles or run through the park, in which case suede footwear won’t be your best bet. Furthermore, by implementing the tips discussed, eliminating those water stains will be a breeze.


Let’s delve into the answers to the commonly asked questions about suede shoes.

  1. Is suede waterproof?

No! Water can easily ruin suede which is why it’s crucial to waterproof your footwear from the get-go to protect them from water stains.

  1. Can you wear suede shoes in the rain?

Yes! While you can wear suede footwear in the rain, waterproofing them right off that bat is essential. Unprotected suede is easily destroyed by water.

  1. Is suede footwear washing machine friendly?

No! Avoid using a washing machine to clean your suede shoes. Water can discolor and damage the footwear. The most ideal way to get them spick and span is by using a suede brush.

  1. How long do suede shoes last with proper maintenance?

With proper care, which includes protecting them from water and frequent cleaning, suede footwear can last more than 5 to 10 years.

  1. Are suede shoes cumbersome to maintain?

No! Suede footwear is a breeze to care for, provided that you keep them away from water and use a brush for frequent cleaning.

  1. Do you need a leather conditioner to maintain suede shoes?

Yes! Just as you rely on a hair conditioner to soften your hair, the leather conditioner also gives suede a shiny and soft look. By applying it to your suede footwear, you reinforce the flexibility of the fibers. If your shoes have been impacted by rain, then this is a foolproof way to keep them in tiptop condition.

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