How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes With Wax

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As fun as they can be, puddles and rain soak through canvas shoes. Your toes feel like they are constantly wet, and it’s all-around uncomfortable. Give your feet a dry place to hang out with a pair of waterproof canvas shoes.

One way to waterproof a pair of canvas shoes is to use one of the oldest methods of making fabric water repellant -- beeswax.

How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes With Wax |

Materials for Waterproofing Your Shoes

Select a pair of canvas shoes. Any type of canvas shoe will work! If you’re a little worried about doing this for the first time, try it on an old pair. Here are some tips:

In addition to the canvas shoes, you’ll also need:

  • Beeswax. Beeswax doesn’t leave behind a residue or an oily feeling. Beeswax is available at hardware and crafting stores.
  • Hairdryer. You’ll need a source of heat to melt the wax. A handheld blow dryer with variable heat settings is preferable.
  • Latex gloves. The gloves will keep the wax off of your hands while applying it to the shoes.

Waxing may turn the canvas a darker color. Perform a spot test on the shoe’s tongue to see how the wax will change the canvas. On new shoes, check the manufacturer’s warranty. Waxing the shoes may void the warranty.

How to Wax Your Shoes

With all of the materials gathered together, it is time to begin waxing your canvas shoes.

Start with clean and dry shoes:

  • Remove the laces.
  • Wash the shoes if stained or stinky.
  • Brush the shoes to remove debris and dust.
  • Use a lint roller to remove any small particles.

Apply the beeswax:

  • Rub an evenly thin layer of beeswax on the canvas fabric using a circular motion.
  • Get between seams and eyelets. File a corner of the beeswax to a sharp point for easy coverage.
  • Use a finger to smooth out clumps of wax.

Melt the beeswax:

  • Set the hairdryer at a low heat setting.
  • Slowly move the hairdryer back and forth across the shoes.
  • Heat the wax until completely melted into the canvas.

Dry the shoes:

  • Let the shoes sit for 24 hours to cure the wax.
  • Lightly buff with a soft cloth to remove any excess wax.

Performing the Water Test

After your canvas shoes have been sitting for a day, it’s time to test them out before stepping out on the wet sidewalk. Just pour a glass of water over the outside of the shoe:

  • If the water beads off the canvas, your shoes are waterproof.
  • If the water soaks into the fabric, give the shoes another application.

The waterproof qualities of your canvas shoes are not permanent. To keep your shoes waterproof, wax them once a year or when the water no longer beads off the fabric.

How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes With Wax |

Last Updated: January 23, 2013
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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