use leather in the rain

Is It A Bad Idea To Use Leather in the Rain?

Leather is a major staple in a lot of people’s wardrobes. It’s likely that you’ve got a leather jacket hanging in your closet right now, but can you wear it out in the rain? While you’d certainly look cool, you’re not sure of what moisture can do to your precious leather garments.

It’s best to avoid wearing leather if you know it’ll rain. Doing so can cause the leather to crack and damage once it dries. But if you do get caught in the rain while wearing it outdoors, or you just live in an area where it rains a lot, there are a few ways you can salvage and protect it.  

While leather may be water-resistant to some extent, it probably won’t fare well when it’s pouring heavily. Moreover, it might not keep you fully dry in the rain either. The consequences of getting your leather clothes wet include cracking and excessive wear with reduced flexibility. So whether it’s a stunningly beautiful leather jacket or your classic leather boots, you can kiss them goodbye.

But what if you get caught in the rain, and you’re wearing leather? Or the weather forecast says it’ll rain, but you really want to try on your new boots? In that case, you can take a few precautions to protect your leather goods.

What can happen to your leather item?

use leather in the rain

Let us say that leather doesn’t really like water, especially rainwater. It strips the leather of its natural oils, which eventually causes it to stretch out and lose its flexibility. Thus, the leather cracks and wears out as it dries. You will never be able to wear your favorite outerwear with the same confidence again, trust me. Not only does it not appear appalling to the eyes, but cracked leather is also uncomfortable to wear and handle. Nobody likes the gritty feeling, and to make matters worse, the leather becomes nearly impossible to fix.

The spots or water stains you see on your leather pants or jackets after it has been spitting outside? When water soaks into your leather, horrible-looking water stains appear.  Moisture also moves the dye, which explains the fades and mismatches. This is where the ruining of the leather usually begins and leads to a not-so-happy ending.

You may also have noticed a funky smell coming out of leather after exposure to water. This, along with discoloration, is a result of mold or fungus growing in or on your leather item.

How to protect your leather in the rain?

If you’re one to treasure your favorite clothes, you probably already try to stay dry after putting in the effort to dress up. This is especially when you’re wearing expensive leather goods. Simply put, staying dry is the first step to save your leather piece from potential damage that rainwater, or any water, for the matter, will cause. Stay away from rain as much as you can!

A well-moisturized leather item will cause water to bead on the surface instead of penetrating. So, you may want to invest in a leather conditioner to prevent water penetration. It’s a small expense to make sure your expensive leather jacket or go-to pair of leather boots last a long time.

If you do not wish to, the traditional ways to prevent water damage also go a long, long way. Some of these are:

  1. A little bit of water won’t really damage your leather. Usually, only excessive amounts of water and prolonged exposure to moisture causes more damage. If you keep this in mind, the difficult task of protecting your leather items becomes way easier. Suppose it started raining while you were out for a short walk. In that case, you should be fine. However, when you’re expecting heavy rainfall during your outing, consider switching to waterproof outerwear, like a raincoat. Also, be careful not to step in water puddles with your leather shoes!
  2. You can wear a regular raincoat over leather outerwear. It will protect your leather clothing from getting wet. If you’re carrying a leather bag, quickly put it in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet.

Check the forecast before you step out to consider wearing another jacket or keep some plastic and a raincoat to stay dry in the rain!

How to restore your leather item if your leather becomes a victim to rainwater?

use leather in the rain

Water can easily penetrate the leather. If a leather item gets wet, do not worry and try some leather-fixing techniques.

  1. Dry it. Grab a dry cloth, run it across the leather to let it soak up the water. Gently wipe the leather item, followed by letting it air-dry. Be careful not to wipe vigorously, as it will leave behind scratches. Similarly, if you use artificial heat to dry off your leather, it will just damage it further.
  2. Stuff it or hang it. If it is your bag that you left in the rain, stuff it with crumpled paper or clothing while it dries to retain its shape. If it is your jacket, hang it on a wide hanger and let it air-dry.
  3. Clean it. Once it has dried, grab a clean cloth and wipe the leather again to remove any dirt and soak up leftover moisture.
  4. Condition it. Leather becomes dry and brittle when it loses its natural oils. A leather conditioner is vital to ensure leather’s longevity. It nourishes the leather and restores its suppleness and flexibility.  Apply some conditioner onto the leather after it has been dried and cleaned.
  5. Buff it. Let the conditioner dry, and then begin to buff the surface of the leather with a dry cloth.

As for clearing up dried water stains, there are some extra steps that you should follow:

  1. Wipe the stain with leather cleaner and remove excess residue.
  2. Let it dry while keeping it away from sunlight or heat.
  3. Apply leather conditioner on the spot once the cleaner has dried. Let the conditioner dry and buff it off with a clean and dry cloth.

To avoid any adverse reactions, it is best to test the leather cleaner on a small patch of the item first.

Some extra protection from water damage for the future

Added protection with beeswax can protect the leather from future damage. Beeswax cream contains water-spilling properties that can further increase the longevity of leather.

To use beeswax as a water-resistant solution,

  1. Clean the leather surface as dirt may interfere with the cream’s effectiveness
  2. Apply a small amount of beeswax onto the leather but do not apply it directly. Use a dry and clean cloth to apply the beeswax cream on the surface of the leather.
  3. The beeswax should stay on the leather for about an hour. Let it air dry. Do not use artificial heat as it will cause cracking of the leather.
  4. Once it has dried, buff it with a clean and dry cloth.

You can repeat these steps if needed. Do not forget to test this on a small patch first, as beeswax may have a darkening effect.

You can also apply beeswax as an extra step when restoring damaged leather. After you have applied a leather conditioner, buffed, and dried your leather item, you can apply an extra layer of beeswax for further protection.


As a matter of fact, while you can technically wear leather in the rain, the risk of damage is always there. It is best to avoid using leather while it’s pouring. Instead, opt for shoes and outerwear that can withstand the effects of moisture. Of course, a little drizzling in the city will do no harm to your leather items.

Leather goods are an expensive purchase, and it will go a long way if you rely on necessary precautions and know how to fix them if you get stuck in the rain with your favorite leather jacket and boots.

Leather is a staple for any fashionista, and though rain may sound scary, leather items can make a comeback even after they get a little wet. That is if they have the right owner who knows how to extend their life by a couple of years.


  1. Can you wear a leather jacket in the rain?

    You can wear a leather jacket in the rain. However, there may be some consequences to it as excessive water can damage leather. A little rainwater will not be harmful.

  2. Can you wear leather shoes in the rain?

    As long as you won’t step in puddles of rainwater, it should be fine to wear your leather shoes.

  3. Is it OK for leather to get wet?

    Leather does not mix well with water. If it gets too wet, it can begin to crack after drying off and water stains may appear on the leather.

  4. What happens if you wear leather in the rain?


    Leather is permeable to water. Water can penetrate into it and strips its natural oils, which reduces the suppleness of the leather.


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