My boots got wet. Are they ruined?

Comic sketch of leather boot with diving flipper

If your boots or shoes get really wet, the good news is that they’re probably going to be fine.

The bad news: you may have a bit of work to do.

Getting leather wet is usually not as damaging as letting it become too dry.

If your boots got really wet, have now dried, and you don’t see any watermarks or salt stains, yay. If they are relatively clean, just wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any lingering grit. If they are smooth leather (not suede), condition and waterproof them with a light coat of MooBuzz. Let the MooBuzz absorb completely then wipe off any excess. If your boots are suede, brush well with a suede brush and treat them with silicone-free water and stain protector made for use on suede. Boom, you’re done. Go have fun.

If your boots got really wet and have dried with watermarks or salt stains, or if they’re really dirty, I recommend you wash them as soon as possible. Detailed washing instructions can be found here: Condition and Waterproof your Leather boots last forever and How to Remove Salt Stains from Leather Shoes and Boots

Once you have washed your boots, it’s time to dry them.

Rules: Lots of air. No heat.

Don’t put your boots near a fire or radiator or (gasp!) in the oven to dry out. Heat can do all kinds of bad stuff to your boots including shrinking the leather and melting your soles.

Once your boots are dry, and if they are smooth leather, condition and waterproof with MooBuzz. Again, if they are suede, brush well with a suede brush and treat them with silicone-free water and stain protector made for use on suede.

If your FEET got wet when your boots got wet, check over your boots for areas where water may be getting in. The usual culprits are holes or cracks in the soling, cracks in the welt, and tears in the upper where it meets the sole. Get those babies to your local cobbler!