Waterproof Your Canvas Shoes

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I recommend doing this with older shoes that might be on their way out. I’ve always loved waxed jackets like Barbour and that’s what inspired this. This will darken the color of the shoe.


Waterproof your canvas shoes

87 thoughts on “Waterproof Your Canvas Shoes

    • and beeswax isnt that flammable… although if you did hold a lighter to em or try and say, stomp out a fire or something, you might end up with a pretty seirous problem

        • The wax is being burned in a candle. As the wax melts it gets sucked up through the wick by capillary action to the flame, where it gets oxidized like crazy (burned). Wax is most certainly flammable!

          • The wax burns, but not hot enough to support the chemical reaction – that’s why you need the wick.

            To be flammable, a material has to release more energy when it oxidizes (aka burns) than is required to trigger the oxidation. Common household wax does not.

            Try lighting a puddle of wax on fire. It will melt, and if you keep the flame on it it will eventually burn up, but if you remove the flame it won’t continue to burn.

            Grease is flammable. Try making a candle out of Crisco or lard and watch what happens. Don’t do it indoors though, you could burn your house down.

            The fact that it melts and burns but is not flammable is the reason wax is useful for candles. It actually made those shoes less flammable (though not fireproof, obviously) – try lighting an un-waxed pair of shoes (or, you know, just a piece of cloth or something) with a lighter, and then a waxed pair. I guarantee the waxed pair will be harder to light and will burn much, much slower than the unwaxed pair.

    • I wear these puppies sockless and with a lot of baby powder. I got stinky feet regardless. It’s an uphill battle.

  1. Bonus points: use a spray bottle to (mostly) evenly mist untreated leather, then repeat as above for an oiled patina. It looks great on my work boots. I like a medium weight cotton/rayon polyblend for foot sweat, but climates and feet tend to vary.

    • That’s Lu. She is a rescue from Mississippi. We were told she is part terrier, part hound, but who knows! She is darn cute though.

      • I saw this on Pinterest and I’m just commenting because this looks like my dog, too! She was a rescue in NW Florida. We aren’t sure what she is, either but definitely has some terrier, maybe some American Fox Hound, too? Now, I’m going to look up the Australian Cattle dog to see what it looks like.

  2. Im wondering if this will make leather hoses air tight? I have some leather hoses that leak air that need to be sealed. Any idea?

  3. I’ve been thinking about doing this with Otter Wax for a while now. Being that I’ve exclusively worn old schools since 2002 only changing for a running show, I feel I should commit.

    • I thought about ordering otter Wax but I think beeswax is the main ingredient and I didn’t want to wait :)

  4. The shoes turned out cool. I like’em alot and I will try it on my shoes. Thanks for sharing. I noticed that your last response was on the 18th. It won’t be the 18th for ten more minutes here in(N.C). Where are you?

  5. Making it waterproof is like making the shoes be nonwashable. So I think it’s better if you’ll have the shoes to be cleaned first (dry clean or whatever nicer method) so it will look great, brand new and waterproof afterwards.

    • That would of been a good call. I thought about it and then I thought about having to wait for them to dry and I was like nahhhhhh ;)

  6. Cool! And it darkened them?? They were already darkened in the first place. I don’t see a change in color from the before and after pictures.

  7. They looked shite before hand anyway. Will they keep white vans slip ons from getting dirty if done when brand new?

    • I would not do this to white Vans. They are so bright white and crisp and I think this would dull that. However, I would do this to off-white chucks.

  8. Awesome tip! So many VANS to save now :) Do you happen to know if this will work on TOMS? I know it’s canvas, but it wasn’t specifically in the article, just curious! Also, I’m a smoker, how flammable is beeswax?! Thanks!

    • I bet it would work on Toms, but I can’t say for sure cuz I don’t own any. The flammable concern has been quite the issue of debate in the comments. I honestly don’t think your shoes are going to burst into flames if an ember lands on them. Will they burn? Sure, but most shoes would. Thanks!

    • Beeswax burns, but is not flammable (as in, it won’t continue to burn once the heat source is removed).

      That’s what makes it useful for candles. If it were flammable, the whole puddle of melted wax would be on fire, and then the whole candle, and then you’d have a fireball you wouldn’t believe. That’s actually exactly how grease works. Never make a candle out of lard.

      So wax actually makes the shoes a little less flammable, not more.

  9. I just tried this with my new pair of orange canvas Toms!

    It worked really well and I used white/clear wax (not natural beeswax) which ended up not darkening the shoes significantly. The water beaded so nicely. Just took awhile to carefully get around the seams to ensure good coverage.

      • I went to Michael’s and picked up a block of wax. I don’t think it was specifically made for anything (although the packaging suggested candle making). I think I need to do another coat, because I sprinkled some water on it today and it looked like I may not have sealed a spot as well as the rest.

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