The Secret to Waterproofing Leather Gloves and Boots

I tried SNO-SEAL and here is what I learned.
Picture of author
Chris P
2020-Apr-13
Excited man holding SNO-SEAL jar

Plow truck drivers, oil field workers, ski patrollers -- there are many workers that require durable waterproof equipment in the winter.

Many of my friends with these rugged outdoor jobs have told me the secret to waterproofing your leather gear is a low cost product that has been around forever, SNO-SEAL.

SNO-SEAL is a leather protecting compound made of Beeswax and a light solvent, packaged in a 7 Oz. can.

I bought a can online from Wal-Mart, read the instructions, and decided to try it out.

Can of SNO-SEAL

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Gloves heading into the oven

Clean your leather using a mild soap and let dry.

Warm up your gloves in the oven on low heat. If your oven does not have a low temp setting, you can use a hair dryer, heat gun, floor heater vent, or leave the items in the sun.

The goal is to get the item up to 120°F, max. Do not heat beyond comfortable handling temperature.

STEP 2: Glove, SNO-SEAL, toothbrush

Open up the can of SNO-SEAL, get a toothbrush, a rag, and put down some paper towels.

STEP 3: toothbrush

Rub SNO-SEAL into leather liberally. The warm leather will melt the SNO-SEAL and draw it deep into the pores and fibers of the leather. Try to avoid any non-leather parts.

Apply as much SNO-SEAL as the leather will absorb, using the toothbrush. Remove excess wax with a rag and buff with a brush for shine.

TIPS:

One thing to keep in mind: SNO-SEAL will slightly darken leather, so make sure you are comfortable with this before applying. Especially if the item has already been faded by the spring sun.

Gloves with darkened leather

I found it was helpful to set up a system where each item was warmed then taken out of the oven to apply the SNO-SEAL.

Gloves and boots on table

The surface will start out shiny then turn to a more matte finish over time.

TESTING

I tested the gloves and boots by checking if water beaded up -- it works great. I even submerged the boots in a stream and they repel water better than when new.

Blue glove holding snow

Yellow glove holding snow

Boot dunked in water

Boots dunked in water

CONCLUSION

SNO-SEAL definitely changed the look of my gloves and boots, but the waterproofing and protection is worth it. I would definitely do it again and plan to re-apply next winter if needed.

HOW IT WORKS

From the manufacturer:

“The magic of Sno-Seal is that AFTER application it has a melt point of 155F so that even on the hottest day it does not migrate through the leather. It STAYS in the top surface of the leather, where it is needed for waterproofness, so it does not require frequent reapplication. Application is only possible because of a temporary solvent that lowers the melt point to 105F and then evaporates completely. Preheating leather to 110F to 125F causes Sno-Seal to melt instantly when it touches the surface of the leather so that it can easily penetrate."

Atsko SNO-SEAL Original Bees Wax Leather Snow Protector Waterproofer - 7 oz (200 g)
$7.84
23
Description from walmart.com Sno Seal Wax, 7 oz, is a highly water-repellent coating that conditions and preserves leather. It keeps water out while still allowing the material to breathe. The coating helps ensure that it does not become dry and brittle over time. This leather wax prevents boots from soaking up water, which adds weight and decreases the life of the footwear. It is also ideal for use on other leather goods, such as casual dress shoes, gloves and workmans footwear. Its made from beeswax for natural, effective protection. This product is suitable for use in all seasons, even in harsh winters. The wax is strong enough to work on equipment that's rated for mountaineering purposes. You can also use the wax to waterproof craft pieces and other material, such as saddles. Application is fast and easy so you can start enjoying the protection right away.
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