Native Canadian moccasins can be very difficult to waterproof, and, in some cases, you may not achieve the desired effect. This type of footwear is not meant to be worn in wet weather; in fact, many native Canadians in the past would go barefoot in wet weather and tolerate the discomfort, rather than have wet feet.
The type of leather used for moccasins is breathable by nature, which also means that water seeps in. However, there are a few things you can do to improve the water resistance of your mocassins.
Items you will need
- Wool felt liners
- Chemical repellent
- Strong Thread
Waterproofing with Wax
Choose a good beeswax for your moccasins. There are several commercial types available, like Sno-Seal or Kiwi Camp Dry. They can be purchased at shoe stores, big box stores, craft shops or online.
Test the beeswax on a small area to check for changes in the appearance of your moccasin.
Cover the moccasins in the beeswax carefully. Pay attention to the areas around the sole, which get the most water exposure.
Allow your moccasins to dry before taking them out in the wet weather, to let the beeswax seep in.
Additional Waterproofing Techniques
Find a good felt liner that still allows enough room in the moccasin. This can reduce the exposure of your foot to the wetness, which can make all the difference.
Try a chemical water repellent, such as those sold in shoe stores. This could be a spray or additional waxes or rubs. Water repellents can change the appearance of the moccasin.
Sew the holes of the moccasin tighter. A main area for water to seep in is the lace holes. By making these smaller, less water can get in.
Add a rubber sole to your moccasins. This can be done at home or professionally by a shoe repairman. While it may detract from the traditional look, it makes your moccasins better suited for outdoor wear.
Be careful of fur or bead features on your moccasins. You don't want to damage these while attempting to waterproof.