Waterproofing leather is particularly important in the case of gloves or boots that are going to be used in all weather. In addition to helping to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking, using a wax-based waterproofing agent will seal the leather against stains and salt. If waterproofed before being used, the leather will be easier to clean; if applied after use, cleaning is recommended first.
Most commercial waterproofers for leather contain beeswax: a natural product used in formulas for the care of skin, wood and leather. Beeswax is produced by glands on the abdomens of worker bees, which they use to make honeycomb. Beeswax is also used in candles, batik dying and to sculpt wax figurines and ornaments. You can make your own beeswax polish using turpentine and beeswax, but there are many good brands on the market.
Sno-Seal was originally developed in 1933 for use on leather ski boots. The company still stresses protection against snow, as well as rain, sun, salt and chemicals. Application of Sno-Seal involves warming the leather, although not beyond 120 degrees Fahrenheit, before rubbing the compound into the leather. Shoe polish can be used over the Sno-Seal. This product can also be used to polish wood and has been used on horses hoofs to prevent dryness.
Huberd's Shoe Grease
Mr.Huberd started making shoe grease in 1921, primarily for sale to loggers working through winter. While still marketing the original shoe grease formula, with the original design on the tin, the company also has a range of similar leather care products. Huberd's recommends a double application on first use, and then as necessary to maintain waterproofing.
Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather is recommended for all leather and comes in black to cover scuff marks. Nikwax can be applied with a cloth or fingers and is ready for immediate use. The company has products to waterproof fabric as well as leather. Nikwax was developed by Nick Brown, after annual hikes in Scotland and many days of wet feet.