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Can Cowboy Boots Get Wet?

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Cowboy boots are indeed some of the most beautiful shoes that people wear. However, these boots start to lose their quality, appearance, and value over time, due to various reasons such as moisture.

Can cowboy boots get wet?

Cowboy boots can get wet for a brief period, especially if you are walking on wet terrains or muddy places. However, they should not get wet for long because if they do, the water molecules can destroy the leather, suede, or whatever material used in making them.

If that is the case, the important question to ask is: for how long can cowboy boots get wet? How can you prevent them from getting wet? Find out by reading this article.

Cowboy with mud dirty boots

Can Cowboy Boots Get Wet?

While cowboy boots can get wet for some time, you should remove them from water and dry them quickly because boots that are exposed to water for a long time get spoiled quickly.

Water destroys leather, suede, and other materials, so you want to try as much as you can to keep your boots from getting wet.

Can you wear cowboy boots in the rain or snow?

You can wear your cowboy boots in the rain and snow, but make sure that they do not get exposed for long.

Continue reading to learn why you should not expose your boots to moisture for long.

Why Your Boots Should Not Get Wet?

Here are some reasons why your boots should not get wet:

1. Water Destroys Leather

When water droplets fall on leather or leather is exposed to water, nothing happens at first as the leather might be polished or waterproofed.

However, if the water stays for a long time on the surface of the boot or if the boot remains in water for an extended period of time, the water will begin to penetrate the leather.

In time, the penetrated moisture molecules will mix with the oil molecules in the leather. As the water molecules start evaporating, the oil molecules will evaporate along with the water molecules.

This is why you notice that leather shoes or boots that have been exposed to moisture before look dryer than normal and flaky. It is because the oil that keeps the leather fresh and shiny has evaporated with water.

2. Water Destroys Suede

boot stepping into water with splash on surface

Suede is similar to leather and what happens in leather boots exposed to water also happens to suede. However, something else also happens.

The leather hairs in suede can become brittle or stiff when they get exposed to water for a long time and then become dry. It is like your long hair that can break if you do not take proper care of it after washing it with water.

As for the suede hairs, they will fall off the cowboy boots when they become stiff. This means that the boots will lose their beauty and quality.

3. The Boot Start to Stink

This happens to every type of shoe. So long as the inside of the shoe is wet for a long time, microbes will start growing in the boots and act on your sweat and other types of dirt in the boots. In time, your beautiful boots will start to stink and if you wear them with or without stocks, your legs will stink as well.

You must have noticed before that if you wear wet shoes or wet stocks in dry shoes for some hours, you will have stinky feet when you pull the boots. Smelly feet indicate that there is moisture in your boots. If care is not taken, the boots will spoil anytime soon.

4. Wet Boots Attract Mold

mold on leather shoes

Have you seen white, ash, or black mold growing on your boots before? It could be mold. The presence of mold indicates that there are fungi growing in the boots and since fungi only grow on moist surfaces, it means that your boots are moist.

Note that fungi decompose whatever they grow in, so their presence indicates that your boots are beginning to rot.

Aside from telling you that your boots are moist, the presence of mold or fungi also tells you that the boots are dirty and need proper cleaning because if there is no dirt in the boots, fungi will not find what to act on.

5. Wet Boots Generally Spoil Quickly

It does not matter if you are using leather, suede, or other types of boots, you need to prevent them from getting exposed to moisture for a long time as wet boots spoil faster than the ones that are consistently dry and properly managed.

Now you know why you should not expose your cowboy boots to moisture for long. Continue reading to learn how to prevent your boots from getting wet.

Cowboy boots stand on a wooden floor

How to Prevent Your Cowboy Boots from Getting Wet

Here are some tips that you can make use of:

1. Waterproof Your Boots

The best way to prevent your boots from getting wet is to waterproof them. Here are some products that you can use:

  • Spray: A great spray product that you can use for your boots is the KIWI Shoe Waterproofer Protector . It is a popular brand that works magic on boots.
  • Cream: Just in case you prefer to apply the product with a cloth, you can make use of Kaps Water Stop Cream  as it is a cream waterproof treatment for cowboy boots made from leather.
  • Wax: While there are many waterproof treatments made of wax, you can melt your candles and other wax products in your home and apply the wax to the boot with a cloth. Be careful so that you do not burn your hands.

If you have gotten your preferred product to use, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the boots are clean: You want to remove every debris from the boot so that the boot will be clean and beautiful.
  2. Dry the boots: If the boots are wet, wait until they are dry so that you do not trap moisture inside.
  3. Apply the product: Apply the waterproof treatment to the dry boots. Ensure to cover every part of the boots.
  4. Dry the product: After applying the products to the boots, it is time to air dry the boots until they are dry.

Please note that your boots will be water-resistant and not necessarily waterproof as seams, stitches, and holes, especially in older boots make it possible for water to go into the boots.

2. Do Not Wash the Boots Unless You Need To

Riding woman dressed in cowboy clothes

Sometimes, you may notice that your boots are dirty and need washing. If the boots are made of leather, you do not need water to wash them.

You need only a brush or rag to remove the mud and other types of dirt. After removing the debris, make use of your conditioner and polish to restore the beauty and quality of the boots.

While you can use water sometimes, especially for boots with stubborn dirt, you do not want to dip the entire boot into water. Also, make sure that the boots get dry quickly so that water does not penetrate into them.

3. Do Not Wear Them When It Is Raining Except if You Need To

Well, you can wear the boots for a short distance, but try to wear something else because rain falling directly on your boots and using your boots to walk through wet surfaces can damage them very quickly.

Remember that no matter what, your boots should not be exposed to moisture for long so that they are not ruined. Make use of them in the rain or moist areas only when you really need to.

4. Always Air Dry the Boots After Hiking

Cowboy boots outdoors still life

After hiking, ensure that you keep the boots in a place with a stable or slightly hot temperature. If possible, a place with exposure to the sun.

You might think that the boots are dry, but so long as there is mud attached to their soles, they can still become wet. This is why you should air dry them first before taking them inside (it does not matter if you want to clean them or not).

Also, air drying the boots helps the wind to dry the inside of the boots so that the boots do not become stinky.

5. Elevate the Cowboy Boots

There is a possibility of moisture getting trapped between the boot sole and the floor. Keep the boots far from the cold or wet floor so that the boots do not get wet from the floor.

Ensure that the boots are on a shoe rack or any elevated surface where water or moisture cannot reach them. Also, keep the boots in a room with humidity levels that are lower than the average.

Awesome tips, right?

What Can You Do if Your Boots Get Wet?

If your boots get wet, here are some things that you can do:

1. Remove All Debris

Worn Cowboy Boots with Blue Jeans

The first step in fixing wet boots is to remove all the dust, mud, and other dirt from them. This is because the debris can add extra moisture to the boots and keep them from getting dry quickly.

You can make use of a toothbrush or a cloth to remove all the debris. Just make sure that nothing is attached to the boots.

2. Remove the Boot Laces

Boot laces are usually made of cotton or other types of natural fiber that can retain moisture for long, so you want to remove them from the boots. If you do not, they can keep water in the boots and even help the moisture to penetrate the boots quickly.

When you remove the laces, keep them under the sun or in a place where they can quickly dry. Do not fix them back into the boots unless you are sure that they are completely dry.

3. Remove the Boot Insoles

The insoles in boots could retain moisture, especially if water entered the boots. To dry your boots fully, you must remove the insoles and keep them in a place where they can get dry quickly. Ensure that you open up the boots so that wind and sun can reach the inside and dry the boots from within.

To know if the inside of the boot is dry, use your nose to perceive the boots. Wet boots with a pungent smell need to stay under the sun for a longer period.

4. Wipe the Entire Boot with a Dry Cloth

man cleaning shoes

For the outside surface of the boots (and their insides), use a dry cloth to wipe the boots so that they can quickly get dry. Do not forcefully scrub the boots with the cloth so that you do not scratch them.

Just make sure that the cloth absorbs as much moisture from the boots as possible because the more moisture the cloth absorbs, the quicker the boots will get dry.

Nothing stops you from using more than one dry cloth. You can use as many pieces of cloth pieces as you want. After drying the boots with the cloth pieces, remember to air dry them.

5. Stuff the Boots with a Drying Agent

If available, make use of silica gel or dry newspapers so as to quickly dry the boots. If you’d be using newspapers, use as many as you can.

Stuff them into the boots and keep the boots out in the sun so that they can get dry quickly. Well, note that this is not a must, but it is a fantastic way to quickly dry your boots.

6. Air Dry the Boots

It is time to let the boots sit in the sun for a long time. They can get dry in 3-6 hours according to the time of the day and how exposed they are to the sun. Please do not expose them to the summer sun for long as hot temperatures can reduce the quality of boots.

7. Wait Until the Boots Are Fully Dry Before You Use Them Again

spurs on a boot

Never wear wet boots, not even in emergencies. You need to have two or more boots so that when one is wet and getting dry, the other two can serve you. If the boots are not dry, do not wear them.

Ensure that you keep your boots dry so that they do not go bad too quickly.


Now you know why you should keep your boots as dry as possible. Do not expose them to moisture for long so that they can serve you for many more years to come. Just in case the boots get wet, make use of the tips in this article to dry them up quickly.