Leather shoes and boots are relatively easy to care for, but suede and nubuck footwear require a bit more maintenance. We love a chukka or desert boot, but these hard-wearing shoes attract scuffs and stains, and can be ruined by one hard rain. Luckily, there's an effective one-step solution. Collonil's Classic Waterstop is an all-purpose, colorless water stop designed for smooth leather that is also appropriate for soft suedes and nubucks. In addition to providing heavy-duty waterproofing, Classic Waterstop also offers UV protection, which helps protect your shoes against fading and stiffness.
Begin with a clean pair of shoes. An inexpensive suede care kit that includes a scuff block and brush should do the trick for taking care of any existing scuffs or stains (the block can be used to gently rub out stains and worn shiny areas on the shoe surface, while the brush restores the nap of the suede). Take the shoes to a well-ventilated area and spray the shoes evenly with the water stop, giving them four to six coats. This works best if you go lightly and quickly – any missed spots can be tackled during the next layer of spraying, so don't oversaturate the shoes at any one time. Let the shoes dry for several minutes between coats and for 20 minutes after the final coat.
One such round of Classic Waterstop should keep your shoes in good shape for a few months, but if you live in a wet climate, you can periodically refresh the coating. Impressively, the product didn't alter the surface of our shoes when we sprayed them – while the suede feels slightly different to the touch, it retained its color and visual texture.
We recommend Collonil for those who want their shoes to go the distance while looking sharp longer. While we wouldn't put these shoes to the test in gale or blizzard conditions (there are better boots for that), you can rest a little easier when unexpected weather catches you unawares. [Collonil Classic Waterstop + UV Protection, $9.95; amazon.com]