***Warning: I write direct, often crass, with lots of spelling and grammatical errors. I do not write this blog to become ‘an editor or great writer,’ I write it to share knowledge and am usually in a rush as I also run a shoe company that, to be honest, takes precedence in my life. If you like to take things personally, heed my warning before proceeding.
One would think that it is common sense to not wear brand new shoes on a rainy day, and of course, I won’t lie and say that I have never done it. But after doing it, and seeing the consequences of what ‘can’ happen, I have learned from my errors and hope to share those here so that you all do not make the same mistakes that I and countless others have as well.
Again, I won’t claim to be a scientist on why skin/leather reacts certain ways at certain times. But having had such vast experiences in my use of shoes and handling of nearly every brand under the sun, I can give you a very strong precaution that is not based on 100% fact, as there are always exceptions (like black calf), but will be based on enough merit to potentially save you from blunders that could have been prevented.
All leathers are different. All react differently. Cheap leathers especially. Light colors even more so. But just because those are generally regarded as volatile, does not mean that one should be careless with their more expensive, darker leathers. The reason being is that not all rain is also the same. Different regions have rain with more salinity in it than other regions. I have had downpours turn my shoes black and then dry evenly. I have had one tiny spec of rain hit my shoe and leave a rain stain. Go figure, right?! And the reason is that when leather is new, and those pores have not opened, it is more susceptible to issue. Now I do not know why that is on a scientific level, but have dealt with it countless times in my life as a professional shoe shiner and also as someone that has owned more than a 1000 shoes in his lifetime by hundreds of makers, from cheap ones to the top of the spectrum. I have had shoes of the same leather take rain after the second wear and were fine. But a different pair, in the same leather, worn for the first time on a rainy day and blistered.
Therefore, while of course, you can do what you want. You can polish your brand new shoes, thinking that it will protect them from rain and take your own risk but it does not guarantee that you will actually be protecting your shoes. The best protection is prevention and the smartest thing you can do is wear your brand new shoes on a day that it is not scheduled to rain, break that leather in, open those pores up, and then give them a good shining and feel confident to face the rain. And I write with one agenda: to help you and nothing more. I will make all of the mistakes so you do not have to. I write based on the experience of dealing with things first hand. Not in theories.
The simple fact, no matter what others tell you, is that leather when new and its pores closed, is more susceptible to adverse reactions. The leather and its pores open as you move the leather i.e. as you wear the shoes. The more you wear the shoes, the more the pores open and openly accept any type of liquid with more positive reactions. If you don’t believe me, go make a test. Go spill beer on your brand new crust leather shoes. Then do so on your used, polished crust leather shoes and let me know how they both dry.
I can also say that if you wear brand new shoes on a rainy day and soak them, the leather will drastically loosen due to that, as opposed to breaking in the leather on a dry day. I have chelsea boots that have stretched drastically because I soaked them on the first day’s wear. Others that still fit tight as a glove, as I broke them in on a dry day and have subsequently worn them on wet days after but as the leather was already broken in, it did not have the same effect as the overly stretched chelseas. Again, go figure.
Lastly, this is not 100% a fact. There are always exceptions like I stated above. Some shoes will take the rain like a champ on the first day. But many others won’t. I write this as a general rule of thumb that will prevent you from potential future headaches. Always break your shoes in on a dry day. Avoid potential problems, if you can. You just might thank me later 🙂