It is a myth that suede is not good for rain. This statement is only true when your suede is not of good quality. A good quality suede shoe is your ultimate rain weather shoe. It is clear that the person who created this worldwide myth must have been wearing poor quality shoes because the reality of it is that suede is THE BEST option to wear on rainy days. Allow me to explain why:
- Good suede doesn’t leave an indication that has it rained. I.e. it doesn’t leave water marks, spots, bumps etc. It dries easily. Calfskin, on the other hand, can spot stain, can bubble up and can leave leather blisters etc. And course good leather has the best chance of not doing that, but even good ones can if it is crust or of light color. Black calfskin is usually another solid choice, but suede still better.
- It usually dries evenly when getting wet all over. My favorite story to tell is that once when in Paris, I was on a scooter and got caught in a very strong hail storm. I was wearing snuff suede chukka boots. I got so wet my shoes turned black from how wet they were. I was curious to see how they were going to handle it. To my pleasant surprise, in less than an hour, they had dried completely evenly and did not leave any salt stains. I was super impressed and learned that day that good, brown suede shoes are the best things to wear in the rain. Because I tell you what, if those shoes had been calfskin, I can guarantee that I would have had some problems.
But not all suede is good for what I am talking about. It has to be a heavier type of suede, not a thin one. You find this on English suede, particularly from Charles Stead tannery. Or thicker, full-grain Italian suedes. And not all colors are ideal either. Light suedes, of course, are not great for the rain and it is not because it is suede it is because of the color and how it is then easier to get dirty. Black suede tends to lose its luster. It will dry fine but won’t stay as black after so much rainfall.
But shades of brown, like snuff, dark brown, bitter chocolate etc and other darker colors like Loden suede or Navy also work wonders in the rain. It’s like it was built for being a good rain weather shoe.
When it rains out, I tend to go for the pair of shoes in the photos or a pair of dark brown suede chelsea boots. Both have rubber soles and for me this is the best combination for a rain weather shoe: Dark Brown Suede and a Rubber Sole. The model doesn’t matter. As long as it has these two things you will be okay and will be safe to go out in the rain and thus not having to worry about damaging your shoes. And after they get wet, simply allow them to dry and then steam them and brush down. And you will see them as good as new!
Shoes by J.FitzPatrick Footwear
Socks by Mes Chaussettes Rouges
Trousers by Uniqlo
Couldn’t agree more. My Loake Kemptons are my go-to-boot. I spent a few (very pleasant) days in Donegal, where the rain smites with biblical fury. I had to travel light so my shoe of choice were my dark brown suede chukka LKs, the only pair I took. They got soaked thoroughly, dried out very quickly, and only needed a light steaming over the hotel kettle to look pristine once more. Accept no substitutes.
Thanks for sharing Lee!
I wish you would make chelsea boots with rubber soles, or better commando soles.
Hi Justin, huge fan of your brand (3 pairs so far, hopefully more to come). Quick question on suede and rain – what’s the difference between a “rough-out suede” of the sort available from Crockett & Jones and standard suede? Is the rough out more rain resistant than standard suede?
Hey Ed, so kind of you. I appreciate the support! But yes in theory, its waxed over to make it more durable and sealed per se. Hence why you usually find the ‘rough-out’ suede on Winter models
Hello Justin, this post and your blog in general have been wonderful resources as I learn what leather can and cannot do. Wondering if you have experience with grey suede in the rain/dust/grass? I traverse many different surfaces for work and like versatile shoes. Looking for another suede option to add to the brown chukkas I already own. Thank You!
I am sorry for this late reply. Finding a ton of comments in my spam folder months later. I appreciate your words. Thank you. Grey suede gets dirty easily. Sorry my friend