Can You Waterproof Mesh Shoes? – All You Need to Know

Waterproofing mesh shoes can be a bit of a hassle. Sometimes sealing the pores is difficult as it is built to enhance ventilation within the shoes.

It is recommended to apply water-resistant spray on the shoe. But over time, the layer would come off, and you would need to re-apply the spray.

Moreover, there is also some preparation you need to do BEFORE applying the spray. They are essential to avoid damaging the shoe or making the seal ineffective.

In this article, we will go through, in detail, the various available methods regarding ‘can you waterproof mesh shoes.’ It may not seem so, but the processes can become quite involved. So, try not to skip any of them, and read till the end.

Here we will be discussing the methods of waterproofing and the things you need to know and have.

Methods of waterproofingExample Products/MaterialsPrice range
Waterproof sprayKiwi Shoe Waterproofer,
Scotchguard Fabric and Upholstery Protector,
Tarrango Nano Protection Spray
WaxingBeeswax, Candle wax, Paraffin$5-$30
Shoe coversSilicone or PVC covers$8-$30
SocksSealskinzaround $35

Can You Waterproof Mesh Shoes?

A WORD OF CAUTION!! The following methods for waterproofing a shoe may not be 100% effective. Due to the very nature of mesh shoes and some specific scenarios, you may still get water on your shoe

1. Using Waterproof Spray

Can You Waterproof Mesh Shoes
  • Precaution

Waterproof sprays work the best for fabrics with good absorbing power.

Before starting, make sure that your spray does not damage the upper shoe. It is recommended that you first spray a bit on a small part of the shoe and let it dry.

If you see discoloration, or the spray seems to damage the upper part, look for other alternatives. Also, while spraying, keep the spray nozzle at a certain distance. Be careful not to inhale the aerosol.

It’s always better to waterproof the shoe after you have worn it for a while and walked around. The thing is that when you wear new shoes, the fabric tends to stretch and expand due to movement.

If you apply the spray on a brand new shoe, the pores may expand, and your work will be wasted.

  • Preparation

Before using the spray, first clean it off. You must clean off any mud grimes or stuck-up dirt on the shoe. The dirt may prevent the spray from reaching certain parts of the shoe and compromise its waterproofing abilities.

To clean fabric shoes, use a mixture of baking powder and laundry detergent. Mix them with some water to make a paste.

Remove the laces so that you can clean every corner of the shoe. Apply the paste to the shoe and rinse it with warm water. Be wary, as applying the spray would mean you won’t be able to wash the shoes for months.

Furthermore, DO NOT WATERPROOF A WET SHOE. Dry the shoe completely before you apply any spray on it.

  • Using

The spray should be used from a 6eet away from the shoe. It is ideal not to spray excess liquid on one spot.

Your goal should be to coat the shoe, even the hard-to-reach places, evenly. After you are done, use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess spray.

Let the spray on the shoe dry overnight. If you disrupt the waterproof spray layer by moving or shaking the shoe, all your hard work will go to waste. It takes around 24 hours for the spray to settle on the shoe.

One hack you can apply while spraying the shoe is hanging it. With the shoe hanging off, you can easily spray a wider surface area quickly.

Try your best to avoid touching the spray on the shoe surface. If you need to change sides, simply spin the shoe.

  • Pick the right spray products

Most commercial spray products use silicone or acrylic-based compounds. These tend to adhere to the shoe well, but not as long as wax does. Silicone-based spray products are more durable and better performing, but they also tend to be more expensive.

Some popular waterproofing spray paints include

2. Waxing

  • Precaution

Many would suggest that you apply molten wax to your shoes. While heated wax sits more properly, it can give rise to several problems.

Pouring molten wax can get messy and if you accidentally spill some you could scald yourself.

  • Preparation

Like applying waterproof spray paints, you have to clean the shoe before applying any wax. Wax best adheres to clean surfaces.

After cleaning off your shoes, let them dry properly. Wax is very hydrophobic (don’t like water!) and applying it on wet shoes will do no good to your shoes.

  • Applying

Since we’d be using solid wax, we would rub it on the shoe thoroughly. Remove the laces and have them separately treated so that you can reach more places within the shoe. You need to coat the entire surface of the shoe with wax.

After rubbing on the wax meticulously, take a hairdryer and blow out hot air on the shoe. It would melt the wax resting on the shoe and cover all the pores on the mesh shoe. Initially, you may notice some changes in the coloration of the wax. 

But do not worry, the coloration would disappear as the wax melts. After melting, leave the shoe to cool off. The wax layer will fill in all the pores and your shoe will be completely waterproof.

  • Types Of Waxes You May Use

Candle wax is a popular choice as a waterproofing material. And so are paraffin, beeswax, wax beads, and others.

But the most popular option is beeswax, as it doesn’t have a smell and doesn’t visibly change the appearance of the shoe drastically.

3. Covers 


If both of the aforementioned methods seemed laborious, you may consider shoe covers. Silicone or PVC-made shoe covers are available in the market. You just have to cover your shoes with them and you’ll be ready to set off.

  • Trade-offs

There are some setbacks though. Carrying extra weight and padding on summer days can become quite tiresome. Also, the covers are not very photogenic so your shoe may look a bit ugly.

But at least they will be 100% reliable and require virtually no maintenance, unlike the previous two methods.

4. Socks

  • Importance of Socks

So far we have learned how to keep water from ENTERING the shoe. But it is not just the walls through which water would get in.

Especially while running on a rainy day or muddy track, water may splash high off and get into your shoes.

And if you are not wearing the proper type of socks, your feet will get wet.

  • Choosing The Right Type of Sock Material

Certain waterproof socks lined with G-Tex material are available on the market. These are well reputed for keeping water out of your feet, even if there is a puddle on the outside.

Compared to waxing and spraying, using socks and shoe covers is quite affordable too! Brands like Sealskinz produce these socks. They advertise themselves to also insulate on winter days in virtue of the Merino wool lining of their socks.

Woolen socks may be another alternative to consider. Not that they wouldn’t get wet, but they would keep your feet warm. The only disadvantage is that your feet may still remain damp from the water.


  • Can you make mesh shoes waterproof?

It is not possible to have 100% waterproof mesh shoes. They are designed to improve ventilation within the insides while wearing. But you can apply temporary solutions.

Waxing, and spraying a commercial waterproof aerosol on the shoe may work effectively. But these need to be reapplied from time to time as the protective layer wears off.

Be aware that if the pores are too large they can’t be effectively made waterproof.

  • Can you waterproof fabric shoes?

Yes, you can. Similarly, with mesh shoes, fabric shoes can easily be made waterproof. But only those made of a more absorbent fabric can be made waterproof.

This is important as the waterproofing material needs to thoroughly seep into the shoe material.

  • Can you use Scotchgard on running shoes?

Scotchguard is a well-known water repellant. But before you apply, check if the spray sits well on your shoes.

Spray the aerosol on a small part of your running shoes. If you see that it discolors or damages the shoe in some way, do not use Scotchguard.

  • Does silicone spray waterproof shoes?

Silicone is a hydrophobic material. Most of the waterproof sprays you’ll find in stores for sale use silicone-based compounds to waterproof things.

Almost all types of shoes can be waterproofed by silicone spray, except those that have holes. Many shoes have mesh panels, ventilation holes, or drainage holes that a silicone spray cannot sit on.

Final Thoughts

Having wet shoes can be problematic. Aside from being uncomfortable to wear, wet damp shoes can become damaged due to bacteria or mold. It is natural to search for ways to make your shoes waterproof.

So, can you waterproof mesh shoes. Well, this article has gone through in detail how to waterproof your mesh shoes and discusses their efficacy a bit.

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