can you wear leather in the rain

Can You Wear Leather in The Rain?

Leather is a timeless material that is commonly used for clothing, accessories, and furniture. It is renowned for its sturdiness, adaptability, and plush texture. The subject of whether leather may be worn in the rain is one that is frequently asked. After all, leather is a natural substance that is susceptible to water damage. This post will discuss wearing leather in the rain and offer some advice for keeping your leather things safe.

Is Leather Waterproof?

The short answer is no, leather is not waterproof. Animal hides, which are used to make leather, have pores that naturally allow for ventilation. Leather is comfortable to wear because of its breath ability, which promotes airflow and prevents overheating. However, these pores also enable water to infiltrate into the leather and pierce it.

That being said, not all leather is created equal. Different kinds of leather are more or less water-resistant. For instance, full-grain leather, which preserves the original grain of the hide, is the most resilient and water-resistant type of leather. Top-grain leather, on the other hand, has undergone more processing and might not be as water-resistant.
In addition to the type of leather, the tanning process also plays a role in how water-resistant the leather is. Because the chromium salts employed in the process serve to seal the leather’s pores, chrome-tanned leather is more water-resistant than vegetable-tanned leather. Chrome-tanned leather might not be as breathable as leather that has been vegetable-tanned, though.

Leather Types and Rain

Different types of leather have varying degrees of water resistance. Understanding the type of leather you own can help you determine its suitability for rainy conditions.

  1. Full-grain leather: This type of leather retains its natural grain and is known for its durability. Full-grain leather is relatively water-resistant, thanks to its intact fibers and natural oils. With proper care, it can withstand light rain without significant damage.
  2. Top-grain leather: Similar to full-grain leather, top-grain leather has been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. It offers decent water resistance but may require additional protection in heavy rain.
  3. Corrected-grain leather: Corrected-grain leather undergoes additional processing to remove blemishes and imperfections. It is usually coated with pigments or finishes, which can enhance its water resistance to some extent.
  4. Bonded leather: Made from leftover leather scraps, bonded leather is the least water-resistant among the types mentioned here. It is composed of small leather pieces bonded together with adhesives and may not fare well in wet conditions.

Alternatives to Leather in Rainy Conditions

If you frequently find yourself in wet weather conditions or are concerned about exposing your leather items to rain, there are alternative options available.

  1. Synthetic leather: Synthetic or faux leather is a man-made material that mimics the look and feel of genuine leather. It is typically more water-resistant than natural leather and can be a suitable alternative for rainy environments.
  2. Waterproof coatings: Another option is to invest in leather items that come with a built-in waterproof coating. Some manufacturers offer leather products treated with specialized finishes that enhance their water resistance, making them more suitable for rainy conditions.

The Risks of Wearing Leather in the Rain

Leather can be worn in the rain despite not being waterproof. There are certain concerns to think about, though. First and foremost, leather objects that have been exposed to water risk losing their shape and structure. Leather can be uncomfortable to wear and might grow stiff after becoming wet. Water can also create stains and marks on leather that are challenging to remove.

Wearing leather in the rain carries the additional risk of encouraging the growth of mould and mildew. When leather is wet, a moist atmosphere is created that is ideal for the growth of mould and mildew. Mould and mildew can grow on leather if it is not dried thoroughly, which will harm the leather and give it a musty smell.

Tips for Protecting Leather in the Rain:

If you want to wear leather in the rain, there are some steps you can take to protect your leather items. Here are some tips:

Understanding Leather's Vulnerability to Rain:

Leather is a natural material that comes from animal hides. It possesses inherent water-resistant properties due to the presence of natural oils and fats. However, it is important to note that leather is not completely waterproof. When exposed to excessive moisture or heavy rain, leather can absorb water, potentially leading to damage and discoloration. The susceptibility of leather to rain largely depends on various factors, including the type of leather, its quality, and the extent of exposure.

Factors Influencing Leather's Resistance to Rain:

a. Leather Types and Quality: Different types of leather, such as full-grain, top-grain, and suede, exhibit varying degrees of resistance to water. Full-grain leather, known for its natural texture and durability, tends to fare better in the rain due to its tight grain structure. On the other hand, suede leather, with its brushed and porous surface, is more susceptible to water damage. Additionally, the quality of the leather and its tanning process play a crucial role in determining its ability to withstand moisture.

b. Leather Care and Maintenance: Proper care and maintenance significantly enhance leather’s ability to withstand rain. Regularly applying leather conditioners and protective sprays can help nourish the leather, maintain its suppleness, and create a barrier against moisture. Additionally, avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and storing leather items in a dry, well-ventilated area can prevent mold and mildew growth.

Applying Waterproofing Products: 

Before applying any waterproofing product, it is important to clean and condition the leather properly to ensure maximum effectiveness. Follow the instructions on the product label, and test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t alter the leather’s appearance. Apply the product evenly, making sure to cover all areas, and allow it to dry completely before wearing the leather item in the rain.

When choosing a waterproofing product, make sure to read the label carefully and follow the instructions. Some products may be better suited for certain types of leather, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Dry Your Leather Properly

If your leather items do get wet, it’s important to dry them properly. Avoid using heat sources like hairdryers or heaters, as this can cause the leather to crack and become damaged. Instead, allow your leather items to air dry naturally in a cool, dry place. You can stuff your leather items with newspaper or a towel to help them retain their shape as they dry.

Tips for Wearing Leather in the Rain:

a. Preparing Your Leather: Before venturing out in wet weather, it is advisable to treat your leather items with a waterproofing product specifically designed for leather. These products form a protective layer on the leather’s surface, preventing water from penetrating and causing damage. Test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t alter the appearance of your leather.

b. Timing and Intensity: While leather can withstand light rain or a drizzle without immediate consequences, it is best to avoid heavy downpours whenever possible. If you find yourself caught in a sudden shower, seek shelter and wipe off any moisture from your leather items as soon as you can. Leaving wet leather untreated for an extended period can lead to permanent damage.

c. Drying Leather: If your leather items do get wet, it is crucial to dry them properly to prevent mold and mildew growth. Avoid using direct heat sources such as hairdryers or heaters, as they can cause the leather to crack or lose its natural oils. Instead, gently blot excess moisture with a clean, absorbent cloth and allow the leather to air dry naturally at room temperature.

Common Misconceptions

There are a few common misconceptions regarding wearing leather in the rain that we should address:

  1. Permanent damage from rain: While excessive exposure to water can cause damage to leather, occasional exposure to light rain is unlikely to result in permanent harm. Proper care and maintenance can minimize the risk of long-term damage.
  2. The role of water repellents: It’s important to note that water repellents and conditioners are not magical solutions that make leather completely impervious to water. They provide a certain level of protection but are not foolproof. Regular reapplication is necessary to maintain their effectiveness.


Wearing a leather jacket in the rain is safe, but avoid getting it wet to preserve its water-resistant qualities. While keeping a leather jacket on at all times will help it last longer, taking special steps to guard against moisture damage and mould growth is advised. The most typical way that people destroy their leather jackets is with water damage, which tops the list.


Is leather OK with rain?

Leather is not completely waterproof, and prolonged exposure to rain or moisture can damage it. However, with proper maintenance and protection, leather can withstand occasional exposure to rain. Waterproofing products and regular cleaning and conditioning can significantly enhance leather’s resistance to rain and moisture. It’s also important to be mindful of the timing and intensity of rain when wearing leather and to dry it properly if it does get wet. In summary, leather is not entirely immune to rain, but with the right care, it can still be a durable and stylish material to wear in wet weather conditions.

Does leather crack in the rain?

Leather can crack in the rain if it is not properly maintained or protected. When leather gets wet, it loses some of its natural oils, which can cause it to dry out and become brittle over time. This can lead to cracking and damage to the leather’s surface. However, if leather is regularly cleaned and conditioned with a leather conditioner, it can maintain its suppleness and resistance to cracking, even when exposed to rain. Additionally, applying a waterproofing product can help to prevent moisture from penetrating the leather’s surface, reducing the risk of cracking or damage. In summary, leather can crack in the rain if not properly cared for, but with the right maintenance and protection, it can maintain its durability and appearance.

Is leather always waterproof?

No, leather is not always waterproof. While leather has some inherent water-resistant properties, it is not completely waterproof. The extent of leather’s resistance to water depends on various factors, including the type of leather, its quality, and the tanning process. Some types of leather, such as full-grain leather or top-grain leather, are more water-resistant than others, such as suede or nubuck. However, even the most water-resistant types of leather can still be vulnerable to damage from prolonged exposure to rain or moisture. To enhance leather’s resistance to water, it’s recommended to apply a waterproofing product, such as a spray or wax, to create a protective barrier on the leather’s surface. Regular cleaning and conditioning can also help to maintain the leather’s natural oils, which can contribute to its water resistance.

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