Are Leather Gloves Waterproof & Can You Wear Them in the Rain? [Discussed]


Leather gloves are stylish, durable and popular for winter because they provide great insulation. But what about wet winter conditions? Are leather gloves waterproof?

No, leather gloves are not completely waterproof. Leather is a porous material that will eventually absorb water. However, many types of leather gloves are treated with waxes, oils, or sprays to make them as close to waterproof as possible. But not all types of leather gloves have been pre-treated, so depending on the brand you purchased, you may need to add treatment. This is where you can read more about applying treatment to your leather gloves.

It is also worth noting that leather itself is naturally water-resistant. What does this mean? To be water-resistant means a material can take on light-precipitation (think a light rain shower) and not be compromised. However, water-resistant material is not the same as waterproof.

If you expose untreated leather gloves to extreme wet conditions, they will get soaked and damaged. But if your leather gloves have been treated with wax, oil, or waterproofing spray, they will be able to take on heavy rain and not be affected. Still, even treated leather gloves shouldn’t be submerged in water for long periods.

If it’s a rain shower you are worried about, most leather gloves can take on a light rain shower and not be negatively affected. However, for strong rain storms, it would be best to make sure your leather gloves have been treated for extra protection against water.

In this article, let’s take a closer look at how water-resistant leather gloves are and what you can do to add additional waterproofing measures to your gloves.

Will Rain Hurt Leather Gloves?

Most light rain storms will not damage leather gloves, however, for stronger rain storms, you will want to make sure your gloves have been treated with waterproofing wax, oil, or spray.

As we discussed earlier, leather is naturally water-resistant, which means leather can repel very light precipitation and be relatively unharmed. However, leather on its own is not waterproof. Leather is porous, and will absorb water, which can soak into the gloves and possibly ruin them.

There are different types of leather, and some of them offer more natural water-resistance than others. However, no matter the type of leather you purchase, it’s always best to apply waterproofing treatment to extend the life of your leather gloves. 

Which Types of Leather Gloves Are More Water-Resistant?

There are several types of leather material that manufacturers currently use to produce leather gloves. These materials also come in different qualities and grades, so as a result, they’ll provide different levels of protection, durability, warmth, dexterity, comfort, and water resistance. 

Cowhide

Cowhide is an excellent choice if you want affordable and durable leather gloves. In addition, it provides an excellent level of protection and puncture resistance, so it’s commonly used to make work gloves as well as winter gloves.

Leather gloves made of cowhide can be highly water-resistant, but they’re not 100% waterproof. When left in water for too long and then left to dry, the leather becomes stiff. As a result, your cowhide leather gloves will lose their flexibility and become uncomfortable to wear, and the leather might crack. 

Cowhide leather gloves are extremely warm, but they’re not very breathable. So, they might not work for you if you have sweaty hands. 

Pigskin

Pigskin leather gloves are soft and comfortable to wear. They offer more dexterity and breathability than cowhide gloves, so they can be worn for long hours. 

However, they excel in the durability aspect because out of all types of leather, pigskin is the most puncture-resistant. As a result, they’re commonly used to make industrial work gloves where your hands are likely to move a lot and get sweaty. 

This type of leather isn’t the warmest. It’s also more porous, so it’s less water-resistant than other leather types. Nevertheless, if your pigskin leather gloves get submerged in water, they won’t crack or become stiff, like cowhide leather gloves. 

Deerskin

Deerskin is more expensive than other types of leather, and it’s widely used in making leather gloves that are designed to offer maximum flexibility and dexterity. With repeated wear, the leather forms to the hand, so you can feel more comfortable while wearing your gloves. Deerskin is water-resistant, but it doesn’t lose its shape or crack if it gets submerged in water. 

Although deerskin gloves are comfortable, they’re not that durable and less puncture-resistant than other types of leather. They provide the same type of warmth that you get from pigskin, so they’re not as warm as cowhide gloves. 

Goatskin

Goatskin is soft and flexible, offering more breathability and flexibility than other types of leather. It’s as abrasion and puncture-resistant as cowhide, so it’s used to make winter and industrial gloves. 

Because of the increased breathability, goatskin gloves are less water-resistant than other types of gloves. However, the leather doesn’t stiffen when submerged in water and left to dry. Moreover, goatskin leather gloves aren’t as warm as other types of leather gloves. 


Are Leather Gloves More Water Resistant than Other Materials?

Today’s market offers different types of gloves materials that you can pick from. Each material has its pros and cons, so you can check them out before buying your next work or winter gloves. 

Synthetic Leather

Synthetic, faux leather is more affordable than real leather, and since it’s usually made of plastic, it can be waterproof. However, some types of synthetic leather will be water-resistant but not 100% waterproof. 

This material isn’t as durable or abrasion-resistant as real leather. Nevertheless, it provides excellent dexterity and grip in various situations. 

Neoprene

Neoprene is a synthetic material made of plastic. Neoprene gloves are more waterproof than leather gloves, but they’re less durable, less puncture and abrasion-resistant, less heat-resistant, and not as warm as leather gloves. 

Polyester Fleece

Polyester fleece is a synthetic fabric that feels soft to touch. It’s warm and durable, although it’s not abrasion-resistant like leather. 

Polyester fleece gloves are water-resistant but not waterproof. However, they don’t change shape or show any signs of damage when they get submerged in water, so the gloves are machine-washable. 


How to Make Leather Gloves Waterproof

Although these treatments are often referred to as “waterproofing” treatments, it is best to understand that leather cannot ever be 100% waterproof. It is too porous. Even with these treatments, if you submerge your leather gloves in water for an extended period of time, they will eventually absorb water.

However, the treatments below can help you get your leather gloves as close to waterproof as possible. Some types of leather gloves are pre-treated when you purchase them. However, it is best to re-apply waterproofing at least once a year to help protect the leather material.

Waxing

Wax is a natural material that can be used to make leather waterproof using the following steps. 

  • Clean your leather gloves using a small clean cloth. 
  • Apply a small amount of wax to a cloth and rub it on the leather gloves. If the wax is hard, warm it before applying.
  • Allow the leather to completely dry. Don’t try to speed up the process using a hair dryer, as the direct heat can cause the leather to crack. 
  • Buff the wax with a dry clean cloth. 

Using Spray

Today, you can find several water-repellent sprays that can be used to make your leather gloves waterproof. These sprays are sold for different types of leather, and they allow the moisture to sit on top of the leather instead of penetrating it. Here are the steps to follow. 

  • Make sure that your spray is suitable for the type of leather you have. 
  • Clean your leather gloves using a soft clean cloth. 
  • Do a patch test to make sure that the spray won’t stain the leather. 
  • Apply a coat of spray on the gloves or on a piece of cloth, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Wait until the spray dries and repeat the process as necessary. 

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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