The Easy Way To Waterproof Canvas Shoes

I found quite possibly the cutest pair of Toms at Nordstrom Rack the other day. Mustache themed ones, on clearance and everything. They couldn’t be more Portland unless they also had birds on them. However, wearing canvas shoes in Portland with all of the rain? Not the smartest thing. A quick internet search revealed that I could waterproof them with only a bar or two of beeswax, and a hairdryer. It’s two steps you guys. Two. Steps. Are you ready?

1. Cover the canvas area in beeswax.
2. Heat it with a hairdryer until it melts to seal it in.

It really is that simple. I was afraid the entire time I was doing this, that I’d some how mess it up, because it couldn’t be that easy. But it was. Here are the shoes I got pre-waterproofing:

Toms Shoes

I ordered the bars of beeswax on amazon. A pound of them (5 bars) cost me about $8.

beeswax bars

My handy dandy hairdryer. I love this thing. When my hair was long it could dry it in less than 10 minutes. Now that it’s short? It’s like 5.

T3 Featherweight hairdryer

I found that heating the beeswax bar with the hair dryer before rubbing it on the canvas was a slightly faster way of working it in since it was kind of pre-melted. It does tint your shoes a little bit – as you can see from the mild yellow cast on the right shoe below, but that’s my fault for not thinking of getting the more expensive clearer wax.

Toms and Beeswax

That being said, I don’t think it’s very noticeable now that they both look the same. Once your shoe is covered in beeswax, blast it with the hair dryer until the canvas absorbs all of the wax. It will bubble up a little bit and then wick back into the canvas, leaving a dry non-sheeny finish. With mine I did them in sections (the fronts, then the sides, then the backs), to make it a little easier. My biggest recommendation is to WEAR GLOVES. I got beeswax all over my hands and the residue wouldn’t wash off for hours.

Waterproof Toms Shoes

To demonstrate effectiveness, here is some water sitting atop of my newly waterproofed shoe, and not being absorbed by it! If I were fancier I would have filmed pouring the water, or made a gif, but at the time the thought didn’t even cross my mind. Next I should waterproof my canvas work tote.

Have you ever waterproofed anything?



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  • ooh this was very helpful, would have never thought of this! x

    Hannah | Heyitshannaah

  • So clever! And timely – I’m just in from the rain and soaked to the bone. Your shoes are lovely too 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m pretty excited that I don’t have to wait until dryer weather to wear them out anymore too =D