How to Waterproof Your Leather Gloves

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Leather gloves can serve as a vital “second skin” during the winter, adding insulation and a layer of protection from friction and the elements. From ski poles to ice tools, and rope tows to camera equipment, winter gloves face a wide range of needs for warmth, dexterity and protection.

leather gloves

Full-grain leather gloves can provide a long and comfortable service life. One of the industry’s experts is Ben Martin, Black Diamond Equipment’s product developer for gloves. Ben highlights the three key benefits of full leather as “durability, customized fit—once broken in, and best grip surface.”

Waterproof Your Leather Gloves

Full-grain leather gloves are best treated with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather. Premium brands like Black Diamond and POW include a sample of Waterproofing Wax with each pair of new leather gloves. This treatment can be applied wet or dry to clean gloves and enhances the water repellency of the leather while maintaining breathability.

Here’s how to apply the wax to waterproof your leather gloves:

1. If the leather is dirty, clean with a damp cloth. Do not machine wash leather gloves.

2. Squeeze on Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather (an amount equivalent to a Hershey’s Kiss per glove).

waterproof leather gloves

3. Rub the cream into the leather, paying special attention to the seams. Let it sit for a few minutes, then remove any significant excess with a damp cloth.

Waterproof Your Leather Gloves

4. Air dry. Do not wring gloves.

Note that Nikwax Waterproofing Wax (like many other leather treatments) can darken and tint particularly light-colored gloves. If you have white gloves, test on a small section of the glove first.

With regular care and typical levels of use, good leather gloves can serve you for 8–10 years.

Shop gloves at REI.com
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