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Can You Wear Nubuck in Snow
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Can You Wear Nubuck in Snow?

Are you wondering whether or not you can wear your favorite nubuck shoes in the snow? 

It’s a good question, and one that many people have asked before. 

After all, nubuck is a type of leather that is known for its soft, velvety texture – not exactly the most practical material for harsh winter weather. 

But does that mean you have to retire your Nubuck shoes until springtime? Not necessarily! 

Let’s take a closer look at whether or not Nubuck is a good choice for snowy conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Nubuck footwear requires waterproofing and insulation for use in snowy conditions
  • Proper care and maintenance of nubuck shoes and boots can prevent damage from snow exposure
  • Waterproofing products and warm linings can help ensure optimal comfort and durability in winter nubuck footwear

Understanding Nubuck

Nubuck is a special type of leather that is often used for making boots, shoes, and furniture upholstery. 

It comes from the top layer of a cow’s hide and shares some similarities with aniline leather. 

Let’s dive into the characteristics of nubuck leather and how its velvety texture and delicate nature can impact its use in snowy conditions.

Characteristics of Nubuck Leather

1. Velvety Texture: Nubuck leather is known for its soft and velvety texture. This is because, during the manufacturing process, the top surface of the leather is slightly sanded to create a nap, giving it a unique feel similar to suede.

2. Delicate Material: Although nubuck is made from the top layer of a cow’s hide, it is still a delicate material. This means it can be susceptible to scuffs, stains, and water damage. It’s essential to take extra care when wearing nubuck items, especially in harsh environments like snow and rain.

3. Aniline Leather Similarities: Nubuck is sometimes compared to aniline leather because they both come from the top layer of a cow’s hide. Both materials have a luxurious feel, but nubuck has that distinctive velvety texture.

Now that we understand the properties of nubuck leather let’s see how it can handle snowy conditions. 

Nubuck Shoes and Snow

Nubuck shoes are a popular choice for their soft and velvety texture. 

But when it comes to snow, there are a few challenges that you might face when wearing these fashionable boots. 

In this section, we’ll take a look at the challenges you might encounter and some tips on how to deal with them.

Challenges with Snow

Water Damage: One of the biggest issues with wearing nubuck shoes in snow is the risk of water damage. 

Nubuck is not naturally waterproof, so it can be susceptible to damage from snow or rain. 

To protect your nubuck shoes from water damage, it’s important to waterproof them properly (more on that later).

Salt Stains: Salt is commonly used to melt ice on roads and sidewalks during winter, but it can cause stains on your nubuck shoes. 

To prevent this, it’s a good idea to clean your shoes regularly with a nubuck eraser and a damp cloth.

Mud and Slush: Snow can turn into mud and slush, which can make your nubuck shoes dirty and potentially damage them. 

When you encounter mud or slush, clean your shoes as soon as you can with a damp cloth or brush to prevent stains from setting in.

Waterproofing and Insulation

When wearing nubuck in the snow, it’s essential to focus on two key aspects: waterproofing and insulation. 

These will ensure your shoes stay warm, dry, and protected during winter. 

Let’s discuss the different methods you can use to achieve that.

Different Methods

There are various methods you can use to make your nubuck shoes waterproof and well-insulated for snowy conditions.

  1. Waterproofing Spray: Using a waterproofing spray specifically designed for nubuck leather is an effective way to protect it from water damage. Apply the spray evenly on the outer surface of your shoes, making sure the entire area is covered.
  2. Gore-Tex Technology: Some nubuck shoes come with Gore-Tex technology built into the shoe, providing an excellent level of waterproofing and breathability.
  3. SnoSeal: While SnoSeal might be a popular choice for waterproofing leather, it’s not recommended for nubuck. Instead, stick to products explicitly designed for nubuck leather.
  4. Leather Honey: Leather Honey is a waterproofing product that’s suitable for nubuck and can be applied to create a protective barrier against water.

For insulation, it is essential to have a shoe with a warm lining. 

Some nubuck shoes come with an insulated lining designed specifically for winter use. 

Additionally, wearing suitable socks can also provide extra warmth and comfort.

 Choose socks made of high-quality materials like merino wool or a synthetic blend that works well with your shoe’s insulation system.

Winter Nubuck Footwear

It’s essential to understand how nubuck performs in snow and what types of boots are best suited for winter conditions.

Popular Options

Timberland Boots

Timberland boots are among the most popular nubuck options for winter wear, especially for those looking for stylish winter boots. 

These boots are designed to handle snowy conditions and offer good traction for walking in slippery situations. 

However, keep in mind that nubuck requires extra care when worn in snowy environments.

Hiking Boots

Nubuck hiking boots are also suitable for winter wear. 

Many of these boots have additional waterproofing features that help protect the leather from damage caused by snow or rain. 

Before choosing nubuck hiking boots, ensure they are specifically designed for cold weather and have proper insulation for those chilly winter days.

Snow Boots

Snow boots made from nubuck provide excellent warmth when paired with suitable insulation. 

Look for models with good grip soles and waterproofing to keep your feet dry and comfortable during snowy conditions. 

It’s essential to choose snow boots designed for winter wear, as not all nubuck boots are equal in performance.


To further protect your nubuck footwear during winter, consider using gaiters. 

Gaiters are a practical accessory that covers the top of your boots and the lower part of your legs, helping to keep snow, ice, and water out of your boots. 

They can easily be worn with nubuck boots to ensure your footwear stays dry and damage-free during winter adventures.

Proper Care and Maintenance


Taking care of your nubuck boots in the snow is important for maintaining their comfort, durability, and appearance. 

Since nubuck is similar to suede, it requires special attention. 

When cleaning your boots, start by removing any visible dirt with a damp cloth. 

Use a suede eraser or a soft toothbrush to gently brush away any remaining dirt or stains, taking care not to damage the leather. 

For tougher stains, consider using a cleaning product specifically designed for nubuck leather, such as shampoo or saddle soap.

Allow your boots to dry thoroughly, but avoid direct sunlight as it can cause fading or damage. To help maintain their shape as they dry, stuff boots with newspaper or use shoe trees.


To keep nubuck boots in the best condition when wearing them in the snow, it’s important to waterproof them. 

This can be done by using a high-quality waterproofing spray, which will protect the boots from salt, snow, and other elements. 

Make sure to apply the spray evenly and allow your boots to dry before wearing them in snowy conditions.

In addition to waterproofing, choose socks made from breathable materials to ensure comfort and prevent moisture buildup inside your boots.

Proper footwear care can also extend to the soles of your boots. 

When selecting nubuck boots for snow, prioritize traction and durability in the sole design. 

Keeping the soles clean and routinely checking for any signs of wear will help you maintain superior traction in snowy conditions.

Additional Tips and Tricks

When wearing nubuck boots in snow, remember these helpful tips and tricks to keep your feet warm and your boots looking great.

1. Waterproofing – Before stepping out in the snow, make sure to waterproof your nubuck boots. You can find specially designed nubuck waterproofing sprays at most shoe stores. They help protect the boots from stains and water damage.

2. Stain Protection – Snow can cause salt stains on nubuck and suede boots. To prevent staining, clean and brush your boots regularly.

  • Keep a nubuck brush handy
  • Gently brush the boots to remove stains
  • Use a nubuck cleaning spray if needed

3. Warmth and Insulation – Make sure your nubuck boots have a warm insulated lining. This will keep your feet cozy and warm while walking in the snow.

4. Traction – When choosing nubuck boots for winter, pay attention to the sole. Look for a sole with good grip to prevent slipping on icy surfaces.

  • Pick boots with a rubber or non-slip sole
  • Consider investing in removable ice-grip attachments for added traction

5. Drying Boots – If your nubuck boots get wet from snow, never use direct heat to dry them. Instead:

  • Stuff them with newspaper or cloth to absorb moisture
  • Let them air dry away from direct heat sources (e.g., radiators or heaters)

Enjoy your winter adventures with these tips and tricks to keep your nubuck boots in great shape and your feet warm and dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Nubuck can be suitable for snowy conditions if it meets certain requirements. Nubuck boots are good for snow only if they are waterproofed and well-insulated. Without proper protection, nubuck can be easily damaged by snow and moisture.

Snow can cause nubuck to become wet and damaged. It can lead to water stains and discoloration, as well as potential shrinkage or stiffness. With time, exposure to snow can weaken the fibers of the nubuck, reducing its lifespan.

Yes, you can waterproof nubuck boots through different methods, like using wax or specific waterproofing agents. One popular option is Scotchgard™ Suede & Nubuck Protector, which protects nubuck boots from water damage and stains. Applying a protector is essential to ensure your nubuck boots last in snowy conditions.

When nubuck gets wet, it is susceptible to water damage, including staining and discoloration. Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause stiffness, shrinkage, and overall damage, affecting the appearance and durability of the nubuck material.

To protect nubuck from snow, you should:

  • Waterproof your boots with a spray or wax
  • Regularly maintain and clean your nubuck boots to keep them in good condition
  • Dry your wet nubuck boots properly and promptly, away from direct heat sources

If your nubuck has been damaged by snow, you can follow these tips:

  • Gently brush your nubuck with a soft brush to remove dirt and snow
  • Use a nubuck-specific cleaner to treat any stains or discoloration
  • After cleaning, let your nubuck boots dry naturally, avoiding direct heat sources
  • Once dry, use a nubuck brush or sponge to restore the nap and texture

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