We’re at that time of year again when you spend your time seemingly hopping from puddle to puddle. No matter how hard you try to avoid it your shoes will get wet. Leather shoes and water are never a good combination. Leather shoes which have been soaked and resulted in watermarks look awful, but this doesn’t have to be permanent damage. Here’s a few tips from our in-store shoe care experts on how to get rid of watermarks on leather shoes.  

Watermarks are almost unavoidable

Maybe you have planned ahead this winter and picked up a pair of new leather boots. If like many customers you opted for a tan leather, such as the Barker Calder, you might be wary of watermarks. Light-coloured boots are currently on trend for Autumn Winter 2017, meaning some stains will be more visible on lighter colours. 

How to Remove Watermarks

When you stain your shoes with water, don’t panic and use strong cleaning products. Put some room temperature water into a bowl and fetch a sponge or cloth. Some stains will require stronger products but always read the labels to avoid making matters worse. You may also want to remove laces before you begin, they may get in the way or score leather if rubbed.

Firstly, wet the sponge, then wring it out to make it damp but not too dry. Using the soft side of the sponge or cloth gently rub around the area with the demarcation. You are essentially trying to wet the entire panel that was wet so that it will dry uniformly. The watermark is simply a spot that has dried alone and stands out, so you want to expand the wet area. Use slightly less water as you move to the work away from the stain.


Watermarks can affect your leather shoes even after they have dried and disappeared. Leather has its own natural oil which can be dried out by the shoes regularly going from wet to dry. After removing watermarks it is important to treat the leather from time to time using protective solutions like polish and shoe creams. You may also want to apply protector occasionally as a preventative measure.

Robinson’s stock the Collonil Shoe Cleaning Kit, which contains everything you need to care for leather boots and shoes. The kit contains a soft cloth that helps you avoid scuffing your shoes, as well as a brush for deeper cleaning. Inside the accompanying branded Carry Bag, you will also find a water stop spray – ideal for treating your leather shoes before you wear them for the first time. The practical and nicely designed set would make an excellent gift this Christmas.

The above tips can be applied to other marks such as tea or coffee stains however, if you notice a mark left behind you may need to use a professional cleaner. With all this in mind we recommend that you adopt a ‘prevention is better than cure’ mindset this winter before you go waltzing into puddles, and take some time to protect your shoes before you wear them.

Nourish, protect and pamper your leather shoes with our lavish collection of shoe creams, cleaners and polishes.