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Wearing Leather Jackets In The Rain - Can You? Should You?

September 25, 2020

Wearing Leather Jackets In The Rain - Can You? Should You?

by Joanna Smykowski

Joanna does quite a few things in life, but writing has been her favorite by far. She is a city girl who has moved to a beach town, and second to writing, will never tire of music, travel, and the friendships she makes as a result of both.


Pretty much every city out there experiences rain at some point. Whether it is a light drizzle that barely lasts a day or the type of downpour that makes you want to stay inside for a week, rain is a very real part of most of our weather forecasts.

Whatever weather is coming our way results in an adjustment on what we are going to wear that day. Shorts in the winter and sweaters in the summer don’t happen for a reason. The same goes for what to wear in the rain. Not only will you need to grab your umbrella, but your outerwear choice will shift because of the forecast. Do you wear a raincoat? Do you have a poncho? Is your outerwear hooded? And what about your leather jacket? Is that even an option? Will it get destroyed if it rains? Avoiding getting wet or damp is an important part of the day if it is rainy. Your shoe choice might change as well.

Water can do strange things to our clothes. Depending on what you are wearing, it might not matter whether it rains or not. Some clothing is water-resistant or waterproof. Other materials are not meant for the rain at all.

So what about our beloved leather jackets? The last thing you want is any piece you invested in and purchased to get messed up from the rain. It is all part of the care of your jacket. Let’s dive in and see if when it comes to leather, whether water is your friend.

Can I wear my leather jacket in the rain?

The bottom line is yes, yes you can. This is good news. If the forecast does call for precipitation, there is no need to fret about your leather being ruined. However, you should still try and keep your jacket as dry as possible. Be sure to pack that umbrella in case you do get caught in the rain. Leather has water-resistant qualities, but it isn’t necessarily waterproof. What does this mean?

  • Water-resistant is the ability to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely.
  • Waterproof means the product is impenetrable to water.
  • For fun, water-repellentmeans the product is not easily penetrated by water, especially as a result of being treated for such a purpose with a surface coating.

Leather being water-resistant means that the water can still seep into your jacket, especially if there is an extreme amount. Water can have negative effects on your leather jacket if there is too much. If the leather is not dried properly, it can stiffen or rot. Water can cause water stains or spots if it soaks into your jacket. Plus, water can cause the dye of the jacket to fade out and the jacket itself to prematurely gray. Cracks can also form in your leather from water due to stretching out.

Needless to say, none of these effects of your loved leather jacket are ones that anyone would want to happen. Luckily, there are options to lessen the effects of leather if your jacket does get wet.

Leather jacket in the rain

How to mitigate the effects of water on leather

There are a few options that can help mitigate the effects of water on leather. This won’t help if you throw it in the wash or something extreme happens (don’t put your leather jacket in the washing machine!) but it can help if it rains.

  1. Leather lotion - Leather lotion is water-resistant. You can apply it directly onto your jacket, and it creates a barrier between the rain and your leather. This is a preventative measure and should be done at home before your jacket gets wet. If it is already wet, the lotion won’t create the barrier because the water has already landed on your jacket.
  2. Careful drying - If your leather jacket does get wet, dry it. You don’t want the water to seep into your jacket and cause damage, so the sooner you dry it off the better. Even if you do use a leather lotion, this is still a good practice to have. If you are wearing your jacket in the rain, be sure to dry it off once you are inside. You a dry, clean, soft cloth and wipe down the moisture on your jacket. Then, leave it to dry at room temperature - no need for dryers, hair blowers, or any other created heat.
  3. Waxing - Waxing can protect your leather jacket from water as well as other types of damage. To properly wax your jacket, make sure it is clean and dry. Then, apply wax to a clean cloth and work it into the surface of your jacket gently. You can either put one coat of wax or a few, depending on how you feel when looking at your jacket. Once you have applied enough wax coats to your liking, let the jacket dry naturally. Do not put it near any heat source, otherwise, cracks can form. When the wax is dry, take another clean cloth and buff it off.
  4. Conditioning - Conditioning is another way to protect your jacket from various types of damage, including water. To condition your jacket, make sure it is clean and damp. The dampness allows the jacket to absorb the leather conditioner better. Note that this is the opposite when it comes to waxing your jacket, where it has to be clean and dry. The application method is similar. Take a clean cloth, put the leather conditioner on it, and rub it into the surface of your jacket. Pay special attention to any creases or folds in the leather jacket, and be sure to condition those well. Let the jacket absorb the leather conditioner and then remove any excess. Afterward, allow the jacket to dry naturally at room temperature. Excessive heat forces are always bad for your leather jacket. Leather conditioning should happen regularly, as it helps maintain the longevity of your jacket. The water-resistance is increased the more you condition.
  5. Spray - While the above options will work for most leathers, anything suede or nubuck does not absorb leather conditioner well. For these types of jackets, using a water-repellant spray is the best way to protect your outwear. These leathers are more sensitive to water, so it is best not to get them wet at all. However, water-repellant sprays can be used to mitigate any water that may get on them. They create a thin film on the surface of your jacket that prevents any water from touching it.

Some of these measures are preventative and should be done before any water gets on them. Others are reactive measures, in case you do get caught in the rain. The most important thing is to make sure you are taking care of your jacket. You have invested time in picking or even customizing it and money in this outerwear. You want it to last as long as it possibly can. For another reference, we have a quick and easy guide with the most common FAQs for leather jacket care.

How To Care for your leather jacket

Where can I get products to protect my jacket?

Many leather jacket companies sell leather care products that you can purchase when you get your jacket. Plus, you can easily get leather care products in stores and online. Some of the most common options are:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Zappo’s
  • Etsy

Delivery services such as Instacart might have leather care products as an option depending on what stores are in your area.

When purchasing a leather care product, always be sure to read the reviews and make sure that the leather product works with your type of leather. Many can be used for other leather products as well, such as shoes or furniture. We found a few to start with below:

  1. Leather Honey - Leather Honey has both a conditioner and a leather jacket cleaner. Their leather jacket conditioner works to restore a leather jacket to a hydrated, supple appearance. It restores moisture without leaving an oily residue and contains no solvent, toxins, or animal products.
  2. Amazon - Amazon has a few options, but this Otter Wax leather care kit comes with a 4-step process to care for your leather jacket. Be sure to test it out on a discreet area first, as the jacket will darken before it dries up.

Another Amazon option that we liked was DaLuca Venetian Imperial Leather Balm. This balm is available in a host of colors, including hard to find ones, like white and cordovan. It makes your leather smooth and shiny. This balm extends the life of the animal hides, adds a layer of protection, and absorbs quickly.

The final Amazon product that we saw was Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP Leather Conditioner Natural Oil Beeswax Formula. Interestingly enough, it was originally developed for firefighters. The formula reinforces fibers to protect them from scuffing, yet still allows them to breathe. It has a creamy texture that can be applied easily to your jacket by hand. As the name suggests, it contains beeswax and plant oils that resist mildew, mold, and bacteria. It helps with water but also repels acids and petroleum.

The other option is homemade DIY leather care. Oils and conditioners can be made at home with products you may already have. If not, they are easy to purchase and find and could end up being more cost-effective in the long run. You may have heard us talk about this before, but there are a few homemade options that you can use to condition or wax your jacket. Our DIY leather care article dives more deeply into various options, but we’ll highlight two here:

  1. Beeswax is the most popular DIY leather conditioner option. In order to make this, you need beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil. After mixing, you get a thick balm, which you can apply to your jacket.
  2. Olive oil is an option that you can use carefully. You can mix olive oil with something else, such as lemon juice. If you use a small amount and apply it carefully, it works as a conditioner. See our DIY leather care article for more details!

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber


Are there any benefits to wearing my leather jacket in the rain?

After discussing the work that goes into making sure water does not damage your jacket, you might be wondering if it is even worth it to wear it out in the rain. The outerwear you choose should be cognizant of the weather outside. If it is going to rain, a rain jacket would be more beneficial. But there are a few advantages to being caught in the rain with your leather jacket.

The biggest benefit is that leather jackets are water-resistant. This means that the water won’t soak through the jacket and you won’t be damp. Being damp is an uncomfortable feeling, and a leather jacket will protect you from that. If your jacket is hooded, that provides extra protection.

Leather jackets are also pretty breathable and lightweight. It won’t be an uncomfortable jacket to have on when it rains, especially since water won’t be soaking into it. The ability to layer under the jacket can also help if it is colder outside. Leather jackets are so versatile - they offer weather protection and are fashionable!

How will my jacket react to the rain?

Every material reacts to getting wet, and your leather jacket is no exception. We touched on suede and nubuck earlier, but different leathers react in different ways to water. Suede has a napped finish and is made from the animal underside. That is what gives it the velvety feel. As a result, it can be easily ruined if it interacts with water. Suede is a leather that should be avoided when it rains, especially if the forecast is heavy rain.

If your jacket is made of full-grain or top-grain leather, it is much more durable. This comes as no surprise since they are high-quality leathers. The price tag may be higher, but you are paying for something of quality. Similar to animals themselves, these leathers are more resilient to the elements. For those who use leather jackets to ride bikes in Mother Nature, this comes as good news. Their resilience does not mean that you should neglect to care for your jacket. Be sure to still take those preventative measures and dry out your jacket accordingly if it does get wet. It can make the difference of years for the life of your leather jacket.

Even though we usually talk only talk about real leather, we’ll give synthetic leather a brief highlight here. Faux leather is the most resilient to the elements since it isn’t real leather.

Wearing leather jacket in the rain

Conclusion

The conclusion here is that you can, thankfully, wear your leather jacket in the rain. The jacket will help protect you from getting damp. It may not work as well as a rain jacket or a poncho, but leather jackets get it done. This is part of the reason why we love them. Leather jackets are versatile, comfortable, fashionable, and useful in various types of weather. Rain won’t scare us away!

If you do get caught in the rain with your leather jacket, there is nothing to worry about. However, make sure you let it dry naturally and take good care of it. There are a few ways that you can take care of your jacket to make sure there is no lasting damage. Leather waxes and conditioners, ones that you can purchase or you can make yourself, are available. Do some shopping around, read reviews, and figure out what works best for you. Remember that different leathers may react differently to water. Regardless of the leather, proper leather care is good for your jacket. It can extend the life of your jacket by years. Those of us here at Independence Brothers love leather, and we want your jacket to last as long as possible. Feel free to browse our blog for jacket care ideas and FAQs. When you purchase a jacket, there are usually jacket care instructions that come with it. If you don’t find any, you can always come to us or search our blog with questions.

We hope that this article has been informative with helping you with jacket care when it has to do with forecasted rain. Now, let us know: was this helpful? What are your favorite jacket care products? Leave a comment below!

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