Leather is one of the most durable and versatile clothing materials, and there are several leather jacket models suitable for every season. But what about rainy days? Can you wear a leather jacket in the rain? The short answer is – yes, but you will need to provide your jacket with some extra care to avoid water damage.
Wearing Leather in the Rain
Whether you live on the east coast, west coast, or somewhere in between, you are bound to experience rain at some point throughout the year.
Thankfully, most garments are designed to withstand moisture, which should come as no surprise if they are labeled as “machine washable”. But leather is unique in the sense that it’s strong, durable yet still susceptible to damage caused by moisture.
Exposure to small amounts of moisture shouldn’t cause any major issues. However, when leather is exposed to significant amounts of moisture over a prolonged time period, it can (and will) cause damage. The moisture will settle into the pores, where it can contribute to the formation of mold and mildew — and when this occurs, it’s difficult to fix.
So, what do you need to do to make sure your leather garments are protected from water damage?
How Do I Protect My Leather Jacket From The Rain?
It’s important to note that, although it has some water-resistant qualities, leather can never be completely waterproof. Because of its permeable nature, when exposed to excessive amounts of water, leather will get wet, and if not dried properly, it can become stiff, or even rot.
However, if you condition it properly, you can wear your leather jacket in the rain without worrying about damaging it.
One of the simplest ways to provide your leather jacket with some protection from water damage is to apply a water-resistant leather lotion on its surface. There are several different types of leather lotions available on the market, each of which has its own unique ingredients. Still, they all share one thing in common: they are designed to protect leather from the damaging effects of moisture.
Once applied to the leather surface, it will create a barrier of protection between the leather fabric and the outside elements, protecting it from damage caused by the rain.
In addition to using a leather lotion, you should also get into the habit of drying your leather garments promptly when they are exposed to rain. The longer leather remains saturated in moisture, the greater the risk of damage.
If you are wearing a leather jacket in the rain, wipe it dry with a clean cloth when you return home or reach your destination, and leave it to dry naturally at room temperature. Doing so will go a long way in protecting it from damage caused by moisture.
Generally, there are two methods to protect your leather from water and other types of damage: waxing and conditioning.
Before applying wax to leather, you should make sure it is clean and dry. Keeping your leather garments clean and well-maintained will go a long way in increasing its resistance to general wear and tear.
Once the surface of the leather is clean, apply a small amount of wax to a clean cloth and proceed to gently work it into the leather surface. You can repeat this step a couple of times until you are satisfied with the results.
After applying wax, you should leave the leather to dry naturally. Avoid placing it near a heat source, as excessive heat can cause cracks and ruin the leather. Once completely dried, take another clean cloth and buff off the wax.
Unlike waxing, it is best for your leather to be damp when you condition it since being damp increases its permeability and allows leather to absorb conditioners better.
After making sure the leather surface is clean, apply a small amount of conditioner to a clean cloth and massage it gently into the leather. It’s important to pay special attention to any creases and folds, as those are the areas that need the most care.
Once you have applied the conditioner on the entire leather surface, give it some time to absorb it and then remove any excess. After that, leave your jacket to dry at room temperature, again avoiding any heat source.
Conditioning your leather regularly will not only increase its water-resistance but will also extend its lifespan and protect it from other types of elemental damage and allow it to maintain its original look and feel.
It is important to note that the waxing and conditioning methods can’t be applied to suede and nubuck. Although you should avoid exposing suede and nubuck to water, there are times when it can’t be helped. These types of leather, especially suede, are more sensitive to water, so your best option is to use a water-repellant spray to protect them from damage.
When applied, water-repellant sprays create a thin film on the surface which prevents liquids from getting in contact with the leather in the first place, thus protecting your garment from damage.
Different Types of Leather Have Different Characteristics
As we mentioned above, some types of leather are especially susceptible to water damage and stains. Suede, for example, can easily be ruined if exposed to heavy rain and can only be treated with leather care sprays, which is why you should avoid wearing any suede garment during the rain season.
Full-grain and top-grain leather, on the other hand, are in themselves far more durable and resistant to all the elements, and give you more options when it comes to maintenance.
This means that a well-maintained quality leather jacket should suffer no damage from occasional exposure to rain. That being said, you shouldn’t neglect to clean and condition your full-grain leather jacket regularly, especially if it is exposed to the effects of weather on a daily basis.
Finally, artificial or faux leather is the most resistant to water damage, because of the synthetic materials used in its production. Although its general durability, look, and feel can’t be compared to that of full-grain leather, it does have lower permeability which means it will not absorb water.
The bottom line is: yes, you can wear most leather jackets throughout all seasons and in all types of weather, as long as you provide them with proper conditioning. After all, some of the most iconic leather jackets were originally made to withstand all sorts of weather conditions and provide the wearer with protection in harsh environments.
With prolonged use, all leather will eventually start showing signs of wear. But the formation of creases and other effects the years will have on your jacket are not necessarily a bad thing. The longer you wear it, the more it will conform to you, and every little crease or scratch will add to your leather jacket’s uniqueness and personality.
This is the main reason why leather jackets never stopped being popular. They are practical, durable, and fashionable at the same time.