How to Use Dubbin for Boots and Shoes


What is Dubbin?

Dubbing wax – also called ‘dubbin’ in short – is a classic care product made out of oil, tallow and natural wax that has traditionally been used to soften, condition and waterproof leather. As far back as the Middle Ages, people were using dubbin to lift the look of their worn out leather items, extend their lifespan and restore their shine and suppleness.

Apart from reinforcing the waterproofing of your boot, dubbin is designed to protect your boots from dirt and stain accumulation, as well as refreshing the look of the leather by making it suppler.


How to Apply Dubbin on Boots and Shoes

In order to achieve the best results, use our simple to follow 10 easy steps on how to correctly apply dubbin/dubbing wax to your boots and shoes:

1. Clean

Before starting the treatment, clean your leather boots or shoes thoroughly and ensure they are completely dry.

2. Heat

Apply a small amount of heat to both your boots and the dubbin to loosen the dubbin up and aid the wax’s penetration into your leather boot. A hairdryer works great for this but take care! You don’t want to apply too much direct heat onto the leather surface.

3. Be Careful!

Make sure you hold the hairdryer at a considerable distance from your footwear as direct heat can cause your leather boots and shoes to dry out and crack. Also avoid placing your leather boots close to an open source of heat, such as a radiator, fire or in the line of direct sunlight. If you don’t want to risk potentially damaging the leather on your boots with a hairdryer then you can alternatively keep them in a mildly warm room and heat just the dubbin instead.

4. Rub

Use a cloth to gently and evenly rub a small amount of dubbing wax to the surface of your leather boots or shoes.

5. Use Sparingly

Dubbing wax will always leave an oily film on leather surfaces, so it should be used sparingly to avoid making a mess. Too much treatment slathered onto the boots may also negatively affect their quality. It’s better to apply very thin coatings, one at a time, so you can control how much dubbin ends up on your boots.

6. Repeat

Repeat the gentle rubbing process for as many times as you deem necessary.

7. Wait

Leave the dubbin on to dry for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Buff

After you’ve checked that the surface of the boots is dry, use a new dry cloth to buff off the dubbin to bring out the shine.

9. Polish – Optional

If you’d like to go a step further in the maintenance and boost the shiny new look of your boots, opt for a coating of leather-friendly shoe polish.

10. Head Outdoors!

Now that your boots are rejuvinated and looking as good as new, it’s time to head outdoors to show them off and to enjoy the benefits of your dubbing wax treatment while out walking or hiking.

Not For Suede or Nubuck!

Dubbin is great for leather boots, but not for suede or nubuck materials. Never use dubbin on suede or nubuck leather, as these types of leather can be damaged by the oily nature of dubbing wax. You might even cause irreparable damage to the material. There are alternative care products for these specific types of leather, which you can use freely.


Make Your Own

You can make your own dubbin concoction using ingredients which can be found in any supermarket. By combining fish oil, beeswax and lard, you’ll get a natural mixture whose composition is very similar to that of standard dubbing wax. You can use this to rejuvenate an old pair of leather walking boots or buff up a pair you’ve just bought to give them an additional layer of preventive protection.


We hope you’ve found our how to apply dubbing wax guide helpful. If you’d like more helpful advice and DIY tips check out the walking advice section of our website that includes a how to waterproof boots guide and more.

Last updated: June 16, 2017 at 14:36 pm

Related Articles

  • sun-safety-tips

    Sun Safety Tips

    There’s nothing better in the summer months than getting outdoors on a sunny day. Whether you’re lazing on the beach or out breaking a sweat on a hike, there’s plenty...
  • what-are-gaiters

    Guide to Gaiters

    You’ve more than probably come across this term when shopping for outdoor supplies or reading about hiking gear, but gaiters can still sometimes arouse a look of puzzlement from the...
  • fleece-guide

    Fleece Guide: How to Choose a Fleece

    The chances of owning a good fleece are close to 100% if you’re serious about the outdoors in general, but fleece is such a versatile material that you’ll find its...
  • Layering Guide | How to Layer Clothes

      When setting off on a day trip in the outdoors, it’s essential that you have the right clothing to handle the conditions you’ll face. However, the weather can change throughout...