Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Do It Yourself > Nikwax Waterproofing Wax > Nikwax Waterproofing Wax > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather

Image Courtesy Nikwax

Test Series by Jamie Lawrence

Initial Report - 1st July 2010

Long-Term Report - 15th November 2010

Tester Information


Jamie Lawrence


jlawrence286 (at)




Hobart Tasmania, AUSTRALIA




1.70 m (5' 7")


70 kg (154 lbs)

I was introduced to backpacking/tramping/hiking as a young child in Boy Scouts and through my school physical/adventure education. After leaving school, I mainly did short daywalks until recently when I started to re-walk some of Tasmania's key routes and try others I have yet to attempt. I mainly walk in the winter months, in Tasmania's central highlands area. I prefer light gear, extended walks (3-5 days) in a group of 3 people, or shorter walks (1-3 days) walking solo. I generally carry a base weight pack of around 8 kg - 10 kg (17 lbs - 22 lbs).

Initial Report

1st July 2010

Product Information & Specification



Year of Manufacture:


Manufacturer's Website:


Not listed

Listed Weight:

Not listed

Measured Weight:

120 g (4.2 oz)


100 ml (3.4 fl oz)

On the tube Nikwax describes this product as ...Easy to use WaterBased [sic] wax for smooth leather. Waterproofing Wax protects walking, motorcycle, work and sports footwear plus bridle work and saddlery. As a keen bushwalker and motorcyclist I have leather gear that gets a regular exposure to wet weather. Unfortunately I am not overly handy with a horse so any test on saddles or bridle work will have to wait for another time.

The easiest way to describe this product is that it is a thick yellow liquid which looks a lot like mustard, although I am not sure if it tastes just as good! It is contained within a tube that is around 15 cm (6 in) long with a foam applicator on one end that is covered by a cap. Oddly enough the label contains the above product description and a couple of warnings. This information is then repeated in French. There are no directions for use nor information to suggest how much coverage is possible from 1 tube of product.

Trying it Out

I was lucky enough to find the directions for use on Nikwax's website. It is a simple 2 step process, simply rub the wax into the leather then buff off any excess to a gentile shine. Nikwax advises to pay special attention to seam areas. I assume this is because seams are usually the most likely area for water to enter. They also advise that the wax may darken leather slightly so a test application is suggested. As I intended to apply the wax to my black leather boots, I assumed they could not get any darker so I just flew straight into it.

Wax Applied to Boot One Boot Polished, One Boot to be Polished

I immediately noticed that it was rather easy to apply too much wax by over squeezing the tube and saturating the foam application pad. This resulted in thick patches of the wax on my boots. As can be seen in the above image, once applied to the leather, the wax gives a dull yellow finish. It took me around 3-5 minutes to apply to each boot. I also noticed that it was easier to get a more consistent amount of wax if I gave the tube a regular shake. I assume the wax is suspended in some kind of base liquid, which may settle over time so I found that a quick shake of the tube made the product coming out look evenly mixed.

There was no indication as to any required drying time before removing the wax. I decided to cover one boot, then let the wax dry slightly whilst I applied wax to my other boot. Once I had applied to both boots, I then started the process of buffing off. This was relatively easy (is polishing a boot ever truly easy??) and I found I was able to buff away all the wax and get a some what muted shine to a boot after around 5 minutes of buffing. Nikwax states on their website that this product will add too or enhance shine. I found the opposite as my boots had a slightly matted finish after I'd finished applying the Nikwax. I thought this may have been due to the fact that I had not fully removed all the wax or my polishing cloth had a build up of wax so I grabbed a clean cloth and tried to increase the shine. After little noticeable effect from an extra minute or so of polishing I gave up. Total time to do both boots was around 30 minutes (I did fiddle around a bit!)

After I had finished polishing both boots I quickly weighed the tube to get an idea of how much product I'd used. I roughly calculated (as I do not have a highly accurate scales) that I had used around 20 gm (0.7 oz) of product, or around 20% of the tube contents. As the boots I was polishing are a high boot that come half way up my shin, this seams like a reasonable amount to have used and suggests to me that I could get coverage for around 4-5 pairs of boots out of a single tube.


All in all this is a fairly simple product. Wipe on, buff off.... not too hard there! As far as polishing a pair of boots go, I found it easy enough to apply and easy enough to remove and buff to a satisfactory finish. I was a little surprised to note that my boots looked slightly more matted after I had applied the wax but this doesn't phase me at all as I quite like the finish and it certainly helped cover up little scuffs and scratches in the leather. I will now venture outdoors and see how effective this product is at repelling water.

This concludes my Initial Report of the Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather. Please check back for the results of my testing in due course.

My thanks to Nikwax and for the opportunity to test this product.

Long-Term Report

15th November 2010

Product Usage

During my testng I applied the Nikwax to my leather motorcycle jacket and 2 pairs of leather boots. All are made from full-grain leather. My jacket and boots are black, with the second pair of boots being chestnut colour. I recoated my motorcycle jacket 3 times over the test period, with the boots being treated twice each. There is a small amount of wax left in 1 of the tubes, but I estimate not enough to fully coat another pair of boots.

Field Conditions

I was fortunate enough (read unfortunate!) to be able to test the Nikwax in both rain, hail and mud.  I mostly wore my jacket and boots on a daily basis when I was riding my motorcycle to work which is around a 15 minute ride from my home. I also wore my other boots to a couple of outings to a farm and other grassy type areas with friends. I have been mostly testing during my winter and spring which means lots of rain. Generally temps would range from around 4 C to 15 C (39 F - 59 F).


I was really impressed with how well the Nikwax actually repelled water once it was applied to my gear. My first impressions were that it was a bit hit and miss after my first outing in wet weather as the water didn't appear to bead much on the leather. However after a second coat I immediately noticed that the waterproof coating immediately repelled water, which would run off the leather. This was most obvious on a few occasions when I was riding home and it started to rain. One instance I was caught in a rather nasty downpour and my pants and gloves were completely soaked through. I was happy to remain dry in my feet and torso where I had applied the Nikwax to my boots and jacket.

Overall the waterproof coating does appear to be durable. I left my jacket around 4 weeks between coatings and I didn't seem to notice too much of a deterioration in the waterproofness. It was more obvious on my boots which started to look very dull quite quickly (around 1 week or so) after I applied the wax. Despite this, both products protected me from rain or light showers on a couple of occasions.

Water beads on treated leather

I also found that the wax has the added bonus of allowing me to clean the leather quite easily once my boots became muddy. Whilst not strictly backpacking, I did coat a pair of my favourate leather boots that I mostly wear on weekends. In a few instances I was in paddocks or grassy muddy areas, and in one particular location was standing in a lot of sticky clay and dirt. My boots were pretty caked in mud and clay. My feet not only stayed dry (which was a bonus as it was freezing cold all day!)  but i was easily able to wipe most of the mud and clay off the leather and restore them to a nice shine, which I attribute to the Nikwax coating I had applied only a day before.

Towards the end of a tube I did notice the Nikwax became a little harder to apply more evenly. My assumption here that the wax had started to dry out a little given there was a lot more air inside the tube. The foam applicator also became more easily clogged, mainly due to the residue wax buildup from earlier applications.

Final Summary

I was greatly impressed with the overall performance of the Nikwax. Given I found it was able to repel water and also assisted with reduced amounts of mud sticking to my boots. I certainly found it highly suitable for use on my motorcycle gear. I would highly recommend this product as it is easy to use and effective.

This concludes my test series of the Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather. My thanks to Nikwax and for the opportunity to test this product.

Read more reviews of Nikwax gear
Read more gear reviews by Jamie Lawrence

Reviews > Do It Yourself > Nikwax Waterproofing Wax > Nikwax Waterproofing Wax > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson