I have a genuine full grain 1.3 mm cow hide motorcycle jacket that was caught in rain. It wasn't a downpour but I was in the rain long enough for the jacket to be pretty wet, not just the surface. I have previously treated my leather with conditioner frequently, designed specifically for motorcycle jackets that boasts waterproof ability.

When I got home, I dried the jacket surface out with a cloth, and applied conditioner very generously. Then left it to hang dry in my closet.

After a few days of hanging to make sure it is completely dry, I noticed parts of the leather had stiffened/hardened. No cracks or anything like that. But rather it feels and looks like it became tighter on certain areas, and it doesn't look as smooth. (since it got tighter parts of my jacket now have a funny concave.)

My question is, is damage like this repairable? By applying conditioner? Or is it permanent? What is the recommended procedure to treat leather jacket after it has been soaked?

Ps. My leather gloves made of genuine full grain leather also has the same issue, the palm patch felt nice smooth and soft but now it looks and feels dry and hardened. Since my gloves are thinner leather, it seems a lot worse than my jacket. Can this be repaired as well?

Edit: I have read about this stuff but they all seem different, and I can't find a certain answer. Anything would help! If you had any experience please share!


1 Answer 1


It is normal to a certain degree that wet leather, after drying, is a bit stiffer than before.

The effects will generally be worse

  • the longer your leather was in contact with water
  • if the water was hot/warm
  • the faster the leather dries (so don't dry over a heater!)

Normally the stiffness should go away soon if the items are worn/used: after a short while they should be quite supple again.

In very bad cases it can help to apply leather softener. This is a product which is made specifically to soften stiff/hardened leather. I get mine from my local supplier of good walking boots (there it is used to speed up the process of breaking in new leather boots).

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