Creases can ruin leather shoes without actually showing any signs of damage, especially if the creases are on the very top of the shoes, where they can be hard to hide or get rid of. Creased leather shoes might seem hard to fix at first, but there are actually a few handy methods to fixing the issue. Your only problem is deciding which method will work best.
What Causes Creases?
Creases in shoes are just like creases in any other clothes: as you wear them, you put stress on different parts of your shoes, sneakers, boots, or whatever other footwear you own. Each time your shoe bends, it creates wrinkles in the bending surface. The more you move around, the more wrinkles exist, which eventually leads to more permanent creases.
Shoes that do not fit properly are much more likely to crease if you are not careful, and they can also crease if you leave them inside a storage box with other stuff that can bend them. So, how do you cure the crease problem?
How to Get Rid of Leather Shoe Creases
Below are a handful of options for removing these wrinkles. Which method you use is up to you, but some may work better for one type of leather shoe than another type of leather shoe.
Sticking shoe trees inside a pair of shoes can help them retain their shape and will often hold them steady while you perform other cleaning or care tricks. The earlier you start using shoe trees, the more of an impact they can have, and they are great for storing shoes either inside a box or out in the open. Many of them also remove odor and can keep your shoes from getting too wet.
Conditioners and Oils
Leather conditioners can be perfect for removing creases without having to use other tools.
Test a little of the leather conditioner on the shoe surface, just to check that it will work properly.
Completely cover the creased leather parts of the shoe with the oils, working it in with your hands. If you are using a shoe tree to hold it steady, do not get any on the tree. Once the oil has been worked in, back away and leave the shoe to absorb the mixture while holding its shape.
A small iron can be ideal if you have a lot of creases to remove, although you need to take extra care to not press the hot surface into the leather too hard.
Pack the shoes with something – a shoe tree, socks, blank white paper, cotton, even pieces of cloth. You want to fill as much space as possible.
Dampen a cloth and lay it over the creases. If the shoes are suede, you want to wring out all of the “extra” water while still leaving it damp. This is to protect the shoe.
Use your iron (between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and slowly iron across the towel for a few seconds, then back away, then repeat. Between these passes, lift up the cloth to make sure that you have not done anything wrong. The iron will be hot, and the damp cloth absorbs the heat, so do not press it too close to areas that are not covered with the towel.
Eventually, the creases will start to disappear. The water in the towel will turn to steam over time due to the heat from the iron, so particularly large wrinkles might need you to wet the towel again and lay it back on the shoe. Once the wrinkles are gone, leave the paper (or other things used to stuff the shoe) inside so that it can hold its shape while it cools.
If your iron has a button to shoot out jets of steam, do not use it, especially not on an exposed part of your shoes.
A Heat Gun
A heat gun (or a blow dryer) can be suitable here too. However, this is also the easiest way that you could damage your shoes if you are not careful.
Insert a shoe tree or something else bulky to keep the shoe shape. You do not want to use your actual foot here due to the heat, so it should be something that can properly match the intended shape of your shoes.
Dampen a towel or cloth and lay it over the creases (folding it is usually a good option since that makes the small and thin towel much thicker). Some people prefer to do this with the bare shoes, which can be faster and much more reliable – including preventing unexpected fires.
Set your blow dryer or heat gun to a low setting and hold it roughly ten inches away, making passes back and forth over the shoe without getting too close. Eventually, you should turn off the heat and put the dryer down to gently massage the warm leather – you want to see it going up against the shoe tree and flattening.
If the leather is not warm, do more passes, and try increasing the heat until necessary. Eventually, you can minimize the wrinkles.
Apply conditioner and/or polish after this is all done since this prevents an uneven color and reduces the chance of scorch marks from the heating you have been applying.
One possible solution for some shoes (usually not leather ones, generally shoes like solid sneakers) is using weight. There are not any complex steps here: stuff the shoes, cover them with a cloth, iron them like usual, and then place a slight weight (such as a book) on top until they flatten out the creases. This can work for leather shoes, but it depends on the type of leather and how you are trying to flatten the wrinkles.
Other Things to Watch Out For
While a guide article might tell you how to remove these wrinkles with steps that you can follow, the same article might not let you know how to identify or avoid problems easily. Here are a few key things to consider when you are working on your shoes.
Let Them Dry
Always allow your shoes to properly dry. Whether you use fresh air or a fresh burst of wind from a fan, you want to get the shoes to the point where they are perfectly dry. The more water you still have on your footwear, the harder it becomes to fix creases.
If you are not sure how you are supposed to do something, especially relating to dangerous heat tools, look for a video or an article that walks you through that exact technique. Some old shoes could be so prone to creases that they have old articles on how to fix them, and if all else fails, you can ask for advice on social media sites like Twitter.
Check Shoes Individually
Shoes do not magically share their status across the pair. One shoe might take a long time to dry while another takes around half the time, depending on how much water is in one compared to the other. Shoes share materials, and shoes share sizes, but water and the way that you are setting the creases straight can change this.
Fill the Shoes
Always jam socks, cotton, a shoe tree, or something else into your shoes (gently) while you are trying to fix them. Filling that space makes it easier to get the shape right, and there are no downsides to doing it.