While leather shoes are highly functional, keeping your feet dry, warm and safe when you are out, there is a notable fashionable element for people wearing leather shoes. These are dress shoes, fit for any occasion but ideal for when you want to make a positive impression.
Therefore, you want your leather footwear to look their best because when they look their best, so do you.
A serious issue for many leather shoe wearers is creasing. A creased leather shoe doesn’t look good and can also diminish its lifespan. This is why you need to know how to prevent leather boots from creasing and what you can do if your leather footwear is creased. The Leather Colour Doctor is on hand with everything you need to know.
It would be best to prevent leather footwear from creasing for several reasons. Firstly, creases can significantly impact their aesthetic appeal, making them appear worn-out and less attractive.
Secondly, creasing can lead to structural damage and reduce the overall lifespan of leather items. Excessive creasing weakens the leather fibres, making them more susceptible to tearing and permanent deformations. By preventing creasing, you can extend the durability and usability of your shoes.
Furthermore, creases cause discomfort and affect the fit. Deep wrinkles may lead to pressure points and rubbing against the foot, resulting in blisters and pain during prolonged wear. You can ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable wearing experience by keeping your dress shoes free from creases.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can prevent leather shoes from creasing.
Investing in high-quality leather boots is the first step towards minimising creasing. Opt for shoes made from full-grain leather, which is known for its durability and resistance to creasing. Full-grain leather retains its natural grain and texture, making it less prone to developing deep creases. Additionally, look for shoes with sturdy construction and good flexibility, as they are more likely to withstand daily wear and tear without excessive creasing. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check our article "Can You Dye Leather Shoes A Different Colour"
A show tree is an invaluable tool for preventing creasing. These adjustable forms, typically wood or plastic, are inserted into the boots to maintain their shape when unused. Cedar shoe trees are also a good option to consider, helping maintain the shoe's shape. A shoe tree will stretch the leather and prevent it from collapsing, reducing the chances of creases forming.
Ensure the shoe tree fits snugly but not too tightly, as excessive pressure can cause deformations. Using a shoe tree consistently will help preserve the original form of your shoes and prevent creasing.
Proper shoe storage is crucial in preventing creasing and maintaining the quality of your leather footwear. Here are some tips for storing your footwear effectively:
Use shoe bags or dust covers: When you're not wearing your shoes, store them in breathable shoe bags or dust covers. These accessories protect your shoes from dust, moisture, and excessive light exposure, which can lead to premature ageing and creasing.
Avoid stacking shoes: Stacking shoes on each other can cause unnecessary pressure and deformation. Instead, consider using individual shoe racks or shelves to keep your shoes separate and well-ventilated.
Store in a cool, dry place: Excessive heat and humidity can damage leather and accelerate creasing. Find a cool, dry area for shoe storage to maintain the optimal conditions for your shoes.
Cleaning and conditioning your boots regularly keeps them looking polished and helps prevent creasing. Follow these steps for effective shoe maintenance:
Remove dirt and debris: Before applying any products, gently brush off any dirt or debris from your leather footwear using a soft-bristled shoe brush. This helps prevent the build-up of particles that can cause creases.
Apply leather conditioner: Conditioning your shoes helps keep the material supple and less prone to creasing. Leather oil or conditioner like mink oil or neatsfoot oil help prevent creases on a nice pair of shoes. Allow the shoe to absorb moisture from the leather oil or conditioner and be sure to wipe excess oil away.
Excessive moisture can weaken the structure of the leather and lead to increased creasing. To minimise moisture-related creasing, consider the following tips:
Be cautious in wet conditions: If you anticipate wet weather, avoid wearing your leather boots or use a waterproofing spray or cream to keep your shoes waterproof.
Allow proper drying time: If your shoes get wet, allow them to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources such as hairdryers, as they can cause the leather to shrink and develop creases.
Use a shoe horn when wearing shoes: Using a shoe horn helps you put on your shoes without excessively stretching the back, reducing the likelihood of creases caused by forceful entry.
Regularly rotating your shoes can significantly extend their lifespan and minimise creasing. By alternating between multiple pairs of dress shoes, you allow each pair to rest and naturally regain shape.
There are also crease protectors which add structure to the front of your shoe when walking.
While prevention is always the best approach, don’t worry if you already have creases. It is possible to remove creases from leather footwear. For more learnings, you can also check out our article "How To Repair A Tear In Leather".
To remove wrinkles, you'll need a few materials readily available at home or easily obtainable from a shoe care store. Here's what you'll need:
Follow these detailed steps to remove wrinkles from your leather boots effectively:
Clean the shoes to ensure you're working with a clear surface. Use a clean, lint-free cloth to remove dust or dirt from the leather. Gently wipe the shoes in a circular motion, paying attention to the wrinkles and creases.
Next, apply a small amount of high-quality leather conditioner or moisturiser to the wrinkled areas. Massage the conditioner into the leather using gentle, circular motions. This will help soften the wrinkles and prepare the leather for further treatment.
You can use a leather softener or shoe stretcher for more stubborn wrinkles. As the softener penetrates the leather, it will help relax the wrinkles. Alternatively, a shoe stretcher can be inserted into the shoes to stretch the leather, reducing the appearance of wrinkles gently.
Sometimes, when the wrinkles persist, you can gently clean them using warm water and mild soap. Dampen a soft cloth with warm water and add mild soap, such as castile soap. Gently rub the wrinkled areas in a circular motion, being careful not to saturate the leather. Afterwards, wipe away the soap residue with a clean, damp cloth.
After cleaning, allowing the shoes to air dry naturally is essential. Avoid using direct heat sources, as they can damage the leather. Once the boots are dry, recondition them with a suitable leather conditioner or moisturiser. Apply a thin layer of conditioner to the entire shoe, paying extra attention to the previously wrinkled areas. Massage the conditioner into the leather using circular motions until fully absorbed.
Leather creases easily due to its natural flexibility, limited elasticity, susceptibility to moisture changes, and the wear and tear it experiences during regular use. The collagen fibres in leather allow it to bend and conform to the wearer's foot, but this flexibility also makes it prone to developing creases when subjected to pressure. Moisture absorption and drying can further affect the leather's pliability and increase creasing.
Additionally, the repetitive movements and external forces that shoes endure contribute to the formation of creases over time.
Genuine leather, like any other type, has a natural tendency to crease. Due to its inherent flexibility and limited elasticity, genuine leather can develop creases when subjected to pressure, bending, and regular use. While the quality and specific characteristics of the leather can vary, natural leather is not exempt from creasing.
However, the extent of creasing can be influenced by factors such as the quality of the leather, its thickness, and the care and maintenance practices employed. For more information, we recommend checking out our post titled "How To Tell If Leather Is Real".
No, you shouldn't iron leather boots to remove creases. Ironing leather can cause irreversible damage to the material and ruin the shoes. Leather is sensitive to heat, and ironing can lead to melting, discolouration, or warping.
Applying heat and moisture can help when making shoes more supple, but be cautious with products like a blow dryer or heat gun. Take a damp towel, place it over the creased area, and then apply heat using a blow dryer or heat gun on a low setting.
The parts most prone to creasing in leather dress shoes are typically the areas where the foot naturally bends and flexes during walking or movement. These areas include:
Vamp: The vamp refers to the front part of the shoe's upper, covering the toes, toe taps and the top of the foot. Creasing commonly occurs across the vamp, particularly near the ball of the foot.
Toe Box: The toe box is the upper portion surrounding the toes, often in the shape of a pointed toe shoe. Depending on the shoe style and shape, creasing can occur on toe taps and sides of the toe box.
Flex Point: The flex point is where the toes bend, a natural point where a shoe creases. It is usually located near the ball of the foot. The flex point is highly susceptible to creasing due to the repetitive motion and pressure exerted during walking.
Sides: The sides of the shoe, especially around the midfoot area, are also prone to creasing. This is because the foot bends and flexes slightly during movement, leading to creases along the sides.
Given the cost of high-quality leather boots, shoes and footwear, it is understandable you want these items to look great for as long as possible. Well-cared-for leather lasts a lifetime, providing the user with fantastic value for money and confidence.
At The Leather Colour Doctor, we are leather specialists across all leather items and products, including footwear. You don't need a professional cobbler or even much effort to prevent more creasing, just good advice to ensure new shoes remain a perfect pair for some time.
We hope this guide to preventing and removing creases from your leather boots is helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns about caring for leather items, we are always here to assist you.