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Don’t let wrinkles ruin your vibe — how to uncrease shoes

Keep your sneakers looking new

man in Nikes
Shane Aldendorff / Pexels

If you’re like us, you wear your favorite pair of shoes every chance you get. Night on the town? Slide on your best kicks. Got a formal event? Pull out the best dress shoes. Wanna make an impression on the first date? Perfect time for your best chelsea boot. Here is the rub, though: the more you wear your favorite leather shoe, the more you will crease or dent them. Wrinkles and dents are an inevitable part of enjoying your shoes. That is why it is important for you to learn how to uncrease shoes.

Of course, figuring out how to get creases out of shoes is immensely valuable, but that is always the last resort. Like anything else in life, prevention is always preferable to correction. So, before we jump into the ways to deal with wrinkles, creases, and dents, let’s talk about how to keep them nice in the first place.

Prevent the wrinkles

sneaker cleaning kits
Azka Nandya / Pexels

As we said, prevention is key. Leather will crease when you walk unless you never bend your foot. If that is the case, you have more problems than wrinkles. However, the longer you go without addressing the creases, the deeper they get and the harder they are to remove. Between your treatments, here are the best tips to keep creases at bay.

Stuff them

When you are not wearing the shoes, you should stuff them. Using a shoe tree to fill the shoe helps it keep its shape; avoiding the shoe collapsing will do wonders in keeping those dents from forming in the toe box. When you shop for shoe trees, stick to cedarwood. The wood keeps the shoes from absorbing moisture.

Clean them

This habit will benefit the shoe in many ways. It will help avoid creases, dents, and wrinkles, maintain the color and prevent the shoe from breaking down over time. Every time you wear them, you should use a brush to remove dirt and sand and a rag to remove anything else. Don’t let anything set into the shoe.

Air dry

Let’s face it: you’re going to sweat. As you wear the shoes throughout the day, you are going to put them through the ringer. Heat will build up, sweat will happen, and your shoes will take the brunt of it. The leather needs a breather as much as you do. Set them out and let them air dry so moisture and odors don’t set into them.


You should already be doing this to all of your leather shoes, but if you’re not, here is your reminder. Use waterproofing conditioner on your shoes to ensure they always stay healthy. It is especially important to condition your shoes after wearing them on rainy days or other wet environments.

Now that we have addressed prevention, here are the best ways to remove the creases that you unavoidably will deal with as you sport your best kicks about town.

Use an iron

man on steps in nikes
Piccinng / Pexels

No, don’t iron the shoes. That’s not how you’re getting rid of wrinkles. But an iron is a great way to remove creases if you do it correctly. Here are the steps to making your shoes look brand new using an iron. Pro tip…this is especially useful when you are on the road and need to freshen up your kicks.

  1. Remove the laces, place tissue paper in the toe box, and set the iron to the lowest heat setting (somewhere between sixty degrees and seventy-five degrees.
  2. Wet a towel and ring it out until it is no longer dripping wet. Fold it in half so there are two layers of fabric between the iron and the shoe.
  3. Place the iron over the towel for fifteen to thirty seconds (if the towel dries out, then wet it again and repeat).
  4. Check your progress and repeat as needed.
  5. Place a shoe tree in the shoe and allow it to air dry.

Use a hairdryer

Hair dryer on bathroom sink
Andrew Patrick / Pexels

A hairdryer is another good tool for returning your shoes back to mint condition. You need fewer items to make this one work, so it may feel faster. The main reason you want to do this one at home is because many hotel hairdryers have only one setting and you want to keep this heat lower.

  1. Place a shoe tree or tissue paper (not newspaper or magazine pages, as ink can transfer) into the toe box to get the shoe as close to optimal shape as possible.
  2. Put the hairdryer on the lowest setting and heat the area for about fifteen seconds.
  3. Once the area is heated, massage the leather into the shoe tree. It is going to be better for your fingers and the shoes if you can wear some latex gloves to keep the oils from transferring.
  4. Allow them to cool with the shoe tree or paper still inserted to keep the shape.

Use a conditioner

man conditioning loafers
Kelly / Pexels

While you should end both of the above processes by conditioning your shoes, we feel the need to beat this horse to within an inch of its life. You can use conditioner to improve the status of your creases. And, of course, many other things. Be sure to choose a high-quality shoe conditioner with beeswax or natural oils (olive, coconut, almond, etc).

  1. Remove the laces and stuff the shoe
  2. Rub the conditioner into the creases (and might as well do the rest of the shoe
  3. Allow them to air dry.

Optional: If you want them to shine, rub them back and forth with a rag until they are gleaming.

There you have it, a foolproof set of habits that will keep your leather shoes looking brand new every time you wear them. Now, keeping those shoes from scuffs is on you. Wear them at your own risk and be careful.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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