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How to Remove Creases and Wrinkles from Shoes

Product Care

The bad news about wearing your shoes: you're going to crease them. The good news: you don't have to settle for a shoe crease. You can make them disappear.

Last updated: January 5, 2022
5 min read
How to Remove Creases and Wrinkles From Shoes
Time Required
15 min
Estimated Cost

Supplies

  • Newspaper
  • Shoe polish or conditioner

Tools

  • Iron
  • Cloth
  • Hairdryer
  • Shoe tree
  • Microwave-safe dish

There is something special about a pair of pristine shoes. The longer you can maintain that out-of-the-box appearance—perfectly clean, no scuff marks, no creases—the better. However, buying a pair of sneakers only to gaze at them in your wardrobe is no fun.

Shoes belong on your feet. And when you wear your shoes, you're going to get them dirty. They're going to look worn. You're going to crease or wrinkle them. The good news is that you don't have to settle for a shoe crease. Follow these hacks to make your shoe creases disappear.

All Shoes Crease

All shoes—sneakers, boots, etc.—crease. That's because when you wear them, you move in them. And the natural movement of your foot bends your shoe, causing it to crease. If your shoe didn't move with your foot, you'd be pretty uncomfortable.

The movement causes the material in the shoe to compress, which causes an unsightly crease or wrinkle. Leather, canvas, suede—they're all at risk. A crease on any shoe is perfectly normal, even if you don't like the way it looks. It's bound to happen over time if you wear your Nike sneakers enough.

Popular Ways to Deal with Sneaker Creases

Buy shoes that fit well. One way to reduce the risk of a sneaker crease is to make sure your shoes fit properly. Shoes that are too big crease more since there's extra space between the foot and the shoe.

Buy shoes made from quality materials. Quality matters when it comes to your shoes. Those made from lower-quality materials are more susceptible to creasing as well.

Apply some heat. When your high-quality, perfectly fitting shoe gets a crease, your best defence is a little heat.

How to Remove Shoe Creases with Heat

  1. 1.Use an Iron

    This is by far the most popular way to take a crease out of a shoe. The trick to using an iron is to stuff the shoe so it maintains its shape, from the heel to the toe box. Packing the shoes as tight as possible will help straighten out the creases. Old paper, such as newspaper, works best, but cardboard or even a few of your socks are great backups as well.

    To use an iron:

    • Dampen a cloth, such as a flannel.
    • Lay it directly over the crease (it's OK to fold it over).
    • Turn your iron to its lowest temperature setting.
    • Iron over the cloth in 10-second increments.
    • Check the crease between ironing to avoid damage to the shoe.
    • When the crease has gone, stop ironing, but leave the shoe stuffed until it cools.

    Ironing a crease to remove it works thanks to the combination of heat and water, which softens the shoe material to stretch out the crease. The flannel diffuses the heat from the iron to keep the materials of your shoe safe from accidental scorch marks.

    This tactic works best on leather shoes. You can use it on suede shoes, but wring out the flannel as much as possible first. Water and suede aren't an ideal combination.

  2. 2.Try Blow-Drying

    If you don't have an iron, a hairdryer can work as well, especially for leather shoes. To maintain the shape of the shoe while you're working, use cedar shoe trees. They won't get hot inside the shoe.

    To use a hairdryer:

    • Turn it on at the low heat setting.
    • Hold it 20–25cm away from the shoe.
    • Pass the hairdryer over the shoe a few times and then set it down.
    • With your finger, rub the warm leather up against the shoe tree.
    • Repeat as needed until the crease has gone.

    With this method, you'll want to keep the shoe tree in place while the sneaker cools.

    Since you're applying direct heat to the shoe leather, you may want to follow up this process with shoe polish or conditioner. Heat can dry out leather, and a conditioning treatment will ensure your sneakers look their best now that the crease or wrinkle has gone.

  3. 3.Steam Your Shoes

    This strategy works best on leather shoes and only requires a cloth, like a flannel or tea towel, and a microwave.

    • Wet the flannel or towel and wring it out so it's just damp.
    • Put it in a heat-resistant dish.
    • Heat it in the microwave, on high, for 30 seconds.
    • Rub the warm, steamy towel over the crease to heat up the leather.
    • Insert a shoe tree to keep your shoe's shape while it cools.

    You may have to heat up the towel more than once to get the job done.

How to Remove Shoe Creases without Heat

Not every shoe crease solution requires heat. Heat has the potential to damage your shoe if you're not careful, and it's a little rougher on non-leather shoes. For this reason, you might want to try and remove the crease or wrinkle another way. There are plenty of heatless options.

  1. 1.Condition Them

    When it comes to leather sneakers, you can ditch the heat and use a special conditioner or oil to get out those creases. Before you begin, test the product on a small, discreet part of the shoe. You want to make sure there's no discolouration. You'll also need to polish/condition the entire shoe to keep up a consistent appearance.

    Apply the product to the entire shoe, spending a little extra time on the crease, massaging the oil/conditioner in. Once you've finished, you may want to pop in a shoe tree to maintain the shape of the shoe while it dries.

  2. 2.Invest in Shoe Trees

    If you're going for a really simple strategy to get rid of that crease, you can use a shoe tree on its own. It may not work as fast, but stretching your shoe back to its natural shape with the help of a shoe tree can eliminate a crease. If you use cedar shoe trees, they'll pull double duty and eliminate shoe odour as well.

Keeping Shoes Looking Like New

Regularly cleaning your shoes and addressing creases as they appear are great ways to extend the life of your favourite sneakers. You'll also keep them looking like new for longer. That fresh, out-of-the-box look is what we all want, especially when you're rockin' that special pair, like your Jordans, that everyone is already envying.

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