How to Remove Creases and Keep Leather Shoes From Creasing: A Definitive Guide

Tuesday Bote - April 7, 2021


Low 1 Off White Leather Sneakers by Oliver Cabell


Leather shoe creasing is inevitable when you wear leather shoes. Creasing happens with each step you take as you walk. Your shoe bending is ideal because if it doesn’t bend at all, that means the leather is stiff and unyielding. Imagine how painful and uncomfortable that would be!

Leather is a supple material that follows the way your foot moves, but creasing is still inevitable, even with the softest kind of leather. Luckily, you can lower the chances of creasing and prevent them altogether with proper and regular care of your leather shoes. 


What causes leather shoe creasing?


The best thing about wearing shoes and sneakers made of full grain leather is it becomes even softer and molds itself to your foot more comfortably the more you wear them. But your shoes will get stressed when you walk or kneel or crouch down when you pick something up. Creases will eventually appear in the parts of the shoe that are constantly stressed. Depending on your feet’ shape and how you walk, wrinkles will appear on places where the leather is stressed and twisted the most.


Of course, the creasing doesn’t happen right away, so you can take preventive measures to ensure that your leather is well oiled and crease-resistant. 

Oliver Cabell Mock Boots (Brown)

Other causes of leather shoe creasing

If you own a wholecut leather shoe, that is, its upper is made of only one piece of leather throughout, there are more chances of creasing than if your shoe had several pieces of leather stitched together by design. Examples of the latter are full brogues or wingtips and most leather sneakers. If you decide that a wholecut leather shoe is a must-have, then you should be prepared to take extra care to prevent and care for creases. 

Wilson Waxed Rustic Boots by Oliver Cabell


Shoes that don’t fit too well, especially if they’re too big for you, are susceptible to creasing. Since there is excess room in between your foot and your shoe, there is more pressure from your foot to the leather as it exerts itself to take steps. 


A similar cause of creasing is when the shoe’s toe box is too flat, not allowing adequate toe spring. Toe spring makes walking easier. The tip of the shoe at the toes curves slightly upward and makes it easier for the foot to roll off or “spring” from the floor. Shoes that don’t curve upward at all at the front are more prone to wrinkles as the toes work harder and put more stress on the leather.


Exposure to moisture will also make your leather shoes prone to creasing, as moisture affects the leather’s quality. In general, lower quality leathers tend to wrinkle faster than full-grain leather, although the latter can also develop creases over time.  

How to remove leather shoe wrinkles and creases


You have to be extremely careful if you want to attempt to remove a leather shoe wrinkle on your own. Your shoe brand may have recommendations for caring for your shoes and preventing and eliminating creases, so look for these first and be guided accordingly. 

Shoe trees to remove leather creases


DIY Method # 1


One DIY way of removing creases is to use a flat iron. Follow these steps carefully:


  1. Stuff the shoe with crumpled old newspaper to hold the shape, preferably as tightly stuffed as possible. You can use a shoe tree, but it would be better to save it for drying later. 
  2. Set your iron to around 60 to 75 degrees.
  3. Dampen a towel, wringing out as much water as possible. Fold the towel to have two layers and place it on the area where shoes crease. 
  4. Iron the towel that’s over the crease for a few seconds. Check the crease by lifting the towel and repeatedly ironing the damp towel over the crease a few more times until the wrinkle subsides. Ideally, the applied heat should soften the leather and smoothen out the crease, but heat is also dangerous, so you need to do this carefully. Stop ironing if it looks like the heat is damaging your shoe. 
  5. Leave the shoe to cool down when you’re done, keeping the newspaper in, or replace with your shoe tree to absorb excess moisture and perfectly keep the shoe’s shape. 


DIY Method #2 


You can also use a hairdryer to remove a leather shoe crease, although this is more dangerous than an iron because the heat would be applied directly. These are the recommended steps:


  1. Insert a shoe tree or crumpled old newspaper into your shoe. You can use a shoe tree straight away now because you don’t need to add any additional damp substances to this procedure, and since you’ll be massaging the shoe, a shoe tree is better to mold the leather against.
  2. On a low setting, pass the blowing hairdryer around 8 inches over the area with the crease for a few seconds. If the leather isn’t warm when you touch it, you should raise the hairdryer to a higher setting.
  3. Set the dryer down and massage the crease against the shoe tree. Repeat these steps until the wrinkles are minimized. 
  4. Leave your shoe to cool down, with the shoe tree or crumpled newspapers still inside.
  5. Rub oil or leather conditioner to the shoe so that the leather doesn’t dry out from the heat of your hairdryer.


At times, oil or leather conditioner may be enough to remove your leather shoe wrinkle without applying heat. You should apply the oil or conditioner to the whole shoe first before massaging out the wrinkles and creases. You should also have crumpled newspaper in the shoe as you do this; a shoe tree can also suffice, but you shouldn’t risk getting the oil or conditioner onto the shoe tree. You can dry the shoe using your shoe tree, though. 

Leather Conditioner 


Oliver Cabell’s leather conditioner is made of beeswax, and olive, almond and coconut oils. Besides keeping the leather in top shape, it’s also an effective coating that waterproofs your shoes and protects them from the elements. And this nicely segues into our next section, which is how to keep leather shoes from creasing.

Stop leather shoes from creasing


As mentioned earlier, proper and constant care is vital to maintain your shoes’ high quality and prevent leather shoe creasing. Cleaning your shoes. It is essential to clean your shoes with a soft-bristled dry brush to get all the grit and dirt out before applying leather conditioner. You know that it’s time to condition your shoes again when the shoes are no longer supple or waterproof. 


You can also use leather shoe crease protectors, which are flexible inserts that you can put in your shoes to minimize leather shoe creasing. It is not difficult to figure out how to put crease protectors in shoes; you just slip them into the toe box before wearing them. 


Eventually, you will develop leather shoe creases and wrinkles that will be impossible to erase, but hopefully, that happens several years from now. More if you make it a point to take excellent care of your leather shoes. 




Is a shoe brush expensive? What kind of brush can I use instead?


Oliver Cabell’s shoe cleaning brush, handcrafted with natural beech wood and soft hog’s hair, is only $18. But if you need a brush while waiting for your order to be delivered, you can use a recycled toothbrush. 


Can you share how to put crease guards in shoes?


Crease guards are the same as crease protectors; you just slip them into the toe box before wearing them.