How to Remove Wrinkles from Leather Shoes

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Creases may appear on the toe and "vamp" of a shoe.
Creases may appear on the toe and "vamp" of a shoe. (Image: spoon/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images)

Improperly storing leather shoes -- or just walking in them -- can cause creases in the leather. Although your wrinkled footwear may look ready for the thrift store, you can refresh it with an everyday steam iron. However, you must apply heat cautiously to ensure the leather doesn't burn. Shoe trees also help keep the material taut in between uses.

Things You'll Need

Before you begin, collect these items:

  • Cedar shoe trees or cardboard paper inserts
  • An iron
  • Damp cloth
  • Clean cloth
  • Leather oil or shoe polish

Using Shoe Trees

If you have a pair of shoes you cherish, insert cedar shoe trees into them when you're not wearing them. Not only will the trees keep the leather stretched smooth, the cedar counterbalances any instances of foot odor and helps absorb the moisture that can cause mildew. Some shoe trees are adjustable, while others are made to a specific size.

Some shoes come with cardboard inserts to help them maintain their shape during storage and shipping. You can insert them into the shoes when storing them. Balled-up newspaper or socks also work.

Smoothing Wrinkles and Creases

To remove wrinkles in leather shoes, heat an iron to "low" -- no hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or you may risk damaging your shoes. If you have shoe trees, insert them into the footwear to stretch out the wrinkles and support them from the inside. Remove any laces. Dampen a fairly thick, 100 percent cotton cloth and place it over the wrinkles.

Iron the cloth to create steam and heat the leather, which helps smooth out the wrinkles. After ironing, check to see that the wrinkles are removed as desired and repeat as necessary on the other shoe. This process also works for leather boots.

Once the wrinkles are removed, let the footwear cool with the cloth still on them. Leave the shoe trees or inserts in for 24 hours to maintain the smooth shape.

If you don't have an iron, place the shoes in the bathroom when you're taking a hot shower; the steam may help remove the wrinkles.

Polishing Your Shoes

To brighten up your shoes, use a clean cloth and add a coat of leather oil or shoe polish. If a crease wasn't removed by ironing, a good leather oil may help moisten the material and smooth it out. Work the oil into the crease to soften the wrinkle. After polishing, insert a shoe tree into the footwear to stretch out the leather and keep it smooth.

References

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