People’s biggest complaint about their shoes is that they get creased, dirty, and scuffed when worn. A new shoe will have a good gloss on the outside from the leather treatment to produce a shine. After a couple of wears and walking over some distance, this shine wears off, and the creases and wrinkles from the shoe being worn will be visible.
So, how to keep shoes from creasing when walking? To prevent shoes from creasing, first of all, get the right fit. The fit should be snug and comfortable. If the shoe length is longer, it will start bending when you walk over long distances. Also, switch your shoes after some days. Every day walking in the same shoes causes them to crease and scuff faster. Second, buy shoes of good quality leather, and apply wax-based conditioners to them from time to time. Third, while storing shoes, always use a shoe tree.
Also Read: How to Prevent Toe Holes in Shoes
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Why Do Why do our shoes get scuffed and creased?
Here are the reasons for creasing and wrinkles on your shoes.
One reason for shoe creasing when walking is that the shoe is too tight or too loose. If you are wearing a pair of shoes that is too small, the shoe will press against the foot, forcing the foot to conform to the shoe. Because the shoe is too tight, it will put pressure on the foot, and this will cause the foot to crease. If the shoes are too large or wide, there will be a space at the toe end that will soon cause creasing. You should consider that shoes must not be too high in the instep area or too wide in the toe box. You can check my guide on dress shoes vs sneakers size for a better idea.
Another reason for shoes creasing when walking is that the shoe is too stiff. Shoes that are too stiff will also cause the foot to crease. The leather quality of shoes determines that how fast will shoe crease after wearing. The tanning process of leather determines its quality. Corrected-grain leather has loose grain and tends to crease much faster than full-grain calf leather. If your shoes are made of hard and stiff plastic leather like Cole Haan or Nike Air Force, they will not only crease; but they will be uncomfortable to wear. Furthermore, if you’re buying shoes with a mesh fabric, they should be stretchy and flexible like New Balance or Adidas Flyknit upper.
Shoes crease occurs when moisture from your foot gets trapped inside the leather material. Sounds gross because it is! This causes the leather to wrinkle, and if you don’t clean away the sweat, it can turn into a permanent fixture on your shoe. Shoes with leather material require proper cleaning to keep them fresh and last a long time. You can fix this right away by ensuring your shoes are completely dry before storing them in your closet.
Every shoe requires a different last, which is the part of the entire shoe that is molded to the foot. When the shoemaker makes this mold, they must make sure that the heels, the ball of the foot, and the toes are right where they should be. Shoes should fit so comfortably that they feel like a second skin. Manufacturers of dress shoes have mentioned the details of different types of lasts they deploy in their shoes. For instance, if you want to get the details of Allen Edmonds shoes lasts, you can see from here.
In the lasting process, the material is tightly pressed against aluminum lasts to give a desired shoes shape. The longer the process of lasting, the lesser the creasing will be. Due to this reason, hand-made leather shoes are more expensive than machine-made shoes.
Different Types of Creases Occurring on Shoes
Each type of shoe is made of different components with varying thicknesses and design. For instance, basketball shoes have a low-profile midsole and a molded outsole with a leather upper. Running shoes, on the other hand, generally have a thicker and cushioned midsole with a mesh upper and leather overlays on critical areas. Similarly, dress shoes are either entire leather or suede with a rubber or leather outsole. So, these all factors decide how the forces from bending are distributed within the shoe upper.
The creasing and wrinkles on shoes normally start on the cap toe that extends towards the end of the toe box of the shoes. The brands make the sole of the shoes softer so that your feet can easily flex and you don’t feel pain in the ball of your foot. So, creasing on the toe cap after some wear is a natural phenomenon you don’t have to worry about. If the shoe’s soles are too stiff, it would be painful to walk in.
You should also note that creases and wrinkles can also appear on the sides of the shoes upper. This usually happens if the shoes are too tight or you’re suffering from overpronation, due to which your feet hit the sides of shoes when walking. This results in weakening the bond of leather.
Creases also appear in the heel counter on shoes when you put them on. Dress shoes have soft heel counters. So there are the chances that when you take your step in the shoes, you crush the heel counter.
How to Keep Shoes from Creasing When I Walk?
Here are the ways to keep shoes from creasing when walking.
1. Use Shoe Horn
The shoehorn is a simple tool that helps you put your shoes on quickly. Shoe horn is a very important tool that you should have in your house because it helps you avoid pain by alleviating the stress you put on the back of your shoe when you put it on.
Since the shoehorn is a long, thin piece of metal, it can fit nicely into a variety of shoes, which makes it a versatile tool. Simply put your foot in the shoe and slide the shoehorn in from the heel area. It will provide a smoother entry and reduce the chances of damaging your shoes in the process.
2. Choosing the Right Shoe Size
Your ball of the foot acts as a pivot point of bending. Too big shoe size creates extra space in the front of your toes, due to which the distance from your ball of the foot to shoe front increases. It will result in more bending of shoes, and resultantly, your shoes will crease fast. Similarly, too-tight shoes press hard against your toes as they force you to poke out of the shoes.
So, when selecting the right fit for your shoes, make sure the ball of your foot is at the widest part of the shoe, and that width is correct. If everything is fine, then the creasing of shoes is fine. There should be space equal to the width of your index finger between your foot and shoes for the right fit. You can check my guide on the difference between shoes widths for more information.
Pro Tip: When wearing shoes, also check that whether there is a V-shape in the lacing area or not. V-shape might indicate that you’ve a high instep, which might cause creasing on the vamp of your shoe.
3. Using Damp Towel and Iron
I tried this method to fix creases in Nike Air Force sneakers made of leather. All you need is to get a damp towel and place it on the front part of the shoe where the crease is present. Stuff the shoes with socks or an old shirt. Get the iron and put it on the cotton mode. Pass it gently over the creasing area. All the wrinkles will be gone through this method as you can see in the picture below.
The con of this method is that it doesn’t work for a longer. There are chances that creases might start appearing again over the cap toe after one or two wears.
You can also check out this video to understand how to use iron to fix the crease on Air Jordans.
4. Using a Mixture of Alcohol and Water
This method was shared by a person on Reddit. He had a problem with his Clogs being too tight, due to which creases started appearing on the upper. He suggested making a solution of isopropyl alcohol (not drinking one) and water in the ratio of 1:3, respectively. Then, spray the inside of the shoe to soak it and stuff newspapers to fit in the area you want to fix the crease. It will not damage the leather.
5. Use Shoe Trees
Using Cedar Shoe Trees is one of the most effective methods of fixing creases and wrinkles in shoes after you use them for walking. It’s a game-changer to fade the wrinkles on your shoes. At first, I didn’t believe in this method. But when I tried it out, it worked amazingly on my dress shoes.
The fine art of shaping and molding leather around custom-made shoe lasts allow the leather to dry and conform naturally over time. So, putting the cedar shoe trees right after removing your feet allows it to do a similar job. Inserting these wooden trees immediately after you remove your feet from shoes, allows moisture accumulated during wear gradually to wick into the tree and thus dry to the shape of the shoe tree instead of creasing.
I’d recommend you following shoe trees to fix creases and wrinkles in your leather shoes:
Here’s a more extensive process that you can follow if your leather shoes’ creases are stubborn.
- Insert a cedar shoe tree into your shoe
- Spray the shoe with a leather conditioner
- Warm up the curling iron to a medium-low setting
- Unplug the iron and rub it on the leather to smooth it down
- Let the shoe dry overnight and polish it
PS: Don’t apply these extensive steps if you’re not an expert.
6. Apply Water-Repellent Spray
The water-repellent spray makes the leather shoes new by keeping them stain-resistant against different fluids. For suede shoes, you have to take care as the spray can decolorize them. You should sprinkle the spray over your shoes every 2 to 3 months to create an extra protective barrier and keep your shoes in new condition.
7. Use Sneakershield/Force Shield
Using sneakershield is one of the most effective method to keep shoes from creasing when walking. By not allowing the shoes to fold inwards, sneakershield protects the shoes from creases, allowing them to always look great. However, using sneakershield can affect your comfort level in the shoes as it depends on your feet condition and the shape of your shoes. If you have numb toes or ball of foot pain, I’d suggest you to apply this method.
If you still want to use sneakershields in your leather or suede sneakers, always go for a half size up so that you can accommodate them easily.
You can follow this tutorial on how to accommodate sneakershield in the shoes.
How to Fix Creases in Suede Shoes?
As described above, you can use the iron method to fix creases in suede shoes. Follow these steps to remove creases and wrinkles in suede shoes: