How to Get Creases and Dents Out of Shoes

worn classic dark brown brogue shoes on white board

Lubo Ivanko/ Istock/ Getty Images Plus

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 20

Your favorite pair of leather or suede shoes always look great on first wear, but after a few wears, they can develop pesky creases and dents. This can make leather dress and athletic shoes look older and more worn than they really are.

Learn how to get creases out of shoes at home with a few tools and products.

How Often to Get Creases Out of Shoes

If the creases in your shoes are bothering you, take action as soon as possible. Deeper creases are much more difficult to remove than light creases. As the creases and wrinkles deepen, they will become impossible to remove.

Tip

To remove wrinkles and creases from fabric and canvas shoes, simply wash them or spot-clean the uppers. The wrinkles will disappear.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 steam iron
  • 1 white cotton towel
  • 1 set shoe trees
  • 1 handheld hair dryer

Materials

  • 10 sheets white tissue paper
  • 1 container leather conditioner

Instructions

How to Get Creases Out of Shoes with an Iron

  1. Prepare the Shoes

    • Remove laces from the shoes, if appropriate.
    • Stuff the toes of the shoes tightly with several sheets of crumpled white tissue paper. Do not use newspaper because it can leave ink stains inside the shoes.
  2. Select the Iron Temperature

    • Set the iron between 60 and 75 degrees F. This is usually the very lowest temperature setting.
    • You may use the iron's steam feature or leave it off.
    • Let the iron heat completely before beginning to work on the shoes.
  3. Prepare a Towel

    • Dip a white cotton towel in fresh water and wring until it is not dripping.
    • Do not use a colored towel that might transfer dye to the shoes.
    • Fold the towel in half so there are at least two layers of fabric between the iron and the leather.
  4. Apply Heat

    • Place the towel over the creased area of the leather shoe.
    • Heat with the iron for 15 to 20 seconds.
    • Check your progress and repeat the application of heat from the iron until the crease is gone.
    • If the towel begins to dry out during the process, wet it again. Do not iron the leather with a dry towel.
    • Do not allow the iron to touch any unprotected leather.
  5. Air-Dry the Shoes

    When the crease is gone, allow the shoes to cool and air-dry with the tissue paper in place to help the leather hold its shape.

    Air-drying can take several hours. Do not wear the shoes until they are completely dry inside and out.

    Tip

    Remove the damp tissue paper and replace it with shoe trees to speed drying. The shoe trees will make the leather hold its shape.

  6. Condition the Leather

    If the leather looks dull after removing the creases, apply polish or condition the leather.

How to Get Creases Out of Shoes with a Handheld Hairdryer

  1. Prepare the Shoes

    • Use shoe trees or crumpled tissue paper to firmly fill the toes of the shoes.
    • Remove the shoelaces, if appropriate.
  2. Heat the Leather

    • With the hairdryer set on the lowest setting, hold the dryer about eight inches above the crease for 10-15 seconds.
    • While the leather is warm, smooth and massage the crease against the tissue paper or shoe tree.
    • Repeat these steps until the creases are minimized. 
  3. Cool and Condition the Leather

    • Allow the shoes to cool completely with the tissue or shoe trees in place.
    • Use a leather conditioner to add moisture back to the leather that was taken away by the hot air.

How to Get Creases Out of Shoes with Leather Conditioner

If the creases are light, they can often be removed simply by using a good leather conditioner to add moisture back to the leather and then smoothing the creases by hand.

  1. Prepare the Shoes

    • Stuff the toes of the shoes tightly with crumpled tissue paper or use shoe trees.
    • Remove the laces from laced shoes.
  2. Condition the Leather

    • Choose a good leather conditioner that contains beeswax and oils like olive, almond, or coconut.
    • Rub the conditioner into the leather.
    • Use your fingers to massage the leather and smooth out the creases.
  3. Air-Dry

    Allow the shoes to air-dry and absorb the conditioner for several hours before wearing them. Leave the tissue paper or shoe trees in place until you are ready to wear the shoes.

Tips to Prevent Creases in Shoes

  • Clean leather shoes regularly. Use a shoe brush to remove dirt and grit.
  • Condition leather regularly, especially after the shoes have been worn in rain or damp environments.
  • Allow shoes to air-dry between wearings.
  • Add leather shoe crease protectors or flexible inserts that you put in your shoes to minimize leather shoe creasing during wear.
  • Use shoetrees or stuff the toes with tissue paper when storing leather shoes.