How to Get Creases and Dents Out of Shoes

Having creases and dents in your shoes can be frustrating. Over time, the folds and wrinkles can cause the material to weaken and even crack. Luckily, there are several methods you can try at home to smoothen and restore your shoes. With a bit of time and effort, you can make your shoes look good as new again.

Use a Damp Cloth

One of the easiest ways to relax creases and indents in leather or fabric shoes is to use a damp cloth. Simply wet a soft lint-free cloth with warm water and wring out any excess. Gently rub the damp cloth over the creased areas using small circular motions. The moisture and friction will help relax the fibers and smooth out folds.

Focus on rubbing along the crease lines, not across. Allow the shoe to fully dry afterward before wearing again. For particularly stubborn creases, you can repeat this damp cloth treatment 2-3 times until the creases diminish. The key is to use a light touch and not oversaturate the material.

Apply Leather Conditioner

Conditioning helps rehydrate and soften leather, making it more pliable and better able to bounce back from creases. Before applying conditioner, clean your shoes with a small amount of mild soap and water first using a sponge or soft brush. Rinse off and allow to fully dry.

Next, apply a small amount of leather conditioner or shoe cream along the creased areas. Massage it gently but firmly into the leather using a soft cloth. Avoid applying too much, as excess product could darken or stain the leather. Wipe away any leftover cream. Over time, regular conditioning can help minimize creases in your leather shoes.

Use Shoe Trees

Shoe trees are specially shaped inserts that help shoes maintain their form when not being worn. The tension of the tree stretches out creases and wrinkles from the interior. Place shoe trees inside your shoes after each wear while they are cooling and resting.

Opt for shoe trees made of cedar wood, as cedar naturally absorbs moisture and odors. Keep the trees in your shoes anytime they are not on your feet. The constant subtle stretching pressure will help shoes hold their shape and slowly smooth away dents.

Apply Heat

A heat source softens leather and synthetic shoe materials to make creases more pliable so they can be smoothed away. Try one of these simple heat methods:

  • Hair dryer – Use a hair dryer on a low, gentle setting. Slowly go over creased areas, keeping the dryer 6-10 inches away. Be very careful not to hold it too close or long in one spot to avoid damage.
  • Iron – Place a clean cloth over the creased leather or fabric. In a circular motion, gently glide a warm iron over the shoe surface for 20-30 seconds max. Check the material temperature often.
  • Hot towel – Wet a lint-free cloth with hot water, wring out, and place over the creased area for 1-2 minutes. The steam and heat will relax the fibers.

Always allow the shoe to fully cool before wearing again after heat treatment. The heating makes the creases more movable so they can be smoothed out.

Use a Small Weight

Applying subtle, concentrated pressure on creased spots can help flatten them out over time. Place a small soft weight like a book or canvas bag filled with rice on the creased area of the rested shoe. Let it sit overnight, then check and repeat if needed until the crease is less noticeable. The weight gently stretches out the indentation.

Rub with Your Fingers

Simply massaging creased leather vigorously with your fingers can break down fibers and relax creases. Apply a leather conditioner first. Then vigorously rub the creased area back and forth with your fingers for 2-3 minutes, concentrating pressure along the crease line. The warmth and motion from your hand can effectively smooth leather.

Take Them to a Professional

For very serious creases, ripples, or dents that don’t improve with home methods, consider taking your shoes to a professional cobbler. They have commercial machines and tools that can apply high heat and pressure to force impressions out of leather or synthetic shoes. This works best for newer shoes that haven’t lost flexibility.

Preventing Future Creases

Along with fixing current creases, take steps to minimize new ones:

  • When not wearing shoes, stuff them with tissue or a shoe tree to hold the shape.
  • Alternate between different pairs of shoes to give each pair a chance to fully dry out and rest between wears.
  • Store shoes on shelves or racks, not piled together tightly.
  • Apply a protectant spray that waterproofs and seals material.
  • Handle shoes gently, loosen laces before putting them on, and unbuckle straps before removal.

FAQs About Fixing Shoe Creases

How can I get creases out of suede shoes?

Use a suede brush or fine sandpaper to buff the creases. Brush vigorously back and forth to rough up and blend the indented area. Then use a suede eraser bar to lift crushed nap. Finish by applying a thin coat of suede protector spray.

What about creases on the toe box area?

Stuff the toe box with tissue paper overnight so it gently stretches back out. You can also try rubbing the creased toe area firmly with your thumbs or fingers to massage it.

Will ironing shoes damage them?

Ironing can damage shoes if you hold the iron in one spot too long or use a heat setting that’s too hot. Keep the iron moving and use a medium-low setting to be safe. Always check material temperature frequently.

Can shoe trees stretch shoes too much?

It’s unlikely, but possible. Make sure you are using shoe trees that fit your exact shoe size and style. Don’t forcefully overstuff or jam them in. If they feel very tight inserted, size up to a bigger tree, or try tissue stuffing instead.

How can I soften stiff, creased boots?

Condition the leather with oil or cream. Then blow dry the boots on a low, wide setting while flexing and bending the shoes to limber them up. Wear thick socks and walk around the house to further loosen and soften the leather.


It is possible to diminish ugly creases and dents in your shoes using techniques like damp cloths, conditioners, heat, and shoe trees. With some time and elbow grease, you can make your shoes look smooth again. Be patient, as major creases can take multiple treatments over weeks to lessen. If home remedies aren’t working, consider taking your shoes to a professional for deeper pressing and steaming methods. With a little care and effort, you can restore your shoes and keep them looking their best for many more wears.