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The biggest complaint people have about their shoes is that they get wrinkled, dirty, and frayed when wearing them. The exterior leather treatment of the new shoe creates a nice sheen that creates a shine. After wearing it a few times and walking some distance, this shine wears off and the wrinkles and folds of worn shoes become clearly visible.
So how do you keep your shoes from wrinkling when you walk? To prevent your shoes from wrinkling, first, make sure they fit. The fit should be comfortable. If the shoe has a longer length, it will start to flex when you go far. Change your shoes after a few days. Walking in the same pair of shoes every day can cause them to wrinkle and wear out faster.
Second, buy shoes made of high-quality leather and apply wax-based conditioner to them from time to time. Third, always use a last when storing your shoes.
Why do our shoes wear and wrinkle?
Here’s what causes wrinkles and creases in shoes.
One of the reasons your shoes wrinkle when you walk is when your shoes are too tight or too loose. If you wear a shoe that is too small, the shoe will press against the foot, forcing the foot to conform to the shoe. Because shoes are too tight, they can put pressure on your feet, causing them to wrinkle.
If the shoes are too large or too wide, gaps can develop at the ends of the toes, which can quickly lead to wrinkling. You should take care that the shoes should not be too high in the instep area and not too wide in the toe area. You can read my guide on dress shoe sizing vs. sneaker sizing for a better idea.
Another reason for shoes to wrinkle when walking is that they are too stiff. Shoes that are too hard can also cause wrinkles to form on the feet. The quality of a shoe’s leather determines how quickly the shoe will wrinkle after being worn. The tanning process of leather determines its quality.
Corrected leather has a looser grain and is more prone to wrinkling than full-grain calfskin. If your shoes are made of tough synthetic leather-like Cole Haan or Nike Air Force, they will not only wrinkle but wrinkle. But they can be uncomfortable to wear. Also, when you buy mesh shoes, they should be stretchy and flexible, like New Balance or Adidas Flyknit uppers.
Shoe creases occur when moisture on your feet is trapped by the leather material. It sounds disgusting because it is! This can cause the leather to wrinkle, and if you don’t remove the sweat, it can become permanently attached to your shoes. Leather shoes require proper washing to stay fresh and long-lasting. You can fix this problem immediately by making sure your shoes are completely dry before storing them in your closet.
Each shoe requires a different last, which is the part of the entire shoe that fits the foot. When a shoemaker makes this shape, he has to take care that the heel, ball of the foot, and toes are exactly where they should be. Shoes should be so comfortable that they feel like a second skin. Dress shoemakers have mentioned the details of the different types of lasts they use in their shoes. For example, if you want to learn more about Allen Edmonds lasts, you can look here.
During the lasting process, the material is firmly pressed against the aluminum last, giving the shoe the desired shape. The longer the exposure time, the less wrinkles will form. Because of this, handmade leather shoes are more expensive than machine-made leather shoes.
Different types of wrinkles that appear on shoes
Each type of shoe consists of different parts with different thicknesses and designs. Basketball shoes, for example, feature a low-profile midsole and a molded outsole with a leather upper. Running shoes, on the other hand, typically have a thicker and cushioned midsole with mesh uppers and leather overlays in key areas. Likewise, dress shoes are either full leather or suede with a rubber or leather outsole. All of these factors determine how flexural forces are distributed in the upper.
The folds and folds on shoes usually start at the toe and continue to the end of the toe. These marks make the sole softer, so your foot can flex slightly and you won’t feel pain in the ball of your foot. Therefore, wrinkling of the toe cap after wearing it for a period of time is a natural phenomenon and you do not need to worry about it. If the sole is too hard, it will be a pain to walk in.
You should also note that folds and folds may also appear on the sides of the upper. This usually happens when the shoe is too tight or you suffer from hyper pronation, which causes your foot to hit the sides of the shoe while walking. This results in a weaker leather bond.
Wrinkles can also appear on the heel counter when you put your shoes on. Dress shoes have soft heel counters. Therefore, when you step into the shoe, there is a risk of crushing the heel.
How do prevent shoes from wrinkling when walking?
Here’s how to keep your shoes from wrinkling while walking.
Use a shoehorn
A shoehorn is a simple tool that can help you get your shoes on quickly. Shoehorns are a very important tool in your home because they help you avoid pain by reducing the pressure you put on the back of your shoes when you put them on.
Because a shoehorn is a long, thin piece of metal, it fits well in a variety of shoes, making it a versatile tool. Simply put your foot into the shoe and slide the shoehorn in from the heel area. It ensures smoother pedaling and reduces the chance of damaging the shoe in the process.
Choose the right shoe size
The ball of your foot is the fulcrum for flexion. A shoe size that is too large creates extra space in front of the toes, increasing the space between the ball of the foot and the front of the shoe. This will bend the shoe more, which will cause your shoe to wrinkle more quickly. Likewise, shoes that are too tight will press hard on your toes because they will force you to peek from the outside of the shoe.
So, when choosing the right style for your shoe, make sure your foot is at the widest part of the shoe and is the correct width. If all is well, wrinkled shoes are good. For a proper fit, there should be index finger-width space between the foot and the shoe. For more information, see my guide on shoe width differences.
Tip: When wearing shoes, pay attention to whether there is a V-shaped shoelace. The V shape can indicate a high instep, which can cause wrinkles in the upper.
Use a damp towel and an iron
I tried this method to fix wrinkles in leather Nike Air Force sneakers. You just need to take a damp towel and place it on the front of the shoe where the crease is. Stuff your shoes with socks or old shirts. Get iron and set it to cotton mode. Guide it gently to the crease area. All creases go through this method as shown in the image below.
The downside of this approach is that it no longer works. The creases may reappear on the toe cap after one or two wears.
Use a mixture of alcohol and water
This method was shared by a guy on Reddit. His clogs were too tight, causing creases in the upper. He recommends making a 1:3 solution of isopropyl alcohol (not drinkable) and water. Then spray the inside of the shoe to saturate it and tuck in newspaper to fit the area you want to repair the crease. This will not damage the leather.
Use the last
Using cedar wooden shoes lasts is one of the most effective ways to repair wrinkles and creases in your shoes after walking on them. Fading wrinkles on shoes is a game-changer. At first, I didn’t believe in this approach. But when I tried it, it worked really well on my dress shoes.
Leather shaping and shaping art around the custom last allows the leather to naturally dry and adjust over time. So if you install a cedar shoe tree right after removing your feet, you can accomplish a similar task. Inserting these wood trees as soon as the foot is removed from the shoe allows the moisture accumulated during wearing to gradually seep into the tree, allowing it to dry into the shape of the last rather than forming wrinkles.
I would recommend the following shoe lasts to repair wrinkles and creases on leather shoes:
- Rochester Last
- Woodlore Last
If your leather shoe creases are stubborn, you can follow the more extensive process below.
- Insert the cedar shoe tree into the shoe
- Spray shoes with leather conditioner
- Heat the curling iron to low-medium
- Unplug the iron and rub it on the leather to smooth it out
- Let the shoes dry overnight and polish
PS: If you are not an expert, please do not apply these extensive steps.
Apply waterproof spray
The water repellent spray keeps the leather shoes waterproof to various liquids, thus giving the leather shoes a new look. Be careful when using suede shoes, as the spray can discolor them. You should spray the spray on your shoes every 2 to 3 months to provide an extra protective barrier and keep your shoes looking like new.
Use Sneakershield/Force Shield
Using a Sneakershield is one of the most effective ways to keep your shoes from wrinkling while walking. Since the shoes cannot be folded inward, the Sneakershield protects the shoes from creases and keeps them looking good at all times. However, using the Sneakershield may affect your shoe comfort as it depends on your foot condition and shoe shape. If you have numbness in your toes or pain in your feet, I recommend you try this method.
If you still want to use Sneakershields in leather or suede sneakers, always choose a half size up so they can fit easily.
How to fix wrinkles in suede shoes?
As mentioned above, you can use ironing to fix wrinkles in suede shoes. Follow these steps to remove wrinkles and creases from suede shoes:
- Take a kraft paper bag and put it where the shoes are crumpled
- Set the iron to low steam
- Use a suede brush after steaming