How To Get Creases Out Of Shoes With & Without Heat?

Get Creases Out Of Shoes

Old shoes take up a large percentage of trash. Over 300 million shoes wasted away annually can take around 30 to 40 years to decompose in landfill. By taking care of and learning how to get creases out of shoes, you can restore them and lessen this unnecessary waste.

This guideline can be applied to various kinds of shoes, like sneakers, running shoes, to leather shoes. Besides the guideline, this article also offers simple tips on how to prevent those ugly marks from appearing on the shoe’s surface.

Can Creases Be Removed From Shoes?

Although creases are inevitable, they can be removed from the shoe’s surface.

No matter how high-quality your shoes are, and how well you take care of or store them, creases and wrinkles still gradually develop and increase on the top of the shoes over time. As your feet move, their natural movement tends to bend and compress the shoe’s upper and form creases.

The good news is that you can alleviate the severity of the creases.

Prepare necessary supplies and tools

Ensure you have the following supplies and tools before removing creases on your shoes.

  • Supplies: old newspapers, shoe polish/shoe conditioner
  • Tools: a hair dryer, an iron, an old cloth, a shoe tree, and a microwave-safe dish.

Understand shoe type

Before processing, you should understand the materials that make up your shoes. Those materials can affect how easily the process is, how you should clean them, and which method you should choose to treat them properly.

Synthetics, leather, textiles, and suede are the 4 most popular materials in footwear. Synthetics and textiles (polyester, cotton, nylon, wool) are durable. However, leather and suede have more tendency to damage when they lose their natural oils.

Clean your shoes

You should remove dirt and debris on your shoes to have a clean surface for easy and effective crease removal. You must prepare clean water, a container, a towel, and rags.

To clean leather shoes, you should remove the laces from the shoes first. Then, use a damp towel to rub each shoe from the upper to the sole. Then use a soft towel to dry them and let them air-dry on the shoe rack.

To clean naughty gum off your boots and shoes, your should cool the gum with 1-2 ice cube(s). Then, scrape the gum with a hard object, like a butter knife or a credit card.

How To Get Creases Out Of Shoes With Heat

Use the iron

using iron to Get Creases Out Of Shoes

The first and also the most popular solution to get creases out of shoes is using an iron. The combination of heat and moisture softens the material and smoothens out all creases and wrinkles.

This method works best on leather shoes. You can also use it on suede shoes, but always remember to wring out the cloth as much as possible first.


  • Some inserts, like paper, cardboard, styrofoam, your old socks/old cloth, or anything that helps the shoes stay their shape. Some people choose old newspapers but be careful since the ink on newspapers can cause stains on the shoe’s surface.
  • A cloth iron
  • A white cloth, towel, or flannel

How to do:

  • Dampen the cloth, towel, or flannel into water. You can fold it down if the cloth is too thin.
  • Turn your cloth iron on and set it to a temperature of 60-80oF, or in the cotton setting.
  • Put the wet cloth on the crease, then move the iron on the cloth in a circular motion in  10-second increments. Avoid sitting the iron in one spot for too long if you don’t want to burn your shoes.
  • Check the crease between intervals, then stop when it disappears. Repeat this process with other creases until your shoe becomes smooth.
  • When all the creases are erased, keep the rags in the shoe until it cools down.

You can also erase creases out of your shoes without an iron. Let’s check the two following alternatives!

Steam the shoes (work best on leather shoes)

Steam is to smoothen out curtains, old clothes, and other textiles. Similar to iron, crease removal with a steamer works best on leather shoes and requires a wet cloth (like a white towel or a flannel), and a microwave. The combination of water and heat can soften the leather and helps remove the creases.


  • A cloth (towel, flannel)
  • Clean water
  • A microwave
  • A heat-resistant dish
  • A shoe tree

How to do:

  • Dampen the cloth, then put it in a heat-resistant dish.
  • Heat the cloth in the microwave for 30 seconds in high-temperature settings.
  • Rub this steamy, warm cloth over the crease to heat the leather up.
  • Insert a shoe tree inside the shoe to maintain its shape when the leather cools down.
  • Repeat the whole process until the crease disappears.


You can use your hairdryer or a heat gun to clean stubborn creases and wrinkles on your leather shoes. The heat from the hairdryer softens the leather and erases wrinkles easily. Like the two above methods, you should use old paper or shoe trees to maintain your shoes’ shape while you are working.

Since you apply direct heat onto the leather surface, ensure to follow this method with condition treatment to keep your shoes at their highest quality.


  • A hairdryer
  • Some cedar shoe trees
  • A shoe polish
  • A shoe conditioner

How to do:

  • Place cedar shoe trees inside the shoes to maintain their original shape.
  • Turn the hairdryer on in the low-heat setting.
  • Hold the hairdryer approximately 20-25cm away from the shoe.
  • Use the sweep motion a few times to heat up the creased area.
  • Use your finger to rub the warm area up against the shoe trees to smoothen out the creases.
  • Repeat the above steps until all creases have gone.
  • Use shoe polish to apply conditioner on the shoe to maintain the leather’s quality.

How To Get Creases Out Of Shoes Without Heat

Although heat can erase creases fast and easily, it might damage your shoes if you don’t have much experience on this job, or if you are not careful. Heat is also not applicable on non-leather shoes.

Let’s learn some heatless options that you can apply to your shoes.

Use conditioner/Leather oil

put leather oil to shoe tree

Shoe conditioner or leather oil is a safe way to get rid of creases on old leather sneakers like Jordans. These liquids will soften the wrinkles and loosen them. You should use this method as soon as the crease disappears.

  • Apply the conditioner or oil on the entire shoe.
  • Massage the shoe, especially on the creases until they are smoothened out.
  • Then insert a shoe tree inside the shoe to maintain its shape.

You should test this method on a small, discreet part to make sure there is no discoloration. There are some certain shoes that you can’t apply this method, like the Yeezy Boost 750.

Apply shoe trees/foam inserts

Inserting shoe trees (sometimes called shoe stretchers) inside your shoes doesn’t only prevent your sneakers from creasing, but also helps remove creases and wrinkles.

These inserts are shaped like the forefoot area of your shoes. When staying inside the shoes, they will stretch the material slightly. Thus, they stretch out remaining creases and also prevent the growth of new creases. If you don’t have this tool, you can use soft foam.

There are two advantages of applying the shoe-tree method. First, you don’t need to spend much time on it. Second, it’s safe for sneaker models that you aren’t sure whether they are heat-sensitive or not.

  • Reduce the shoe trees’ width by squeezing their two front sides, then place their front part inside the shoes.
  • Compress the springs, then put their back section inside the shoes.

Make sure that your shoe trees have finely rounded edges to avoid extra scratches inside the shoes. You should leave it there for 24 hours or more to see the result.

Use soap and water

Warm soapy water is a classic yet effective way to get rid of creases on your shoes. This method works best on light or new wrinkles, and might not be used on deep creases.

  • Stuff your shoe with small towel or old balled-up socks to show the creases.
  • Use a washcloth to gently apply the warm soapy liquid onto the creases.
  • Finally, let the shoe air dry before removing the inserts.

Use vinegar

You can utilize your vinegar bottle for crease removal. Vinegar can soften and erase creases and leave a smooth surface on the shoes.

  • Mix ⅔ cup of clean water with ⅓ cup of white vinegar in a bottle.
  • Spray this liquid onto the creases.
  • Rub your finger against the creases to remove them.
  • If the creases haven’t gone, you can warm the material with a hairdryer to speed up this process.

How To Prevent Creases In Shoes And Keep Them New?

Here are some simple yet useful tips for you to keep your shoes in good condition.

Find the shoes that fit

Make sure that your shoes fit your feet. If the shoes are too big, the extra space between your toes and the shoes will create more creases.

Choose high-quality shoes

Choose shoes made from durable, high-quality materials. These shoes are not cheap, but they are more susceptible to damage and creases.

Use shoe cream

Shoe cream, or shoe conditioner, is your shoe’s close friend. This product not only strengthens the material but also minimizes the growth of cracks and wrinkles, thus helping your shoes last longer.

You can use shoe cream on all of your footwear, like combat boots, sneakers, running shoes, etc. If you are wearing leather shoes, shoe cream is a must!

Use a sneaker shield or shoe wrinkle protector

A sneaker shield, or shoe crease protector, is designed to maintain the shoe’s shape and avoid it from creasing. To insert it, remove the laces, then insert the crease protector into the forefoot area.

Keep shoes dry

Moisture can ignite bacteria and mildew growth. If your shoes get wet, dry them quickly with a clean towel, then stuff them with tissue paper, paper towels, or balls to absorb moisture. Then, place them on your shoe rack to air dry.

Avoid direct sunlight

Don’t place your footwear under direct sunlight to prevent them from cracking or discoloration. You can store your shoes in a box with cardboard for better air ventilation.

Use leather cleaner for leather shoes

For leather/suede shoes, you can maintain their appearance with a leather cleaner, conditioner, and a suede brush. You can also use a shoe tree to maintain the shoes’ shape and keep them crease-free. Spreading baking soda inside your leather footwear when not in use to absorb annoying odors.

Regularly clean your shoes

Clean your shoes regularly to remove dirt and dust.

Alter your walking or running style

You can keep your sneakers last longer by changing how you run or walk. Avoid toe walking, which is the style of walking on your feet’ balls instead of your heels.

Put shoe tree when your shoes are not in use

Put sneaker shields inside your shoes while using them, and insert shoe trees when you are not. These two gadgets will keep your shoes always in an out-of-the-box look and avoid creases.

Get a new pair of shoes

If your current shoes are TOO old or lose their original shape and quality, it’s time to get a new pair. A good, new pair of shoes maintain your comfort and maximizes your training performance while protecting your feet from injuries.


1. Why do our shoes crease?

When you wear your shoes and move your feet, the repetitive movement of your feet will bend and compress the boots and cause creases over time. Moreover, shoes that are heavily used, not stored, or cared for properly can quickly wear off.

As their natural characteristic, all types of leather shoes, like full-grain, genuine leather, nubuck, and suede, can be creased. Leather shoes with a narrow toe box are more likely to crease than those with a wide toe box. If there is no internal support for these shoes, like stuffing newspaper, or shoe tree, they will crease and lose their appearance shortly.

2. How can you get rid of creases on leather shoes?

You can remove creases from leather shoes and make them ready for essential occasions with the 8 following steps.

  1. Clean the leather shoes with soapy water.
  2. Remove shoe laces.
  3. Stuff old newspapers inside the shoes.
  4. Cover a damp cloth over the shoes.
  5. Move the iron on the damp cloth to a low-heat setting.
  6. Condition the shoes.
  7. Insert the laces back.
  8. Let the shoes air dry on the shoe rack.

3. How can you uncrease Air Forces Ones?

To remove creases on the Air Force 1, stuff socks or old paper inside the shoes. Then, cover the creased area with a damp towel. Use hot iron (with a low-heat setting) to move in a circular motion back and forth over the creases for 10 minutes. Repeat the process until all creases are gone.


When knowing how to get creases out of shoes, you can find ways to keep your shoes last longer. Moreover, you can also save your budget for buying replacements or hiring a professional shoe cleaner.

The ugly truth is, no matter how well and regularly you take care of your shoes, they are going to crease someday. Your feet’ natural movements bend the shoes, compress the material, and causes creases over time. Consequently, the more you wear them, the sooner they will be creased. But if the shoes didn’t move along with your feet, you will feel uncomfortable.

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