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There’s something beautiful about buying the perfect shoe – the sort of shoe that makes you suddenly feel confident and attractive as soon as you put it on.
But when that perfect pair of shoes starts to crease (as many nice shoes tend to), it can feel like you’re ruining a pristine piece of art.
Here, we’ll show you all about how to walk without creasing your shoes. From storage methods to walking habits, we have a complete guide here to keep your shoes looking flawless.
Why Do Shoes Crease?
If we want to know how to stop shoes from creasing, we need to explore why they crease in the first place. Shoe creasing is a natural process – it doesn’t mean that you messed up somewhere along the way.
Shoes develop creases because when most people walk, they bend their feet at the toe joint. This bending of the feet compresses the material of your shoe, especially at your toe joint, and creases the shoes over time.
Because of that, one way to prevent creases is to march around without ever bending your feet. But that won’t be good for you or your shoes in the long run.
Even though the creasing process is natural, several factors cause extra creasing. One of the most significant ones is moisture– moisture can make your shoes weaker in holding their shape, making them crease more.
It’s also crucial to have shoes that fit right in the first place. Shoes are usually designed to withstand a degree of bend at the toe joint without severe creasing, but that design can’t work well if the shoe fits improperly.
This is particularly problematic in the case of shoes that are too small; these often develop severe creases at the front of the shoe, an area called the toe box.
The quality of the material impacts this as well – though not necessarily in the ways you would expect. High-quality leather naturally conforms to the shape of your foot over time, so good leather shoes crease by design. Sneakers, however, are designed to hold their shape, so higher-quality sneakers are less likely to crease than low-quality ones.
How to Prevent Shoe Creasing
Do you want to learn how to walk without creasing your shoes? Here are the most important tips.
Shine Your Shoes Properly
If you’re shining your shoes, it is crucial to do so correctly to prevent creasing. Specifically, if you over-shine the toe box, you risk wearing it down. And if your toe box is worn down, that will make the natural creasing process much more severe.
Once you have finished shining your shoes, do not skip the final step: coating them in a waterproofing spray. You can also do this portion on its own, without shining your shoes. This will protect them from moisture of any kind, allowing your shoes to keep their shape more thoroughly than they otherwise would.
Keep Them Away From Moisture
If you do not have access to a water protectant, you can still work to keep your shoes safe from moisture by simply avoiding it.
This is especially important when you are breaking in the shoes because this is the period in which they will form most to your feet. There are a few different ways you can ensure this. One is to simply break them in exclusively in indoor spaces, waiting until the period is over before taking them outside.
You can also cover them in plastic bags if you want to go the extra mile, though if you plan to take them out in the world, you risk looking a little silly.
Use Shoe Conditioner and Oil
A shoe conditioner is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent your shoes from creasing, though if you want to do it right, you will need to get high-quality materials.
It’s best to condition your shoes every 3-6 months. Conditioner allows your shoes to remain supple, creasing naturally when you walk without forming permanent creases.
If you do condition your shoes, make sure you condition the whole shoe at the same time, instead of just focusing on the toe box or existing creases. Even though it may be tempting to focus on one spot to save time or money, doing so will create an uneven appearance in the shoe.
Purchase Mixed-material Shoes
If you are especially concerned about creasing, you may want to invest in mixed-material shoes rather than pure leather ones. Leather is designed to crease, so any shoes you have that combine knit or canvas materials with leather will crease much less easily,
Don’t Iron Your Shoes Directly
Some people suggest ironing your shoes in response to creases. While this will certainly reduce any creasing that is present within your shoes, and there are ways that you can iron your shoes safely, you should never iron your shoes directly.
By ironing your shoes directly, we mean ironing them by directly applying the hot iron to your shoe as you would an article of clothing. If you do this, you risk severely burning your shoes and ruining them.
Instead, there is a method to do so safely, which we will discuss in the “Can You Remove Shoe Creases?” section.
Treat Them Well
At the end of the day, you need to generally treat your shoes well. The lower the quality of any products you use on your shoes, the more you risk exposing them to creases and other forms of material damage.
Material-specific Preventative Measures
Some of these preventative measures are specific to the kind of shoe that you are dealing with. You will need to approach sneakers differently than you approach high-end leather shoes.
Crease Protectors for Sneakers
If you want to protect your expensive sneakers from developing creases, you must invest in some crease protectors. These nifty accessories act as supports within your shoes. They insert into the toe box of your shoe to help it hold its shape no matter how or where you’re walking.
These also have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, since manufacturing them is more a question of shape than material quality.
Shoe Trees for Leather Shoes
If you have leather shoes, do not neglect to use cedar shoe trees when you store them.
Shoe trees have two vital purposes: they keep your footwear dry and help it hold its shape when not in use. They also protect your shoes from moisture by wicking it away from the material of the shoe and into the material of the shoe tree itself.
Shoe trees aid in shape-holding because of the nature of leather as a material. Leather is flexible, so it will change over time to mold precisely to its environment. Ideally, the leather only shapes itself to fit your foot perfectly, but no matter how often you wear them, you will need to take them off at some point.
And while they are in storage, the shoes will automatically start to shape themselves according to the gravity acting on them, since that’s the only force acting on them at that time. That process will almost always worsen creases because the shoes will re-shape themselves alongside existing patterns first.
Fortunately, shoe trees prevent this whole process from occurring! By supporting the upper material of your shoes from below, the shoe tree acts both to protect your shoe from worsening creases and to heal it from existing ones.
If you cannot access shoe trees for whatever reason, you can get some of their structural benefits from simply stuffing the shoe with newspaper.
How Do I Keep My Shoes From Creasing When I Walk?
Figuring out how to walk without creasing your shoes doesn’t need to be a daunting task. There are some ways you can change your stride to minimize creasing. The other factors we’ve discussed here are typically much more influential in this process, but your walking style may also impact it.
Specifically, certain kinds of walking can cause new creases or worsen existing ones. For example, if you put too much pressure on your toes or the sides of your feet when you walk, that can worsen creases or make them more unsightly.
Too much pressure on the toes will typically make an existing toe box crease more severe. If you put too much pressure on the sides, on the other hand, this will make your shoes crease both vertically and horizontally.
This latter problem is a more significant one, as natural creases run parallel to your toe joints, so these “vertical” seeming creases will look both unusual and unnatural.
Also, when you bend or crouch, try not to roll forward on your toes. Not only does this roll give you less support if you’re trying to lift something from a crouch, but it will also crease your shoes.
When you walk, it’s inadvisable to try preventing any creasing at all. But you can make sure that you aren’t putting undue pressure on your toes or the sides of your feet. If you think you might be doing that but aren’t sure how to stop, a podiatrist should be able to help you improve there or give you access to some specialty footwear that can retrain your stride.
Can You Remove Shoe Creases?
If you have already developed a crease in your shoes, do not despair. It is still possible to remove (or at least ameliorate) the crease, even though it will require some work. There are two primary ways to go about this: using an iron and using leather oil.
How to Remove Creases Using an Iron
First, stuff your shoe with a good deal of cardboard or newspaper to ensure it holds its shape during the process. Once you’ve done that, heat the iron – you don’t want it too hot, so only go up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the most. You’ll want it to be at least 60 degrees to make any progress, though.
Then dampen a cotton cloth (don’t get it soaking wet, just damp does the trick), fold it, and place it on the crease. After that, you can slowly and gently run the iron over the towel. Make sure that no part of the iron directly connects with the shoe, and that the heating is only taking place through the medium of the towel.
After every pass with the iron, double-check the shoe to see if it has gotten better and ensure that you have not damaged it in the process.
This process works because the warm water softens up the shoe while the support beneath it keeps it holding shape, allowing it to return closer to the place it used to be.
How to Remove Creases Using Leather Oil
You can also remove creases with leather oil, though this only works for leather shoes. To do so, you will need to first obtain leather oil, which you can do at most luxury shoe stores.
Once you have the oil, massage it into your shoe. As with the conditioner we discussed earlier, it’s important to massage it throughout your shoe, not just at the crease.
Then, stuff your shoe with something to help it hold its shape, whether that is newspaper, cardboard, or a shoe tree. After that, start to blow on the crease with a blow dryer or heat gun. Keep it at medium heat to minimize damage, and don’t bring it closer than 3-6 inches away. Make sure you continuously move it during this process as well so that you aren’t using it on one spot for more than two or three seconds at a time.
After that, massage the crease until you start seeing signs of improvement. The combination of the oil and heat should make the leather supple enough to form according to your touch, allowing you to stretch and smooth it into disappearing.
Why You Want to Keep Your Shoes Crease-Free
As you can see, it can take a lot of work to keep your shoes free from creases. Since creases occur naturally, you might be wondering whether all this work is worth it at the end of the day.
And that’s an excellent question – for some people, it is simply not worth it. But there is a certain value to the pristine look of a pair of shoes. You may want to keep at least one pair of very nice shoes crease-free as much as you can while allowing others to develop the signs of natural use as is standard.
Crease-free shoes can prove especially important when you are navigating an important first impression, like a job interview or a meeting with a high-value client. Everyone is always making judgments about people around them, and how well you’re dressed will impact the ways people see you.
How to Walk Without Creasing Your Shoes, Final Thoughts
The most important things to remember to prevent your shoes from creasing are storing them properly using shoe trees (or newspaper if shoe trees are out of your budget), using crease protectors, and making sure you aren’t putting too much pressure on your toes or the sides of your feet when you walk.
At the end of the day, having crease-free shoes likely won’t change your life. But the confidence you feel in walking around the world with flawless luxury shoes is pretty significant. And who knows, perhaps your footwear will make the difference in your next job interview.