How To Fix Scuffed Leather Boots & Shoes

Learn how to fix scuffed leather boots with our step-by-step guide and bring your boots back to life.

Leather shoes and boots are not only stylish, but they are seriously long-lasting. They are an investment in your look that could save you money in the long run. How? With proper care, a good pair of leather shoes can last a lifetime, adapting to our lifestyle and becoming a part of who we are. Unfortunately, scuffs on leather shoes and boots do happen. And it can be daunting to figure out how to fix them. (Seriously, what happens if you ruin your shoes even more?) If you are thinking, can you fix scuffed leather boots? Don’t be nervous - you can!. This guide will show you how to fix scuffed leather shoes and boots easily.

You Will Need:

For minor scuff repair

  • A hair dryer
  • Leather cleaner
  • Unscented, undyed petroleum jelly
  • A clean colourfast or undyed cloth or towel
  • Recolouring balm in the colour of your shoes

To prevent future scuffs on your shoes

  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • Shoe polish
  • Shoe wax

Step By Step: How to Fix Light Scuffs on Leather Boots and Shoes

Step 1: Clean the surface

First thing’s first — to fix scuffed leather shoes and boots, you’ve got to get them clean for any repairs to work. You’ll want to clean the surface of the shoes around the scuffed area with leather cleaner to get rid of any dirt or debris. (Pro tip: Before using the leather cleaner, make sure to first test it on an inconspicuous spot before applying it all over).

Step 2: Heat the scuffed area lightly with a hair dryer

Just like our skin, leather is affected by changes in temperature and humidity. Heating the leather makes it more malleable, allowing you to blend any uneven surfaces in the leather together. Apply some heat with a hair dryer, but don’t go full blast—use light heat, as getting the leather too hot could cause it to scorch or constrict and warp. Basically, if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your leather.

Step 3: Massage the scuffed area with a clean cloth or towel

After heating the leather surface with your hair dryer, use a clean cloth to massage the leather in a circular direction. It’s okay to give it a bit of pressure—leather is quite durable. The goal of this massage motion is to soften the edges of the scuff, while also bringing out some of the dye in the surrounding area to blend the colours and textures together, making the scuff diminish in appearance or disappear entirely. If the scuff is gone after this step, apply a good leather conditioner to your shoes and admire your work, you magician.

Step 4: If the scuff is still visible, apply petroleum jelly to the surface of your shoe

Unfortunately, sometimes buffing leather isn’t enough to get out a scuff in leather boots, especially if it covers a larger area. In this case, the next step would be to apply petroleum jelly to the scuff. This enriches the leather, moisturizes it, and makes the colour within the scuff more vibrant to match the surrounding leather. Just note, this won’t work with all leathers. So don’t be discouraged just yet.

Step 5: If petroleum jelly doesn’t do the trick, use a colour-matched leather balm

Sometimes petroleum jelly isn’t enough to get the results you want out of your repair. If you can still see a difference in colouration in the scuffed area, clean the surface once again with leather cleaner and apply a colour-matched balm to the scuff. Rub the balm in with a clean cloth in a circular direction, feathering the colour of the balm into the colour of your shoes. Once the balm has dried, apply leather conditioner to the shoe to seal in the colour. Boom, done.

And that’s all there is to it. (It’s almost like having brand new shoes, no?) In order to help prevent scuffs in the future, it’s important to polish, condition, and wax your leather shoes on a regular basis. It’s not possible to entirely prevent scuffs and scratches, but with proper treatment and care your shoes can age with you and become a core part of your look.