There are few things that are more comfortable than a pair of well-worn, broken-in sneakers, but with more wear comes more creases, usually across the toes and along the sides. Creases can make your sneakers look tattered and old, which is fine on the field but not good when you want to look a little more put together. To get the most milage out of your sneakers, catch those creases early and you’ll be able to fix your kicks.
What Creates Creases
Creases happen when a shoe becomes considerably worn. The creases form, usually across the toe break, because of the consistent movement and bend in your foot when you walk. Leather and suede, especially, are the most susceptible. In addition, consistently jamming your feet into a pair of sneakers stretches the material and puts added strain on the shoe.
Kick Creases to the Curb
To help ward off — or slow down — creasing, stuff the toe areas of your sneakers with paper, or place a decreasing product into the toe boxes after you wear them. Place wooden shoe trees inside the shoes an hour or two after removing them to preserve their shape. If your kicks are leather, apply shoe polish in the same color as your sneakers on the spots where leather creasing has occurred when the material is taut from the shoe trees. The polish can help hide unsightly lines.
Keep Canvas, Fabric and Suede in Shape
Both suede and canvas tennis shoes can be treated with a fabric protector spray. As with a leather sneaker, place wooden shoe trees inside these shoes after use. Use a nylon-bristled suede brush to gently remove dirt in the creases, and then spray the shoes as directed by the manufacturer. Another way to smooth creases on suede and canvas is to place the sneakers over steam from a kettle. Gently clean the shoes with a rubber suede brush, and then immediately place shoe trees inside. This pulls the damp material taut, which helps remove the creases while the shoes air dry.
Loving Leather Sneaks
A little indirect heat can help straighten out crease marks without damaging the leather. Preheat an iron to between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and place shoe trees inside the shoes. Unplug the iron, and place a damp cloth over the toe box, and then carefully iron over the lines for a few seconds. Inspect the leather and make sure it can take the heat. Repeat for a little longer on each shoe until the creases diminish. Afterward, do not store your leather sneakers in a plastic bag or box because mildew can form.
References and ResourcesGood Housekeeping: Smoothing Leather Wrinkles
GQ: How to Make Shoes Last Longer
Esquire: How to Take Care of Shoes
Esquire: How to Take Care of Your Shoes
Fashion Leathers International: About Leather
Men's Health: How to Revive Your Shoes
ResourcesThe Original DeCreaseR: Stop Sneaker Creases With the Original DeCreaseR
Allen Edmonds: Spray Waterproofer for Suede, Nubuck and Fabric Shoes