Dress shoes are smart footwear that is typically worn for special occasions. They can be of several designs, such as Oxfords, brogues or loafers, but are almost always made from leather. Like other leather clothing and footwear, dress shoes can get damaged and creased. There are remedies for this, as well as preventative measures you can take.
Use a shoe tree to store your dress shoes. It helps to prevent creases forming and helps stop any minor creases that may have formed through an evening’s wear from becoming permanent. The shoe tree replicates the shape of the foot so that the shoe retains its shape even when not being worn. Shoe trees are usually made from wood, particularly cedar which can help absorb moisture and prevent odours as well as help with creases. Place the shoe trees in the shoes immediately after wearing.
Apply waterproofing solution regularly to your dress shoes. There are many brands available, often wax-based. Follow the instructions on the label for technique and frequency of application. Waterproofing helps maintain the correct moisture balance in the leather. If the shoes become too dry they can shrink, lose their shape and form creases.
Shine your shoes with shoe polish to help maintain the correct moisture balance in the leather. Shoe polish also helps to keep the leather supple, making creases less likely to form. Use a cream polish, work it into the leather with a rag, allow to dry then buff to a shine with a clean cloth.
Stuff newspaper into your dress shoes if you get caught in the rain and the shoes become wet. The newspaper draws moisture from the leather, preventing the material from drying out, cracking and creasing. Change the paper regularly until the shoes are dry.
Try applying toothpaste to small creases and scuffs. Use non-gel toothpaste and test a small patch of leather first to ensure there is no adverse effect. Rub on with a clean cloth, rinse with water and allow to dry.
Iron your shoes to eliminate persistent creases. Use the iron on a low setting and cover the leather with a cotton cloth or butcher’s paper. Ensure you keep the iron moving over the material to prevent burning. Place on a shoe tree immediately after ironing.
Ask a cobbler to fix any dents or scrapes on the edge of the sole to ensure that the entire shoe retains its dress appearance.
If your shoes are made from patent leather, do not use a cream shoe polish on them. Instead, wipe with a soft cotton cloth and water, dishwashing liquid or furniture spray.
Tips and warnings
- Ask a cobbler to fix any dents or scrapes on the edge of the sole to ensure that the entire shoe retains its dress appearance.
- If your shoes are made from patent leather, do not use a cream shoe polish on them. Instead, wipe with a soft cotton cloth and water, dishwashing liquid or furniture spray.