How to Repair Scuffs on Leather Shoes

Updated April 17, 2017

Scuff marks steal the lustre from leather shoes. An errant step, a clumsy dance partner or contact with a sharp or abrasive object is all it takes to leave your shoes looking scraped and blemished. But scuffed leather shoes are not necessarily lost. Minor scuffs and even some major ones can be buffed out and covered up. Knowing how to remove scuffs can save you the cost of new shoes and the trouble of finding a comparable pair.

Bring your shoes when you buy the refinishing spray; you'll need them to ensure the spray matches the colour of the leather.

Wash the spot you wish to refinish. In a well-ventilated area, use a light shoe-cleaning cloth and leather preparer. Allow the shoes to dry, and repeat until the shoe's finish is dull and even.

Cover the shoe in masking tape, except for the scuffed areas.

Spray the shoe evenly across the leather. Allow it to dry and repeat until the spot has a consistent colour.

Remove the masking tape and polish the shoes.

Rub the scuff with a microfiber cloth, terry cloth or gum eraser. These can remove mild scuffs.

Use alcohol for more stubborn scuffs. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dab the scuff.

Wipe the shoe with an absorbent cloth.


Before using any product on leather, test a small and hidden area for colour-fastness. If the product alters the shoe's colour, do not use it.

Things You'll Need

  • Refinishing spray
  • Shoe-cleaning cloth
  • Leather repairer
  • Masking tape
  • Gum eraser, microfiber cloth or terry cloth (for patent leather shoes)
  • Cotton swab and rubbing alcohol (for patent leather shoes)
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About the Author

John Zaremba began writing professionally in 1997. He has worked at some of the country's finest small daily newspapers, including "The Beacon News" and "The Patriot Ledger." Zaremba is a graduate of the University of Illinois.