How to Keep Leather Soles From Wearing Out

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather shoe soles may wear out quickly if not they are conditioned regularly or if left too close to a heat source. Leather material forms cracks or creases which can creep deep into the surface of the shoe, resulting in worn out footwear. Protecting leather soles involves drying them off quickly when they become wet, and using a conditioner made especially for leather to keep soles from cracking. Rubber soles attached to the shoes can also provide a higher level of protection.

Dry leather soles after walking in the rain or on wet ground or sidewalks. Leather absorbs water which may lead to leather soles wearing out faster than necessary. Dry the soles thoroughly with clean rags or towels.

Remove dirt and grime from leather shoes and soles. Wipe the dirt from the shoes with a damp cloth. Pat the leather dry with a clean cloth.

Condition leather shoes and soles with a leather conditioner. Apply a dime-sized amount of the conditioner to a clean cloth. Spread the conditioner over the leather shoe soles, working it in with tight rotations. Use additional conditioner as needed to completely cover the leather shoes. The conditioner keeps the leather soles from cracking.

Buff the shoes with a lint-free cloth,after applying leather conditioner. This will remove any excess conditioner from the shoes.

Avoid wearing the same leather shoes every day. Alternate wearing leather-soled shoes and wear them only two to three times a week to keep the soles from wearing out. Not wearing the leather soled shoes every day allows the leather to breathe and recover after each use.

Inspect leather soles regularly. Embedded residue within the sole may cause cracking. Remove embedded dirt by prying it loose with a plastic spoon or butter knife. Be careful not to mar or cut the leather as you remove anything that is embedded in it.


Inquire at your local shoe repair shop regarding the thin, rubber soles that attach to the bottom of your leather shoe soles. The repair shop will attach the rubber soles to the shoes for a fee. This extra barrier protects soles from wearing down too quickly. Have the shoe repair shop replace or remove the rubber sole as doing so yourself may damage the leather shoes. Avoid leaving leather shoes in direct sunlight or near heat ducts as the heat dries out the leather leading to cracking and creasing. Do not use an acidic cleaner on leather as it may damage the material.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags or towels
  • Cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Plastic spoon or butter knife
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.