How do you fix scuffs on leather shoes?

A question we’re often asked by our clients is how can you fix scuffs, scrapes or scratches on the uppers of leather shoes or boots. This is typically in relation to a new pair of leather shoes or boots that get marked or scratched after only a few wears.

If you have a scuff or scratched pair of your shoes on your hands as the nature of the damage will influence the treatment to the leather.

A scuff is the removal of only the most superficial layer of the leather, which includes the finish and the colour sometimes leaving a darkened mark. In contrast, a scratch is shearing of the leather causing a gash within upper of your shoes.

Scuff marks on leather shoes

A scuff is the easiest problem to fix DIY. There are shoe care products known as ‘renovator’ creams available that are designed for the purpose of fixing scuffs within leather shoes.

A renovator cream is similar to a shoe polish but more viscous with restorative paste-like properties and is often viewed as a ‘repair cream’ or ‘shoe scuff remover’. This product may also be applied to scratches to build up the worn away area and temporarily recolour the leather.

It should be noted that a renovator cream is not a permanent solution as some shoe care guides make out. The product only acts as colour-matched ‘cover’ for the scuff and needs to be continuously reapplied making it far from an ideal solution.

The long-term solution is to have your shoes refinished / redyed by a professional to permanently restore the scuffs.

Scratches on leather shoes

In regards to shoe scratches, these add another level of complexity in that part of the leather has been sheared and the gash needs to be built up again. There are numerous leather filler products available that can be used for this process but treatment often depends on the type of leather.

In most cases leather fillers are used in conjunction with sanding, buffing and redyeing to restore the scratch. Such work is best completed by a leather professional or experienced cobbler to avoid any further damage to your shoes.

We offer such services for leather shoe and boots with deep scuffs or scratches that may require filling or refinishing.