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A Helpful Guide: How to Get Creases Out of Shoes

Jul 06, 2022

At Charleston Shoe Co., we believe shoes are meant to be worn. Instead of spending their life on a shelf or packed away, they should be loved and lived in! Your shoes should be able to take you anywhere you want to go, whether it’s your front porch or halfway around the world. 


When your shoes are worn and well loved, however, they tend to show signs of it in the form of bends, curves and creases. This often happens with structured sneakers, leather flats and other closed toe shoes that get bent or move a lot during wear. This doesn’t mean they’re worn out or should be replaced. Instead, you can treat them like your other clothing that gets wrinkly and give your shoes a much needed refresh! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can get the creases out of your shoes to keep them looking fresh and new. 

A Clean Start

Before you start trying to smooth out any creases on your shoes, it’s important to make sure they’re nice and clean. Depending on the style and material, you may have to use different shoe cleaning techniques on different pairs, but it’s so worth it in the end! Thankfully, Charleston Shoe Co. styles are a great option if you’re looking for machine washable shoes for women. When your cute sandals, flats, wedges or heels get stained or dirty, you can rest easy knowing they can be brought back to life after just one easy wash cycle. 

comfort and style charleston shoe co

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Each one of our shoe designs is made with comfort, style and versatility in mind, meaning you can wear them for a long work day, a night out or while running a few quick errands. They’re designed to be worn over and over again and paired with many different outfits. Thanks to quality, washable materials, durable soles and a thoughtful construction process, they’re also designed to hold both their shape and finish over time. When life happens and your shoes start to show signs of wear, cleaning them is a great first step! 


To start, make sure your shoes are dry and free of any loose debris. Sometimes, the most noticeable difference can be made by taking a clean, dry towel or rag and giving your shoes a good wipe. This will help remove large pieces of dirt and any dust on the shoes. From there, dampen your towel with a bit of warm water and repeat the process, making sure to concentrate on spaces that are hard to reach like the seams where the sole meets the upper. This simple technique might seem, well, simple, but it’s truly effective! By removing extra dirt and grime from the surface of your shoes, it will create a smooth, clean space that will allow for easier crease removal. 


As we mentioned before, flat shoes are notorious for developing creases in the sections of the shoe that move and bend the most. This includes the toe area, the arch and the halfway point between these two areas that creates a stepping motion when you walk. These creases are good at hiding dust and dirt, so don’t forget to clean your cute flats for women before trying to smooth out the creases. 


When it comes to particularly stubborn stains, your shoe cleaning method might benefit from a shoe-friendly cleaning product like a laundry stain lifter or mild dish soap. It’s a good idea to spot clean with soap, warm water and a cloth on delicate shoes that aren’t meant to get very wet. For more durable styles, boots or large stains, hand wash them in a bowl of warm water and soap. Follow up with a warm water rinse and allow them to dry before working on any creases. 

pair of leopard print ankle boots

Crease Removal 101

Once your shoes are nice and clean, it will be easier to see the individual creases and produce better results. Know that creasing is a normal occurrence with almost all shoes over time, regardless of style, price, quality or material. This is because your feet move while they’re in your shoes. Though some move more than others and in different places, all of your shoes move with your feet. They would be pretty painful to wear if they didn’t! 


Having said that, it’s good to know the reasoning behind shoe creases. This way, you can keep up with cleaning them and smoothing out creases over time to extend the life of your favorite shoes. A successful crease removal is the result of an effective technique that can smooth out the crease without damaging the shoe itself. Depending on the severity of the creases and shoe type, you have crease removal options that either involve heat or do not. 


Using heat on your shoes to remove a crease is not unlike using an iron or steamer on a wrinkled shirt or dress. The heat softens up the material, making it more malleable and easier to smooth out. When it cools down, you’re left with a fresh looking pair of shoes that are free of creasing. Here’s a breakdown of options you can try when using heat to remove shoe creases:

remove shoe crease options

Iron It Out

After having compared the crease removal process to the ironing or steaming process, it’s nice to know that you can use an actual iron to smooth out your shoes. The ironing method works particularly well on sturdy shoe types like a pair of cute ankle boots or loafers. To remove shoe creases using an iron, start by clearing off a small table or some counter space. 


Place one shoe with the creased area facing up. Take a t-shirt or cloth and dampen it with water before placing it directly over the crease. Heat up your iron to a low setting and place it onto the cloth above the crease. Moving in a slow, circular motion, press the iron lightly down on the cloth and continue for five to 10 seconds. Check under the cloth often to ensure there is no damage to the shoe! After a few rounds of ironing for 10-second intervals, the crease should be smoothed out completely. 

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Get Steamy

Similar to the way the iron and damp cloth work to steam out the crease, you can steam out multiple creases at once with this effective method. Try this one on any of your comfy boots for women made from leather! 


Start by gathering your creased shoes or boots, a microwavable bowl and a thin cloth or towel. Wet the cloth and wring it out until it’s damp, but not super wet or dripping. Place the cloth in the bowl and then place the bowl in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. When the cloth is ready to use, it should be steamy and very warm to the touch. Take the cloth and begin wiping down your shoes to warm them up. Move the cloth directly over the creased areas to smooth them out, making sure to reheat the towel as needed during the process.


Repeat the process until your shoes are smooth and free of unwanted creases! Once you have finished, you can lock in the smooth shape by filling your shoes with a few cloths, t-shirts or towels while they dry. 

walking in boots on deck

Though these methods are popular for their effectiveness, you don’t have to use heat on your shoes in order to remove creases. Heatless methods are great for removing creases from shoes that are not heat-friendly or if you don’t have access to an iron or microwave. Most women’s shoe styles can be smoothed out using one of these heatless techniques:


Store Them Properly

Most creasing occurs after your favorite shoes have been worn and loved, though it’s also true that the way you store your shoes can make creases more noticeable. In addition to regular cleaning and proper care, consider storing your shoes in a dedicated area. Unlike your sweaters and t-shirts, shoes don’t normally take well to being stacked on top of one another. 


A shoe rack is the perfect solution for keeping your shoes from getting squished inside your closet! Whether you prefer a metal shoe rack on the ground or a pocket wall that hangs on the back of a door, there are multiple options you can think about that will keep your shoes from creasing in your closet. Store them in a cool, dry place with room for them to take their natural shape. You might consider placing a small shoe rack near your front door or in your laundry room for easy access shoes and a rack or shelf in your closet for less-worn styles.


Shoe inserts are great for those shoe styles that are prone to creasing. If you’re in a pinch, try rolling up a tea towel or thin cloth and inserting it into each shoe to help fill out the shape when they’re not being worn. If you want to take it to the next level, invest in a few shoe trees to keep your shoes filled out, smooth and free of creases while they’re safe in your closet!


Use a Conditioning Product

Shoe conditioner and polish can do a lot for your shoes, especially when it comes to creasing. If creases are making your shoes look dull or lackluster, use a cloth and some shoe polish to liven them up a bit. Take a tiny bit of conditioner on the cloth and work it into the affected area. Try a test patch first, and then move to larger sections. The shoe polish will brighten the look of your shoes and help smooth out creases at the same time. 


These products tend to be very powerful, so be careful not to use them on super delicate styles or absorbent fabrics. Once you have used the polish on your shoes, allow them to fully dry before you wear them. 

protect shoes from creasing

Creaseless Comfort

It is our hope that your Charleston Shoe Co. shoes are the most worn styles in your closet. To help them stay that way, we have equipped them with designs and materials that aren’t afraid to take on a little dirt, dust or rain. In addition to being washable, many of our shoes feature an upper made from durable elastic that fits and expands to your exact foot shape. It’s resilient and bounces back fast, making you feel super comfortable and protecting the shoes from creasing. Walk, skip, dance and glide through life in your favorite styles without worry!


Image Credits


Olga Hmelevskaya/



Sheviakova Kateryna/