How To Protect Leather Shoes From Scuffs

Leather shoes are the perfect balance of dressy and casual. They can be worn for any occasion from work, date night, or going out for drinks with friends. Shoes made from leather are a wardrobe staple that every man should have in his closet.

However, while leather shoes may seem like they will last forever, they need some care. One of the most significant issues with leather is scuff marks from daily wear and tear.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to protect your favorite pair of leather shoes from scuffs. In this article, we will provide you with six tips on protecting leather shoes from scuffs.

How to protect leather shoes from scuffs infographic.

Choose Shoes With a Low or Medium Gloss Finish

Brown leather dress shoes.

One of the first things you can do to protect your shoes from scuffs is choose those with a low or medium gloss finish. In general, glossier shoes are more prone to scuff marks than their less glossy counterparts.

Glossier shoes will also make scuff marks more visible to everyone around you. Additionally, glossier shoes tend to pick up dirt and dust quickly, which will make the leather look shabby.

Consider Buying Shoes With a Protective Bumper

Leather boots with protective bumper.

Another way to protect your shoes from scuffs is choosing shoes with a protective bumper. In other words, the shoe’s sole should extend outward in front of the leather shoe, acting as a protective barrier.

If you bump against a wall or other hard surface while wearing your shoes, the object will strike the bumper of the sole rather than the toe box. A bumper will prevent your shoes from getting scuff marks.

However, this does not mean that you should buy an unattractive pair of shoes with overextended soles. Even if the sole only protrudes by a fraction of an inch, it will be sufficient to protect your shoes from scuffs.

Use Cedar Shoe Trees When You Are Storing Your Shoes

Leather boots with cedar shoe tree.

When storing the shoe at the end of the day, make sure you insert a cedar shoe tree. A cedar shoe tree fills up the space in the shoe and allows it to mold to the shape of the foot.

Inserting a shoe tree prevents your shoes from developing wrinkles, leading to scuffs if left unchecked. Crumbled newspapers or cardboard inserts will also work if you do not have a cedar shoe tree.

Leather is bound to get wrinkles. Our guide to getting rid of wrinkles on leather shoes will help you if your shoes have developed wrinkles.

Be Careful While Wearing Your Shoes

White leather boots.

If you want to protect your shoes from scuff marks, you must be careful while wearing them.

You should avoid kicking objects with the toe box of your shoes. When walking through doorways or narrow spaces, take extra care when making sharp turns.

Do not drag the heels of your shoes on hard surfaces. Dragging will create scuffs and can also permanently damage the leather shoe. You should also avoid bumping into hard surfaces like walls or furniture, as they may develop scuffs and even leave stains.

Apply Leather Shoe Polish, Conditioner, or Wax on a Regular Basis

Applying a shoe shiner to leather dress shoes.

Make sure to apply leather conditioner, shoe polish, or wax regularly. These products will help maintain the look of your shoes and protect them from scuffs.

Leather conditioner, shoe polish, or wax creates a protective, shiny layer on the surface of the leather, which prevents scuffs. In addition, these products prevent the leather from drying out, which can cause wrinkles and cracks.

If you are applying leather conditioner, polish, or wax on your shoe, make sure the surface is free of dust and dirt before treating it with these products.

It is always a good idea to test shoe care products on a small part of a leather shoe first to ensure the product does not damage the leather.  

Use a Clean Soft Cloth to Clean Your Shoes

Cleaning leather boots using a clean cloth.

Always use a clean, soft cotton cloth to clean your shoes. If you use a rough cloth, you will end up causing scuff marks on the leather. Make sure you clean your shoes in a circular motion with soft hands to prevent scuffs.

You should also avoid using any chemicals, as they may cause the color of the leather shoe to fade or become uneven. A paper towel will suffice if you don’t have a soft cotton cloth on hand.

Cleaning white leather shoes can be a daunting task. If you have stained your white leather shoes, our cleaning guide will help you out.

The Bottom Line

Scuffs are usually preventable, but you must be careful when wearing your shoes. Make sure to avoid kicking objects with your shoes and take extra care when making sharp turns.

Dragging the heels of your shoes on hard surfaces can cause scuffs and damage the leather permanently. Be careful not to bump into hard surfaces, as they can leave scuffs and stains.  

Wearing the same leather shoe every day for several months is a bad idea. They are more likely to get scuffed or wrinkled if you don’t take breaks in between wearing them.

Got scuff marks on your shoes? Read our guides on how to get rid of them.

We hope these tips will help you protect your leather shoes from scuffs and keep them looking great for a very long time.

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