how to fix cracked leather shoes

Owning a pair of classy leather boots is any shoe enthusiast’s dream. However, owning leather shoes is not like owning sneakers. If not properly cared for, your leather shoes can dry up and crack.

Leather can crack if it is exposed to direct sunlight or if it is not routinely hydrated using a patent leather conditioner.

If you catch the damage early, you can simply add moisture to the leather shoes by using a conditioner.

However, if the cracks are big enough to be significantly visible, you need to take more time taking measures to repair the damage.

In either case, you shouldn’t worry since I have compiled this handy guide for you on how to fix cracked leather shoes.

Method One: Treat your Shoes Using a Leather Conditioner

This method can be used if your leather shoes have minimal damage.

Materials

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Leather Cleaner/Baby Soap + Distilled Water
  • High Quality Leather Conditioner
  • Applicator or cloth

Step 1: Clean Cracked Leather Shoes

Before you start to condition your cracked leather shoes, you need to make sure they are thoroughly clean. If not, the conditioner will not be able to do its job properly.

To clean them, just take a leather cleaner and rub it against the grain with a microfiber cloth.

If you don’t have a leather cleaner at hand, you can make your own at home using a couple of simple ingredients.

Just mix one-part baby soap or mild dishwashing liquid in eight parts distilled water. Use this mixture on the shoes to clean them and then wipe off with a damp cloth.

Cracks in the leather don’t appear unless it’s dry. So, wait an hour or so until the shoes are completely dry before moving on to the next step.

You can use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface and make the drying process a little faster.

Step 2: Condition the Cracks

Using a sponge, cloth or an applicator, take a generous amount of a strong leather conditioner and dab it into the cracks in your leather shoes.

You can get leather conditioner at your local shoe store, department store or better yet, choose a high-quality brand online.

The conditioner should get absorbed into the cracks immediately, since the surface of the leather would be extremely dry.

Next, take some more conditioner and dab it over and around the cracks. You should see a considerable change in your leather at this point.

The more consistent color that appears after using the conditioner will make the cracks less visible or in some cases even make them go away.

You should take this opportunity to use the conditioner all over the surface of the shoes, to prevent any other areas from cracking in the future.

Step 3: Dry and Repeat!

The bottle of leather conditioner that you buy should tell you how long you need to leave the shoes to dry before using them again. 

However, I recommend you let the shoes dry overnight since it will give the conditioner more time to work its magic.

If you feel like the cracks are still visible, you can continue to repeat the conditioning process multiple times.

You should stop the process once the leather visibly stops absorbing any more conditioner. If, at this point, the cracks still remain, you need to opt for another stronger method or repair.

cracked leather boot

Method 2: Treat Cracked Shoes with a Leather Filler

If the above-mentioned milder method does not work out for your cracking shoes, you need to go for this method that requires a bit more complexity. 

Worry not, it’s still simple enough to be carried out at home using some specialized items.

Materials

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Leather Cleaner/Baby Soap + Distilled Water
  • 600 grit sandpaper
  • Leather Filler
  • Blunt knife/Applicator
  • Sponge/Applicator Pad
  • Leather Dye
  • Hair Dryer
  • Leather Sealer

Step 1: Even Out the Cracks

Clean your shoes using the same way as described in the first method above. Let it dry overnight since leather filler does not work well with damp surfaces.

Using a super fine 600 grit sandpaper, even out the cracks as much as possible. Don’t use a low grit sandpaper since it can cause abrasions and damage the leather.

Step 2: Use a Leather Filler

Use a blunt applicator such as a palette or butter knife to fill the cracks with colorless leather filler. 

Let the filler dry for about six hours before repeating. Leather filler shrinks as it dries so you will need to repeat the process around 4-5 times to get the right results.

Step 3: Dye the Cracked Area

Choose the right shade of leather dye for your shoes. Take a small amount and using an applicator or sponge, dab it over the filled cracks to form a consistent color. 

Dry using a hair dryer on mild setting for no more than two minutes. Prolonged exposure to direct sources of heat or light can cause leather to dry out, causing more cracks and even discoloration.

Repeat the process 5-6 times and then finally seal with a leather sealer. Finish off with a last blast from the hair dryer to cure it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you restore leather boots?

Make sure you condition your leather boots regularly. If you haven’t been doing so, they might become cracked and dehydrated. 

You can use a strong leather conditioner to rehydrate and restore your leather boots. If the cracks are intense, you can use a leather filler or leather dye to repair the damage.

What causes leather to crack?

Direct exposure to heat or light can cause leather to crack. 

Another reason why leather cracks is lack of moisture, so be sure to use a leather conditioner regularly to maintain your leather items.

How do you stop leather from cracking?

Taking care of leather includes storing it away from damp places or places that get direct sunlight. 

If you use a leather conditioner to moisturize your leather items regularly, they will not crack.

How do I stop my leather walking boots from cracking?

You can make sure your leather walking boots don’t crack by regularly using a leather conditioner on them to keep them soft, supple and hydrated.

Conclusion

If you want your leather shoes to remain in good shape, keep in mind what kind of shoe cracks. A dry and neglected one!

If you keep your leather shoes well maintained, you will not have to worry about how to repair cracked leather at all.

As they say, prevention is better than cure but if you do end up with some cracked shoes, hopefully this guide will help you transform them into looking good as new!

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