Scuffs & Scratches: How to Fix Them

Leather scuffs and scratches on shoes are ugly, but they occur frequently in everyday life for most people. Most of the time, they can be treated to make your leather shoes look decent again. Continue reading to learn how to distinguish between scuffs and scratches, as well as how to treat them.

Scuffs from Material Transfer

When another object makes contact with your shoe and transfers material, it is known as a material transfer scuff. Someone else's rubber sole, for example, could scuff your foot and leave a black scuff mark. Because it is the easiest to remove, this is the best type of scuff. The black mark is made up of leftover material from another object, and the leather shoe has not been harmed in any way (hopefully). In this case, all you have to do is remove the excess material gently without damaging the leather.

Start with the least abrasive procedures to erase material transfer scuffs.

Brush for your shoes

Because it's already meant to remove grit and debris from shoes, a shoe brush is ideal. First, try if the scuff can be removed with the brush.

Eraser for pencils

Simple scuffs can be easily repaired with a pencil eraser, which is mild enough not to damage the leather. To remove the extra material, apply mild pressure and work the eraser across the scuff.

Magic Eraser

A magic eraser is a piece of minimally abrasive melamine foam used to remove stains from a variety of surfaces. Melamine foam can be used to remove foreign marks with care, but because it is abrasive, go slowly and gently to avoid damaging the leather. To erase the scuff, wet the melamine foam and gently wipe it away. To guarantee that the melamine does not do any damage, test it on an inconspicuous area first.

Toothpaste or Baking Soda

Baking soda can be blended with water to make an abrasive paste for persistent scratches. Toothpaste is abrasive in the same way, and it can be used with water to erase persistent marks. Because both of these solutions are abrasive, carefully rub them into the leather with a soft cloth to remove the scuff.

What to Avoid

Scuffs should not be removed using nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, dish soap, or other chemicals. All of these things can harm the leather by drying it out, distorting it, or cracking it.

Scuffs that are abrasive

In other circumstances, a scuff occurs when anything makes contact with your leather shoe and produces minor damage to the surface without leaving any material behind. This form of scuff will normally appear as if the leather has been lightly sandpapered, and the affected area will be lighter in color. Because the leather has been damaged, these scuffs are essentially microscopic scratches.

Because leather can't heal itself, abrasive scuffs are repaired by first diminishing them and then covering them.


Minor scuffs may only require the use of a basic conditioner. Leather conditioner is a moisturizer, and leather absorbs the moisturizer in the same way as your skin does. As the moisturizer absorbs into the leather, it encourages it to swell, which reduces the look of scuffs. Apply leather conditioner according to the manufacturer's directions, and let it dry completely.


If conditioning alone isn't enough to remove the scuffs, polishing might be able to help. Unlike conditioner, which focuses on maintaining the softness and texture of leather, polishing is primarily concerned with the appearance of leather. It gives the outside of the house a gleam. Use a colored polish to remove scuffs. Colored nail polish will hide the scuff and make it less noticeable.


Scratches are similar to scuffs in that they are caused by a foreign object contacting your leather shoes and leaving a mark. Scratches, on the other hand, are more difficult to repair than scuffs since they are deeper. A scratch may go deep enough to cut the leather in extreme circumstances.

Diminish The Appearance

Because it's practically impossible to entirely hide significant scratches, the focus shifts to minimizing their look. Scratches can add character to shoes or boots, so if you can't get rid of them, embrace them. Conditioning and polishing can help disguise the scratch, but they are unlikely to totally conceal it.

Leather Fillers Or Glue

Some people suggest filling a scratch with glue or fillers to help cover it. These are a terrible choice and, at best, a band-aid solution. While the shoe may appear to be more attractive in the short term, it will have a detrimental impact on its appearance in the long run.

Glue and fillers only work on non-moving surfaces. Because most areas of a leather shoe are flexed frequently, glue or filler is likely to become loose, split from the leather, and look worse than the initial damage. It becomes extremely difficult to make the leather look decent once this has occurred.


Cuts cannot be fixed while retaining the aesthetic of the shoe or boot. The outside layer of the shoe has been weakened due to a cut that divided the leather into two distinct sections. Some alternatives exist, such as gluing the cut closed or stitching it back together, but these are merely practical and do little to improve the shoe's overall aesthetic.

It could be time to get a new pair of leather shoes or boots if yours have been slashed.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published