Leather shoes are a good investment, and the longer you wear them, the more comfortable they become.
Unfortunately, time can take its toll on leather shoes, and they’ll eventually start to crack and tear, especially on the upper sides of the shoes.
But don’t worry, you can fix your favorite leather shoes in no time. Read our guide below on how to repair leather shoes with torn leather, where we’ll detail how to restore torn and cracked leather and how to protect your leather shoes properly to avoid such problems.
Why Do Leather Shoes Eventually Crack or Tear?
The main reason why eventually most leather shoes will crack or tear is that the material with its porous surface traps dirt and oil. These then break down the texture and dye on the surface, causing them to crack or tear.
Real leather is animal skin, which is why it needs to be properly maintained and moisturized. It’s better to care for your leather shoes when you first buy them than to deal with cracks and tears later on or worse—throwing your favorite pair of shoes out.
5 Easy Steps To Repair a Tear or a Hole in Leather Shoes at Home
If your leather shoes have a small rear or a hole in them, don’t worry—you can quickly repair them at home.
What You’ll Need
- Leather repair kit.
- Shoe polish.
- Clean cloth.
Step 1: Clean the Shoes
You’ll need to remove all the dust and dirt off your shoes before you get to work.
Fill a small bowl with lukewarm water and put a few drops of soap in it. Mix and then wipe the shoes clean with a rag. Then dry the shoes with a clean cloth to get excess water and soap out.
If your shoes are absolutely filthy, you can use a cotton swab with a bit of rubbing alcohol to clean all around and underneath the damaged area.
Step 2: Examine The Tear and Stuff The Shoes
Now that your shoes are clean and the tear is much more visible, examine it well to determine if the rip is deep or shallow. If the tear is as wide as your index finger, then a base cloth will probably be necessary. If the rip is small or looks more like a crack, you will not need the base cloth.
After you determine the width and length of the tear or hole, get your leather repair kit. Don’t forget to stuff your shoes with some old newspaper to keep them rigid during the repair.
Step 3: Repair the Tear
Unpack your leather repair kit. If you don’t own a leather repair kit, there are plenty available online or at your local shoe repair shop.
Take out the base cloth from your repair kit, and cut out a piece the same shape as the tear, only slightly larger. If the rip edges are uneven, trim them carefully so they’re not as rough, making it easier to attach the base cloth.
Position the base cloth beneath the tear using tweezers, carefully tucking the cloth’s edges into the rip.
If the tear isn’t deep and looks more like a crack, then ignore this step.
Step 4: Apply Leather Adhesive
Place a bit of the color-matched adhesive from your leather repair kit over the base cloth patch to secure it and fill the tear.
Use rubbing alcohol to buff and blend the affected area once the adhesive solution is dry. Apply light pressure to even out the edges with a cotton swab.
If the tear is quite deep, you may need a second layer. Allow your first repair to dry and repeat. Remember to even out the edges at the end to be level with the shoe.
Step 5: Let Them Dry and Apply Shoe Polish
Once done, apply some neutral shoe polish over the entire shoe to protect them and bring back the shine.
Allow the shoes to air-dry for about 24 hours before you wear them again.
If you want to learn more about fixing holes in different types of shoes, read our guide “How To Fix Holes in Shoes at Home.”
- Don’t forget to moisturize the leather regularly with leather cream to prevent any further cracking.
- To make the adhesive dry faster in between applications, use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting.
- There’s usually a test patch in most of the repair kits for you to practice on. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, try it out first on this.
How To Repair Cracks in Leather Shoes
Over time, most leather shoes will get cracks, especially if you don’t take proper care of them and keep the leather moisturized.
If they’re left untreated, they’ll eventually turn into tears or holes, so it’s best to fix them beforehand.
You can use the above methods to fix small cracks on your leather shoes. The only thing you don’t need is the base cloth patch, so skip step number three and just follow all the other steps.
For more details on how you can repair cracks on leather shoes, read our step-by-step guide, “How To Repair Cracked Leather Boots.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Prevent Cracks and Tears Forming in Leather Shoes?
To prevent your leather shoes from getting cracks or holes in them and make them last and look as new for many years to come, you need to clean and polish them regularly.
It’s also a good idea to buy and use a leather conditioner to keep them moisturized and reduce the risk of cracking. Use a clean cloth to rub the conditioner in using small circular movements.
If you want to learn more about properly caring for your leather shoes and about the products available on the market, read our guide, “Best Oil for Leather Boots.”
Can You Super Glue Patches on Tears or Holes in Leather Shoes?
Never use super glue on your leather shoes or any other piece of leather clothing. Super glue is not flexible, and when it hardens, it will cause even more damage to the leather. It will also discolor the leather.
When you buy a leather repair kit, the glue inside is specially made for leather. So stick to this one, rather than using any other type of glue.
What Are The Benefits of Leather Shoes?
One of the biggest benefits of leather shoes is their durability. Real leather shoes can outlive shoes made from synthetic materials for quite some time, and high-quality leather can stay strong even in demanding work environments that require a lot of walking around.
Another positive is that leather is breathable, allowing airflow to make your feet feel cooler and prevent sweating, so your leather shoes won’t often smell bad.
If the leather is treated with a waterproof spray or waxed, your shoes will also be resistant to water. They’re also very comfortable and offer your feet needed support.
Can Scratched Leather Shoes Be Repaired?
It’s very easy to scratch your leather shoes and not even notice it at first when it happens, but you can quickly fix it with a bit of leather paint or leather recoloring balm.
Apply a few drops of the product on a soft, damp cloth and gently rub it over the scratch in a circular motion until the scratch is no longer visible.
If the scratch is deep, you can fix it using the same method you would for repairing a tear in your leather shoes.
As Good as New
Although it might be scary when you see your leather shoes start to develop cracks, or even tears and holes, it’s nothing to worry about. You won’t have to say goodbye to your favorite pair of shoes just yet.
By following our step-by-step guide on how to repair leather shoes with torn leather, you shouldn’t need to pay out a fortune to the cobbler.
Don’t forget to properly care for your leather shoes to prevent holes and cracks developing in the uppers, and use a leather conditioner now and then to keep the leather moisturized.