Hack or Wack?: Shoe Repair Tips
Life hacks on the internet bring the promise of making something easier, faster or less expensive. Most importantly, life hacks solve a problem, like getting gum off the bottom of your shoe for example. There are a lot of different hacks out there to help you save your shoes. Each one promises to save you time, money and stress. Just look at all the different "solutions" there are for common shoe problems!
These hacks can be amazing! However, the only problem is that sometimes these hacks don’t really work -- at all. I learned this the hard way. I have a pair of leather pumps that I love - a little too much. Those shoes have seen better days and are now ugly and wrinkly. I Googled “How To Get Rid of Shoe Wrinkles” and found two solutions - Formé Shoe Shapers or a hair-dryer and a damp cloth. Well, I didn’t have the shoe shapers (yet), so I decided to try the hair dryer and damp cloth method on just one of my shoes to see what would happen. Needless to say, it did not work at all. Much to my dismay, it made my shoe even worse.
Then, I ordered the Formé Shoe Shapers and it completely saved my other shoe! It was so easy! I just slid it into my shoe and left it in for a couple of days. They helped my shoe return to its original shape and got rid of almost all the shoe’s wrinkles. It basically looked like new again. I even took a picture just so you could see the difference for yourself.
I have a lot of shoe problems, and not a lot of time or money to solve them. I needed to figure out what other hacks worked and what didn’t. Unfortunately, trial and error is not a good way to figure out which shoe hacks work. There was no way I was going to potentially ruin another pair of shoes. So, I set out to ask an expert which “hacks” on the internet would actually work - that way you don’t have to waste the time and energy like I did. Luckily, there is a great shoe repair nearby, so I went on a personal fieldtrip to the Brentwood Country Mart Shoe Repair. This is an old-fashioned shoe repair store that has been servicing satisfied customers for twenty-five years. There I met with the owner of the store, Samir Goli, an amazing cobbler and shoe expert who helped me determine which of the following is an actual hack and what is wack.
Samir gave me his expert opinion on some of the most popular Shoe Hacks… his answers may surprise you!
Test your own shoe knowledge against an expert’s and see if you are “Hack Savvy”:
How do you remove scuff marks from patent leather shoes - Nail Polish Remover or a Damp Soft Cloth?
The internet claims that if you wet a cotton swab, and then dip it in some nail polish remover you’ll be able to rub off any and all scuff marks.
The expert says – “Nail polish remover will work quite well actually.”
Answer - Nail Polish Remover
How do you get gum off the bottom of your shoe - Ice Cube or Spot Remover?
The internet claims that if you grab an ice cube and put it on the top of the gum until it hardens you’ll be able to use a popsicle stick to get it all off in one piece.
The expert says - “I’ve personally never used the ice method but I have heard that it works. I prefer to use a spot remover, like Angelus Spot remover.”
Answer - Both work!
How do you fix small nicks in leather shoes - Nail Polish or Permanent Marker?
The internet claims that you can use both nail polish and permanent marker to fix small nicks in your shoes.
The expert says - “Do not use nail polish, that will not work at all. The permanent marker would work on black shoes but it’s best to just use actual shoe polish to solve this problem.”
Answer - Permanent Marker (or shoe polish)
How do you stretch out your shoes - Hairdryer or a Shoe Shaper?
The internet claims that if you find your shoes are just a little too tight you can use a hair dryer to expand them, just point it at the problem areas and your shoes will expand with the heat.
The expert says - “No, that will not work at all. In fact, it will actually make your leather and suede shoes shrink because it will dry out the leather. NEVER apply heat to leather.
So what is the best way to stretch your shoes at home? I recently learned about Formé Shoe Shapers to safely stretch my own shoes up to a half size.
Answer - A shoe shaper like Formé is specifically designed so that you can customize the fit of all your shoes by expanding the toe area to make them fit perfectly.
As I learned from my first experience, hacks don’t always work. However, by combining advice from a shoe repair expert with my own experience, some of the home solutions are awesome: Markers, Polish Remover and Ice are simple and easy.
However sometimes the right hack is something new like the Formé Shoe Shaper. It saved me loads of time, fixed my shoe wrinkles, and made my shoes more comfortable.
At first I thought $30 was a lot of money for a product like this, but then I realized that it can reduce wrinkles and make some extra room in ALL of my shoes – heels, flats, pointy toe and even round toe styles. I feel like I am saving money by doing this at home so that new shoes are broken-in right away and some of my old favorites look new again.
Now I save time, money and stress by fixing my own shoes at home with Formé Shoe Shapers and my blow dryer is only used when I attempt an at-home blow out... Now that's a cause for celebration!