4 Factors That Lead To Unsightly Leather Dress Shoe Creasing And How to Prevent Them

Creases on a shoe can look unsightly.

People have the common misconception that shoes that crease means they are of a lousier quality

Or even more absurd, that leather shoes should not crease at all...


Factors leading to formal/smart-casual leather dress shoe creasing

Firstly, leather creases. There is no such thing as a crease free leather.

Similar to the shelf life of a leather dress shoe,

there are many factors that play into extent of creasing for your leather shoes.

This is not to say that majority of leather creasing in your shoes is warranted

But rather most of it has nothing to do with the quality of leather or the shoe.

Here's a lowdown on what does creases on your leather mean

And the reasons why your shoes crease the way they do.


Reason 1: Bad Fitting Shoes

Bad fitting shoes will definitely lead to bad creasing.

But that doesn't mean a perfect fit would lead to no creasing.

Excess space in your shoes means the leather has more room to crease when you flex your feet,

This makes creasing more prominent. 

That means a person with a larger volume feet in the same shoe will likely have less prominent creasing

As there is less room for the leather to bend and crease.

It does not mean that the shoe will not crease,

But he is less likely to have prominent creasing.

Reason 2: Leather Quality

Most of the time, good/bad leather quality does not make much of a difference when it comes to creasing.

The most expensive and highest quality leather shoe can crease very prominently,

While a cheaper lower end leather shoe might not.

But it does not make their leather more superior.

Lower quality leather, like cow/calf leather from the belly section,

Which is the looser area of the leather skin is already creased

So wearing it just makes the creasing worse.

Reason 3: The design of the shoe

This is arguably the most critical reason.

Plain toe shoes or wholecut shoes would crease more.

Full or semi cap toe brogues would have the least creasing.

This has got to do with the way these shoes are made.

Plain toe and wholecut have less pieces of leather that make up the shoe.

This is a wholecut from Berluti, which is one of the best shoe brands. Creasing just happens. 

This is a wholecut from Berluti, which is one of the best shoe brands. Creasing just happens. 

This means less tension on the shoe, which means they are most affected by the tension that your feet put on them.

Compare that to full/semi brogues, which consist of 4 or 5 pieces (depending on brand/model),

CustomMade's Captoe Brogue. See how there are different leather parts stitched together to form the shoe.

CustomMade's Captoe Brogue. See how there are different leather parts stitched together to form the shoe.

This spreads the tension between the different leather pieces, resulting in less creasing.

I've have seen wholecuts that that crease all the way from the end down to the toe cap.

You would never really see that on a full brogue and the design has every reason to do with that.

But that does not mean that the wholecut is an inferior pattern

Blank canvas just makes a shoe susceptible to creasing

Reason 4: Shoe Lasting

Lasting is the process whereby you wrap the leather around the shoe last (mold) to give the shoe its shape.

The less time a shoe is lasted, the more loose space there will be.

This results in more prominent creasing.

The longer the upper is allowed to form to the last, the better the shoe should hug your foot

And thus provide a better fit that theoretically should decrease the chances of prominent creases


Hand lasting is a more delicate and lengthy process but produces higher quality shoes.

Hand lasting is a more delicate and lengthy process but produces higher quality shoes.

The lasting process by hand is a lengthy process

And quality shoe brands knows that and would make sure it is done right.

This is why shoes are generally more expensive. 

Machine lasting is a very rapid process

And does not take into account the fact that each hide can behave differently,

Or the different temper and resistance of the skin, that someone who hand lasts, will be able to feel.

Every shoe would be lasted with the exact same force.

Additionally, machine lasting doesn't get the uppers as close to the last as hand lasting does.

The shape of the last is lost, somewhat. 

For example, at CustomMade, I believe in hand lasting so our shoes are all hand lasted.   

So we have a lasting specialist and his role is only to hand last the shoe during the construction process.

How to prevent shoe creases?


Trick question. You can't.

But you can reduce it. Two main ways to alleviate the creasing.

1. Use a shoe tree when you're not wearing your shoes.

A shoe tree will keep the shoe shape and also keep the leather taut.

This stretch out the leather creases and reduces the extent of it.

2. Use a shoe horn when putting on your shoes

A shoe horn will allow your feet to slip into the shoes easily.

This means you do not unnecessarily flex the shoes excessively when putting it on.

Also, it prevents you from damaging the structure of the back of the shoe.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Every shoe crease. And they crease differently.

You can wear the same pair of shoes and both sides would crease differently.

Or you can even buy two identical pair and wear them and they would also crease differently.

So just use a shoe tree and a shoe horn and take good care of your shoes and don't mind the creases!

CustomMade Opening Promotion

We are moving to a new showroom at 82 Telok Ayer St, #02-04. Our opening will be tentatively on 15th May!

Until then, we won't be able to accept appointments. Sadly.

We'll be offering a one time opening promotion. 

This would be available for those who sign up to our list and Like Our Facebook! 
(if you're already on the list,  you don't have to sign up again)

Your Shoe Guy

Useful and Actionable Content About Anything Dress Shoe Related For Your Shoe Shopping Experience


3 Steps Checklist to Find Your Perfect Dress Shoe Fit


How Long Should My Dress Shoe Last, A Shoe Insider's Answer