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)

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



How Long Should My Dress Shoe Last?

How long should my shoe last?

After more than hundreds of customers and even more enquiries,

This is the most common question i get. 

And also the most subjective question of all time.

There are all sorts of expectations when it comes to dress shoe shelf lives.

There are  so many factors that must be taken into account just to give you a rough estimate.

Factors like:

  • How many steps you take a day
  • What surface do you walk on
  • What polish you use
  • How long were they in contact with the rain
  • How do you walk
  • How many hours do you wear your shoes a day
  • And a billion more factors

Even if i somehow considered every single of the billion factors and say "at least a year"

You could just have easily soak them in the rain the next day, not dry them

And then knock against something sharp and make a tear in them.

No hard answer to leather shoe longevity

Quite frankly, whenever one of my customers ask me this question,

I cannot in good conscience give a definite answer.

But it seems somehow they just want a number.

I feel people are misinformed to what buying a quality leather dress shoe means.

Without further ado, let's get down to the lowdown on shoes longevity.

These are from personal experience as well as technical knowledge from being in the shoe industry.  


Leather dress shoes Less than $150 SGD

Bata Factory

Bata Factory

Firstly, anything in this price range is barely considered a dress shoe.

It is not meant to last.

It is meant to cover your feet, break down shortly

Then you got to buy a new one.

It is very likely not made out of leather, completely cemented

And pumped out thousands in a day with bare minimum quality control.

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life

The time is dependent but you're most likely looking at 6 months

And that is how long until you cannot physically wear them anymore.

They would probably look quite bad after the first few wears (or right from the start)


Leather dress shoes Between $150 to $250 SGD

This is the spectrum where you're likely to find either bad overpriced shoes

or a decent entry level shoes.

This depends on how much research you're willing to do over this price range.

It is possible for shoes to be made out of genuine leather (likely corrected grain or top grain) at this range

But don't expect top quality full grain calf leather.

Also, it is also very likely for shoes to be cemented with rubber soles.

Maybe Blake stitched if its on Mega Clearance sale or something.

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life


If it is cemented with rubber soles,

And you somehow manage to avoid the rain all year round, they could decently last up to 6 months to a year.

If you somehow managed a steal, blake stitched with leather soles, 

You can look towards one or two years of use. 

Leather dress shoes From $250 to $450 SGD

Now this is where quality can be found.

There could still be cemented shoes at this range too

But you can expect blake stitching or goodyear welting.  

At this range, dress/formal leather shoes would likely be made out of leather soles, giving them more lasting power.

Also, the upper leather would be higher in quality and durability.

With more breathability from the leather,

it would make your inner lining last longer due to less sweating from your feet.

For example, my CustomMade shoes which falls under this range is made out of full grain leather, for maximum breathability

And a blake stitched construction for durability. 

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life

You can expect 1 to 5 years out of them.

Blake stitched/Goodyear welted shoes tend to be more durable compared to cemented shoes.

Also, it is likely that it is made out of full leather soles

Which wears out more slowly compared to rubber soles.

Then again, this is greatly dependent on

  • how often you wear them,
  • do you rotate your shoes,
  • do you use shoe horn
  • do you polish your shoes, etc.

If it is a designer brand (Zara, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, etc), it wouldn't last as long.

These brands are not build with shoe technicalities in mind, but with brand design.

Such designer brands are also likely to use corrected grain leather,

which is a poorer quality leather, affecting breathability and durability.

Key Note

It is likely the soles would wear out before the shoes. 

Either you get them resoled ($160+++)

Or you have to get a new pair.

Typically, soles wear out within the year if you wear them every day.

You can add a half rubber to extend the sole life and replace the rubber once it wears out.

Leather Dress shoes Above $500 SGD

While i run a shoe brand that does beautiful handcrafted full leather custom dress shoes....

I've never owned a pair of shoes more than $500 SGD.

So i can't speak from personally wearing them.

If you're buying a designer brand (Hugo Boss, Feragamo, Luis Vutton, etc),

it would probably last as long as the earlier range of $250 to $500.

However if you're going for English brands with a long heritage like Church's, C&J, etc,

You can look for them to last between 2 to 10 years, assuming you treat them right.

This depends on shopping right and how you treat them.

Key Note

If you wear a shoe regularly and not maintain them, 

There is no way a shoe can last more than 2 years, no matter how expensive or how high in quality. 

You have to bring it to the cobbler to resole it or touch up at least once in 6 months. 


KEY TAKEAWAY: It is better to invest in a quality dress shoe.

You not just save on money over the long run,

it saves you the time and effort of shopping around each time your shoe breaks down after 6 months.

And you look better.  

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)

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3 Steps To Find The Perfect Fit For Men Formal/Casual Leather Dress Shoes

The biggest problem with buying formal/casual leather dress shoes is finding the right size.

80% of men wear the wrong size shoes according to Master Fitter, Ryan Stowe from Allen Edmonds, a renowned US shoe brand.

Fit is king and this applies to shoes as well.


Dangers of wearing the wrong leather dress shoe size

Wearing the wrong formal/casual leather shoe size can cause discomfort - blisters, fatigue, etc

But in the long run, more serious feet conditions like bunions, plantar fascitis, corns, etc can develop.

The number of men that walk in my office with these feet conditions are quite high. Most of these conditions can be attributed to poor shoe fit.   

At CustomMade, we have our expert fitter, Cecilia and myself who fitted more than 600 shoes and a 14 step fitting process to ensure we find the best fit for you.

So let me just share a bit on how to find a perfect fit when you're going shoe shopping.



When was the last time you measured your feet?

If like most men in Singapore, i would say never. So that means you don't even know what is your proper feet size.

You cannot get a good fit without knowing your feet size.

A brannock device is for measuring feet length and width (outstep) - widest part of your feet

There are two parts to your feet size: the length and the width.

The length is measured by numbers, US 9, UK 8 or Eur 43, etc

The width is measured by alphabets, D, E, EE, G, etc (as the alphabets advanced, the wider it is) 

So your feet size should contain both aspect. E.g. US 9E or 10G

With the length and width, only then can we begin to find a good fit.




Choose the closest to your feet size the brand has to offer.

Put on the shoes and stand naturally, shoulder width apart. Always stand up as your feet would expand and put pressure on the shoes when you stand.

Always remember, width is more important than length. Always.

Majority of discomfort for fit is caused by the width, not the length.


  • Look down at your feet. Does it run over the sides?

If so, the width is too tight. Go up a size.


  • Does your pinky toe/big toe pinch on the walls of the shoe?

If so, go up a size

  • Wiggle your toes a little. Does the toe box have enough room?

If not, go up a size

  • With your heel on the ground, flex your toes upwards once. Is the crease perpendicular to the widest part of the shoe?

If it's above, it is too tight. Go up a size. Vice versa.


  • Use your own fingers to feel your outstep (widest part of the feet). Is it at the widest part of the shoe?

If it is not, size up or down until it matches. The widest part of your feet should match the widest part of the shoe. 


  • Can you snugly fit one finger in the back?

If you can't, go up a size. If it slides in too easily, go down a size.




Majority of the fit should be done in step 2. If step 2 is done right, this is more of a confirmation.

Take about 6 to 7 steps on your shoes.

  • Does it affect your balance?
  • Does the heel slip off too much?
  • Is there anything off?

The answer should be no to these questions.

If you answered yes to one of these questions, you have to go back to step 2 and assess which size to change to.


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The biggest problem with shoe fit is that you do not know what a good shoe fit is.

How much heel slip is too much?

What is the difference between a good snug width fit and it being too tight.

Compound that with the fact that you're only wearing the fitting shoes for a minute or two, not nearly long enough to know it is a good fit.

Especially if you lack experience or knowledge. it is no wonder most men get a bad fit.

The best solution is a fitter and a fitting process. A good shoe fitter would know his own brand's shoe sizing and widths.

Together with the customer's feet measurement and the fitting process, he can recommend the best fit.

It saves you the trouble of even understanding shoe fit. None of my customers need to understand what a good fit is to get a good fit. Because I do.

That's the whole point of a fitter and a fitting process.

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)

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