How to Restore Worn Suede Shoes: A Suede Shoe Restoration Guide

Suede shoes are not only a timeless fashion staple but also a versatile addition to any wardrobe. However, as time goes by, these beloved shoes can start to show signs of wear and tear.

Whether it’s scuffs, stains, or a fading color, restoring worn suede shoes is essential to bringing back their original charm. 

In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step process on how to restore worn suede shoes to maintain their longevity and pristine condition. 

Is It Possible to Restore Suede Shoes?

Yes, it is possible to restore suede shoes and revive their appearance and texture. Suede, while delicate, can be rejuvenated with proper care and maintenance. 

Even if your suede shoes have been through wear and tear, the restoration methods available can help bring them back to their original or near-original condition, making them look and feel great again.

The extent of restoration depends on the condition of the suede and the specific issues it faces, such as stains, scuffs, or loss of texture.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Restore Worn Suede Shoes at Home

Suede is susceptible to wear and tear due to several inherent characteristics of this particular type of leather. Here’s a step-by-step guide to restoring them:

Step 1: Start by using a suede brush to remove dirt and dust from your shoes. Gently brush the entire surface in one direction.

Step 2: For stains, use a suede eraser or a simple pencil eraser. Rub it gently over the stained area to lift off the marks. Be cautious not to rub too hard to avoid damaging the suede.

Step 3: Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Dampen a soft cloth with this solution and gently wipe away any remaining stains. Allow the shoes to air dry.

Step 4: Prevent future stains by applying a suede protector spray. Ensure you do this in a well-ventilated area. Allow it to dry thoroughly before wearing your shoes again.

Step 5: To keep your suede shoes soft and supple, use a suede conditioner. Apply it according to the product instructions to maintain the integrity of the material.

Related Article: How Do You Clean Suede Shoes at Home

How to Restore Worn Suede Shoes

How to Fix Suede Shoes That Got Scratched

If your suede shoes have gotten scratched, you can try to repair the scratches and restore the appearance of the suede with the following steps:

Step 1: Evaluate the Scratches

Before you start restoring your suede shoes, it’s important to assess the extent of the scratches. If the scratches are minor and have only affected the top layer of the suede, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to repair them successfully.

Step 2: Revive the Suede with a Gentle Brush

To begin restoring your suede shoes, gently brush the entire surface using a suede brush. 

Step 3: Use a Suede Eraser or Emery Board

For deeper or more persistent scratches, you can use a suede eraser or a fine-grit emery board.

  1. Suede Eraser: Rub the eraser gently and evenly over the scratched area. This can help lift and smooth out the scratched suede.
  1. Emery Board or Nail File: If you don’t have a suede eraser, a fine-grit emery board can be used. Gently rub the emery board over the scratches, being cautious not to overdo it and damage the suede further.

Step 4: Brush Again

After using the suede eraser or emery board, brush the suede again with a suede brush to restore the nap and ensure the scratches have been minimized.

How to Restore Suede Shoe Color

If you notice that the color of your suede shoes has faded or become dull over time, don’t worry! There are several simple yet effective methods that you can use to restore the color and bring your shoes back to life.

1 Suede Dyeing Method

One popular method for restoring suede shoe color is to use a suede dye that matches the original color of your shoes. 

  1. Before applying the dye, make sure to thoroughly clean your shoes by following the cleaning steps mentioned earlier in this guide.
  1. Apply the dye, using a soft cloth, to the suede surface.
  1. Start with a light layer to avoid over-dyeing, which can lead to a patchy look. Apply the dye in long, even strokes in the direction of the suede’s nap.
  1. Allow the first coat of dye to dry completely. 

2. Suede Color Reviver

Suede color revivers are designed to bring faded suede shoes back to life. Here’s a simple process to use them effectively:

Clean Your Suede: Ensure your shoes are clean and dry.

Apply the Reviver: Put a small amount on a cloth and rub it gently in a circular motion to restore color.

Repeat as needed: Continue until you’re satisfied with the color restoration.

Allow to dry: Let the shoes dry completely.

Using a suede color reviver is an effective way to breathe new life into your faded suede shoes, giving them a vibrant, renewed appearance. Proper application and patience are key to achieving the best results in color restoration.

How to Restore Suede Shoes That Got Wet

Restoring suede shoes that have gotten wet can be a bit tricky, as water can damage the texture and appearance of suede. However, with proper care and attention, you can minimize the damage and restore your wet suede shoes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with this process:

Step 1: Remove Excess Moisture

Start by gently blotting the excess moisture from your wet suede shoes. Use absorbent materials like paper towels, newspapers, or a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing or applying excessive pressure, as this can damage the suede further.

Step 2: Stuff the Shoes

To help maintain the shape of your wet suede shoes and promote even drying, stuff them with dry newspaper or paper towels. This will also absorb additional moisture from the inside.

Step 3: Let Them Air Dry

Place your stuffed suede shoes in a well-ventilated area at room temperature. Avoid using direct heat sources like radiators or hairdryers, as they can cause the suede to warp and become misshapen. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally. This may take some time, but it’s essential for preventing damage.

Step 4: Brush the Suede

Once the shoes are completely dry, use a suede brush to gently restore the suede’s texture. Brush in one direction to maintain the nap. This will help to minimize any potential water damage.

Step 5: Evaluate for Stains

Inspect the suede shoes for any water stains. If you notice water stains or discoloration, you can try using a suede eraser. Gently rub the eraser over the stained areas to see if it lightens or removes the stains.

Step 6: Protect the Suede

To prevent future water damage and to help restore the natural protective qualities of the suede, apply a suede protector spray over the entire shoe. Follow the product’s instructions for proper application.

If your shoes have extensive damage, consider consulting a professional cobbler or shoe repair specialist for more advanced restoration.

How to Restore Suede Texture

Over time, suede can lose its texture and become matted or flattened. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to restore the texture of suede:

1. Assess the Suede 

Before proceeding with any restoration methods, it is important to assess the condition of the suede item. Determine the extent of the texture loss and identify any specific areas that require attention. 

2. Use a Suede Brush

One of the simplest ways to restore the texture of suede is by using a suede brush. Suede brushes are specifically designed with stiff bristles that help lift and revive the suede fibers. 

3. Steam the Suede

Steaming is an effective method for restoring the texture of suede. The steam helps to loosen the fibers and restore their natural loft. 

To steam suede, hold the item over a steaming kettle or use a handheld steamer. Be sure to keep a safe distance and avoid direct contact with the steam to prevent scalding. 

Once the suede is steamed, use a suede brush to brush the fibers in one direction, helping them regain their softness and texture.

Suggested Reading: How to Steam Clean Suede Shoes

Step 4: Allow to Dry

After steaming and brushing, allow the suede shoes to air dry naturally. Avoid direct heat sources like radiators or hairdryers, as excessive heat can damage the suede.

Homemade vs. Commercial Suede Cleaners: Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing a cleaner for your suede shoes, you have the option of using homemade solutions or commercial suede cleaners. 

Homemade cleaners, such as a mixture of mild soap and water, can be effective for general cleaning. However, for tougher stains or deep cleaning, commercial suede cleaners may be more effective. 

It’s important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire shoe.

How to Care for Suede Shoes

Caring for suede shoes is essential to maintain their appearance, texture, and overall condition. Here are some steps and tips on how to properly care for suede shoes:

Step 1: Regular Cleaning

Brush your suede shoes regularly with a suede brush to remove loose dirt and maintain the nap (the soft, raised texture of the suede). Brush in one direction to prevent damage to the nap.

Step 2: Address Stains and Scuffs

For specific stains or scuffs, use a soft cloth lightly dampened with plain water or a suede shampoo to gently clean the affected areas. Blot the stain; do not rub, as rubbing can spread the stain. For deeper scuffs, consider using a suede eraser to gently lift them.

Step 3: Restore Texture

If the suede becomes matted or flattened, restore its texture by brushing it with a suede brush. Gently brush in the direction of the nap to fluff it up and maintain its plush appearance.

Step 4: Protect from Water

Suede is highly susceptible to water damage. Protect your shoes by applying a suede protector spray. Follow the product’s instructions to ensure your shoes are adequately protected from water and stains. Reapply the protector periodically, especially after cleaning.

Step 5: Storage and Maintenance

Store your suede shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading. Use shoe trees to help maintain their shape.

Avoid squeezing or stacking suede shoes, as this can lead to deformation.

By following these steps and maintaining good suede care habits, you can extend the life of your suede shoes and keep them looking their best. Proper care is essential to preserve the luxurious look and feel of suede footwear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1: How often should I apply suede protector spray to my suede shoes?

It’s advisable to apply suede protector spray every few weeks, depending on how frequently you wear your suede shoes. Reapply the spray after cleaning or when you notice the shoes are no longer repelling water effectively. Regular use helps protect the suede from stains and damage.

Q 2: Is it safe to use a suede eraser on my scuffed suede shoes?

Yes, a suede eraser is a safe and effective tool for addressing scuffs on suede shoes. Gently rub the eraser on the scuffed areas to lift and minimize the scuffs. Be careful not to apply excessive pressure, and always follow up with brushing to restore the suede’s texture.

Q 3: What should I do if my suede shoes get wet?

If your suede shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper and allow them to dry at room temperature. Do not use direct heat sources like radiators or sunlight.

Q 4: How do you revive old suede?

Reviving old suede shoes can be done through a series of steps. First, clean the shoes by gently brushing off loose dirt and using a suede eraser for scuffs and stains. If the texture is matted, use a suede brush to restore it. 

Apply a suede protector spray to prevent future damage. If the color has faded or you desire a change, use a suede color restorer. 

Regularly maintain your suede shoes with brushing and protector spray to keep them looking their best. Depending on the shoes’ condition, professional restoration may be necessary for extensive damage.


By using methods like gentle brushing, erasers, color restoration, and protector sprays, you can bring your suede shoes back to their original charm. With the right care and maintenance, you’ll not only maintain the longevity of your suede shoes but also ensure they continue to look and feel great.

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