9 Reasons Leather Shoes Crack Plus Easy Hacks To Fix It

Why do leather shoes crack

Leather shoes are known for their durability, but there is one thing about leather shoes that people don’t often know.

Leather shoes can crack and in this article, I’m going to share with you the major reasons why leather shoes crack and some remedies that can help prevent them from happening.

Why do leather shoes crack? Leather shoes will crack due to the following reasons;

  1. Lack Of Proper Care And Maintenance
  2. Using Harch Cleaners
  3. Lack Of Proper Storage
  4. Mold Growth
  5. Dirt Build Up
  6. Not Treating Creases
  7. Wearing The Wrong Shoes For Your Feet
  8. The Quality Of The Leather Is Poor
  9. Aging

To learn the details of the above reasons why leather shoes crack and how to prevent them, read on.

1. Lack Of Proper Care And Maintenance

Leather shoes that crack are generally the result of not taking proper care and maintenance of them. Leather as a material is made from the natural hides or skins of animals such as cows.

When the animal skin is still on the animal it gets all of its cleansing and nourishment from the animal’s blood.

Once they are taken off the animals and turned into leather, you have to treat them in certain ways to keep them clean and nourished.

This means that it is extremely important to treat the shoes with mink oil, neatsfoot oil or another leather treatment.

So leather shoes need to be cleaned and conditioned regularly, especially if you want to keep them looking their best.

If you do not condition or clean your leather shoes, they are going to dry out which will make the surface brittle and prone to cracking.

Regular conditioning will keep the leather moisturized and nourished which in turn prevents the leather shoe from drying out and keeps cracks at bay.

2. Using Harsh Cleaners On Your Leather Shoes Can Crack Them

Another common thing that results in leather shoes cracking is using harsh cleaners on them.

As mentioned before, cleaning your leather shoes is very important but cleaning them with harsh cleaners can damage the shoe and cause cracks.

When it comes to natural or real leather shoes, you want to use cleaners that are tough on stains or dirt but gently on the leather material itself.

Harsh chemicals and solvents found in regular household cleaners like bleach or ammonia will eat away at the leather and cause it to dry out.

When these harsh cleaners are used, they seep into the fibers of the leather and remove all the nourishing oils and moisture causing the leather to lose its suppleness.

This will make them prone to cracking which will result in you throwing your shoes away prematurely.

So make sure to use cleaners that are made for leather shoes. If you want to use household items, use mild dish soap or a simple mixture of water and vinegar.

Using these types of cleaners will keep your shoes moisturized and prevent them from cracking.

3. Lack Of Proper Storage Can Lead To Leather Shoe Cracking

Your leather shoes will also crack if you don’t store them properly. This means that it is important to keep your leather shoes in a place where they are not exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature or humidity.

Leather shoes are very porous and will absorb the moisture from these changes which will cause them to dry out and crack.

So it is best to store your leather shoes in a cool dry place away from heat sources such as vents or radiators and away from direct sunlight.

And when it comes to storing your leather shoes, make sure you never throw them in a pile with other types of shoes since this will damage the leather and cause cracking.

Also, before you put your leather shoes into storage, make sure to air out the leather shoe for at least 24 hours.

By allowing them to air out before putting them into storage, you are making sure that no moisture will be absorbed which will cause them to dry out and crack.

You can also wipe away any moisture, dirt, or stains on the surface of your leather shoe before you put them in storage.

Once a month, take your leather shoes out of storage and let them air for an hour or so before wearing them again.

Doing these things will keep your shoes in great condition for a long time rather than making them prone to cracking.

4. Mold Growth Can Cause Leather Shoes To Crack

Mold growth is a very common thing when it comes to leather shoes and other leather goods. This is usually mostly because mold thrives in moist, warm places.

To keep leather material supple and flexible, it must always maintain a certain amount of moisture and essential oils.

This means that your leather shoe is a perfect place for mold to grow because it will be exposed to moisture and when this is combined with some heat, it is the perfect recipe for mold to thrive.

Mold will grow under these conditions and if you don’t remove them, they can cause your leather shoes to crack and wear away.

So if you find that your shoe is prone to mold growth, it will be very important for you to repair the problem as soon as possible.

This will not only preserve your leather shoes but will also improve their appearance and keep them from cracking.

5. Dirt Build Up Can Cause Leather Shoes To Crack

If you allow your leather shoe to become very dirty, it can cause them to crack.

This is because dirt has a tendency to build up in the pores of the leather and when this happens, it will affect how breathable leather is and this can lead to the leather shoe cracking.

So it is important that you take the time to clean your shoes regularly and wipe them down with a damp cloth.

This will remove any dirt or grime that has built up on the surface of your leather shoe and help to prevent them from cracking.

Not only is it important to clean your leather shoes to avoid dirt build-up but you must do so as frequently as possible.

This is because not only does dirt on the surface of your shoe make it prone to cracking but it also stains them which can make your shoes look old and worn.

It is also important to take care of your leather shoe by cleaning it every time you wear them.

So by taking the time to clean your leather shoe, you are helping it to preserve and maintain its appearance so that it does not crack.

6. Not Treating Creases From Leather Shoes Leads To Cracks

It is very natural to have creases on certain parts of your leather shoes. Creases will usually appear around the toe, the heel, and even the sides of your shoe.

Creases are not something to be afraid of or worried about because they will happen to anyone who wears leather shoes.

This is because creases are caused by natural body movements and the weight of your foot when you wear them.

But as a general rule of thumb, creases much be treated to prevent them from developing into cracks.

It is important for you to take the time to treat your creases by rubbing in some leather conditioner into these areas after you wear your shoes.

This will help to grease or smooth out any creases and keep them from developing into cracks over time.

So taking the time to treat your crease will help you prevent them from cracking and keep your shoes looking fresh.

7. Wearing The Wrong Shoes For Your Feet

If you are wearing the wrong shoes for your feet, this can cause them to crack.

This can mean a lot of different things but let me take it from the angle of the size of leather shoe you wear.

If you are wearing a pair of shoes that is too small for your feet, it will affect how they move.

This means that the leather shoe may not be able to bend and flex like it should which can result in cracks.

But this doesn’t only apply to the size of your leather shoe.

In fact, it is just as important to find the right style of shoe for your feet so that you can avoid cracks.

For example, if you are wearing leather shoes that don’t fit your feet correctly, this can cause them to crack.

So all in all, I will say it is important for you to find the right size and style of leather shoe to wear in order to avoid cracks.

So take some time when you are looking for new leather shoes or boots to find the right size and style for you.

Let me also chip in that when it comes to leather shoes, they do not stretch (especially when they are new) and if you try to wear shoes that are too tight for your feet, this can cause them not only discomfort but also cracks.

So it is very important for you to take care when buying leather shoes that they fit your feet correctly and are made from high-quality material. More on the latter point later.

8. The Quality Of The Leather Is Poor

If your leather shoe is made of poor quality leather material or faux leather material, it will crack a lot quicker even with proper care and maintenance.

This is because the quality of your leather shoe will affect how it moves and flexes with your feet as you wear them and walk in them – which can cause cracks.

So it is very important for you to make sure that your leather shoes are from high-quality material and made with care.

Here, by high-quality materials, I mean real leather obtained as an animal by-product like those sourced from cows, lambs, and other animals.

So if your leather shoes are not made with high-quality material or faux leather materials, they will wear out and crack much much easier.

So I will say that another way of preventing your leather shoe from cracking is to make sure the material is made with is high-quality leather materials.

9. Aging

Finally, it is important to add that, you can clean, condition, store your leather shoes properly, and a host of other proper care and maintenance rules of thumb. However, leather will eventually crack no matter what.

This is because the leather will crack when it begins to age and become dry over time as you wear them more often.

Leather developing cracks is a part of the patina process all-natural leather goes through as they age.

The good news is that if the leather is properly cared for and maintained, there wouldn’t be any signs of cracks for a really really long time.

As a form of consolation, leather is known to last a long time before they start to crack and wear out.

So if you take care of your leather shoes properly then, in most cases, it can last you more than 5 decades before they start to crack and wear out.

How To Fix Cracks On Leather Shoes

Fixing cracks on leather shoes can be hard but it is possible to hide or fix them.

So if your leather shoes are starting to crack or already have cracked, below is how you would fix them.

Using A Filler

One way to fix cracks on your leather shoes is to use a filler.

A good example of this is shoe goo which comes in various colors and can be used on leather shoes to fill in cracks or holes.

It is also easy to apply and dries out quickly so you don’t have to wait around for it dry before wearing your shoes.

However, it is important to remember that when you use a filler on your leather shoes, the cracks will still be visible or may reappear after a few months.

Replacing The Entire Section Of The Leather Shoe

Another way to fix cracks on your leather shoes is to replace the entire section of the shoe where it has cracked with new ones.

This option is usually more expensive than using a filler but it is also the most effective and long-lasting.

It can be done by either taking your leather shoes to a cobbler.

Replacing the leather sections of your shoes can be tricky so it is important to visit a cobbler who has experience doing the job.

Apply Leather Crack Restorer

If you don’t want to replace the entire section of your leather shoes then applying a leather crack restorer is another option.

There are a lot of leather restoration kits that do a good job of restoring cracks on leather shoes.

However, before you apply a restorer to your leather shoes it is important to check if the material used for making your shoe is compatible with the particular leather crack restorer.

How To Prevent Leather Shoes From Cracking

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. And that is good advice when it comes to taking care of your leather shoes.

Below are a few important tips on how to prevent leather shoes from cracking;

  • Keep Your Leather Shoes Clean All The Time

Keeping your leather shoes clean is one of the most important rules to prevent them from cracking. This is because dirty leather can be hard, stiff, and uncomfortable to wear.

So do make it a habit of cleaning your leather shoes both inside and out before you put them away for storage or at the end of the day.

Clean your leather shoes with a damp cloth and mild soaps meant for cleaning leather surfaces.

  • Condition Your Leather Shoes Regularly

As mentioned earlier, leather is a natural material that becomes dry over time as you wear them more often. So it is very important for you to condition your leather shoes with natural oils like mink oil or neatsfoot.

This will help you keep the leather moisturized and soft. Additionally, it will help prevent cracks from developing as well as keep your leather shoes smelling fresh all the time.

  • Polish Your Leather Shoes Regularly

Applying polish on your leather shoes is another important tip to prevent cracks from developing and prolonging the lifespan of your footwear.

Apply polish on your leather shoes regularly to keep it shining and looking great. This will also help to trap moisture within the leather and prevent cracks from developing as well as keeping the

  • Store Your Leather Shoes Properly

It is also very important for you to keep your leather shoes stored properly. This means that they should be kept in a cool and dry place.

If you cannot store your leather shoes in a cool and dry area, then you should consider using shoe trees as they help to maintain the shape of your leather shoe, absorb moisture, and enhance proper ventilation.

  • Try To Remove Creases Timely From Your Leather Shoes

Keeping your leather shoes looking smooth and wrinkle-free is one of the most important rules to help prevent cracks from developing.

This means that you should remove creases from your leather shoes immediately after you begin to notice them.

You can use a shoe stretcher or rub-down the wrinkles with oil to get rid of creases.

  • Avoid Harsh Cleaners

Always go for leather cleaners that are pH-balanced or neutral to keep leather from drying out.

If you are not sure, ask the seller or read the package. If comprehensive information is not available, then it is best to avoid them entirely.

  • Apply Wax To Your Leather Shoes

Wax is known to be one of the most effective methods in helping your leather shoes last longer. This is because it forms a barrier between your leather shoes and the elements.

So to help prevent cracks from developing, it is best for you to apply beeswax on your leather shoes from time to time.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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