How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes?

Suede shoes are the first choice of many footwear lovers due to their style and versatile features. Unfortunately, these shoes develop bald spots, especially on the toe and heel areas, even the most expensive suede shoes will begin to show bald spots.

These worn patches make them old and ugly. Well, Don’t worry. Proper care will fix it and restore your shoe’s former look. Here, we will discuss how to fix bald spots on suede shoes with some easy tips and tricks.

How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes

What are the Causes of Bald Spots on Suede Shoes?

Before selecting any repair method for your suede, identify the cause of bald spots. Normally, It appears when the soft texture of the shoe is damaged. Three main reasons are;

1- Friction and Wear

When you rub your shoe repeatedly on a rough surface, this friction may disappear the nap. Sneaky little scuffs happen when your toes meet the sidewalk when walking or dancing, and sometimes tight shoes can crush the gentle suede hairs.

2- Moisture Exposure

Water stains and matted patches are significant reasons for bald spots. Rain, spills or even excessive sweating may destroy the color and form of the shoe.

3- Ineffective Cleaning Methods

Suede shoes require gentle care; if you apply harsh chemicals/cleaners or do scrubbing, it can destroy the natural oils and lift the nap and become the cause of bald spots.

Different Methods to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes

How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes

1st: Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Suede Eraser

This is the best tool to fix small scuffs and marks. Carefully use the eraser to remove dirt and debris. This eraser helps to remove all the particles stuck into the nap of the shoe.

Gently rub the suede eraser on spots in a circular motion to lift the nap and restore shoe texture. In addition, don’t forget to use a suede brush after using a suede eraser.

2nd : Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Suede Brush

Use a specific suede brush to make the suede look better. A soft bristle brush can helps raise the nap and restore the velvety feel. Follow these steps;

  1. Make sure your shoes are completely dry to apply this method.
  2. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the upper area dust.
  3. Once you clear all dirt and debris, use suede cleaner according to the product instruction.
  4. Use a brush in the direction of the nap and follow the curves of the shoe.

3rd: Fix Bald Spots on Suede by Ironing the Shoes

This method is best for minor bald spots. Ironing suede shoes is a potential method, but if it’s not applied properly, it may burn the suede, melt fibres and destroy the shape. So, you need extreme safety caution while using this method.

If you want to try this method, then properly follow its process. For this method, you need a soft clean cloth, an Iron (set on the lowest heat), and a suede brush.

1: Prepare the Shoes

Clean surfaces and remove any dirt and debris from a shoe with a brush. This will prevent shoes from trapping dust particles during this process. Properly examine the bald spots area and make sure shoes are completely dry.

2: Place the Cloth

Place soft, clean, thin cloth over the bald spot and make sure the cloth is a little bigger than the bald. Cover cloth on all areas. Direct iron touch can burn suede, and a cloth plays a safeguard role for suede.

3: Setting up the Iron

If you use a steam iron, turn off the stem function and set the iron on the lowest heat level. High heat and steam are never used in suede and may cause permanent damage.

Gently move the iron in a circular motion on the cloth and apply minimal pressure. Do not hold iron in one place for a long time.

4: Monitor Progress

Keep an eye on the progress. Raise iron and cloth and check progress; if you see any improvement or experience any signs of scorching or melting, then stop the process immediately.

5: Brush the Suede

Once ironing process complete then cool the area properly. Now gently use suede brush and raise the nap. If you see little improvement, then repeat the ironing process again. However, if you see any damage, stop this method and apply any other. 

4th: Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Sandpaper

Using sandpaper is a high-risk, high-reward method. If you are comfortable with high risk, then proceed with the utmost care. Otherwise, consider another safer method.

However, this method can effectively raise naps and resort to texture. You need Fine-grit sandpaper (400 or higher), a Suede brush and a clean cloth.

  1. Start with taking the finest sandpaper (ideally 400 girt or higher) and apply minimal pressure.
  2. Gently rub the sandpaper in the direction of suede nap. Always move in one direction and avoid circular motion.
  3. Stop frequently assessing the progress and avoid over sanding.
  4. Once the sanding process is complete, use a soft brush to raise the nap and smooth out the rough edges.

If the bald spot shows improvement, then repeat this process with caution. However, if you notice any suede thinning, tearing, and discoloration, stop the process immediately.

5th: Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Steam for Spots

Steaming is a safe and effective way to remove bald spots on suede shoes. For this method, you need a Teapot or kettle with boiling water, a clean cloth and a suede brush.

  1. Before starting, prepare shoes, remove dirt and debris from the surface, and clean it.
  2. Hold the kettle above the bald spot and ensure a safe distance to avoid scorching the suede. Do not apply direct steam on suede.
  3. Briefly expose the bald spot to the steam in short bursts, holding it for a few seconds. Don’t saturate the suede.
  4. After each steam session, gently brush the area with a soft suede brush to raise the nap.
  5. Observe the bald spot improvements and repeat the steam process. In case of damage, stop the process immediately.

6th: Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol is the risky and potentially damaging method. At the same time, it can effectively remove stubborn stains and matting. You need a clean cotton cloth, a soft suede brush and Isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70% concentration recommended).

  1. Firstly, test the alcohol on a hidden part of the shoe before applying it to bald spots. This reveals how alcohol reacts to suede.
  2. For extra caution, dilute alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio. This will reduce the harshness of alcohol’s chances of suede damage.
  3. Dip a cotton cloth in an alcohol mixture and gently dab the stained or matted area. Avoid soaking or saturating the suede.
  4. Don’t leave alcohol on the suede for a long time; rinse the cotton cloth in clean water and immediately dab the area with water to neutralize the alcohol’s effects. 
  5. Use a soft suede brush to raise the nap and assess the results. If the stain and matting are slightly improved, repeat the process for more results.

7th: Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes by Using Adding Colors

This approach is best for adventurous who don’t mind experimenting with their shoes. Adding color can be a creative and effective way to mask bald spots, especially if the affected area is large or the damage is beyond repair with other methods.

Material Needed

Suede dye or paint in the desired color (match your shoe color or go for a contrasting pop)

  • Suede cleaner
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Protective gloves and clothing
  1. Remove dirt and debris from the surfaces of shoes with suede brush.
  2. Apply suede cleaner and gently rubber brush in the direction of naps.
  3. Apply masking tape to protect areas you don’t want to dye, like laces or trimmings.
  4. Apply paint with a soft brush. Firstly, apply thin coats, then build up the colour gradually. Start with lighter and add more if needed.
  5. Let the dye dry thoroughly as per the instructions. Rushing the process can lead to blurring or color transfer.
  6. Once dry, use a suede brush to raise the nap and restore texture. Consider a suede protector spray to shield the dyed area from future wear and tear.

Bottom Lines

With the information in this guide, you can fix bald spots on suede shoes and walk around with suede-like confidence. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Have fun, and let other suede lovers know about your success.

Also, remember that if you have a bald spot that won’t go away, professional shoe care experts are always ready to help. So go out and bring your leather back to life, and keep those silky beauties running in style.

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