Easy Ways to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes

Do you have suede shoes that have developed bald spots? It happens when they get scuffed up as you walk, leading to bald spots on the suede material.

These can look unsightly, but they can also become weak spots that diminish the quality of your shoes.

So if you’re wondering how to fix bald spots on suede shoes, we’ve found some solutions to keep your shoes looking great.

Why Do Bald Spots Happen On Suede Shoes?

Bald spots are areas on the shoe where the nap—that’s the fine texture of the fabric—becomes flattened, giving it a smooth, “bald” appearance compared to the rest of the shoe.

This can happen in several different ways. Most of the time, it’s simply a result of scuffing your shoes as you walk, causing the nap to shift or flatten, creating bald spots.

Spilling small drops of water or oils onto the suede can also cause bald spots to appear. If the bald spot is in the back of the heel and appears with creases, it could be that the heel has softened from wear and tear and is bunching up as you walk.

There’s also a chance that they could develop from being stored in a spot that’s too hot, causing the suede to dry out and shrink, altering the fabric.

How to Fix Bald Spots On Suede Shoes

Here are some different methods to fix bald spots on suede shoes. It’s best to test each one on a small area of your shoe first to make sure it doesn’t cause damage.

Try a Suede Eraser

A suede eraser is easy to find online, like the Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Stain Eraser. It’s specifically designed to clean and buff sensitive materials like suede, so you can use it without fear of damaging your shoes.

Ensure the suede upper is dry, and gently rub the suede eraser over the bald spot. It will pick up some dirt and remove it, but it removes the bald spot by raising the flattened nap and giving the bald spot back its texture.

You can use a regular pencil eraser if you don’t have a suede eraser. Be extra gentle, though, as it’s not designed for fragile fabrics. All you need to do is raise up the nap on the bald spot, so work gently and carefully.

Use Sandpaper

If you don’t have a suede eraser or a pencil eraser but have sandpaper in the garage, you can use that to fix those bald spots on your shoes! Take it very easy, though, because it’s much easier to damage your shoes accidentally.

Start with very fine grit and gently rub the bald spot in a circular motion. This should lift the nap and make the bald spot disappear. However, if it doesn’t work, you may need a medium grit instead.

If sandpaper isn’t available, you can take the same action using an emery board—nail file. Make sure it’s the sandpaper type and not a metal one!

Use a Butter Knife

While a butter knife itself isn’t rough like sandpaper, you can use the knife’s edge to scrape at the flattened fibers of the nap and raise them up again. Go slowly, and take extra care not to scrape the unflattened nap, which could cause more bald spots!

You can use any thin but blunt edge to do this—a credit card, a piece of cardboard, or something you find lying around the house. Just avoid using sharp knives, because they can damage the nap more.

Serrated blades also aren’t a great idea. They’re much more likely to scrape away the nap rather than lifting it up to be visible, which could result in permanent damage to the shoe’s suede.

Use a Small Amount of Water

Take care not to saturate the suede in water, as this can cause damage. Instead, spray water lightly onto the affected areas. This can help loosen dirt and remove stains, which can help fluff up that nap again.

Spray a light bit of water onto the bald spot. Then, rub it with a soft cloth to remove any dirt. Once it’s clean, gently use a cloth—make sure it’s clean—to lift the nap so it blends in with the rest of the shoe again.

Air dry the shoes afterward, but make sure they’re not in direct sunlight, as this can damage the fabric.

How to Prevent Getting Bald Spots On Suede Shoes

It’s great knowing how to fix bald spots in suede shoes, but wouldn’t it be helpful to know how to avoid getting them in the first place? Here’s a quick guide to understanding how to prevent getting bald spots on suede from the start.

Maintain Them After Each Wear

It’s not possible to avoid wear and tear if you wear your shoes often. You can’t alter how you walk just to keep your shoes safe—so the next best thing is to maintain them after each wear.

When you remove your shoes after wearing them, spend just a minute or two sprucing them up. Brush them off with a suede brush to get rid of dirt. Spray a bit of water on any new stains to get them off. Use a suede eraser to buff out bald spots immediately.

Simply putting in a few minutes of effort each day before storing your shoes can significantly improve their quality and their chance of developing more permanent or noticeable bald spots.

Avoid Wearing Them In Harsh Conditions

Despite being a type of leather, suede is a fairly fragile material. It doesn’t handle harsh conditions well, so it’s best to only take your suede shoes out if it’s a beautiful day and you have an idea of the roads you’ll be walking on!

If your suede shoes end up with mud, water, oil, or other grime, it can be difficult to get off. Not only that, but it’s much more likely to cause unsightly bald spots, along with general dirtiness.

Store Them Properly

If you throw your suede shoes around, they’re much more likely to get scuffed and start turning bald. It’s a good idea to keep them separate from other shoes so there’s no chance of scuffing.

You should also take care to store them in a cool and dry spot. Temperature fluctuations, extreme heat, excessive cold, and high humidity levels can cause damage, with bald spots being one of the effects.

Use a Suede Protector

Applying a suede protector like the Moneysworth & Best Suede & Nubuck Protector. You just apply a layer of it to your shoes, and they should repel stains, moisture, and even dirt.

Just make sure you choose one designed to work on suede and nubuck. Using a different kind of shoe protector not designed for suede may contain chemicals that can damage the upper of your suede shoe.