15 Ways to Fix Your Shoe Problems

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Hitting the pavement in your cognac leather ankle booties on the reg can take a major toll on your favorite footwear. But a scuff here or loose stitch there shouldn’t go unaddressed because you don’t want to hoof it to the cobbler. Save yourself a pricey bill for the small stuff and keep your shoes in working order for years to come with these shoe hacks.

1. The Problem: Dingy, Stained Sneaker Soles
The fix: Bring those chunky platforms or white rubber soles back to a high-wattage white with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, ($3.49 for a pack of two, via Drugstore.com).

2. The Problem: Scuffed Suede Shoes
The fix: Eliminate an unsightly scuff by gently rubbing a never-used pencil eraser back and forth over the scuff until the spot disappears. The friction will make the dirt lift up and off the surface.

3. The Problem: Fix a Nicked Leather Shoe
The fix: Right the offending leather flap by applying a couple drops of Krazy Glue ($4.53, via Amazon), lightly pressing the flap back in place with the tip of your fingernail, and filling in the edges with a matching felt-tip marker.

4. The Problem: Small Scuffs and Nicks on Black Leather Shoes
The fix: Get away with the lazy fix of a black felt-tip marker for the time being.

5. The Problem: Reattach a Shoe Sole
The fix: Keep a floppy sole from compromising your schedule before you can get to the shoe guy by using a wood skewer to evenly smear Shoe Goo ($5.95 via Amazon) in the compromised area, and using a workshop clip or clothespin for keeping it in place as it dries.

6. The Problem: Scuffed Patent-Leather Shoes
The fix: Use a cotton swab to rub petroleum jelly on the scuff until it disappears.

7. The Problem: Pinching Shoes
The fix: Make more room by placing a plastic sandwich bag in each shoe, fill it with water, and place it in the freezer overnight to stretch it out.

8. The Problem: Worse-for-Wear Suede Shoes
The fix: Give them a fresh look by letting bathroom steam loosen grime while you’re in the shower and then brush with a suede brush, ($4.59 via CVS).

9. The Problem: Wet Leather Boots
The fix: Stuff the toes with newspaper and let sit overnight to dry out.

10. The Problem: Too-Tight Boot Shafts
The fix: Loosen up the calves of your boots by spritzing leather-stretching spray ($3.41 via Amazon) inside the boot shafts, stuff them with rolled-up newspapers until they’re tight, and let dry for a few days.

11. The Problem: Salt on Leather Shoes
The fix: Stop stains before they can form by wiping away salt with a damp rag and white vinegar.

12. The Problem: Exposed Heel Spikes
The fix: Stop further damage ‘til you can make it to the cobbler by slipping on heel caps ($9.99 for a pair via Go Go Heel).

13. The Problem: Slick Soles
The fix: Rough up the soles by scuffing them with a sheet of fine sandpaper.

14. The Problem: Fallen Shoe Studs
The fix: Reach for the Shoe Goo once again to reattach the fallen studs.

15. The Problem: Rubbing Straps or Heels
The fix: Cut a patch of Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin ($6.79 via Soap) to fit the problem area on the shoe and apply to stop the rub.