The Nike Air Force 1 is one of the most iconic sneakers ever made. First released in 1982 as a basketball shoe, the Air Force 1 has become a streetwear staple prized for its clean, classic white-on-white colorway.
However, the downside of wearing your Air Force 1s often is that creases inevitably form on the toe box and sides of the shoe. While some see creases as a mark of character from wear, excessive creasing can make your kicks look beat up and worn out.
Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to make your creased Air Force 1s look crisp and new again. From stuffing to ironing, here are the best tips for fixing creases in Air Force 1s.
Stuff the Toe Box
One of the simplest ways to fix creased Air Force 1s is by stuffing the toe box to stretch it back into shape. Start by taking out the existing shoe laces and inserts. Then, tightly stuff the toe box with towel rags, socks, paper, or any other filling material until the crease is smoothed out. Let the shoe sit stuffed for at least 24 hours so it sets in the straightened position.
You can also try lightly misting the toe box with water before stuffing. This allows the leather to become more pliable so the creases can relax. Just be sure not to oversaturate the shoe.
Use an Iron
For more extreme creases that need some extra elbow grease, use a clothes iron to steam the leather smooth. Set your iron to the synthetic/wool setting—do not use the cotton setting as this can damage the shoe.
Place a cloth like a hand towel over the creased area, then hold the hot iron just above the surface for 2-3 seconds at a time. The combination of the heat and steam will allow the leather to relax into a straighter form.
Be very careful not to keep the iron over any spot for too long to avoid scorching your shoe. Brush the area with water first for extra stubborn creases. With a little patience, the steam from the iron should be able to straighten out even severe Air Force 1 creases.
Apply Petroleum Jelly & Wear Thick Socks
For lighter creases, you may not need heavy duty methods like stuffing and ironing. Instead, apply some petroleum jelly to the affected area and wear thick socks with your Air Force 1s for a few hours.
The moisturizing properties of the petroleum jelly combined with the tight, stretched fit from the socks helps flex the leather from a creased to smoother stance. Focus the jelly and sock trick on areas that commonly crease during typical wear, like the midfoot and toe.
Always Regularly Clean & Condition
No matter what quick fix method you choose, remember that regularly cleaning and conditioning your Air Force 1s helps prevent new creases from forming.
Use a small amount of mild soap and water to gently remove dirt buildup and stains from the upper so they don’t become ingrained and deteriorate the leather over time. Then regularly apply a thin layer of quality leather conditioner to keep the material supple and resistant to cracks and creases.