How to Repair Scuffed Cycling Shoes

Learn how to repair your scuffed bike shoes, and you’ll significantly prolong their lifespan. If you’re the handy type, fixing scuffs on your cycling shoes shouldn’t be too hard. But maybe you’re not into DIY-ing things or just don’t want to do it for some reason. In that case, you can always pay a good cobbler to fix your broken MTB shoe.

If your biking shoes are broken beyond repair, though,. it’s time to pony up for a brand new pair of bike riding shoes. But new shoes get old and torn with constant abuse. If the idea of saving money through less bike shoe appeals to you, learn how to clean your cycling shoes. Cleaning and repairing torn areas are great ways of making your bike riding kicks last longer. 

How to Fix a Scuff on Your Bike Shoe

I’ll start off by describing how to handle bike shoes made from synthetic materials. I mean, the vast majority of bike riders use this kind of shoe. Toward the end of the post, I’ll give you three easy and quick tips for tackling surface scratches on leather cycling shoes.

Scuffs aren’t Always Avoidable

As a biker it’s hard to avoid curbs completely. At some point, you’ll encounter some curb, and that’s when scuffs happen. Nothing causes as much anguish as seeing a nasty scuff on your new road bike shoes. If it happens to a pricey pair, you’ll most likely cry.

Let’s face it: it’s extremely hard to fix scuffs on a biking shoe in a way that restores your kicks to their original look. Sorry, that won’t happen. Sure, there are ways to make the scuffed area stand out less. But a closer look at the shoe will always reveal that something happened to a shoe at some point.

Some dude I ride with recently bought a pair of shiny, well-fitting blue Giro men’s cycling shoes. He really enjoyed seeing the outdoors in his cool bike riding kicks.

But just 5 rides in, the unimaginable happened — ugly, appeal-stealing scuffs! The rider almost shed tears. And as you might already expect, the little tragedy happened at a curb. Curbs really like biking shoes.

That’s why you need to be extra careful when navigating curbs.

What You Need to Fix a Scuff on a Cycling Shoe

  • Masking tape
  • Shoo Goo
  • Acrylic paint matching your bike shoe’s color
  • A paper cup (for mixing shoo goo with the paint)
  • Popsicle stick (for sanding all around the tear)
  • A pair of scissors (for cutting the masking tape)
  • Ice cubes (optional)

The idea here is to fix scuffs so moisture won’t get inside and make your shoes smell bad. Fixing scuffs also prevents the tear from getting worse. That’s why you should handle scuffs as soon as they happen.

Now that you have every supply for the shoe repair job lined up, let’s get rolling. Follow the steps described below to fix those unsightly scuffs and get your cycling shoes looking great again.

Step 1: Prepare the Scuffed Area for the Treatment

Now, grab a pair of scissors and cut everything that sticks out from the affected area. You’re doing this to make the wounded area nice and even for the rest of the repair process.

Then, use paper towels or a piece of cloth to clean off any bits of particles from the little scissoring procedure above. As a general rule, when mending shoes get the area you’re about to treat nice and clean.

Step 2: Plaster the Area Around the Scuffing With Masking Tape

At this point, take the masking tape and cover the area around where the problem lies. You’re using masking tape to prevent shoo goo from getting the rest of the shoe. Well, it’s certainly possible to handle the shoe repair job without using masking tape.

However, fencing around the scuffing makes your work that much easier. Additionally, using masking tape does build a bit of accuracy into the whole bike shoe restoration process. You’ll greatly increase the chances of ending up with a nicely done and clean shoe repair job.

Make sure to leave a few millimeters around the tear. Why? It’s because leaving the edges uncovered gives the shoo goo a place to bind onto outside of the tear itself.

Step 3: Sand the Edges of the Tear

Now, grab the sand paper stick that comes with the Shoo Goo. You can use pretty much anything else that’s course and flat and regular enough for this task. This little stick is course enough to scuff up the tear as well as the edges around the tear. Scuffing up the torn area and the edges around it makes sure the shoe goo/acrylic paint paste sticks and lasts.

Step 4: Wipe Off Any Loose Particles from the Sanding

Sanding the tear is sure to produce some loose particle. These teeny weenie bits come from the shoe’s upper. Now, you want to wipe off these tiny particles, otherwise they’ll become a part of the completed repair. If not removed, those small solids will detract from the flatness and smoothness of the final repair job.

Step 5: Mix the Shoo Goo and the Paint

At this juncture, prepare some wound-healing paste using the shoe goo and acrylic paint. You need to use paint whose color looks similar to that of the your shoe upper’s color. It’s not always easy to find a paint that looks exactly the same as the shoe color. But you can easily find blue and black.

You could opt to paint over the tear without mixing the two substances, by the way. But what if you paint without mixing the two ingredients and the same place scuffs again? Well, you could just remove the paint. But I bet you won’t like what you see when you scrape off the paint.

If you paint with the mixture described above and the area scuffs again, the affected area will still retain the original color.That’s why using a mixture between shoe goo and acrylic paint is preferable.

To produce the paste, squeeze out some shoe goo into a paper cup. Then, pour in 2 or 3 drops of your preferred paint. Then, use the shoe goo stick to mix the contents together until you have a smooth paste.

Step 6: Apply the Mixture Formulated Above on the Scuffed Area

Now, take the goo stick and scoop some paste. Next, carefully apply the paste over the area in question. Make sure to apply the paint evenly over the area under treatment.

Once you’re done coating the scuffed area with the mixture, proceed to the next step…

Step 7: Peel Off the Masking Tape

At this point of the scuff-fixing process, remove the masking tape. If you wait too long before peeling off the masking tape, the paste will harden. And if the goo hardens, you won’t get the kind of results you envisioned when starting off. Once you take the tape off, the area should look nice and clean albeit still wet.

You can leave the treated area like that and simply wait for it to dry in the sun. You can also use some equipment to blow a gentle stream of warm air help the paintwork dry faster. You’re done!

*The next step isn’t absolutely necessary. I included that step here just because skateboarders use it all the time. But tell you what? You’re highly likely to mess up a little and end up with a slightly marred paintwork. I suggest that you end the process here.

Step 8: Pass an Ice Cube Over the Treated Area to Smoothen Things Out

I’m describing this process just for your information even though some people get awesome results doing it.

So, pick an ice cube and gently pass it over the paintwork. Skateboarders use this little trick to smoothen out the paintwork and give it a refined, professional look. I’m not very good with my hands, and I guess that’s why I regretted using an ice cube to fine-tune the paint job.

How to Fix Scuffed Leather Bike Shoes

Many of the cyclists I know and see wear shoes made of synthetic rather than leather. Leather bike shoes are usually expensive, but they look like royalty and can last years.

But leather cycling shoes, too, can get the dreaded scuffs. And that can kill your spirits better than anything you’ve ever gone through.

Fortunately, there’s a few tricks to combat surface scratches on leather. For surface scuffs, use a hair dryer, petroleum jelly, or white vinegar to quickly fix the issue.

For deeper scratches, shoe-goo the shoe, use a leather repair kit, or find a professional to handle the problem. Since leather bike shoes can be prohibitively pricey, I strongly suggest that you contact an expert.

I’ll now give you 3 quick fixes for surface-level scratches…

1. Use a Hair Dryer to Handle Light Scratches

Set your dryer to warm and direct it at the scratched area. Next, try to gently massage the now moderately heated leather with your hands.

Massaging heated bike shoe leather pulls the factory dye to the surface. And that makes the scratch to stand out less.

Make sure that the dryer doesn’t heat up too much, or it’ll ruin your lovely leather biking shoes.

2. Use Petroleum Jelly

Using a soft sponge, rub a little petroleum jelly onto the scuffed surface. Note: colored jelly or jelly with fragrance can damage leather.

Use a little pressure to rub the jelly in for roughly 10 minutes. Then, wipe any excess jelly with a clean piece of cloth. Leather is like human skin; it’ll absorb the jelly and assume a healed, healthy appearance.

3.Use Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is an effective solution for light scratches on leather bike shoes. Using a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar, dab the affected spot.

White vinegar heals the wound by causing the leather to swell. Once it swells, leather gets a fuller look not dissimilar to the original appearance. Dry the treated surface and then use some colorless shoe polish to buff it.

Tip: Make sure to handle scuffs as soon as they happen. The earlier you address scratches on bike shoes (and other shoes), the easier they are to remove or make less noticeable.

Putting it All Together

Bike shoes don’t come dirt cheap, which is why you should exercise great care when using them. But biking can get a little rough sometimes, and your shoes might get scuffed in the process. If that happens to your new or not-so-new cycling shoes, don’t worry. Just gather the supplies needed to paint over the affected area and get down to work.

Start by prepping the area in question, readying it for the treatment. To make sure shoe goo doesn’t spread to unintended areas on your shoe, use masking tape. Then, do a bit of sanding around the tear so that when you apply the paint, it’ll stick.

You may or may not use ice cubes to perfect the paint job. This step can and does go wrong. But since this isn’t a critical step in scuffs-fixing process, consider leaving it out.

For leather bike shoes, use these three quick strategies to fix the scuff. Rub petroleum jelly, use a hair dryer, or apply white vinegar on the scratch. For deeper scuffs, consider hiring a shoe repair professional to solve the problem.

Your bike shoes won’t look as good as new for sure. However, they’ll certainly look better than they would if you ignore those ugly scuffs. Plus, your shoes will feel comfortable now that moisture can’t enter in and cause problems.