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Can A Scuff, Scrape Or Gouge In Leather Be Fixed?

Kay asked:

I have a pair of Rios of Mercedes boots belonging to my late husband. One of the boots has a gouge about the size of a
dime in the side of the toe. Can this be repaired?



Yes, your boots can be fixed. Our repair dept. at Boyers Bootnshoe, can successfully buff out most scuffs, scrapes, and gouges. How much can be removed depends on several things, the color of the leather, how soft the leather is, and how deep the damage is. Repair of a black boot made out of a firm leather is more successful than doing a light tan boot made out of very soft, light tan color leather. The black boot could be made to look like new. The tan boot may show some of the damage still, but will look remarkably better.


Can you do this yourself? Sure. Like anything, having some experience and knowledge makes a difference. But, I'll share how we might do it.


-First step: Clean the leather really well. We use a spot remover, like Fiebings Spot Remover for this. We use this to prepare the surface of the scuffed black boot. Let that dry well. It may take 10-15 minutes.


-2nd Step: If there are any raised-leather scuffs you may need to glue these down.


Use Barge Contact Cement or An instant glue like Crazy Glue can be used for this, But let me warn you to be very careful and not use too much. The trick here is put a dot glue on a piece of paper then use a toothpick to pick up a drip of glue, to apply a very, small amount to the scuff.


At this point, we may prepare the surface with very fine, sandpaper to make it smooth. Whether we do this or not depends a lot on the color and type of leather. Please remember I'm speaking very generally here. Experience tells you what and how much to do.  



  • Fixing a Scuff Before and After

-3rd Step: Now the leather needs to be "buffed" to smooth out the blemishes. We will prepare the leather by applying a good cream polish like Kelly's Cream Polish. This fills in the dry leather and adds color

-4th Step: Buff the leather with a brush (get a buffing brush here)

-Final Step!: Lastly, we rub in a good hard wax like Angelus Shoe Wax Polish. This contains a hard Carnuba Wax that fills in the blemish and gives a shine also. It may take as many as 2-6 applications of wax to fill in the scuff to make it disappear. 


(for more about using polishes check out our polish blog post)


With severe blemishes, well honestly we have "secret sauces" that we use. I won't share them all here not because they truly are secret but they really depend on the problem. So, if what I've shared above doesn't fix your problem, please ask a more specific question and include a photo if possible and I'll share the secret you need. You can ask a question of the Boot Guy at or leave a comment below. 


Slim, The Boot Guy 

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Roger Pross - November 25, 2023

Liked your article on repair.but I’m a little worse than your last customer. Wife’s cat got a hold of my boots one night and did some good damage. Suggestions. Thanks Roger P

Kevin - December 23, 2022

I have medium tan work boots with black blemishes/scuffs on toe. How can I get those out???

Louis Aviles - October 4, 2022

I have a gouge on upper right side of tan colored elephant skin boot I would like repair and I know it won’t look like original skin but anything is better than the gouge!!!!

The Boot Guy - September 27, 2022

Hello Lisa, feel free to send us a picture through our “request a quote” page here: and our cobblers will take a look!

Lisa - September 17, 2022

I have a pair of low tie boots with a deep scratch from a fall can these be fixed and about how much would it cost

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