What is the best method for stripping shoes?

Any methods welcome.

Sand paper :thinking:

Hot water and a tooth brush.

Dont use sand paper. That’s a joke.


I apply very small amounts of acetone (nail polish remover). You have to do it in thin layers, not to damage the leather. But it works very well.

Light pressure of a knife blade to scrape off layers almost individually.
As if removing wax from a candle taking off as little as possible allowing the sharp edge alone to scrape away the layers

Hair dryer on low setting but not held too close. Use that to melt the polish and wipe off with a slightly damp cloth

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This is my preferred method

Do you need to?

I’d follow from Giminion… What’s the reason for it?
If you’re just looking to remove the flaking of many previous layers then all you need to do is smooth it out with fine wire wool, there’s no need to remove all the polish to start again.

When my sons latest (supposed) Grade 1 shoes arrived looking closely at the toe cap it resembled a camouflage pattern of black and greys. I stripped with surgical spirit and cotton wool. To get a back to a base for him to polish I used a black shoe cream to nourish the leather before applying black leather dye to ensure the an even colour, I then applied about 3 layers of polish using shoe brushes and they came up great. I did it over a couple of days leaving a few hours between each part of the process and letting the dye settle overnight

As others have said take it easy whichever method you use.

I have a pair for my other child I need to do as they look mottled after someone has attempted to use heat (Hairdryer?) and its gone wrong if I remmeber I will take pictures as I go.


I used to get decent results simply sticking the shoe under a very hot tap. Hot enough to melt the polish, and wash it off.

Only works with polish mind, not paint.


You don’t want my piccies of a camping gas stove on low heat then…:astonished: