Restore Damaged Leather and Suede
Stop me when this sounds like your worst nightmare.
You break out your pair of Travis Scott Air Jordan 1s, only to have the toe box absolutely destroyed by a nail. A quick glance down confirms your fear; a deep scratch in the leather, and a dagger in your heart.
“I should have kept them in a display case!” you loudly exclaim.
The damage to the leather and suede looks irreparable…but is it?
Vick’s in for a tough one today. Let’s see if Vick can repair the giant gash in this pair of Travis Scott Air Jordan 1s.
Get ready to take some notes, here’s how to repair damaged leather on the Air Jordan 1 (or really any shoe).
When working on damaged leather, especially around the toe area, you want to make sure you’re using a shoe tree so that you can apply pressure to the toe box as you work on repairing the leather.
Now that Vick has pulled the laces and inserted the Adjustable Shoe Tree, we can start removing any loose leather from the surface. Vick used a pair of scissors to cut off any leather that was sticking up to give him a clean surface to work with.
In order to prep this gash for the filling process, we need to sand it down and make it smooth. For that, we’re going to progress through three grits of sandpaper, 400, 800, and 1500 grit.
When using sandpaper on leather, make sure to move in circular motions, rather than linear. This will prevent the leather from tearing.
With the leather smoothed and prepped, Vick moved onto the suede. To speed up the process, Vick pulled out his trusty dremel tool instead of using the sandpaper as he did on the leather.
In My 'Fillings'
The next step is to tape off the suede and start to fill in the leather. To fill in the deep scratch, Vick is using a white leather filler. The thin spatula allows for precise spreading and filling of the scratch.
Always start with thin coats of leather filler, caking it on will only make it worse. After 5 thin coats, Vick sanded it down again until smooth. But with the gash still noticeable, we needed to add a few more coats.
It took about three different sessions of the coating and sanding process to finally fill in the scratch.
It’s important to note that patience is the key here. More than anything, it takes time to make the leather look whole again.
Although the leather is looking better, it’s still missing that tumbled leather texture of the rest of the toe box. To remedy this problem, Vick used a scrap of leather to dab on more of the leather filler, and then finished it off with sandpaper to rid the toe of any roughness.
Now we’re ready for a fresh coat of paint. Using a mix of white, cream, and mist, Vick used an angular brush to apply a few coats. Before applying the final coat, Vick likes to use the 1500 grit sandpaper again to smooth out any remaining bumps.
Once the paint is laid down, it's important to protect it. That's why Vick always finishes his paint jobs with Krylon Matte Finish.
And just like that, we can lace these back up and send them back to their owner.
It took a lot of time and patience, but the damaged leather has been fixed. You can’t even see the scratch anymore, which is a huge testament to Vick’s skill and finesse.
Now you’re probably used to watching Vick pull off impossibly difficult restorations or crazy customs, but this one is more applicable to the everyday sneakerhead.
Inevitably when your leather kicks get damaged, you now have a good baseline to restore them at home.
Thank you Vick for your service.
Let us know down below what you’d rate this restoration, and as always, check out our Youtube for more Restorations with Vick.