Friday, May 16, 2014

Removing Stickers Off Suede-Like Soft Leather Soled Heels - My Photo Results

Everyone loves a good deal, but the thin plastic perforated sales stickers that Nordstrom Rack uses can be especially difficult to remove from shoes - especially when they're on a soft leather sole.  You know how vehicle registration stickers can seem permanent when you are trying to scrape them off your windshield?  Well, the Nordstrom Rack sales stickers can be just as bad.  Except you can't use a razor!

Last year I picked up a pair of heeled sandals with the soft creamy leather soles - you know the kind - they feel a bit like suede.  Once I picked off the sales sticker, there was a square of sticky residue left behind.  They sat in the closet for while because I wasn't sure how to tackle the adhesive residue on a soft shoe sole.  

Other methods I may try out later are also listed below.  Click here to see my 2nd attempt using a different product.

I tried one removal method and wanted to share the after photos so you can know what to expect.  

The day I wanted to wear my shoes, I couldn't find a single thing online about removing adhesive from this type of soft suede-like leather sole.  I'm posting my photos in case it helps anyone else to try it or even decide to avoid this method.  

It'd be great to learn about any other methods you've tried and how they fared.

FIRST: Remove sales sticker
Removing stickers from hard coated shoe soles, like the shoes below, is fairly standard but sometimes I forget to use the hair dryer.  The shoe in the left photo had hot hair applied from my hair dryer, while the shoe on the right served as the control group for my lil experiment. The heat really makes a difference in softening the adhesive.  Once I figured that out and snapped the photo on the right, I heated the remaining portion.

Warming the sales sticker with a hair dryer makes it easier to remove - be sure to remove while sticker is still warm.
Since I couldn't find any other ideas at the time; I went for it.  
Yup.  Goo Gone.  

I anticipated the oil in the Goo Gone discoloring the soft leather and since these shoes weren't expensive I was willing to experiment.  It's just the bottom of my shoe, it's not like it really matters.  Really, my main objective here was not to stick to the floor with every step!  

  • I applied GooGone to my paper towel and tried to use the smallest amount of Goo Gone possible and just use where needed.  Wiping up the excess Goo Gone as often as possible and the adhesive began to roll off as I did so.
    Also - if your nails are painted you should wear gloves since GooGone can damage a manicure.  
  • Since then, I've read that you can apply talcum power over any remaining oil and let it set overnight to draw out the oil (even inside a plastic bag if you are inclined).  This makes sense to me since we all know that putting a wet mobile phone in a bag of rice works using the same concept.
Aside from appearance, they were perfectly smooth and soft afterwards, and now they have worn down normally as you can see in the last photo (probably worn walking in the city about 5 times when that photo was taken).  Sorry for sharing such a gross photo, but it's for science - shoe science!

Top photo, Goo Gone is still wet.  The shoe soles have dried for the middle photo.
Untested Option - Eraser
A pencil eraser or art gum eraser is supposed to work wonders on a suede jacket with a name tag residue left on it.  I know it's not the same, but since we all have an eraser at home, I thought I'd add it to this list as a "it can't hurt to try" option.

Untested Option - Baking Soda
I recently read someone suggested using soap and water, leaving the soap on for a while.  Then using baking soda to scrub scrub scrub and then wipe off with a clean cloth.
If anyone decides to try this, please let me know!  

Untested Option - Eye Make Up Remover

Untested Option - Un-Du Brand Adhesive Remover
A different brand of adhesive remover aimed towards scrapbookers to use on photos.  Idea being that if it's safe to use on delicate photos, it's safe for leather.

Another Option - Cobbler Adding Rubber Sole
Many ladies take their soft leather shoes to the cobber to resole their shoes before wearing, especially for high end designer shoes.  The cobbler basically adds a thin layer of rubber (like GTO or Vibram) to extend the life of the shoe.  Depending on where you live it may cost around $20 and allows you to support your neighborhood small businesses.  I think it'd be a good option to do this on the front end, it would cover up any sales sticker mess and simultaneously extend the longevity.  And the soles even come in red if you happen to have a pair of Christian Louboutins. =D

While I'm always happy to take home a new pair of shoes in the name of shoe-science, I'd really love to hear if anyone else has tried a different method!

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