How to Remove Excess Manufacturer’s Glue from Shoes


Damien asked: I have some glue on the front of my shoes. They are Air Jordans made of white leather, and the sides are suede. There is manufacturer glue around the toes. How can I remove it without damaging the leather and suede?

The effectiveness of this technique will vary somewhat depending on the exact type of glue used by the manufacturer. Since commercial shoe glues share key characteristics, however, this tactic should be an effective one.

You Will Need:

  • Razor blade
  • Blunt edged object (a butter knife works)
  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Small, thin pencil-tipped paint brush
  • Clean white cloth

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Use the blunt object to see if you can pry into the space between the excess glue and the shoe. If you can, very gently insert the razor blade into the space to slice away any clumps of glue. Do not attempt to scrape it all the way down to the shoe, as the risk of damaging the shoe surface is high.
  2. Once you’ve scraped away the bulk of the excess glue, it’s time to work on the layer against the shoe. Before you continue, spot test the acetone or nail polish remover for color fastness.
  3. Next, use the paint brush to apply the acetone directly to the excess glue. Avoid getting it in unwanted areas or on the shoe, if possible.
  4. Wait a few moments for the acetone to work, then attempt to scrape it off with the blunt object.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Once only residue remains, apply the acetone again, wait for it to work, and wipe away with the cloth, scrubbing lightly if necessary.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Shoe glues are designed to remain flexible even when dry, but they are still difficult to remove once they have cured. However, you need to be careful when you’re cleaning excess glue so you don’t weaken the bond that holds the shoe and sole together.


  1. Blessed says:

    Try Q20; it has worked successfully on my Carvela.

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