Image Courtesy of Frye Boots

Don’t want to spend big bucks on boots that look old? Add your own touch of creativity and achieve the same distressed look yourself with a few household items. If you don’t happen to have some of the listed necessities, they’re easy to find and surely won’t amount to the cost of expensive distressed boots.

This fun project can be done on boots you don’t love and haven’t worn often, or paid a great price for. Personally I distressed a pair of faux leather boots I paid $50.00 for. The sale price was really what enticed me to spend the cash on them, rather than the look of the boots. So after months of sitting in my closet I decided to try distressing them and they turned out great.

Distressing techniques can work on faux or real suede and leather. Like I said, the boots I bought were not real leather and came out just fine, though you should be careful not to apply the distressing techniques too rigorously on faux materials. Most faux items are made with a thin layer of fake leather or suede covering filler materials that when exposed are not the same color of the exterior boot.

What You Need:

Scrap Paper (newspaper, magazines, old, unneeded printer paper)


Tube sock



Spray bottle

Rubbing alcohol or witch hazel

Desired grit of sandpaper

Shoe polish

Shoe wax or shoe sealant

Wire brush

1. Stuff the boots with the paper and lace/zip them up so they’re firm.

2. Put the ball inside and swing it at the boots to soften/beat them up. This can also be done by simply throwing the boots at a hard surface e.g. a cement floor. (It doesn’t matter if they get scuffed to SOME degree because that is the whole point.) You can even rub them against a cement floor or driveway to achieve this look.

3. Wrap and tie a rag around the end of a hammer and softly hit the toe-caps, sides and heels to further soften them up.

4. Fill the spray bottle up with 50% rubbing alcohol or witch hazel and spray boots so they’re damp. Apply the sandpaper to the seams, toe-caps and heels gently. If you’re looking to further distress the boots use a higher grit of sandpaper. (We recommend ONLY scuffing the mentioned places – you want the boots to look warn out, not like they were blown up.)

5. Apply diluted alcohol solution to areas of distress and gently scrape with a wire brush – ONLY use the brush for a further distressed look, especially if the wire brush is firm.

6. If the boots appear to be dry, re-spray with alcohol solution and apply polish in small circular motions. (If the polish comes out too dark or thick, re-spray again with alcohol solution)

7. Seal the boots to prevent further damage with wax or spray on sealant, if using wax make sure to seal areas of distress thoroughly.


2 thoughts on “DIY : DISTRESSED LEATHER”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *