How to Scuff Shoes with Sandpaper

by Cassandra Tribe ; Updated September 28, 2017

Dress shoes can be difficult to wear because typically they have a stylish design that you are not used to wearing, they are stiff (because they are not worn daily), and the soles of the shoe are slick and smooth providing no traction at all. All of this can lead to you losing your balance and possibly falling. The potential for injury to yourself and your ego is great. You can defuse this potential by using a little sandpaper to scuff the bottom of your shoes to give yourself the traction you need.

Items you will need

  • 60 grit sandpaper
  • Damp paper towel
  • Craft glue (if needed)
Step 1

Fold a sheet of sandpaper into quarters.

Step 2

Hold the shoe with the sole facing up, and quickly scrub the sandpaper across the sole, where the ball of your foot will be, and across the heel. You want your scrubbing motions to be quick and light. You are not actually trying to sand through the sole; you are just trying to remove the smooth finish on the bottom. Stop every so often and run your finger over the sole. You want the sole to feel "gritty" but not rough. Run your finger from a smooth part (where you have not been sanding) to the area you have sanded to get a real idea of the difference.

Step 3

Wipe the sole of your dress shoe with a damp paper towel to clean off the dust from sanding. Set the shoe on its side, and let the sole dry for 20 minutes before putting it on. While it is drying, sand the sole of the other shoe.


  • If you are really concerned about slipping (for instance, if you are going to an outdoor event), tear two small strips of sandpaper, and use craft glue to attach them to the ball of the sole and the heel. This will give you even greater traction, but do not do this if you will be inside on finished floors as it will destroy the finish on wood and stone.


  • You only want to sand the smooth finish off the sole of the shoe. Do not sand so hard that the color of the leather on the bottom changes from a pale tan to a darker brown. If this happens you will have destroyed the water proof qualities of the shoe.


About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.