How to Prevent the Tieks Toe Bump with Moleskin

Adding Moleskin to Tieks

I’ve now owned my first pair of Tieks for almost two years – I still love them and rotate them regularly into my wardrobe. However, the buttery softness of the leather has resulted in a unique problem – The Tieks Big Toe Bump. I personally don’t mind that the outline of my toes can be seen through the leather (some people do). However, I’m concerned about the durability of the leather that is essentially getting cut by the nail of my big toe.

I recently purchased a beautiful pair of Romantic Blush Tieks that are a perfect balance of neutral and fun. After reading several posts from the Tieks Anonymous Facebook group, I learned that many ladies apply a layer of thin Moleskin padding to the underside of the leather in the toebox. Thereby preventing some of the toe bump from happening. Seeing as Moleskin is relatively inexpensive and any leftovers can be used for multiple purposes, I decided to give this a try on my new pair.

Moleskin on Romantic Blush Tieks

Step 1: Cutting the Moleskin

Whether you buy a roll or package of Moleskin sheets, you’ll essentially be cutting out a piece that fits neatly inside the upper side of the Tieks toe box. Some people choose to cut larger pieces, which will prevent any type of toe shape from showing through the leather. My Romantic Blush Tieks fit a little more on the snug side, so I decided to only cover the area of my big toe.

How to Cut Moleskin for Tieks

Step 2: Applying Moleskin In Your Tieks

I found it a little tricky to place the moleskin far enough into the shoe. It may take a few tries to get it right, but luckily Moleskin can be removed and reapplied a few times without losing its stickiness. I found it easiest to use my fingertip to slide it as far as I could into the shoe on the sole (fuzzy face down), and then lifting it up to adhere to the top.

Tieks After Applying Moleskin

After placing Moleskin in my shoes, I could see a tangible difference in how visible my big toe bump was. The photo below shows a stronger contrast between my original Cardinal Reds without Moleskin and my Romantic Blush with Moleskin.

Comparing Tieks With and Without Moleskin

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How to Remove Scuff Marks from Tieks

How to Repair Tieks

How to Repair Scuff Marks on Tieks

Almost one year ago, I wrote my initial review on my Cardinal Red Tieks. Now, after another year of wearing them multiple days per week, they were still in great shape but were looking much worse for wear on the outside. I don’t baby these at all, and San Francisco’s sidewalks aren’t exactly in great condition!

Rather than spending another $200 on a new pair, I decided to look into less expensive ways of fixing the scuff marks on my Tieks. Behold, the amazing $7 Tarrago shoe cream in the perfect shade of red to match my Cardinal Red Tieks.

Tarrago Shoe Cream 12 Cardinal Red Tieks


Once again – I don’t baby my Tieks at all. I’m of the belief that shoes (especially flats!) are meant to be worn frequently. As such, I expected a bit of wear and tear, especially on the heel. Below are a few pictures of what my Tieks looked like before I applied the Tarrago cream.

In addition to scuffs on the front toe (I have a tendency to trip on curbs), there were a few random scuff marks on top of the big toe area and also plenty on the sides of my shoes.

Along with this black gunk – no idea what it was.

Lots of heel grime and a significant patch of leather worn off.

Cleaning & Conditioning Tieks

First, I used Apple Brand Leather Cleaner to prep my Tieks. After wiping down (or in circles, rather) my shoes, most of the black grime was gone. The side stains were pretty stubborn, so I spent an extra minute or so trying to get those off. I was slightly concerned about rubbing off the leather color – but the cleaner is gentle and I thankfully saw no color transfer. By the end, I removed about 85% of the black grime – if I had the patience to continue for another few minutes, I likely could have removed 99% of it.

After cleaning, I conditioned the shoes with Apple Care’s Leather Conditioner and then applied the Tarrago Shoe Cream. I found it easiest to use my finger to dab on color and then blend. I let the shoes dry overnight and they looked good as new the next morning!

What Shade of Tarrago Cream Should I Use for my Tieks?

Thanks to the very helpful Facebook group, below is a sampling of suggested color matches:

Black Matte – Tarrago 18
Camel – Tarrago 51
Mustard Yellow – Tarrago 7
Cardinal Red – Tarrago 12
Burgundy – Tarrago 11
Tangerine – Tarrago 28
Fuschia – Tarrago 101
Lilac – Mix of TRG 102 with little bit of Tarrago 22 (this mix is a little darker, not quite a perfect match)
California Navy – Tarrago 16 or 17
Pacific Green – Tarrago 13
Olive – Tarrago 34
Chestnut – Tarrago 9
Metallic Gold – Tarrago 507
Metallic Bronze – Tarrago 107
Metallic Pewter – Tarrago 502
Taupe – Tarrago 143
Ballerina Pink – Tarrago 43 (slightly more mauve) or Tarrago 743 (better color match with shimmer)
Champagne – Tarrago 506

Cream – Tarrago 53
Chocolate Brown – Tarrago 39
Tarrago has a full color chart for reference here.

Caveat: This method only applies to the “classic” Tieks in full-grain leather. While there are different approaches to maintaining other Tieks materials, you won’t be able to apply a single shade shoe cream to something like Romantic Blush. I would also proceed with caution for top-grain colors like Clover Green and Poppy.

Hope you find this useful!

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Lo & Sons Pearl Saffiano Review – The Perfect Travel Bag?

A few months back, I wrote a detailed review on the Lo & Sons Seville Tote and planned to write a review on the Lo & Sons Pearl Saffiano Crossbody Bag shortly after. Whoops. Better late than never!

Searching for the Perfect Crossbody Travel Bag

I spent quite some time going back and forth on purchasing the Lo & Sons Pearl Crossbody – I was on the hunt for a plain, black leather crossbody bag that I could use for nights out and traveling (and not worry too much about it getting dirty). When Lo & Sons first launched the Pearl, I was intrigued by its practical design; however, I was unsure about the strength of the soft nappa leather.

At the end of 2015, I was excited to see they launched a saffiano leather version – which is a much more durable (read: easier to maintain) material. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the Black Saffiano with Gold Hardware version in March 2016, ahead of a few international trips I had planned.

Lo & Sons Pearl Crossbody in Saffiano Leather

The Design

Like other Lo & Sons bags, the Pearl is very thoughtfully designed – there are plenty of secure inner pockets along with the two main zipper compartments that make up the exterior of the bag. Their website has an in-depth overview of its features, so I won’t go into too much detail here. I was able to fit a surprising amount of items in the bag (more on that below), and the different compartments helped ensure that I keep everything organized. The outer pockets were useful for frequently used items, such as subway tickets, maps and keys. I used the pocket closest to my body to hold my wallet and passport while traveling – I had no issues with wayward hands trying to pickpocket me, even while traveling through busy cities in Europe.

I also liked that they made the crossbody strap adjustable – I often run into crossbody bags that are just a smidge too long, since I have a shorter torso. The adjustable strap made it easy to find the perfect fit – the only thing I would change about this bag is the adjustment buckle, as the oval shape makes it tough to feed the strap through. And (in my opinion), it doesn’t look as nice as a rectangular / square buckle. However, I do like that it’s easy to transform the bag into a clutch by removing the longer part of the strap. This 2-in-1 functionality was great for traveling, since I wanted to minimize my packing.


Now that I’ve owned this bag for 9+ months, I can say with confidence that it’s made to last. The tough saffiano leather continues to look luxe with minimal wear, despite my banging it into doors / walls / chairs / trees. One concern I had with the original nappa leather version was that it might lose its shape over time – this is something that I haven’t had to worry about with the saffiano version. The stitching on the bag itself and the strap has stayed in place – no visible fraying from what I can see.

How I Packed the Pearl Crossbody

The image below shows what I managed to fit inside my crossbody while traveling – as you can see, it can carry quite a bit for such a small bag. Perhaps not as spacious as the Rebecca Minkoff M.A.C., but still pretty roomy nonetheless.

How I Pack My Lo & Sons Saffiano Pearl Crossbody

Lo & Sons Pearl Crossbody

I can easily slide my Kindle Paperwhite inside the main compartment or either of the zippered compartments. In the second photo, you can see that the bag is slightly overstuffed – everything still fits inside, but the bag won’t button up completely. Typically, I’m not too worried about this if I’m running errands or doing something casual.

Lo & Sons Pearl Saffiano Crossbody

By removing my sunglasses and sunscreen, I’m able to fasten each of the three buttons comfortably.

The Verdict

Like the Seville Tote, the Pearl Crossbody is a practical bag that looks great as well. A+ from me!

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