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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