How to Remove Scuff Marks from 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!


Im Kristy, a marketer based in sometimes-sunny San Francisco ⛅ This is my personal blog, where you will find my random musings, in-depth reviews, and latest sewing endeavors.




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