Only having enough money to replace my ballet slippers I went online to see if my hermes sandals were at all salvageable. My hermes are so old I don't know how they don't have holes too. Instead they have a thick layer of crud consisting of dirt, food, and germs so thick that the soles have become hard and slick. You are supposed to maintain suede sole dance shoes with a special suede brush but alas, I have not. I have never cleaned my hermes soles, ever! Turns out not only are suede brushes cheap you can also use heavy grit sandpaper as a quick fix. I watched a few how to videos but was still a little skeptical. My hermes seemed too far neglected for anything to help but I figured why not, can't make them worse.
I found some 80 grit sandpaper and to my surprise it worked really really well. The soles aren't perfect but definitely salvageable. Once I get a suede brush I should be able to extend the life of my shoes for many more years. If your shoes are super gross like mine I highly recommend cleaning the shoes outside or inside of box that you can fit your arms into. The brushing/sanding kicks up a fine dust of dirt and debris that gets everywhere. I used a flat cardboard tray that a case of ramen comes in.You may even want to wear gloves or a mask. (My shoes were sooooo nasty.)
New vs Old. I wore the new pair of ballet slippers around the house for an hour in triumph before throwing the old pair away.
Before and after. I feel itchy just looking at this picture.
Once I get a suede brush they will be like new. Thank you internet.
Suede sole shoe maintenance how to with brush and sandpaper.