I find it irritating when major department stores put these next-to-impossible-to-remove sale stickers on the bottom of shoes, once they go on sale.

I scored a pair of leopard Charlotte Olympia shoes at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City right after Christmas. They were 50% off but were still much more than the average shoe price.

My point is that just because you mark them down, putting these frustrating stickers on the bottom isn’t acceptable. I shouldn’t have to scrape a sale sticker off the soles of shoes that are still $400+.

Some stickers, like the ones that Nordstrom uses frequently, don’t just peel off. In fact, they are perforated, so you have to peel them off in sections. After that, there’s the sticky residue left to deal with.

I used to leave the residue but started feeling my shoes sticking to the floors when I walked. Then, you also have a dirty rectangle on the bottom of your shoe that screams, “I bought these shoes on sale!”

Some stores put these stickers on the inside of the shoe. The leftover residue becomes incredibly uncomfortable on the bottom of your feet. It can also turn into a dirty-looking rectangle that people would see if you ever took off your shoe.

I Googled “shoe sticker removal,” and threads by people with similar problems popped up. Except they all swore that the cheap stores did this, and if they were buying designer shoes, this would never be an issue. Not so, my friends. I see this on shoes in stores when I’m shopping overseas on vacation, too.

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How to Remove Sale Stickers from Shoes

No one online seemed to have a great solution. Most agreed that soapy water worked just okay. Some suggested spray oil, nail polish remover, hot water, hairdryer, etc. Many tackled the problem with a knife and lots of scraping.

I tried removing the sale sticker off of one shoe using soapy water. That was a bust.

Then I used spray oil and regular olive oil which yielded the same result. Then, I tried nail polish remover. Five paper towels later, the nail polish remover worked, and there was no sticky residue, but somehow, the technique failed on the second shoe. I tried soapy water on top of that, and it seemed to work, several paper towels later. But these methods are time-consuming and don’t work really well.

Use Goo Gone:  If you like to buy shoes on sale, Goo Gone will be your best friend. It works.

I peeled the sale sticker off as well as I could, put a few drops of Goo Gone on a paper towel, and rubbed the residue. It dissolved within seconds.

I put a few drops of mild dish soap on another clean paper towel to get the Goo Gone off and wiped it dry. The sole of my shoe was perfectly clean.

So there you go. Continue to shop the shoe sale rack with confidence.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Goo Be Gone is a great product for removing stickers. Or, if you want to use something you may already have in your pantry of cleaning supplies, try your orange oil (wood polish). Citrus Oils break down/slime up the adhesive and make it easier to remove.

    You can put some on a paper towel and work it into the sticker’s edges, to begin the process…do not pour on, as it may run down the sides of the sole and damage the upper material.

    Best of luck, let me know how it works for you!

  2. I actually work at a shoe store where we get a lot of Clearance inventory from stores like Macy’s and have to manually take off any remaining stickers by hand. Like Ali suggested, Goo Be Gone is great for taking off any remaining sticker residue. To get off the actual sticker though, we use a heat gun (I think a hair dryer will suffice) to loosen the adhesive and then carefully peel off the sticker. It works much of the time to get the sticker off in one piece (unless it’s perforated) and even when it doesn’t, it still makes it an easier process. Just don’t let it cool down before taking off the sticker though or else the adhesive will only stick even more.
    .-= quan´s last blog ..Running With Heels Interviews Founder of TOMS Shoes (again) =-.

  3. Ew, this drives me nuts!! I feel like Nordstrom is the worst too! I have so many of those sale stickers — or shoes with the crappy looking residue mark.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Lemons into lemonade =-.

  4. I agree, Goo Be Gone is my go to for these kinds of things. I used it religiously with all of the china and crystal we got for our wedding that inevitably had tons of stickers on them thanks to Macy’s. I hadn’t thought about it for those darn stickers on the bottoms of the shoes that I buy on sale at Nordstrom’s – I know exactly what you are talking about though, the dilemma between trying to get it off and getting it off sufficiently so that you don’t walk around with half a sticker! Not sure if you have noticed, but they seem to put them on the inside of most men’s shoes instead of the sole – maybe because they wear socks with their shoes? – which means even more of a pain to remove as sometimes the inside is fabric 🙁 Funny, I think I deal with this more with the hubby’s shoes than mine – guess that means most of his come from the sale rack, LOL!

  5. I also have the same problem. I bought a copy of The Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman. I noticed that the store attached the sticker on the back cover and not on the plastic cover. I have to ask a sales guy to help me remove the sticker without damaging the back cover.

  6. Uh-oh…we’re getting our first Nordstrom (yay!) this fall and I have a feeling I’ll be referencing this post at the first shoe sale!
    .-= Lora´s last blog ..I Heart Faces: Hilarious Outtakes! =-.

  7. I love Desolve it. It is a great citrus product that gets rid of of 40 things price stickers for one,tar, sap etc..

  8. I absolutely understand what you mean. I have a calvin klein cocktail shoes that I have worn several times, that still has the sticker. I just stopped bothering with them.
    Jessica Star
    Sample Sale

  9. Why not try some ugg winter boots.It’s soft and comfortable in winter,as well as luxury and fashion.

  10. I think Nordstroms does this to make your designer shoes shout to the world “I WAS BOUGHT ON SALE!!! THIS B***H COULD NEVER AFFORD THEM OTHER WISE!!”
    I also bout a beautiful pair of Christian Louboutins from Nordstroms and there is a huge sticky rectangle that I can’t get off the sole. I am trying to sell them since I am a mom with three boys and I will never wear them, but I can’t deliver them with this residue. I will try all of your suggestions! Thanks!

  11. I think Nordstroms does this to make your designer shoes shout to the world “I WAS BOUGHT ON SALE!!! THIS B***H COULD NEVER HAVE AFFORDED THEM OTHER WISE!!”
    I also bout a beautiful pair of Christian Louboutins from Nordstroms and there is a huge sticky rectangle that I can’t get off the sole. I am trying to sell them since I am a mom with three boys and I will never wear them, but I can’t deliver them with this residue. I will try all of your suggestions! Thanks!

  12. I found your blog post doing the same exact Google search! I live by the mantra “any fool can buy something for full price” and get plenty of shoes from Nordstrom Rack. Normally I don’t have a problem with the stickers (thanks, Goo Gone) but today I came home with a pair of hard-to-find leather shoes which had the sticker INSIDE the shoe. Both of them. Like, where your foot has to go. WHO in their right mind does things like this?!

    1. Me, too! Just got a pair of adorable ballerina flats from NR but they adhered the sticker to the INSIDE of the shoe, whose bottom is a super soft leather or something. I wanna use Goo Gone but am afraid it might ruin the inside of the shoe. So frustrating! Any suggestions, La Jolla Mom?

  13. I am having same probleme but with sticker in side but till now no find anything that work. Where can i buy goo gone? I buy at Ross and the sticket is always inside the shoes.

  14. I have a question..

    what if the bottom of the shoe is leather, and not smooth shiny leather like the Lanvin’s bottom or the Louboutins bottoms… my badgley mischka shoes have leather soles but softer leather…or should i say they feel more like suede a little bit..but are not suede of course….. will the goo gone leave a stain on it??

    1. I have the same problem–several sample shoes from Nordstrom have the suede-like soles and I’ve been trying to find a solution online. Can anyone help? Thanks ladies!

      1. I’m sure I have an old pair with a suede-like bottom somewhere. I’ll try the Goo Gone and see how it goes. Give me a day or so, however!

  15. another suggestion for those not of the faint of heart – lighter fuel. We use it to get tar off our feet from the beach – works in a pinch if you don’t have time to buy Goo Gone – I use rubbing alcohol afterwards to get rid of the gasoline smell!!!

  16. I bought shoes (sandals) with 2 stickers on the inside of sole. 1 with price and 1 with size.
    Tried to scrape out with my nails–it was glued on to stay.
    Sprayed a little Goo Gone, let it set about 5 seconds.
    Scraped with a thin paring knife and they both came right off. Goo Gone is my new best friend!

  17. Well after reading all that…. what i used to get that gummy stuff off is with the use of some water and mild soap, leave the soap for awhile on the suface and get some baking soda and scrub a good amount then wipe off clean with a cloth. Magic!

  18. La jolla mom, any luck getting rid of the label residue to the bottom of leather/suede like shoes? Just got a pair of badgely mischka shoes and i didnt know this would have the residue, so dissapointed! I cant walk with these sticky shoes. Please let me know. Thanks!

    1. I have the same issue with this suede-like sole. I tried the following (which didn’t work):
      – Clear packing tape, nope. the residue was so sticky it just transferred the remaining tape to the sticky spot
      – warm water, all i see is a slight water stain now
      – leather cleaner doesn’t seem to work either

      can someone confirm if we can use this goo gone on suede-like soles?

    I use eucalyptus to remove other types of sticky residue and so thought it would be okay to use on shoes. Upon reading another users comment saying it worked for her, I applied a small amount to a rag and set to removing a label that was visible on the back of the heel. Now there is a large discoloured patch where the label was. Please please please make sure that eucalyptus is 100% safe to use on your particular shoes or you could end up in the same situation I am in now…

  20. I heard Goo Gone will ruin leather.
    I’m scare to try it because of that.

    I might try the baking soda thing… Anyone else have something to report ?

    1. How avout we write these companies and complain about their damaging stickers. There is no reason for DSW particularly to put these damaging stickers on their sales shoes. Ross and Marshalls do it too.

  21. While Goo Be Gone works in a lot of surfaces, I found what works best in leather is a soft leather cleaner. I have recently purchase a leather care kit from Fibrenew to clean a juice spill from a leather chair. It works, so I use a soft light color cloth, apply small amount of the cleaner solution and rubbed it in the sticky spot. It removed the glue and left no stain or discoloring in the leather.