If your new pair of leather shoes seem quite tight or your favorite pair of shoes have just shrunk, don’t worry, as there are always usable ways to make them fit. As leather has natural flexibility and stretchiness, you can apply stretching tips for reaching comfort in wearing your leather shoes. So, how to stretch leather shoe width? How do you stretch leather shoes at home? How to stretch leather shoes fast? Let’s find it out in the following contents.
A lot of people struggle with getting their old leather shoes back into shape because they are being worn for too long or are too tight. They have tried many ways of trying to stretch them such as putting them in cold water, soaking them in hot water, etc., but these methods can be time-consuming and complicated. The best solution for this situation is to put your shoes on a stretching rack. You can find these racks at any shoe repair shop or on Esty or Amazon.
When you take your shoes off and place them on the rack, it will stretch them in both directions. It will also reduce the pressure that the back of your shoe places against you when you walk, preventing pain and discomfort. Now that this problem has been solved by means of putting your shoes on a stretching rack, let us look at how to put them back onto your feet.
Simple Methods to Stretch Leather Shoes:
- Put your shoes on the stretching rack and pull down your laces. Make sure that your shoes are the same width all the way across so that you will not put too much pressure on one side of your foot.
- To loosen it up, stand in front of a mirror and pull on each shoe 3 or 4 times as you look at yourself in the mirror.
- After you have done this, put your shoes on the rack and tie the laces tightly.
- Leave the shoes on the rack for a day and go back to your mirror to check your progress. If these methods are hard for you, try this process 1-2 more times to make it easier until you can pull on each shoe comfortably while looking at yourself in the mirror without any strain.
- After you have finished the steps, put your shoes on and wear them for a week until you notice that they are fitting well.
Table of Contents
Use Oil or Spray
It’s very easy to shop for oil conditioner or stretching spray anywhere, for example, shoe shops, convenience stores, or online. Both of them are designed for the purpose of stretching out leather shoes and can get the job done.
If you use the stretching spray, you should read its instructions carefully so as not to ruin the leather accidentally. Different types of spray may have different ways to use, and some need to be applied outside while some can be applied inside the shoe. You should also spray a little to test the reaction of the leather first, wait for around one minute to make sure that everything is ok, then apply it on the whole shoe.
You can also mix alcohol and water with a ratio of 1:1 and use the mixed spray to stretch your leather shoe. For this mixture, you should apply it inside, and it takes the best effect on the calves that are tight.
If you use an oil conditioner, you should put a small amount of oil on a dry cloth, then rub it onto the outside of the shoe, then let the oil soak in. If you see any excess oil, you can use another cloth to clean it.
Read our complete guide about leather vs synthetic materials for comfortable work shoes.
Use a Blow Dryer
Using heat exhausted by a blow dryer is one of the widely used ways to stretch leather shoes. It will be an effective method as long as you are careful, do not burn yourself or your leather. Use the blow dryer to heat the specific parts that are tight for you when wearing. Please note that the distance between the dryer and such parts should be about five or six inches to ensure the leather is safe. The heat will make the leather expand and be softer; then, you can turn off the blow dryer and put the shoe on. You should walk around to make the heated parts permanently stretch out. You can also wear socks or another protective layer to prevent the heat from touching your body.
Contrary to the heat in option 2, this option recommends freezing your leather shoes to make them stretch. You should take plastic bags and fill them with water, then put them inside your shoes at the narrowest part. Please make sure that you seal the bags carefully so that the water cannot leak out and ruin the leather. After that, put your shoes in the freezer for the water to be frozen. The water will expand when it freezes, which helps to stretch your shoes naturally. You can repeat the process if needed.
Use a Shoe Stretcher
the only way to stretch leather boots wider is by using a stretcher. Stretchers are available in different shapes, sizes, and designs. You can purchase stretchers from shoe repair shops or through the Internet.
A shoe stretcher is a useful product that you can easily purchase online or in shoe shops. It is also very easy to use, too. You put it inside your shoe and then twist its handle to make it expand for fitting well. You should leave the shoe stretcher for about eight hours and then check whether the shoe fits your body or not. If it does not really meet your requirement, you can repeat the process. But you should not leave it in for too long as it could overstretch your shoes and damage them. This is a simple and convenient way, but you should be careful to follow the instructions to prevent any unwanted consequences.
Wear Thick Socks
This is a basic tip that will work for new tight shoes and is usually used for the break-in process. Just simply wear a pair or two pairs of thick socks and then put on your leather shoes and walk around for a few hours. You should repeat this process several times and will see the effect of the method. The leather will expand and fit better than before.
This method is very simple but a little bit uncomfortable. As you will need to wear extra socks and put more pressure on your feet, it can bring unpleasant feelings. Thus, you should do it at home, where you can take your leather shoes and socks off after a time of practicing the method.
This option starts with rolling and dampening the newspapers and then stuffing your leather shoes with them. You should proceed to the maximum capacity of your leather shoes, then let them rest. You can pull them out when they are fully dry; maybe it takes around 24 hours. If you cannot prepare newspapers, you can also use sock balls alternatively. The method puts a gentle stretch on the leather and makes it expand naturally. In comparison to other options, this option is the method that may have the slowest effect but cheapest in terms of finance.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following contents include the most frequently asked questions related to stretching leather shoes that you can check for essential information.
Do leather shoes stretch?
Yes, they stretch over time. Because the main material creating leather shoes is animal skin, they can shrink or stretch depending on the stress subjected to them. As long as you wear them, they gradually stretch from the inside.
How much can leather shoes stretch?
The limit agreed by experts is up to one full size. However, please note that if you stretch too much at once, you could ruin your leather shoes or make them more sensitive and easier to wear down.
Will leather stretch when wet?
Yes, it will. When you walk in a rainstorm or just go through an area of water and carelessly make your shoes wet, the stretch happens, as the leather will conform to your body to give you comfort when wearing.
Do shoe stretchers really work?
Yes, the shoe stretchers work well in terms of stretching leather shoes. It can expand up to half an inch inside your shoes. But you need to be prudent when using them so as not to damage your shoes by stretching too much.
What is shoe stretch spray?
It is a liquid spray that can soften the leather and stretch the shoes and boots while you walk. The shoe stretch spray is created to expand tight-fitting shoes or boots. It can soak the shoe material without damaging it.
Does leather stretch spray work?
Yes, it usually works effectively. The spray can soften the leather and make the shoe mold to your feet when you put them on.
Do you need shoe stretch spray?
It depends on your chosen method for stretching your shoes. If you proceed with spray, the stretch spray will be an indispensable item. But if you move on with other methods, for example, using heat or shoe stretchers, the stretch spray is not necessary.
Does putting your shoes in the freezer make them bigger?
Yes, it does if you follow the right instructions. You should prepare carefully sealed water bags and put them into your shoes, then put them in the freezer for the water to be frozen. When the water freezes, it expands and stretches the shoes.
How long do I leave a shoe stretcher in?
You should leave it in for around eight hours first; then, you can repeat if the shoe does not expand as much as you want. If you keep the shoe stretcher in your shoes for too long, it can stretch too much and can possibly damage your shoes.
Can you stretch the shaft of leather boots?
You can use a calf stretching tool for doing that. Put it into your leather boots and adjust the width and then leave it in for hours. The process is quite similar to using a shoe stretcher. You can also repeat the process if the boots are still tight.