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How to Stretch Leather Shoes

You’ve purchased the leather shoes of your dreams online, only to find that when they arrive, they are too tight. Lucky for you, there’s no need to worry. Here are a few tried and true methods to stretch the leather to salvage your shoes and achieve ultimate comfort.

tying leather shoes

Method 1: Wear Them

The first thing you can try if your shoes are just a little uncomfortable, wear them around the house for an evening or two with a thick pair of socks. This is a preferred method, as it doesn’t involve purchasing any special tools or spending any money. It also provides a more customized fit to your own foot. This method may take a few days and may be uncomfortable, so make sure to take breaks when needed.

thick socks

Method 2: Shoe Stretcher Tool

A shoe stretcher is an easy way to increase the size of your shoes and achieve an even stretch. It’s especially convenient if you need to stretch your item quickly without compromising the shoe’s integrity or quality. There are two main types of shoe stretchers: a one-way shoe stretcher and a two-way shoe stretcher. A one-way shoe stretcher stretches the width of a shoe, while a two-way shoe stretcher increases both the width and the length. A shoe stretch spray may also aid in stretching your shoe evenly and speed up the process. We suggest giving your shoes at least 6 to 8 hours for the material to set in its new stretched form.

shoe stretch

Method 3: Frozen Water Bags

When water freezes, it expands. Fill a couple of Ziploc bags one-third of the way with water and ensure it is closed it securely. If you’re worried about water leaking onto an expensive pair of shoes, make sure to double-bag it. Insert the bags into your shoe, making sure to mold the bags to fit into every corner. Pay special attention to areas that are tight, such as the toe area. Place the shoe into the freezer and leave it there until the bags are frozen. Try the shoe on and if it hasn’t stretched enough, repeat the process. Using this method can successfully stretch your shoe half a size to a full size.

Method 4: Blow Dryer

Put on a pair (or two) of socks and then slip into your shoes. Blast a blow dryer at medium heat onto the tight areas for 30 seconds. Keep the blow dryer moving to prevent overheating or separating of the soles, while you flex and bend your foot to help loosen the leather. Once you’re done, keep your shoes on for a little while as they cool to help them keep the shape. Repeat this process until you can comfortably walk in your shoes. It’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner or moisturizer to the shoes if you use this method to prevent them from drying out or cracking from the heat.

blow dryer

Method 5: Shoe Stretch Spray with Sock Balls

Spray the inside of each shoe with Shoe Stretch Spray, roll a few pairs of socks into small balls and stuff them into your shoes as tightly as possible. Leave the socks in overnight and repeat if necessary.  There are a variety of liquids and sprays to stretch leather. These products also can be used together with adjustable shoe stretchers to help give your shoes a custom stretch.

sock ball

If all else fails, most professional shoe or leather repair shops can provide leather alteration services. They have machines and training to alter shoes and can also repair and refresh the ones you love to make them last longer overall. For more information on all services available or for a quote, visit Love Your Leather today.

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