How To Stretch Leather Shoes

Leather naturally stretches, so it wouldn’t hurt to try to quicken up the process. There are different ways to stretch out your leather shoes, so choose the tactic t

Imagine being in a situation where you had to get a pair of the shoes even though they’re a little bit too tight, all because you’re unwilling to part ways with that beautiful shoe for another lucky buyer to snatch away. Guess what? You don’t have to get stuck with that tight leather shoe. There’s a solution. All it takes is just a little stretching, which would be worth it.

Leather naturally stretches, so it wouldn’t hurt to try to quicken up the process. There are different ways to stretch out your leather shoes, so by choosing the tactic that works for you, you would have your leather shoe stretched out in no time.

Different methods of stretching leather

1.      Get a professional

The faster and easiest way to stretch your leather shoe is by taking them to a professional shoe repairer. They have both the training and the machines to alter your shoe sizes. Aside from stretching your leather shoes, a professional can repair and refresh your old shoes to make them last longer.

2.      Using a leather stretching spray

For a quick and easy fix, a leather stretching spray is a product you need. These stretching sprays help the leathers get stretched and soft. After applying the leather stretching spray to your leather shoe, wear the shoe as the spray dries. By the time the spray dries up, the leather would have stretched around your feet.

3.      Use a stretching machine

A stretching machine comes in two types: a one-way stretcher and a two-way stretcher. The one-way stretcher stretches just the width of the shoe while the two-way stretcher stretches both the width and length of the shoe.

A shoe stretcher is one of the easiest methods of stretching your leather shoe, and also an excellent choice for an expensive pair of shoe, you would want to stretch without compromising its quality. It guarantees a uniform result too. Getting the two-way stretcher is highly recommended since it’s an all-purpose stretching machine. These methods also work for other products like leather bags, backpacks, rugs, wallets, and journals.

How to use a stretching machine

  • Apply a shoe spray first to relax the leather of the shoe.
  • Insert stretching plugs to target the problem area.
  • Insert the shoe stretcher into the shoe.
  • Twist the handle until you have the desired amount of stretch.
  • Leave the stretcher in for at least 6 – 8 hours or even more.

DIY home stretching methods

Some DIY methods might sound absurd, but one thing is certain: they work wonders. Below are some DIY home methods that work like magic to stretch out your leather shoes.

·         Walk around the house

Naturally leather stretches as you wear them. You can speed up the process by walking around the house in your shoe. Try doing this in the evening. You can decide to wear thick socks before doing this. In no time the leather shoe would be stretched enough to make you feel comfortable.

You can only try this method when the shoe is just a little bit tight. Walking around in very tight shoes could cause blisters on your feet.

·         Heat method

This is an easy method of stretching your leather shoe. It’s done using a hairdryer. Put on a pair of thick socks and slip on your shoes. Set the hairdryer to medium hear and blast each shoe for at least 30 seconds. Make sure to move the dryer around and not leave at a particular spot for long or you might end up damaging the shoe.

The heat would help soften the leather, enabling it to stretch around your feet. Apply a leather shoe conditioner to restore any depleted moisture caused by heat.

·         Stuffing in rolled up socks

This method might not work as fast as other methods, but it would gently stretch out the leather shoe without damaging the shoe.

Roll up a sock as tightly as you can from the toes to the top, then stick it down into the toe box of the shoe. Do this until you’ve filled up both pair of shoes completely with as many socks as you can. Store the shoe overnight or until you’re ready to use them again.

·         Wetting the shoe

This method sounds ridiculous, right? No one would want to wear a wet shoe. As ridiculous as it sounds, this method is effective.

Get into the shower with your shoe. The water would relax the leather and it would conform to your feet as it dries up. Let the leather dry, away from sunlight, and ensure to apply a leather shoe conditioner or saddle soap afterward.

·         Using steam

You need to take caution when using this method. It’s advisable to use a garden glove to protect yourself.

Hold your shoe over the steam of a boiling kettle. Hold for 3-5 minutes. After removing from the steam, stuff the shoe with newspapers or a paper towel as tightly as possible and allow it to dry.

·         Freezing

This method might not work for all-leather shoes. Be careful not to use on very expensive shoes in case the freezing ruins the shoe.

Fill a ziplock bag halfway with water and seal tightly. You want to make sure that there are no holes in the bag. Put the bag into the shoes – one bag for each shoe. Be careful not to squeeze too tightly or the water might burst. Leave the shoe in the freezer overnight. This would help expand the leather. Allow the water to thaw completely before taking it off the shoe. Ensure to apply a leather shoe conditioner after you’re done with the process.

·         Stuffing with damp newspapers or peeled potatoes

Stuff each shoe with damp newspapers as tightly as you can. Make sure to get to the nooks and crannies of the shoe. As an alternative, you can use peeled potatoes. While this might be another effective method of stretching out your leather shoe, we cannot guarantee how the shoe would smell afterward. Let the shoe dry out away from sunlight or heat. Your shoe would feel a lot comfortable when you’re done.


  • Never rush when purchasing a shoe.
  • It’s best to shop for shoes in the evening. During that time the feet get swollen and you would avoid getting tight shoes.
  • Always look for toe boxes that are shaped like your foot.

While all these methods work great, the most important thing is getting the proper fit.

Leave a Reply