How to Shrink Leather Shoes that have Stretched

It is always a bummer when you have an important event coming up and, doesn’t matter how hard you try, something always goes wrong.

Now there’s a long list of things that could go wrong. Your skin could break out, a pimple might show, your dress might not fit, and so on.

Another thing that may go wrong is that your favorite leather shoes that you were planning to wear may have stretched.

Moreover, the new shoes that you liked were not available in your size so you bought the size that was available.

It is, without a doubt, sad and disappointing and you may buy another pair of shoes which seems like a reasonable idea.

On the contrary, you could find a better way to fix this than to spend extra bucks buying even more shoes.

Shoes stretching out is not a big problem because now you get a chance to make them fit your feet perfectly.

Don’t worry because there are a gazillion ways you can learn how to shrink leather shoes that have stretched out.

Yes, you read that right!

Here is a whole list of hacks and tips that you can use to fix your leather shoes that have been stretched out in no time!

Method 1

Vinegar: A Natural Shrinker


Let’s start off with a natural way to get your shoes to fit your feet just like Cinderella’s glass shoe. Who knew a condiment like vinegar could be used as a shoe-shrinker?

First of all, you are going to need a pair of cotton socks, some vinegar, water, and your stretched shoes.

For this tip, cotton socks are a better choice as they soak much of the liquid which is necessary.

Then, mix together an equal measurement of water and vinegar in a bowl. Following this step, place the socks in the bowl of liquid and allow them to soak completely.

Afterward, without squeezing out the liquid, remove the socks from the bowl and place them in each shoe.

Leave them in for a couple of hours so that the shoes can soak up the liquid. Later, remove the socks and leave the shoes in a warm place to dry out.

Once the shoes are dried, try them out to see if they fit your size.

However, if this doesn’t help, you can repeat the process until the shoes fit you right.

Method 2

Using Sunlight


Using sunlight to dry your shoes is very suitable for your shoes as it is more gentle.

You can use this way to dry out shoes as delicate as high heels.

All you need to do is soften the stretched areas of your shoes by spraying warm water. Remember that you must first identify what areas have been stretched out and treat only those areas.

Then, place the shoes in direct sunlight to dry out.

You will notice this wetting and drying process for most methods because they tend to shrink efficiently when wet.

Make sure you don’t leave your shoes out for a longer time as some shoes may lose their color in direct sunlight.

Method 3

Sponge Bath

No, you’re not actually giving your shoes a sponge bath. This hack is suitable for suede shoes because they can easily be destroyed by water.

In this method, you need to soak a sponge or a piece of cloth in warm water and squeeze all the water out.

Then, instead of dragging the sponge across the whole shoe, dab it over the affected areas making sure they get wet.

Since suede shoes are very delicate, drying them in a well-ventilated area instead of sunlight is better.

Once the shoes dry out, try them out to check if they fit you. This method is also applicable to leather shoes, once you find the areas that need fixing.

Method 4

Using a Bucket of Water

This method is pretty simple as all you need is some water, a bucket that fits your shoes, and a pair of thin socks.

First, clean your shoes with a suitable cleaning solution. Then, fill the bucket with some water and place your shoes in the water. Leave the shoes in the water for some time.

Following this step, remove the shoes from the bucket and wear them.

Wear the pair of thin socks with these shoes and go for a walk, long enough to dry these shoes out.

Make sure you don’t wear them for a longer time as keeping your feet wet for a longer period of time can damage your feet.

Dry your feet thoroughly after your shoes have shrunken to your size.

Method 5

Using a Blow Dryer

This method is quite similar to all the previous wetting and drying shrinking methods. All you have to do is spray some water on the affected areas.

This tip, however, gives you another source of heat and air you can use to dry out your shoes after wetting them. Here, you can use a blow dryer on medium heat to dry your shoes.

Once you are done drying the shoes, try them on, and if they are still loose repeat the process.

Method 6

Adding Embellishments

Adding embellishments certainly does not shrink your shoes but it makes them fit your feet by adding a few adjustments.

The first thing you can use to fit into large, stretched shoes at short notice, is by wearing thick socks.

You can also wear more than one pair of socks just to fit into large shoes if you don’t have the time to shrink them.

Moreover, you can add some adjustments, such as toe-cushions or thick insoles, so your feet can fit into your shoes perfectly.

Additionally, this way your feet can stay comfy and warm.

Sometimes, adding an elastic band inside the heel of your shoe helps to adjust the shape of the heel to fit you better.

Additionally, sewing an elastic band to the heel of your shoe that keeps slipping off helps to keep the shoe in place.

You can do this by sewing it yourself or you could get your cobbler to do it for you.

Method 7

Consult With a Cobbler

If you think you might ruin your shoes, there is no harm in getting help from your nearest cobbler.

As cobblers have all the knowledge about any kind of shoes, they always prove to be helpful when something goes wrong.

You can even get your cobbler to re-size your shoe according to your feet. So, it is never too late to contact your cobbler and get your shoe fixed.

Method 8

Consult With Your Drycleaners If You Can’t Find a Cobbler

A cobbler is the most expert person that can help with your shoes, but in case you can’t find one for yourself, you can get help from your dry cleaners as your last resort.

Drycleaners deal with all kinds of materials and leather is one of many so they might know how to shrink your leather shoes.

So, if your leather shoes have stretched out, there are many ways you can get them back to their real shape.

Hopefully, the tips mentioned above will help you overcome your problem and save some extra bucks at the same time.

Beware of these Precautions Before You Shrink Your Leather Shoes

All the hacks mentioned here are there to help you make your stretched leather shoes better. However, if you want to get the best results, it would be best to take some precautionary measures.

  • While using the dabbing technique to fix your problem, make sure to use soft sponges and clothes
  • Otherwise, the leather may be destroyed.
  • Leather shoes feature a layer of wax polish so remember to dilute the vinegar before you use it to fix your problem.
  • Ensure that you don’t expose your shoes to heat for much longer as it might destroy the leather.

Tips to Prevent Shoes from Stretching and Wearing Out

After learning ways to shrink leather shoes, if you are looking for a way to prevent a new pair of leather shoes from stretching and wearing out, then you have stumbled upon the right path.

Indeed, there are many ways you can prevent any kind of damage to your new leather shoes. Hopefully, the list of tips below will help you find a suitable way to prevent this.

Polishing Your Shoes Regularly

Just like your skin, if your leather shoes dry out, they are going to form cracks that destroy the way they look.

They start to look old and start to break out.

To avoid this, your shoes, just like your skin, need some moisture to keep them in a brand new shape. This moisture can only be delivered to your shoes if they are polished regularly.

Waterproofing Your Shoes

Excess water can destroy your leather shoes. To avoid any damage from water, you must coat your shoes with some sort of waterproofing material. You can also check out our list of the best waterproof shoes.

You can also wax your leather shoes. Basically, you need to coat your shoes with something that will prevent any moisture from leaking out.

Gently Washing Your Shoes

Avoid the usage of hard and stiff bristles while washing your shoes as they can create scratches on your shoes, destroying the way they look.

Instead of using cleaning brushes, you can use soft cloths or sponges to gently wash your shoes.

Using sponges can help your shoes stay in good shape and you don’t destroy the coating protecting the moisture within.

Using Air to Dry Your Shoes

Air-drying your wet shoes is the best way to dry your shoes.

Using a blow-dryer may speed up the process but it can definitely destroy the protective layers on your leather shoes.

Moreover, you can also dry your shoes by stuffing dry clothes inside the shoes.

Using Suitable Leather Conditioners

Using cream conditioners is not only ideal to make your shoes shine, but it is also ideal to avoid cracks from forming.

Make sure to apply a very small amount of cream conditioners as a larger amount may prevent the leather from looking fresh.

Socks with Leather Shoes are Necessary

Any kind of external moisture, such as sweat or water, may destroy the leather. However, wearing socks with leather shoes keeps the leather protected from your sweat which may wear it out.

Moreover, you need to give your leather shoes some time to dry out naturally after excessive use

Otherwise, they might wear out.

Wear Different Shoes

Wearing the same shoes over and over again can destroy your shoes very quickly. It is also not healthy for your own feet as they might start to smell which causes other problems.

Even if you do wear the same shoes continuously, do not wear them for more than three days back-to-back.

Get New Shoes

It is in every shoe’s nature to wear out at some point. It usually depends on the quality of the shoes but usually, shoes don’t wear for around two years. So, you must replace your shoes or buy new ones after some time.


By this time, you will understand the many ways you can fix your stretched leather shoes.

You may even know where you can get the right help to fix your shoes.

All you need to do now is to get your leather shoes that have been stretched and start fixing them with the best-suited method for your shoes.

If you feel that you cannot do any of these methods yourself, or if these methods don’t work out for you, don’t hesitate to visit your nearest cobbler to help you with your problem.

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