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How to Shrink Leather Shoes that Have Stretched: 6 Useful Tips

Leather shoes are not just fashionable, they are super comfortable to wear and feel mild on the feet. Why would we not love them? Leather shoes are generally very elastic and malleable due to the unique properties of leather. This is both a good thing and a bad thing; wearing leather boots for a long while means they expand and fit your feet, sort of like a mold, but eventually they also over-expand and no longer fit.

The overexpansion may also be caused by weather changes or any other of those reasons we may not be able to wrap our heads around, all we see is that leather shoes stretch and then become too big. If it happened that you let one of your friends with big feet borrow your shoes for a day or two, there is a high probability that they will return the shoes in their larger versions (By the way, this is a good method of getting your tight leather shoes stretched).

Overly stretched leather shoes are uncomfortable, too heavy to carry, and often make one appear sluggish. If that is your situation but you love your shoes so much that you cannot afford to throw them out, don’t despair, you have come to the right place. Take your mind off tossing those shoes right now and let us look at how you can shrink your leather shoes with vinegar and other methods when they have stretched.

Make Leather Shoes Smaller

How Do I Make My Stretched Leather Shoes Smaller?

There are many methods that you can use at home and the good thing is that the methods work. Read on to see our comprehensive list of shoe-shrinking methods that work.

Method One: Shrink Leather Shoes with Vinegar Method

What else can this alcoholic liquid called vinegar do except being a preservative and condiment? Well, plenty. Let me get to explaining how to shrink your leather shoes using vinegar.

a) Find a pair of old socks that you can use. Preferably use cotton socks that will be able to soak in a lot of liquid.

b) Mix white vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:1. This means mixing the same amount of water and vinegar in a clean bowl.

c) Dip the pair of socks in the mixture of vinegar and water and allow the socks to soak up.

d) Remove the socks without squeezing out the vinegar and place them gently on the inside of each pair of shoes.

e) Leave the socks in the shoes for one to two hours to allow the vinegar to soak into the shoes evenly.

f) Remove the socks from the shoes. Place the leather shoes in a warm spot and allow to dry.

By the time the shoes get dried, they would have shrunk considerably as vinegar is very useful for shrinking leather products. Put the shoes on and try walking around with them to see if they now fit. If you feel you need to shrink them more, feel free to repeat the process until you achieve the desired shrink size, or you may just move on and use this next method as support.

Method Two: The Sponge Method

This method is especially useful for suede shoes. Suede is a very delicate type of unfinished leather that can be easily damaged by water so you have to be careful when trying to shrink your suede shoes so as not to ruin them altogether.

Here is how to go about this simple method to shrink your sneakers.

i) Soak up a piece of soft cloth in water. Squeeze the water out of the cloth.

ii) Gently dab around d the shoes with the cloth. Be careful not to draw the clothe over suede shoes as this may leave undesirable watermarks in the suede skin. Just dab very delicately while making sure that the shoes get some amount of water inside them.

iii) Dry your shoes properly in an airy place. Avoid using direct sunlight to dry your suede shoes, just find a shady place and let them dry there. Give them enough time to dry too.

Try your shoes on when they are dry to make sure that they fit.

If you are dealing with leather shoes that are not suede, once you have figured out what part of the shoes you need to shrink or make smaller, you can promptly apply the method of dabbing with a wet sponge.

Method Three: The Trio Method

Don’t worry, there’s no object called trio. The trio method simply refers to using my special combination of three shoe shrinkers all at the same time:

  1. Thick socks
  2. Insoles
  3. Toe cushion

Sounds desperate, does it? Well, if those pair of shoes must fit your legs, we have to go all out to make sure that they do. This method does not shrink the shoes permanently but it will make you feel remarkably better when you wear your shoes.

Wear a pair of thick socks with your shoes, you can wear more than one pair to achieve maximum effect.

Insoles are thin strips of material that are cut according to a shoe’s sole and then placed in to improve comfortability. Luckily, they can do much more than just line up the bottom of our shoes, they can also be a great go-to when we need to shrink a stretched shoe.

Toe cushions perform the same function but at the toes. They help to reduce the discomfort that people sometimes feel on their toes when they wear shoes. In this case, they will do much more than line your toes.

Lay up the insides of your shoes with insoles and toe cushions, they will appropriately fill up spaces in the shoes and by the time you put in your feet already laid with thick socks, you will have achieved the perfect size you wanted. A bonus is that your feet will be all warm and cozy.

Method Four: The Bucket Method

This method is good if you are especially concerned about how to shrink leather boots.

i) Put some water in a bucket that can take in your boots.

ii) Place the boots in the water and allow them to stay for several minutes.

iii) Remove the shoes from the water and put the boots on. Wear thin socks on your feet while you are at this.

iv) Walk around with the boots until they get dried. By the time your leather boots are drying, they will assume the shape and size of your feet and will no longer be too large.

This method is effective because leather has the ability to shrink when wet. Use the method carefully because keeping wet feet for a prolonged period of time may cause cracks in your skin. Make sure to dry your feet properly when you have achieved the shrinking of your leather boots.

Method Five: Ask the Cobbler

Right, this is just as straightforward but you must choose your cobbler carefully. If you give your shoes to a cobbler, he will know exactly what to do to loosen the leather and make the shoes tighten up into your size, but you must make sure that the cobbler knows his chops to avoid ruining the shoe even more. But if you can find the right person, it will make things easier for you.

For females, you can get a professional cobbler to attach straps to your oversized leather shoes so you’re much more comfortable and confident when you’re using them. In any case, larger shoes are more comfortable with straps because they do not damage the legs.

Method Six: The Dryer Method

To shrink your shoes using this method, follow these simple steps:

i) Wash your shoes gently using mild soap and a soft sponge. Rinse appropriately.

ii) Put your shoes under the dryer and set at medium. The heat will cause your shoes to shrink.

Note that this method may make the color of your shoes fade but you can always spray on some polish after drying.

Precautions Taken for Shrink Leather Shoes

We want your shoes to come out better fitted for you, not worse, so be careful of the following things when trying to shrink your leather shoes that have stretched.

  1. Don’t expose leather shoes to heat for a long time as this may destroy the leather while you’re trying to shrink them.
  2. Use soft sponges or soft clothes when using the dabbing method.
  3. Remember to dilute the vinegar with water to avoid stripping off the wax polish of your leather shoes.
  4. Never make use of direct sunlight to dry your shoes as this will damage them on time.

Time to wish you good luck getting your lovely shoes to shrink. Any of the methods discussed will work as long as you carefully follow the steps and take all necessary precautions. You never have to worry again about those big shoes that aren’t letting you show them off. Feel free to leave comments to let us know how it goes.