How to Stretch Leather Shoes

How to Stretch Leather Shoes? [11 Tricks]

You probably know it: you purchased a new pair of shoes, and you are entirely in love with it. This love will end when you get pain in your feet after walking for a few hours wearing shoes!

An annoying scenario because whether you have bought a pair of shoes for a party, for work, or any other occasion, you prefer to wear new shoes immediately and painlessly.

Unfortunately, the reality is that sometimes after a few hours on your feet, new shoes can hurt a lot and blister your feet. Sometimes you have to walk in your new shoes before you can wear them painlessly, which can take some time.

Fortunately, to speed up this process, there are some tricks you can use. This article reveals twelve tricks that will get you in on your shoes faster. That's how you wear those new shoes no time all day with fun!

"How to stretch leather shoes? How can I make my tight shoes wider? How can I make my shoes bigger?" These are some frequent searches online. If you buy new shoes, they must, of course, fit perfectly in terms of length and width.

It may be that the leather of a new pump is still a bit stiff and that the shoe, therefore, only really runs well after it has been run in.

Each foot is different, and even your own feet are not the same size or shape on the left and right. If you only buy shoes based on the size of the shoe without a sample, or if you ignore some other things when buying shoes, it is a lottery. Maybe you're lucky.

In our guide, you will find out how you can widen and stretch leather shoes or work leather shoes, which home remedies may help but can also destroy the shoes.

But before you even have to put your hand on your shoes to eliminate essential areas, it is crucial to avoid them when buying shoes.

How to Stretch Leather Shoes

12 Tips for Stretching Leather Shoes That Are Too Narrow

1 - Wear Your Shoes

wear shoes

The more you wear your shoes, the more they will expand. So at home, as soon as you can and as long as possible, put on a thick pair of socks and afterward put your shoes on, but so that these shoes do not become an object of torture, soften the leather.

But be careful, put on old socks, as the treated leather could rub off.

Soften the Leather of Shoes With Products

2 - Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol)

Rubbing alcohol

  • Apply a cloth impregnated with rubbing alcohol to the walls of the shoe.
  • Let it dry. Start again, then put, feet in thick socks, put your shoes on.
  • Start applying alcohol again until the shoes are no longer tight.

You will find rubbing alcohol in pharmacies.

3 - Glycerin

  • Pass a thin layer on the walls of the leather shoe a cloth impregnated with glycerin.
  • Then put the shoes on, or better force them, with a wooden shoe tree.
  • Some shoe trees and extenders adjust length and width using screws and springs.

4 - Stretch Spray

Stretch Spray

To widen shoes with a spray, you should spray the pump evenly from the outside and inside with the stretch spray for leather shoes. After application, a good foam is created, which is completely absorbed into the material of the pump within two minutes. Then put the shoe on immediately and break in (the Spray does not damage the leather or your health).

The Spray makes the leather more elastic. After running in the shoe, the leather remains in its new shape and is optimally adapted to your foot. In stubborn cases, this procedure can be repeated any number of times.

5 - Shoe Tree

Shoe tree

The fifth variant, to stretch a too-tight shoe, works according to the same principle as with the cobbler or in the shoe store. Built shoe trees ensure that the leather shoe keeps its beautiful shape, and the leather does not wrinkle. In addition to standard shoe trees, there are also so-called screw shoe trees or shoe stretches that can be adjusted manually.

If you want to widen your leather shoes, we recommend a shoe stretcher adjustable in length and width. A screw thread ensures that the tensioner can be adjusted individually and that pressing shoes have no chance! With this technique, the pump can be expanded to almost half a shoe size.

Besides, there are shoe stretches where it is possible to stretch only certain parts of the shoe. This can be useful in the toe area or with a weak hallux valgus. Plastic attachments correctly extend the desired area. You insert a shoe tree into the leather shoe and adjust the size. We advise you first to observe how the pump and the seams behave. If everything is OK, you can repeat the process as required.

However, it is essential to wait for one to two hours after each adjustment not to damage the leather. Are you at the desired width? Once you arrive, we recommend leaving the shoe with a tensioner overnight. The next day, your tight shoes should have been widened as desired. Care should also be taken when stretching problem areas. Here the progress should be checked regularly. Otherwise, especially with excellent leather shoes, unsightly bumps can quickly form.

6 - Castor Oil

Castor oil
  • Massage the leather of the shoes with castor oil.
  • Fill the shoes as much as possible with paper to force them.
  • Or force them with a shoe tree.
  • Be careful; oil and petroleum jelly are very effective in relaxing leather because they are oily can darken the color of the leather;

7 - Vaseline

  • Vaseline softens the leather.
  • Pass several successive layers of petroleum jelly, leaving the leather to dry.
  • Then put on the shoes, wearing thick socks.

8 - Vinegar


Vinegar, the number 1 household helper, helps with stains, unpleasant smells, and dirty windows and can also help widen shoes. If the leather shoes are too tight, they can be sprayed with a spray of 50% vinegar diluted with 50% water from the inside. Specific areas can be rubbed with the vinegar mixture to stretch the leather shoe with a cotton ball. The shoe should then be worn immediately, as the vinegar dries quickly. After a short time, the shoe stretches and should no longer squeeze. It is also possible to dip the socks in vinegar instead of the pump and wear the footwear with the wet socks.

Soften Shoes With Cold

9 - Freezer


Do you put your shoes in the freezer? Yes, really! (We know: when water turns to ice, it expands. This is what slightly elongates your shoes.)

  • Put several plastic bags half full of water in each shoe and seal them correctly.
  • The water bags must fill the shoes, in width and length, from the toe to the heel.
  • Then put the shoes in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes until the water freezes and swells. No more.
  • Take off the shoes, and empty the bags, one after the other.
  • Then, feet covered with thick socks put on the shoes.
  • The feeling of cold will not last.
  • And warming leather will gently relax and take the shape of your feet.

Soften Shoes With Moisture

10 - Wet Laundry

Wet laundry

Leather stretches well when wet. Moisten the inside of the shoes by stuffing them with damp cloths. Leather well moistened, feet in thick socks, put your shoes on.

Or, you can also make leather shoes a few millimeters larger by wetting the shoe on the inside with a bit of water. Just make sure to soak it evenly or get moisture stains. Then put on thick socks and wear the wet shoes for about an hour until they adjust to your foot shape.

Soften Leather With Heat

11 - Hot Air From the Hairdryer


It is possible to relax the leather with heat. If you don't dare to soak your shoes, you can also achieve the same result by heating them.

  • Cover your feet with a couple of sets of socks (the thicker it is, the better!)
  • Then put on your shoes and detonate over medium heat for 30 seconds. To avoid overheating a particular area and breaking the skin, you can move the nozzle to different points on the shoes. Repeat this process until your feet slide comfortably.
  • Then, soften the shoes, feed the leather with good shoe polish.

Let Them Dry

12 - Wet Newsprint


Let's start with a technique that is easy to reproduce at home and that does not require a lot of equipment:

  • Bring a piece of newspaper and make remarkably tight balls of paper that you will moisten slightly. Be careful, don't soak them too much not to leave streaks on your shoes.
  • Slide the balls into your shoes to fill all the space.
  • Let it dry 24 hours in the open air (no hairdryer or dryer, especially if the material is fragile).
  • Your working shoes, sneakers, or ankle boots will have gained flexibility at the end of this exercise!

How to Expand Boots

  • Put on one or two thick socks, and on the socks, a plastic bag, then put on your boots. Walk for a few minutes.
  • Remove the boots and the plastic bag, put on the two socks another sock, put the plastic bag on your feet, and put your boots on again.
  • Walk again, articulating your feet as much as possible.
  • After 5 minutes or more of torture, remove boots, bag, and socks and put on your boots.
  • No doubt, they will no longer be so tight.

Be Careful When Stretching Artificial Leather Shoes

Please note that the tips and tricks mentioned only refer to authentic leather shoes. We expressly advise against the use of synthetic leather and textile materials, as these materials are not stretchable and could be damaged.

But how can comfort be increased with pressing shoes made of synthetic leather? Special gel pads or inlays can be an excellent way to minimize pressure.

In this 'How to Stretch Leather Shoes' article, we mention that you can stretch shoes only to a specific limit. Even an increase of one size is a challenging task, which in many cases, is merely impossible. Synthetic materials give very little chance of stretching. Consciousness is the only reliable way to avoid problems when buying.


About the Author

Hey, I'm Wayes. I'm passionate about reviewing shoes and writing!
I know to pick the right pair of shoes, not easy. Different people have different physical requirements, so it can be quite tricky for them to choose the best shoes. I help readers choose the most suitable shoes for them!

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