You invested time and money to land the perfect leather shoes or boots, only to realize after the first full day on your feet: they need a good stretch. You can probably guess our first and most basic recommendation for how to stretch your leather shoes: WEAR THEM. The best way to break in those leather boots is to wear those leather boots. But, we get it - sometimes a little help is needed. Here are three ways to do it:
If you’ve invested a good amount of money in a quality pair of leather shoes or boots, don’t DIY this job. Take your shoes to a professional shoe repair shop. Stretching leather shoes don't usually cost much - and certainly costs less than replacing a pair that you ruin with a DIY hack gone wrong.
Professional shoe stretching supplies can be purchased from a shoe repair shop. Look for a wooden shoe stretcher and a bottle of liquid shoe stretch formulated for leather. Apply the liquid shoe stretch to the areas of your boots that need stretching, then insert the wooden shoe stretcher. These wooden stretchers can be expanded both widths- and length-wise to help achieve a better fit, and the liquid stretch solution helps the leather become more workable.
If you want a recipe for homemade leather stretching solutions, you can easily find it online. Some people swear by these methods. But some people also swear they’ve ruined their leather shoes with them. If you feel like gambling, break out your thick socks and a hairdryer. While wearing your thick socks inside your tight leather shoes, direct the heat of your hair dryer toward the areas that need stretching. Move your toes and feet around to assist the stretching beneath the warmth of the dryer. Turn off the hair dryer and allow the leather to cool before removing your feet from the shoes or boots. If you try this method, be sure to condition the leather afterward to replenish moisture lost from applying the heat.