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How to Stretch Leather Shoes

BY Buffalo Jackson Insight
BY Grit Media

Revised 9/24/2020

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 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 how to stretch shoes: 

1. Use a Pro

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 — when you aren't sure how to stretch shoes properly, leave it to the experts. 

2. Use a Pro’s Stuff

Wonderinghow to stretch shoes on your own without a leather expert in the room? 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.

3. Use DIY Methods (Effective, but Risky)

Learninghow to stretch shoes can be a process, especially if you’re scouring the web for easy how-tos. However, if you want a recipe for homemade leather stretching solutions, you can find it online.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 hairdryer 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 with our leather care products, and replenish moisture lost from applying the heat. 

Without a doubt, it’s challenging to learn how to stretch shoes properly, especially when your shoes are prized leather pieces in your wardrobe. But, if you stick to the three methods we’ve outlined, and stay cautious while attempting anything on your own, you’ll learn how to stretch shoes one way or another. And, if you're looking for ways to stretch leather straps on your leather messenger bagduffle bag, or travel bag, we have some helpful recommendations for you on our blog. 


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