Stretching And Shrinking Leather Shoes – DIY Methods

shoe - shrinking leather shoes

Leather shoes are fashionable to wear and feel gentle on the feet. These type of shoes are by and large exceptionally flexible and pliable because of the one-of-a-kind properties of cow skin.

This is both something worth being thankful for and something awful; wearing leather boots for a significant length of time implies they grow and fit your feet, hence turn into stretched out shoes that no one likes.

Leather shoes with excessive leather are inconvenient at times, they are too heavy to carry, and often look dull. It’s your situation, but if you love shoes and can’t afford to throw them away, don’t worry, you are in the right place to learn how to shrink leather shoes with vinegar. 


Can you shrink leather to the extent of no return? Not if you take precautions beforehand. If you have ever wondered how do leather shoes shrink and what you can do to rectify it, read up:

  • Avoid exposing your shoes to heat for extended periods of time as the leather will likely break when you try to shrink leather.
  • Don’t forget to dilute the vinegar with water to prevent the leather wax luster from coming off.


The following tips will help you buy the right leather shoes, whether you increase or decrease.

walk shoe = shrinking leather shoes

Using professional measurements: You can use a foot scanner or seek expert advice from local shoe stores and sellers. You can use the Bannock device near your home to make measurements or get your device. It helps you measure your foot in all dimensions using the included instructions.

Try it in the afternoon: Science says that the maximum foot size is reached in the afternoon when temperatures frequently peak. So now you can find shoes that “give a hug” to your feet in the right way.

Choose small size: Leather shoes stretch over time. Therefore, if you choose a size larger than your feet, your shoes will loosen more than necessary. If your shoes still become loose, you can browse through our article on how to tighten leather.

Walk around with a new one: Roam in their shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough space in the toe joint? Does the heel fit perfectly? Or do you want to pick it up or slide it? Find shoes that fit you right from the start.


Now we know that shoes shrink or stretch according to exposure conditions, when trying to wear stretched out shoes, you must know what all you can do to make it better.

How to stretch leather shoes

Stretching Leather shoes is not the easiest task as they are made of animal skin. There are a few ways that you can achieve stretchiness without ruining expensive leather shoes.

If you wear shoes continuously for weeks and still get resistance from the leather walls, you should get professional leather extension instruments to achieve the required comfort without destroying them.

You can also use a multi-purpose shoe stretcher and spray. A shoe stretcher can be set to extend the shoes depending on the length and width while spraying devices help to make the skin more comfortable.

Do leather shoes shrink?

leather - shrinking leather shoes

A question asked by many is that do leather shoes shrink. Well, since they are produced using creature skin, they shrink and stretch because of it. In this way, in the event that you wear them, they stretch from within.

Nonetheless, on the off chance that you don’t wear them for quite a while, they shrivel as a reaction to the pressing factor of their environmental elements.


Umm, can you shrink leather? The answer is yes, absolutely! If you buy new shoes that are a little too big or your old pairs that have expanded over time, don’t worry because you can easily shrink leather to a smaller size for a snug fit. The following methods will teach you how to make leather shoes smaller.

1. Using DIY Leather Cleaner

DIY leather cleaner can be made out of various ingredients, and these include vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water.

Using Vinegar:

With this method, you can learn how to shrink leather shoes with vinegar

  • This can be done by mixing white or apple cider vinegar and water in equal proportions in a bowl
  • Soak cotton socks in the solution to moisten it and insert in the shoe
  • Make sure that the socks do not touch the wall of the shoes
  • Defer the sock for 1-2 hours so that it absorbs the sock vinegar
  • Dry the leather shoes over medium heat

Using Water:

  • This is also called the all-in water method.
  • All you have to do is fill the bottle sprayer with hot water and spray it onto the leather surface until it is completely wetted from all sides.
  • A better alternative is to submerge it in a tub of water filled with water until it is completely wet.
  • Soak in water for 10 minutes
  • After exposing to light until completely dry.
  • Do not hang leather material.

Shrink leather Using Blow Dryer

shrinking leather shoes
  • This is certainly an interesting method to shrink leather.
  • Before and after the process, you will need a cloth, water, hairdryer, and leather conditioner to keep your shoe skin in top condition.
  • This method of shrinking leather shoes is best because thin skins will not work if they are too moist.
  • Soak the cloth in water
  • Apply conditioner to your shoes
  • Hold a damp cloth and tap the surface of the shoe to moisturize it.
  • Put the blow dryer over medium heat and continue until the shoes are fairly dry.
  • Let it air dry for about 8 hours.

Sew with Elastic Band:

  • Perfect for those who are aware of sewing
  • Cut the rubber band a few inches
  • Fit the band by stretching the skin of the leather shoe to connect to the heel
  • Add the hairpins to hold the band for sewing
  • Tighten the band stretch and put it in place

Pro Tip: If you are facing difficulties on how to tighten leather, refer to your local reputable footwear. 


The reason why leather shoes shrink is because of stress and tension on the elasticity of leather. What you may not know yet, is that you can avoid this to some extent. It all comes down to maintenance.

Clean regularly: Dirt on leather shoes induces additional tension and stress on the shoes. Cleaning leather shoes with the right product will help maintain shape and size longer. If the inside becomes dirty, take measures to keep it clean.

Avoid exposure to heat: A slight heat is suitable for drying the leather, but an intense amount for a long time has an adverse effect. When there is nothing inside a shoe, the heat mainly causes the shoe to shrink. Instead of using the heat to dry your shoes frequently, let’s go air drying. Also, store leather boots in a cool, dry place.

Wear socks always: Wearing socks is also important for maintaining the shape and size of leather shoes over time. If you don’t wear socks, your sweat will continue to touch the leather cloth, and the fibers will loosen.

Stuff them with a shoe tree (when not in use): Naturally, leather tends to shrink after long periods of inactivity. Therefore, shoes that have not been worn over the winter may feel too tight. To maintain the foot size of leather shoes at all times, you can fill them with socks or tissue. You can also get an adjustable shoe tree to reduce the size of your shoes.

Use polish: Leather should be polished on a regular basis to keep it hydrated. This keeps the elasticity and avoids changes such as wrinkles and wrinkles that are likely to change the size and shape of the shoe.


Choose leather shoes according to surface styles and the type of leather for the perfect look. 

1. Surface style

Shell Cordovan: They are the most durable shoes you can find on this planet and are very expensive. It is waterproof and uniquely polished and can be used for decades with proper management.

Roughout: This leather style is popular among soldiers because it is durable and does not need to give off a stunning shine. Rough-out leather shoes feature animal skins on the bottom. Though it is soft, it is also rough and beautiful.

Vegetable-Tanned: Vegetable-Tanned Leather shoes are tanned with vegetable tannins. They are known for the development of a beautiful natural patina over time.

Suede: Suede is like a softer roughout. It blends with the wrinkles. An easy method on how to shrink suede shoes is simply with water!

Scotch Grain: Scotch Grain leather is one of the most commonly used leather products. These patterns are typically embossed on calf leather to create a weatherproof style.

Nubuck: Sometimes confused with suede, nubuck leather is created on the outer tones of cowhide. It has a soft diaper texture that pushes out a small amount of water. From the top of the skin, so very durable.

Pull-Up: This style is made with heavily oiled aniline dyes. It handles those cuts and cuts well.

Patent Leather: Patent Leather is real leather with a glossy finish, mainly using lacquer. The coating improves durability but can confuse patent leather and artificial leather, so check the label carefully. They need to mention that the leather is 100% genuine.

Chamois: This leather is generally made of lambskin and features a smooth diaper shape. It lubricates and maintains a new appearance, so it does not require regular polishing.

2. Leather type

Full grain leather: The thickest layer of animal skin shows the scars and all defects that can be seen in animal skin.

Top grain leather: There is top grain leather just below the full-grain leather. Like the full-grain type, the top grain leather is breathable and does not sweat.

Split Grain Leather: This leather is just below the top grain leather. It is hard but has no pores or scratches and has a real leather scent. Split grain leather shoes tend to be shiny.

Bonded leather: The bonded type of leather shoes is made by mixing other artificial ingredients with the leather part. Therefore, some manufacturers and sellers can make this genuine leather, so be careful. 


Leather shoes are worth all the hype, and by taking proper care of them, you can keep them for a lifetime. They are versatile, fashionable, and comfortable. They do stretch or shrink, so keep some equipment ready in order to change it. Once you get the hang of them, you’ll never want to remove your leather shoes! 

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