I have been a victim of buying a magnificent pair of leather boots only for them to be somewhat too small? This is an issue I believe many experience individuals experience, and considering how difficult it is to find a perfect pair of leather shoes, it usually causes me significant heartaches.
Moreover, leather shoes occasionally become a tad too tight if left on the shoe rack for a prolonged duration, and yet I cannot throw them away. This is especially so since these shoes often come with a hefty price tag so I cannot just dispose of them without thinking of an ingenious way of making them fit me perfectly.
Therefore, in this article, is a detailed guide on how I usually stretch my leather shoes and thereby ensure they are a perfect fit.
1. Stuffing sock balls inside my shoes
One technique is use is rolling together numerous pairs of socks to form a tiny ball and putting them inside the boots until it reaches its maximum capacity. Subsequently, I let the pair of socks remain inside the leather shoes overnight and I keep repeating this process as often as possible to make sure my shoes get to stretch into a perfect fit.
2. Bending and twisting the leather shoes
Leather shoes are usually tough due to the numerous chemical treatments they have undergone, which consequently makes the leather fibers extremely firm. Therefore, I usually stretch the fibers by gently twisting and bending the leather boots after I have just worn them for a while before they lose their warmth.
Doing this repeatedly will help soften the leather in regions where my feet had already started unstiffening. However, I recommend bending and twisting the leather shoes gently to avoid cracking and overstretching the leather fibers.
3. Make use of a shoe stretcher
Using shoe stretchers is a pain-free and specific method I use to increase the size of my shoes by merely turning the handle to attain the desired and uniform stretch. Moreover, I use this technique when I want to stretch a costly pair of shoes that I do not want to ruin its integrity and if I have a limited amount of time to stretch the leather boots.
This shoe stretching technique guarantees that the leather boots are evenly stretched, unlike other DIY methods. The shoe stretcher usually makes use of spot-stretching plugs to laser target any problem areas.
There are two main types of shoe stretchers, the two-way shoe stretcher, and one-way shoe stretcher. The two-way shoe stretcher broadens both the length and width of my shoes, whereas the one-way stretcher only enlarges the shoe’s width. Additionally, I can use either of these shoe stretchers on both my left and right leather boot.
The steps I follow when using a shoe stretcher are:
Applying the shoe spray on the leather surface to relax the fibers and enable easy stretching. The shoe spray assists speeding up the stretching process as well as uniformly stretching my shoes.
Turning the shoe stretcher handle continuously up to the point I achieve the intended level of stretch. Additionally, I perform a full turn after every eight hours to achieve the desired fit.
Leaving the shoe stretcher inside my leather boots for two days and then constantly checking from time to time whether a proper fit has been achieved.
4. Using leather stretch spray
There are numerous leather stretch sprays sold online and this is one of the excellent techniques I employ when stretching my leather shoes. The use of liquid spray assists in making the leather fiber less rigid, thereby ensuring the leather boots are comfortable on my feet.
Nevertheless, I always am very cautious when using these leather stretch sprays since they might cause the discoloration of my leather shoes. Because of this, I first do a thorough research on the product before buying it. Likewise, I only spray this leather stretching solution on a small test area of my shoes before going ahead and spraying it on other parts that require broadening.
As I apply this this product, I spritz it five-inches away from the intended area and then allow the leather to soak up the solution for approximately 30 seconds. Consequently, I fit the leather shoes and walk around with them to see if they are adequately fit and keep repeating this process if necessary.
5. Freezing my leather boots
This method of stretching leather boots requires I have a re-sealable bag, water as well as a freezer. I start by pouring water into the plastic bag until it is half full, after which I then squeeze and seal it to eliminate the air inside it.
Subsequently, I place this plastic bag filled with water into the leather shoes and confirm the bag pushes all the areas I want to expanded.
After that, I put my boots inside the freezer and repeat this process with my other shoe. For this method to be successful, I make sure the plastic bags completely fill the pair of leather boots. Consequently, I leave my shoes inside the freezer through the whole night and then take them out the following morning, letting the ice to thaw for around 20 minutes.
I then take out the plastic bags and wear the leather boots. If I feel the footwear has still not stretched as desired, I repeat this trick.
6. Wearing leather boots inside the house
Wearing leather boots around the house is undoubtedly among the best methods of stretching a pair of leather boots. By doing this, I get to go through the worst part of the break-in process while relaxing comfortably in my home.
However, patience is key this trick to work. Additionally, I also wear an additional pair of socks to help hasten the process of stretching my leather shoes.
7. Wear thick socks and then use a blow dryer to blast the leather shoes
I usually put on no less than two pairs of socks inside my leather boots and using the blow dryer, blast if for around 30 seconds at medium heat. While doing this, I pay close attention to the tightest areas and continuously move the blow dryer to ensure it does not burn any area. Consequently, I bend and flex my shoes as this assists in loosening the leather or fabric.
Moreover, I do not take out my shoes immediately as they usually cool once I finish doing this and may thus stop any shrinking from happening. If I feel my boots are still tight, I repeat this process and until I attain the perfect fit, and then apply on its surface a leather conditioner to compensate for the lost moisture.
8. Filling in newspaper
I squeeze a couple of newspapers and then wet them lightly while ensuring I do not soak it as this will destroy the boot’s inner sole. Subsequently, I place the crumpled and slightly wet newspaper inside my leather shoes and then take it off whenever I want to wear them.
9. Wearing my leather boots in breaks
Wearing leather shoes in breaks is an easy technique of stretching them despite it being quite difficult to snub the desire of wearing my new pair of shoe straightaway. Nevertheless, I try and overcome this since it is an excellent way of resizing my footwear.
Furthermore, I start to putting on my leather shoes occasionally while at home to start the wearing out process. Consequently, I then move around with them while wearing thick socks to create an adequate room, and within a short amount of time, I get to achieve the desired size.
10. Put on Band-Aids
Band-Aids are an excellent way of safeguarding myself from blisters, which are usually caused due to the friction between my shoes and feet. Additionally, they also assist in breaking in my leather shoes faster since it allows me to wear the shoes for a longer duration.
I recommend using fabric Band-Aids rather than plastic Band-Aids as they are considerably stronger and do not peel due to moisture.
11. Taking my leather boots to a cobbler
In case every other leather stretching technique I use fails, I typically set aside some cash and take my leather boots to a cobbler. Therefore, I begin the search for a reliable cobbler within my area who makes use of machines that apply gentle heat and pressure on the shoes. Whereas this method might be costlier, the breaking in process is usually faster and accurate.
Since cobblers are experts in their field, they will be in a better position to come up with an appropriate solution for any discomfort I might be experiencing while wearing my leather boots. Typically, I my new pair of leather boots with the cobbler as it takes about three to seven days for them to make the necessary repairs.
These aforementioned tips helped me get to enjoy wearing my new leather boots once more as well as maintain a fashionable look without compromising on my comfort. Therefore, thanks to this tips on how to stretch leather shoes, I have never had any worries ever again about buying leather boots as I know what to do to make them stretch.