How to Shrink Leather Shoes?

Leather shoes that are stretched are quite an eyesore, and they are also a pain on your feet. This is because they can make you slide and slip and it prevents you to walk correctly. Instead of throwing your leather shoes away or shuffling them, there are simple ways that you can do to fix them. Some professionals can set your leather shoes for you like the shoe cobblers who can rebuild or shrink your leather shoes to their correct proportions.

You can also go to a dry cleaner so that they can assist you and repair your damaged leather shoes. But there are methods that you can use and do at home that will give you the same results usually done by professionals.

How to Shrink Leather Shoes?

If your shoes are not as tight as they used to be because it is used too much or if your leather shoes are too large for you, it is possible for you to shrink them. The overall process is not complicated, but you must know that your leather shoes could be worn out or damaged if it is not treated correctly and that tightening or shrinking it more than half of the size is difficult to achieve.

Either way, it is possible. Here are some ideas on how you can shrink your leather shoes:

1. Use water

Before you apply any water on your leather shoes, you have to keep in mind that water can damage your leather shoes if you spray it with too much. It can cause your shoes to become stiff, cracked or stained. You can also apply creams for leather like a protector solution or a leather guard to the side of your shoes if you want to treat it, but it can also make your shoes resistant to this treatment.

You should also check on the part of the shoe that is large for your feet, like the toe or the sides. You can use a spray bottle filled with water, or you can dip your fingers in it and rub the place where you want to adjust. This area can become damp, but you must avoid getting water in different areas like the base of your shoe or the soles.

You can put it in a place where there is direct sunlight so that it would dry up. Although it is a slower process, it can reduce the chance of damaging your shoes because of the heat. If the sunlight level is not enough for drying your shoes, you can use a dryer. You must use the temperature that is the lowest one that is available on the setting, and you need to hold it at least five to six inches from your shoe to so that it won’t get burned or damaged. After the treatment, it could leave your shoes cracked or stiff, so you can apply leather conditioner to reverse this effect and to prevent any damage.

2. Sew an elastic band to the heel

This method is best for thin leather shoes that slip off when you walk around with them. This could help make your shoes more difficult to slip off because it will become narrow. These types of elastic bands can be found at sewing shops, online or in craft stores. You need a couple of inches long, or you can cut off a large piece for better and faster manipulation. You need to cut off the excess elastic bands once it is sewed on. You also need to stretch the band across the inside of your heel. It must be pulled until it gets extended tightly across the back of the heel of your shoes then you can use safety pins or hair pins to hold and fix the band to each side.

Pin the elastic band to one side of the heel, then stretch it again and pin it on the other side. You can use a needle and a thread to sew the elastic band onto your shoe, and then you can tie it off the thread once you are done.

3. Use tissue

If your shoes are too big in the toe area, you can use a small bundle of tissue to prevent the leather shoes from slipping. You can also use newspaper or cloth, but it is best to walk around to check if it is comfortable before you leave the house.

4. Use insoles

If you feel like there is a gap between the shoe and the top of your foot, you will benefit from a thicker insole. These can be bought at drugstores and shoe stores, or you can remove it from a different shoe and place it on a new one. Insoles are made from foam or rubber, so you can cut them to fit your leather shoes if they are too large for you and you can do so by using a pair of scissors.

5. Find a cobbler

If you are not comfortable enough to make any of the adjustments, you can find a cobbler near you to do it for you. Cobblers are specialists when it comes to shoe repair, and they also have experiences in shrinking leather shoes. You can request for the estimated cost for their service from different cobblers to make sure that you do not go over your budget.


Finding shoes that match your style and the one that fits correctly can be difficult. It is a good thing if you bought shoes that are too large for you or if they are stretched due to the number of times that you wore them, you can have them, and you can even get a better fit.

Shrinking your shoes means that you can prevent blisters because your leather shoes can slip and rub your skin raw if it is too large for your feet. Shoes that do not follow the size of your feet can be uncomfortable and unattractive. If you know how to shrink your shoes, you no longer have to make a trip back to the store and exchange or return them.

Leave a Reply