How to Stretch Leather Shoes and Boots at Home?

Shopping for shoes is one of the most relaxing activities that anyone can do for themselves. Whether you are a guy or girl, shopping for a new pair of leather shoes will help you feel good about yourself especially if you can buy the expensive ones.

However, being that they are new, chances are your leather shoes will not end up fitting your feet right away no matter what size they are. Fortunately, this article can help you find out several ways for you to stretch your shoes to fit your dainty feet right away.

Just continue reading to learn more about the steps.

The Procedures

Ultimately, there are seven major ways for you to stretch out your leather shoes. These are as follows:

  • The Shoe-Stretcher or Shoe Tree
  • Freezing
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Hairdryer
  • Socks
  • Potato
  • Oats

Depending on the method that you are going to use, there are many different tools that you would need to succeed in this endeavor. These will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs along with each of the specific methods.

By learning these major ways to stretch your leather boots or shoes, you will save a lot of money and time. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and read on. You will surely learn a lot from these methods down the line.

The 7 Major Stretching Methods Available for Shoes and Boots

1. The Shoe-Stretcher or Shoe Tree

You can also try using a shoe-stretcher on your leathers. This is also known as the shoe tree. This usually wooden implement is made to be shaped like a foot and is held together with screws that easily adjusts to help stretch your shoes accordingly. It is usually made from maple or cedar wood. This works perfectly for those who want a quick fix on their leather shoes or so that it could be stretched immediately.

Where can you find this? It is usually located in your local hardware store in the closet-organizer section. If you want to save some cash, you can also check out your local thrift store or the neighbor’s garage sale. You can even purchase it online if you wish. It is best to research the best brand first before you purchase anything.

However, you have to take note that it can take several days for the shoe-stretcher to work. This is known as dry stretching. You should monitor it closely to check the fit.

In addition to this, some stretchers have smaller buttons that you can insert into holes for a more localized stretching. This is recommended if you want to stretch a specific part of the shoe and not the rest of it.

This product may also come with a spray or oil to be used together with the stretcher. It will make the shoe softer which is going to help it become more stretchable. You can also buy this separately in various shoe stores or shoe repair shops.

2. Freezing

You would need to the following:

  • Ziplock bags. (at least two to four bags)
  • Water.
  • A working freezer.

Steps to Follow

First, you need to unzip both bags and place one inside the other. You have the option to use just one bag. However, to prevent the water from dripping into the shoe itself, it would be best for you to use two bags in the least.

The next step would be to place the ziplock bags into the very bottom of the shoe. Do not forget to press each plastic bag into every corner of the shoe. This way, you will be able to make the most out of the stretched footwear when you finish.

Once you are able to put the bags inside your shoe, it is essential that you fill the bags with water. Seal the inner bags as well as the outer bags for more safety and security.

Now, you can safely put your shoes inside the freezer and leave it until the water inside begins to freeze solid. The freezing method will expand your shoe size by about 9%.

After a few hours, you can now remove the shoes from your freezer to allow the ice to melt. Remember that you would need the frozen water to thaw enough so that you could easily get the bagged ice from inside the shoe.

After this, you can use them as you see fit.

3. Using Rubbing Alcohol

Important Tools

Here are some of the tools that he would need for this procedure as follows:

  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Small spray bottle.

Steps to Follow

Initially, you would have to place a small amount of alcohol into a spray bottle. Use it on the insides of your tight leather shoes to dampen it a bit. You can now wear the shoes and then walk around the house until the alcohol dries up.

Repeat the procedure until you feel comfortable with the new shoe size.

Additional Reminders

Fill your spray bottle with 50% alcohol and 50% water. After spraying, you should wear it for about 20 minutes around the house. Another alternative for you would be to apply the alcohol directly to the parts of the shoe that you would want to have stretched.

In addition to this, try to quickly put on the footwear right after spraying or rubbing with alcohol because the solution will quickly dry up.

4. The Sock Method

Necessary Tools

For this, you would need a pair of socks and a bottle of alcohol from the previous method.

Next Steps

Using the socks, you can stretch out your shoes by soaking your socks in alcohol, squeezing out the excess and wearing the wet socks along with the shoes until they dry out.

You can also repeat this procedure periodically until you feel comfortable with your shoe size.

5. The Hairdryer Method

Materials Needed

With this method, you would need a hairdryer and a thicker pair of socks.

Procedural Steps

For this procedure to work, put on the socks together with the leather shoes and aim a hairdryer onto the tightest section of the shoes. Do this for a few seconds to about a minute. Additionally, try to wiggle your toes as you do this.

You can also bend your feet within your choice of footwear as you blast it with the hairdryer.

Wait a few minutes for the shoes to cool down, but keep them on. Eventually, you will feel them stretch out for sure. If you need more room for your feet, please do not hesitate to repeat the procedure as necessary.


You can also try to use oats to stretch out your leather shoes or boots. This is an old trick that people in the west especially cowboys used to do to try to fill out their new boots without damaging them down the line.

Tools That You Would Need

  • Oats or any other type of brain that would tend to swell when wet.
  • Water.

Steps to Follow

Once you have these materials, you can then proceed to do the following steps.

  • First, you have to fill your boots or shoes with the oats or any other kind of grain.
  • Next, you should fill the boots with just enough water to cover all the grain.
  • After this, you can remove all the oats. Please, be advised that It would not be healthy to eat the oats after using it on leather.
  • The last step would be to wear your shoes or boots regularly for a few days to let it get used to the size of your feet and adjust accordingly.
  • In addition to this, let them dry out along with your feet. This will ensure that the shoes will continually fit you without feeling snug or painful when worn.

7. The Mashed Potato

This is another tool that you can use to stretch out your shoes effectively. All you need to have is a medium sized potato to place inside the shoe.

After preparing the potato, you can then peel the skin off and shove it into the shoes overnight. Make sure that the potatoes that you are going to use would make a large bulge inside the shoe. That way, you can be sure that the shoes will be stretched out because of the size of the potato.

If you’re worried about the smell, don’t think about it too much because potatoes are known to be odorless. In fact, potatoes are known to trap odor. Also, any remaining potato residue could be easily wiped off using a damp cloth.

Closing Statement

In need of a quick solution to your leather shoe problem? Shoe trees and shoe stretcher sprays can be used in stretching leather shoes as well.

These are just some of the many ways for you to stretch out your new leather shoes whenever necessary. It will not only help you feel comfortable in your shoes, but it will also surely give you new ways to save money because instead of buying new shoes, you will learn how to make this one work to your advantage.

Always remember that while it would be much more comfortable to have your shoes stretched to fit your feet, there’s also a limit to how much you can do this. Different types of leather also have varying amounts of stretch-ability.

It would be best to do your homework first before trying to stretch out your shoes. If you could afford to, asking for professional opinions regarding shoe-stretching could also be an option so as not to damage your footwear down the line irreparably.

What are you waiting for? Give it a try now. You will surely not regret your decision in the end.

This link will provide you with some proper tips on shoe care and how to prevent overstretching your shoes.

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