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How to Stretch Leather Shoes at Home — Guide to stretch shoes immediately

how to stretch leather shoes

Investing in a pair of quality leather shoes has the potential to take your fashion arsenal to the next level. They not only look great but will also last you quite a long time. The only potential hurdle in your way might be learning how to stretch leather shoes.

Fortunately, stretching leather shoes is not as difficult as it sounds at first. While there are professionals out there who will be glad to do it for you, it is easy enough that you can accomplish it on your own. Just pay attention to this thorough guide, and you’d be stretching your genuine leather shoes in no time. 

Why Do You Have to Stretch Leather Shoes?

Before learning how to stretch leather shoes, let’s understand why. The thing is, shoe size is denoted by nothing but its length. The remaining dimensions are based on the average foot shape for that specific length. However, just like two people of the same height can have completely different body proportions, so can two feet of the same size.

The only way to avoid this tight shoe issue is to be lucky and have feet with average proportions. Or you can try getting a custom pair that’s perfectly fitted to your feet. That’s easier said than done, though, as the cost of a custom pair with high-quality leather finishing is a bit too steep for most folk. This leaves stretching leather shoes as your only viable option.

Basics of How to Stretch Out Leather Shoes?

The first step in learning how to stretch leather shoes is understanding that you’re not forcing the shoe. Trying anything too violent will only result in disaster. You can damage a number of things from the overall structure of its leather texture.

Instead, the correct methods of how to loosen up leather shoes involve subtle nudging and patience. That said, if done correctly, you should have properly fitting stretch boots in no more than 48 hours. Of course, this time is affected by the types of shoes for men or women or the difference between the initial dimensions and what’ll be comfortable for you.

How to Stretch Leather Shoes the Right Way

Now that you understand its need and basics, it’s time to learn how to stretch leather shoes. Here are a few of the most efficient methods and how to execute them properly. Let’s get started.

The Thick Socks Method

This is most likely one of the simplest and easiest to execute methods on this list. The best part about this, however, is that you do not have to buy anything. All you need is a couple of pairs of thick socks and some free time at home, and you’ll be able to stretch shoes tight on top of foot.

Just layer the thick socks and try to wear your shoes. You can start with one pair of thick socks and move ahead from there. Keep doing this every day when you’re at home. You don’t have to push yourself and should remove the shoes and socks as soon as your feet start feeling uncomfortable. Then try the next day again.

Again, don’t be impatient and try to rush things. You’ll only end up ruining the shoes or injuring your feet. If executed properly, this method should give you a well-fitting leather shoe in 3-5 days. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and make the shoe looser than it needs to be.

Stretching Spray

New shoes being a bit tight at first is a more prevalent issue than you might think. That’s why you can take help from one of the many commercially available consumer-grade leather boot stretcher sprays. You can find these online or in your local supermarket/custom shoe shop.

These and other similar chemical methods of how to make shoes bigger work by relaxing the leather – making it easier to expand. They remove the inherent stiffness and rigidity without affecting the overall structure, texture, or grade of leather. They’re also fairly quick and show noticeable results after a single application.

Speaking of application, the actual way of how to stretch leather shoes with sprays changes from one option to the other. Some are applied on the outside while others go on the inside. Similarly, a number of sprays would want you to wear the shoes immediately after application, while others will recommend you to wait a bit after the spray.

The only way to expand a shoe properly with spray is to read the instructions that come on/in the box. Follow these instructions as closely as you can for better and faster results. Also, this is the preferred method if you want to learn how to stretch leather shoes lengthwise.

Mechanical Boot Stretcher

This method relies on a mechanical way of how to stretch leather shoes immediately. This device is purpose-built to stretch most leather shoes quickly and efficiently and is mostly used by professional shoemakers and cobblers.

The machine consists of a front section that’s shaped roughly like a human foot. This part is usually made from quality wood and is split into two through the middle. Behind that is a screw mechanism that pushes these two halves apart when twisted.

So, how to expand a shoe with this? Well, you insert this device into your shoe and start twisting the screw mechanism on the back. The gap between the two halves grows, and they start pushing against the sides of your shoe – stretching the shoe’s width in the process.

While this process is one of the fastest, it still requires some patience. You cannot go all the way in one try and have to do it step by step. In other words, the correct method of how to stretch leather shoes wider with this device is to expand them until it feels tight and leave them there. After some time, expand it again and repeat this process until the shoe is wide enough for you.

Additional Methods

How do leather boots stretch? Understating this can help us devise better methods to complete the task. In this case, the magic lies in the organic nature of leather. It is made from animal skin and thus is quite flexible when it needs to be.

You can utilize this property by enlisting the help of temperature and using one of the most efficient ways of how to make shoes bigger. Just remember that, although these methods work fine, they are not recommended due to the inherent risks with both.  

High Heat

One way to do this is to warm the shoes up. You can do this by placing the heat source (a hair dryer) inside the shoe and heating it up from the inside out. This rise in temperature will expand the leather naturally. The only thing needed now to do leather shoe stretch is to hold that expanded state by stuffing a filled sock inside and letting the shoe cool back down.


You can go in the opposite direction and use freezing to your advantage. Fill up a sealed plastic bag with water with just enough free space and place it inside the shoe. Make sure it goes all the way down to the toes. Now put the shoes with the water bags in a freezer and let the water turn into ice. Water expands when it is frozen, making this a working method for how to stretch patent leather shoes.


How to stretch faux leather shoes?

High-quality faux leather shoes behave similarly to the ones made from real leather when it comes to stretching. In other words, you can use almost the same methods without any issues. That said, stretching sprays are the recommended choice for faux leather. You can also find sprays that are designed for faux leather specifically.

How can I stretch my leather shoes at home?

There are a number of methods you can try to expand your leather shoes at home. Some of the most notable options include the sock method, using a shoe stretching device, and a specialized leather stretching spray.

Is it possible to stretch a leather shoe?

Yes, it is. Not only is it possible, it is quite easy to do on your own. Just make sure you follow the methods listed in a proper guide like this one to avoid causing any damage to your expensive leather shoes.

Can you stretch leather shoes that are too small?

You might be able to stretch leather shoes quite a bit, but that is not recommended. If a leather shoe is a smaller size than your feet, trying to expand it to your size isn’t a good idea. The end result would just look weird. Instead, start with a pair of shoes that are actually your size and make adjustments from there.

Does leather stretch when wet?

Yes, it does. However, it is too risky to use this property for stretching out your leather shoes. Learn other methods of how to stretch leather shoes that do not involve water or moisture.

How do you stretch stiff leather shoes?

If the leather shoes are too stiff for stretching, try applying some leather-friendly oils. You can use natural ones like coconut or buy ones made only for leather. These will soften it enough to make stretching methods effective.

Final Words

There is nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of hard-earned money on a pair of fancy leather shoes and it being too tight for your feet. Luckily, you can get around this problem with relative ease. Learn how to stretch leather shoes at home and transform that uncomfortable pair into something that fits you perfectly.

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