Stretching Leather Shoes

How do I know the shoe is wet enough to stretch the shoe? How long does it take to dry? Can I apply heat to loosen the leather as well?


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September 3, 20190 found this helpful

Water is not good for stretching leather. I had leather shoes get wet and they shrunk and were ruined. My husband had the same issue. Both of us got caught in rainstorms with our shoes on and both had shoes destroyed because they shrunk so much and could not be reshaped. It was not fun.

The best way to stretch shoes is to buy one of those old fashioned wooden stretchers and use it any time you are not wearing the shoes. Some people say it helps to use a warm blow dryer (NOT HOT) to warm the leather after you put the stretchers in (for a few minutes each time you insert the stretchers), but I never went that route.

I wear my shoes, put the stretcher in, and let them sit

I inherited my wooden stretchers, but there are tons on the internet. I guess the plastic ones you can buy in places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Walmart may work also, but I have always had the best luck with the wood ones with the metal crank handles.


PS if your shoes are already wet, already you can try stuffing them with brown paper bags (make sure no ink touches the leather, and put them in a cool, breezy place outside to dry...out of direct sun.

It can take several days to dry. Once they start to dry, then insert the wooden stretchers and see if you can save them.

Post back with an update.

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September 3, 20190 found this helpful

I stretched shoes by putting a plastic bag in the shoe, filling it with water, sealing it and putting it in the freezer. As the water froze, it expanded and stretched the shoe.

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September 3, 20190 found this helpful

I would buy a wooden shoe steacher and use this in the shoes. They are quite old and you may still ba able to pick up some of them at the second-hand store. I use to watch my dad put these in his shoes when he was not wearing them to keep them in shape and also when he had to get new ones they would stretch them out to fit his foot better.

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