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Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

Category Repairing
Leather shoes can often be stretched using a liquid shoe stretch product. You can save money by making your own with products you probably have around the house. This is a guide about homemade liquid shoe stretch.


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By 2 found this helpful
November 25, 2015

I am about to try this, but thought I'd share it meanwhile. From what I've read here, I think I'll try dipping a laundry softener sheet into 1/3 rubbing alcohol and 2/3 water mixture. This will be thin enough to wear a while, but will also carry the stuff mentioned in other recipes here. Maybe I'm on to something?

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By 0 found this helpful
November 14, 2010

How do I make shoe stretcher spray?

By joe from NY


November 16, 20106 found this helpful

I worked in the shoe business for over 30 years. You can make shoe stretch by combining equal parts rubbing alcohol and water, BUT the most important thing is the stretcher itself. You have to soak the leather until thoroughly wet then use a form inside of the wet leather to stretch where needed. We used an old wooden shoe form that would spread apart as we turned a screw.


It had attachments for bunions areas and etc. Unless you have a good mechanical stretcher, no liquid will work. I've heard of people spraying the shoe and then trying to wear it to make it stretch- it will not work! It'll actually compress the leather (and your foot) and make the shoe smaller! (And hard to get off!) Hope this helps.

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December 21, 20100 found this helpful

Use body lotion. I have had good luck using body lotion or hand lotion to rub into the inside of the shoe where it needs to be stretched, then wearing it. Wearing thicker socks also helps. I have a two way shoe stretcher which works well for length and width but if the shoe is tight in the vamp/instep, the shoe stretcher doesn't work there. So I just work a liberal amount of lotion inside the shoe all around the whole area that is tight. The shoe stretcher does not widen the toe or raise the toe either, so I dampen a wad of tissue, wedge it in just right, and then force it with the shoe stretcher for a day or two to dry.

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March 30, 20161 found this helpful

@ Tizzette,

You might want to position the stretcher at 90 degrees from the normal position, in the instep, and try opening the stretcher.


We used to use this method on boots purchased by customers who had a high insteps. We also would use a stretching solution, when doing this. Allow the boots to sit overnight, at least. If need be, do multiple times.

Also, make sure your leather has dried, before removing the stretcher, or the leather will want to shrink back to its original shape, and size!

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April 11, 20170 found this helpful

in the shoe shop did you still use the 50/50 liquid or did you use the stretcher with heat? if you suggest heat with a mens casual leather shoe about what temp and how long at temp? Thank you!!

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August 11, 20170 found this helpful

The best way to stretch your leather boots is to mix 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol with 2/3 cup hottest tolerable water a cap or two of fabric softener mix it all well then put 3/4 of the mixture into a spay bottle, sorry the mixture inside of your boot in the area/s you want to stretch, then with the 1/4 that is left over pour it onto your socks in the areas that you need the extra room put the boots on and wear them for the day. Top Tip.. DONT GO OVERBOARD WITH THE SPRAY. You can do it over a couple of days to get the best fit. I just stretched my new Doctor Martins using this exact method 2 days and they feel like they were custom made for my foot. OHH DONT SPREY THE OUT SIDE OF THE BOOTS. Good luck guys n girls. Seize 11/8/2017

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August 11, 20171 found this helpful

I put plastic bags in the shoe, fill with water, seal tightly, and freeze. That will stretch the shoe.

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January 15, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks! I am a dancer and baton twirler and have started using shoe stretch liquid with an old rubber-soled shoe (with an old sock in bunion areas to get more space there) covered in a sock to stretch out leather jazz shoes to make them more comfortable.


( haven't invested in a wooden shoe stretcher yet)

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April 14, 20130 found this helpful

Do these homemade solutions work on non-leather shoes? I bought a pair for a wedding that have a satin finish on the outside and man-made material inside.

By Rita A.


June 3, 20152 found this helpful

70% rubbing alcohol 1/4 cup
glycerine 1 tbsp
liquid softener 1cap full
water 2 cups warm
* mix all ingredients in a spray bottle while waters still warm stay problem areas on shoe while wearing or stuff shoe with a white sock and spray. let dry, repeat as needed til you achieve comfort.

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March 30, 20160 found this helpful

FYI: a lot of "man-made" materials typically won't stretch very much, i.e.: plastic or "poly-type" materials.

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February 14, 20120 found this helpful

How do I make shoe stretching spray?

By gadson


February 16, 20120 found this helpful

This may sound a little bizarre! Soak and then wring out, a pair of socks, with rubbing alcohol.


Put these socks on your feet. Then put on the too tight shoes, and wear the shoes for at least an hour. This should stretch your shoes!

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February 16, 20120 found this helpful

1/3 rubbing alcohol to 2 parts water. Put into a spray bottle. Spray then wear shoes as they dry.
This is what is in the expensive sprays.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 20, 2014

How do I make homemade liquid shoe stretch?

By Carrie D.


June 22, 20140 found this helpful

Dampen a bar of soap with water, rub it on the inside of the shoe, then put the shoe on your foot. Repeat as necessary until the shoe has stretched enough.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 16, 2014

What can be used to stretch out fabric/non-leather tennis shoes without staining them?

By KB from Indianapolis, IN


September 25, 20150 found this helpful

Fabric won't stretch, you'll end up thinning the fibers and getting holes. A synthetic leather shoe or a leather shoe can be stretched with a broom handle and elbow grease

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 10, 20090 found this helpful

What kind of alcohol do you use to stretch leather shoes?



Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

Try using scented body spray from the dollar store. The first ingredient listed is alcohol, and it really does work. Just spray both inside and outside of the shoe, and wear until it dries. Repeat if needed.


If the shoe has a suede type finish, spray only the inside. This is cheap (only $1), and smells better than Shoe stretch or plain alcohol. Since it is meant to be sprayed on skin, it doesn't seem to irritate the skin on your feet while you are wearing the shoes waiting for them to dry. (02/16/2009)

By jean

Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

You can use cheap dollar store cologne to stretch shoes, as it is almost all alcohol anyway! I spray the tight spot both inside and out and then wear the shoe to stretch the leather out. You may have to spray several times. It works best with shoes that are not lined or have leather linings - although I have also tried it with some success on fabric shoes, too. (02/16/2009)

By pam munro

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February 15, 20091 found this helpful

Does anyone know what ingredients you can use to make homemake liquid shoe stretch. The products you purchase at the shoe repair shops really work but are very expensive for a little bottle.

Flame from Toronto, Ontario


Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

I only know a very old way to stretch shoes and it has always worked for me. Put a plastic bag inside the shoes needing stretched, making sure the bags do not leak. Fill the bags with water, tie off tightly and put the shoes in the freezer. When the water freezes it will expand and stretch the shoes. Hope this is helpful. (12/08/2005)

By Carol

Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

Try pouring alcohol in the inside of shoes to be stretched and wearing them till the alcohol dries. When dry, your shoes will conform to your foot. (12/08/2005)

By irene

Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

At a shoe store, I was told by a highly trained fitter to rub some shoe moisturizing leather cream onto the exterior of the shoe to prevent cracking of the finish when stretching. (08/19/2006)

By Holly

Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

Thanks sewingmama. Your idea works great. Might I add, to wrap feet in plastic so the socks won't stain and skin won't get irritated from the alcohol. (10/11/2007)

By Shelley

Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

I got this formula from a Thom McCann shoe salesman long ago. In a spray bottle, combine 3 parts water with 1 part alcohol. Shake to mix. Depending on if you want an overall stretch or just spot stretching, apply where needed and let dry in a shoe stretcher or while wearing (preferably not while walking around too much). This mixture will not harm your leather, but a stronger alcohol mix may.

  1. All Over Stretch: While wearing the shoes, apply to the entire outside of shoes using the mist setting. Don't saturate, but be sure to hit all the seams and all around the sole. If you don't have a shoe stretcher, apply it before driving to work or while at home reading the paper, watching tv, etc. Leave stretcher in shoe or wear shoes until dry (from 1 - 4 hours).
  2. Spot Stretching: Same as above but just spray where needed and let dry well.
You can repeat if necessary. (07/01/2008)

By Patty

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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

How do you make your own shoe stretch liquid?

By S.Rosenberg from Southern CA


Homemade Liquid Shoe Stretch

Try pouring alcohol in the inside of shoes or wet your feet with alcohol. It will stretch while wearing them till the alcohol dries. When dry, your shoes will conform to your foot. Good luck.

By kathleen williams

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