To shrink leather shoes, firstly, you have to dampen portions of the shoes with sprinkles of water and dry them in sunlight. Repeat the steps until you get your desired shrinkage result. Lastly, apply the leather conditioner and put the shoes away for a while before reusing.
How to Shrink Leather Shoes
There are several methods you can apply to shrink your leather shoes. However, the most convenient and simple method is to use water to cause shrinkage.
Using Water to Shrink Leather Shoes
It’s all about using leather conditioner to contract the shoe in the end. But before that-
Step 1: Get Ready With the Preparation
Preparation does not involve anything special. You will need a spray bottle filled with water or just a cup of water. Additional items include a blow dryer, a piece of soft cloth, heel cushions, leather conditioner, etc.
However, you have to be cautious when implementing this method. Water has the potential to damage your leather shoes. Applying too much water may make the leather shoe stiff, cracked, or stained.
Therefore, you can consider applying a leather guard or a leather protector to the surface you plan of treating. But keep in mind that using a protector will make it harder for water to reach the surface and you might not get the desired result.
Step 2: Damp the Portion That is Too Large
The next step is to dampen the sides or top of the leather shoe which is too large to fit. You can either utilize a spray bottle to sprinkle water over the surface or dip your fingers in water and rub the area you want to shrink.
You must make sure that those areas are damp enough. However, you do not want water to get inside the soles or the base of the shoes.
Step 3: Dry Your Shoes
Drying is the most important part of the process. The most natural and effective way to dry your leather shoes is to let them bathe in sunlight. As it is a slower drying process, it reduces the chance of your leather shoes getting damaged by heat. Wait for a couple of hours and check whether the shoes are completely dry or not.
Another option is to use a blow dryer, in case there is not enough sunlight or heat. Use the lowest temperature settings and start blowing the dryer while maintaining a distance of at least six inches between the dryer and the shoe.
Step 4: Make Necessary Adjustments
You can repeat the steps mentioned above multiple times in case the leather is too thick or large. However, keep in mind that the adjustments should be moderate. You have to add water and then dry it in the same way.
Step 5: Apply Leather Conditioner
Once you are done drying the leather shoes, apply some leather conditioners. As the water and heat treatment may create some cracks and stiffness in your shoes, using a leather conditioner will help smoothen them and restrict further damage.
To apply the conditioner, use a soft cloth to rub the shoe surface with the conditioner. Then put your leather shoes away for some time until you can wear them again.
If you have thin leather shoes, you can use the method of sewing an elastic band to the heel. Just cut off a piece a couple of inches long. Stretch the band along the heel of the shoe and attach them using safety pins. Then use a needle and thread to sew the band onto the shoe. Remove the pins once done and then try out the shoes.
Another method you can implement is to stuff the toe with tissue paper or newspaper. You can also try adding a thicker insole in case all else fails.
How to Shrink Leather Shoes With Vinegar
Vinegar is a common household item that you can use to shrink leather shoes. It can shrink leather tissues. To get on with it, take a pair of socks and soak them in a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Take them out as they are without squeezing them and place them inside the leather shoes.
Let them soak the insides of the shoes for about an hour or two. In the meantime, the socks with vinegar will tighten the leather. Then remove the socks and place the shoes in an open place with sunlight to dry. You may also use other heat sources if sunlight is not available.
Sprinkle more water to dampen parts of the shoes in case you need more shrinkage. Expose the leather shoes to the sun and let them dry properly.
How to Shrink Leather Sandals
The process of shrinking leather sandals does not differ much from that of leather shoes. However, in this case, you do not rub or sprinkle water on the surface of the sandals. Instead, soak the sandals in water for about two hours.
Then get the sandals out in the sunlight and dry them. You can also use heat to shrink the leather shoes. After properly drying, try them out to see whether they fit or not.
You can also try dry cleaning your sandals. Dry cleaning will utilize solvents and liquid chemicals to remove stains from your sandals. In the meantime, it will also tighten the leather. Then put the leather sandals in a dryer and let them dry for about twenty minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I unshrink my leather shoes?
Ans: You can re-wet portions of the leather shoes and wear them just as they are. They will dry out on your feet and unshrink. You can also stuff newspaper in the toebox to get the same effect.
Q: Do leather shoes shrink when not worn?
Ans: Leather will shrink naturally if not used for a long time. You have to stuff the shoes to keep their shape and size intact.
Leather shoes are prone to shrinkage. Therefore, it is important to keep the original size intact. Besides, after a season or two, it’s natural that shoe size might not fit. Implementing the shrinking techniques, in this case, is a cost-effective solution. They are pretty easy and this article covers all that.