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how to shrink leather boots

How To Shrink Leather Boots In 7 Steps At Home(No need of a Cobbler)

Are you worried about the big boots that you have? The worst feeling is that if we buy a new pair of boots and after wearing them we analyze that they are slightly oversized and don’t fit well in our feet.

In some cases, Boots gets looser after wearing them only one time. Also, when we buy online, there is a possibility that these things could happen.

So, Don’t worry if you have that type of problem because we have some methods for how to shrink leather boots that will solve all your problems.

The list of shrinking leather boots methods that we will discuss here are listed below:

  1. By using Vinegar
  2. The Wet Sponge Method
  3. Try Wearing Inserts
  4. By Watering Shoes
  5. By using Hair Dryer 
  6. Sew in an Elastic Band
  7. Use Alcohol and Water
  8. Stuffing Tissue papers
  9. Use thick Socks
  10. Take help from Cobbler

All of the above methods are tested and pretty easy to follow. So, have a look:

how to shrink leather boots that are too big

How To Shrink Leather Boots

The process for shrinking shoes is almost the same for all types of materials, but you should be extra careful when shrinking your leather or suede boots.

Happily, it’s possible to shrink leather boots, and there are many ways to do so at your home by yourself. We are explaining the best and practical ways of shrinking leather work boots in detail below.

Method 1: Vinegar is the best solution

This method also gives you an answer to the question of how to make boots smaller? So, this is the most straightforward hack to shrink leather boots smaller that is too big.

You will need a pair of old or unused socks along with a cup of white vinegar. Take an empty bowl, and put the socks with vinegar in each shoe. Never try to squeeze them; instead, put them as it is and leave them for about one or two hours so that they can soak properly in vinegar.

how to make boots smaller

Vinegar has the incredible ability to contract leather tissues. So, socks filled with vinegar will shrink the leather shoes. Now, please take out the socks from the boots and put them in a warm and dry location for drying. You can also put them in shaded sunlight for quick drying.

Method 2: The Wet Sponge Method provides Precise Results

The sponge method works best for leather shoes as well as for delicate suede shoes. However, suede is not as resilient as other leather types, and water can damage it easily. So, be extra careful when shrinking your suede shoes.

Follow these steps to do so:

  • Take a soft piece of fabric and soak it in plain water. Then, squeeze the fabric and take water out of it.
  • Now, softly dab the water around the shoes using that cloth. However, be careful and don’t put water over your boots as this will leave ugly watermarks on your shoes. Ensure that the boots absorb some water inside them.
  • Now put the shoes in an airy place for drying. However, please don’t put them in direct sunlight; instead, place them in a shady area.
  • When the shoes get dry, try them and ensure that they fit seamlessly in your feet.

Note: if you have original or genuine leather shoes, not suede ones, then you can apply this method over the exact shoe part that you want to shrink by using a wet sponge. For example, if you’re going to shrink leather boots calves, use a damp sponge on the shoe calf, not on other places or a whole shoe.

Method 3: Try Wearing Inserts

This one is the perfect method, even if you are not a DIY expert. Similarly, if you don’t like wet feet and you don’t know the art of stitching, but you want to enjoy the grace of your leather shoes, try wearing thick inserts to shrink your shoes.

Furthermore, this is the simplest method to fit into large leather shoes. In our opinion, custom orthotics are perfect for this purpose. They efficiently fill up the extra space to deliver the supportive fit you need.

shrink my leather boots

Moreover, we recommend using a thick shoe insert, and its size should be the same as your shoes. You can also insert it over the inner shoe sole. This method works flawlessly to shrink your slightly stretchy boots.

Method 4: Watering Shoes

Water is your friend in this case and the worst enemy when it comes to the shrinking of your leather boots. However, this method does more good for your shoes if you apply it correctly.

For this method, you will need a bucket, old socks, and patience. This trick is mainly used in the Army to break in military boots, but it also works for leather shoes.

Step 1: First, take a bucket and fill it with water. Then, put your leather boots in a way that they get thoroughly soaked in the water. Please keep them in water for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Now wear socks and take your shoes out from the water and wear them on.

Step 3: Keep wearing wet boots until they get dried out. The process will take around seven to eight hours.

Step 4: After boots get dry, apply an oil-rich leather conditioner over them to restore them.

Method 5: Hair Dryer is not only for Hairs

Well, a hairdryer is made to dry your hair, but there is no harm in being a bit creative. So, take an electric blow dryer along with a shoe tree and follow these steps:

Step 1: Soak your leather shoes in a kitchen sink. Once your boots get wet, wear them or use a shoe tree.

Step 2: Take your electric blow dryer, keep it on low or medium-level and start drying your boots. Please don’t use it at high temperatures as it can crack or wrap the leather materials.

Step 3: Similarly, don’t keep the dryer too close to the shoes. Maintain at least six or eight distances between shoes and dryer. Keep drying until shoes get dry. Now, wear them or leave the shoe tree in them so that they keep their original shape.

Step 4: Lastly, apply an oil-rich conditioner after the shoes get entirely dried. This will prevent your boots from cracking.

Method 6: Sew in an Elastic Band

To shrink leather shoes by sewing an elastic band, you will need a sewing needle and a reliable, flexible strip. However, if your boots are too thick, you will also need a heel grip as you cannot sew through the thick leather.

Here is how you do it:

Step 1: Take an elastic strip and put it in a suitable position on your shoe heel.

Step 2: Now, take a thick sewing needle along with thread and start sewing around the strip’s edges and through the boot’s heel. However, you might face some issues in doing so if you have thick leather boots. If you cannot do so, buy a heel grip and utilize the adhesive side to join it with your boot.

Method 7: Use Alcohol and Water

This method requires your utmost attention as you will be working with isopropyl alcohol. Along with that, you will need a sprayer and water. If you don’t know from where you can get the isopropyl alcohol, the answer is simple from a pharmacy.

Before you follow the below-mentioned steps to shrink your leather boots, keep in mind this technique will be the last resort for you.

This is because alcohol can wreak havoc on your soft leather boots, and if the mixture is not proper, it will ruin your shoes in no time. Anyway, here is the complete process for you:

Step 1: Take 25% of alcohol, mix it with 75% water in a sprayer, and mix it up.

Step 2: Now, spray the mixture on the leather upper until it gets completely wet. Next, you need to wear your leather boots or add a shoe tree to keep them in their original shape.

Step 3: Next, wait for the shoes to get dried. You can also put them outside but not in direct sunshine. Lastly, like the previous method, apply an oil-rich conditioner to bring back the original leather shine and look.

Can Leather Boots Shrink Overtime?

Leather boots can get shrink over time when exposed to the following environmental factors:

Leather boots can shrink in cold weather. However, they will not shrink too much in the cold winter, but one thing is for sure, the stretching process of leather shoes will stop.

Direct heat or exposure can make the leather boots stiff over time and with usage. On the other hand, too much or direct exposure to severe heat can cause the leather to be brittle, and you will feel that your leather shoes are shrinking.

Excessive washing without using conditioner can shrink leather boots. As you know, certain fabrics and materials shrink after washing, and leather also comes under the same category if you don’t treat it with a conditioner.

Should proper fitting boots be your first choice? 

Yes, to feel comfortable fit, boots should be your first choice. This straightforward phrase answers this question. But, if you still want an explanation, let me elaborate.

For example, some boots are designed to protect your toes and feet from various hazards at your workplace. Similarly, running shoes or boots are designed to give you comfortable walking or running shoes.

Of course, every type of shoe has different purposes, but the incorrect fitment is an open invitation to injuries and can lead to worse conditions such as sore feet, blisters, foot cramps, and blackened toenails. Hence your boots should fit correctly and comfortably.

Few Alternate methods for How To Shrink Leather Boots

After applying the above methods, if the problem is not solved or you still have questions like, can you shrink leather boots or shrink my leather boots?. Don’t worry; we have some more methods that will surely help you. So, follow what we say below.

1. Stuffing Tissue papers

Just stuff some tissue papers or newspapers into your boots to shrink them. This is perfect if your boots are an extra-long pair or extend to your toes.

Just stuff your boots with tissue papers, and your shoes will not slip, or your feet will not slide out of the shoe.

2. Thick Socks

If your shoes are too stretchy, wearing thick socks can solve the problem. You can also use multiple socks in the winter months. However, this method is only effective if your shoes are a little bit stretchy.

3. Take help from Cobbler

Right, if you are fed up with applying all these methods, take an expert’s opinion from a cobbler. Cobber knows how to play with the shoes and what to do to make them fit as per your feet.

But ensure that you seek help from the right one. If you can find an experienced cobbler, they will make things fit and acceptable for you.

We explain the above-listed method in infographics for easy understanding.

how to shrink leather shoes

Precautions When Shrinking Leather Shoes

Hope now you get an answer to the question of how to shrink leather shoes?. So in this section, you will get what things should do or what not?.

We want your leather shoes to fit fine and keep you comfortable, not worse. Hence when applying any shrinking method, take these precautions.

  • Avoid direct exposure to your leather shoes or keep them in sun heat for a long time as this will damage the shoes.
  • Always use soft sponges or soft fabric when washing, cleaning, or using the methods mentioned above.
  • If using the vinegar method, dilute the vinegar with plain water to prevent stripping of the wax from the shoes.

Bottom Line

Now that you know and understand how to shrink leather boots, there is no need to worry about discomfort when using your shoes. Now you can use your stretchy or loose leather shoes comfortably for your daily activities with utmost convenience.

Time to wish you and your leather shoes the best of luck. As mentioned earlier, all methods will work effectively as long as you take the necessary precautions and carefully follow the steps.

Please, feel free to share your experiences in the comment box below and let us know how these shrinking methods worked for you.


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