How To Shrink Leather Boots? Ultimate Guide To Doing It Conveniently

The best method to shrink boots is fairly simple. You just go to Wayne Szalinki’s house and ask if you can borrow his shrink ray. Be very careful not to shrink your boots to the point that you need a magnifying lens to find them. If you made them a little too small, just reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. (All shrink rays will have a reverse switch.)

The only plausible flaw in this plan is that Wayne Szalinski is a fictional character from the film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and shrink rays are not scientifically possible due to the square-cube law. On the plus side, that’s also why Earth will never be overrun by giant insects either.

So, does that mean if your boots are too big, you’re stuck with them? Not necessarily. Some natural materials can molecularly contract, making them a little smaller in mass. (The weight will always be the same, though.) There are also other things you can do to give your boot a tighter fit. So, if you got sent the wrong size boot or if you have one foot larger than the other, here’s something more convenient than going through returns or buying two pairs of boots.

shrink leather boots

How To Shrink Leather Boots

Due to the fact that leather is a natural material (much like cotton denim), it can be influenced by the use of such external manipulators as extremes in temperature or even just a firm yet gentle stretching. Keep in mind that while leather naturally shrinks when exposed to heat, this can cause other problems. It can make the leather brittle, developing cracks and wrinkles. Imagine crushing a soda can.

Yes, the can is now shorter, but the sides are no longer smooth. Heat can also melt glue. This is why you should use only warm water and not expose your boots to extreme sunlight or space heaters speed up the drying process. If you use a hair drier, use minimum heat and keep it at least six inches away from the leather, constantly moving it. Microwaving is not at all recommended.

  • Step One: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water. A bathtub will do. A large bucket, washbasin or kiddie pool will also serve the purpose. Adding rubbing alcohol to the water may speed up the drying process.
  • Step Two: Submerge the boots. The boots must be completely submerged in water. Since water can damage leather, you may want to take some necessary maintenance steps after finishing his process. That way, you’ll be able to keep them looking immaculate.
  • Step Three: Let the boots soak. Allow the boots to soak for a good sixty minutes. This should ensure that your boots are good and thoroughly saturated.
  • Step Four: Soak your socks. Take a pair of well-fitting socks and soak them thoroughly. Some people claim soaking them in vinegar works best.
  • Step Five: Put on the wet boots and socks. Pull the wet socks over your feet. Then, put the wet boots on over that. This may take some wiggling, but it can be done.
  • Step Six: Wear them until they dry out. It could take the better part of the day to do this, but just wear the wet socks and boots until the socks are dry. As the leather dries, it will conform to the shape of your foot. Keep in mind that shrinking leather is a method of torture used in some POW camps, so put the socks on to keep your feet safe.
  • Step Seven: Apply conditioner. This should fix any surface damage caused by shrinking. Allow it to dry naturally.

Other Methods To Think About

In Medieval Europe, there was a torture device called the Spanish Boot. Generally, it was a pair of iron wedges that would slowly crush the foot as a crank was turned. Victor Hugo mentioned it in his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame when a confession of murdering a man who was still alive is tortured out of Esmeralda.

There is probably a good reason that Disney chose not to add that scene in their take on the story. There was another form of torture also called the Spanish Boot that involved boots made of spongy leather, boiling water and fire. With this in mind, you either want to be very careful in following the directions listed above or perhaps seek out another method.

If the leather on the boots is thin enough, you might want to consider sewing an elastic band on the inside of the heel. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you may want to try this method of alteration.

  • Step One: Snip out a piece of an elastic band that has enough thickness to make a difference. You can buy something like this in most crafts or sewing shops.
  • Step Two: Keep the patch excessive. This will ease the stitching process plus the excessive part can be snipped later by using scissors.
  • Step Three: Take a safety pin or hairpin and use it to pin the elastic band. This will keep the band in line with the heel area.
  • Step Four: With a leatherworking needle and a thick thread, sew the piece with the boots. It is a good idea to choose a curved needle because it makes the process simpler. Do not forget to remove the clipping pins.

Stuffing the boots may help. Tissues will absorb moisture quickly. The newspaper is a bit stiff. Cloth may work if you can find something thin enough. Sometimes all you need is a thick pair of socks. In winter conditions you may want to try wearing two pairs of socks. Wool socks are particularly thick. Go for something that will fill up that extra room but is comfortable.

Try Wearing Inserts

Removable inserts are an option. Custom orthotics are the best for heel counter support. If you need to fill up that extra space in the toe area you can fill them with foot cushions. When you are applying them, all you have to do is peel off the protective paper off the back of the pillows and put them where your toes usually sit.

If your shoes constantly slip out or they don’t fit snugly enough between your instep and the top of your shoe, then here is a remedy that might work. Buy another insole- a good thick one- for the same shoe size. Place it over the one already in your shoe then try them on. Try walking around to see if the fit is any better. This way is preferable as the extra insole is not viewable from outside.

Cork inserts can be cut to a custom shape and size. Cork can mold to the shape of your foot, creating healthy support for your feet. It is not only lightweight and flexible but provides shock absorption. This material also prevents moisture build-up while allowing your feet to breathe. This will make your feet less smelly. This could be one of the more comfortable methods of filling the space in your boots.

Why You Should Wear Boots That Fit

For starters, a boot that fits just feels more comfortable. While buying boots online has become more popular in recent years, you should perhaps only do that if this is a brand and style you are so familiar with you are confident that the size you order will fit perfectly. If you want to try a new brand or style, it is recommended that you go to a brick-and-mortar store to try them on first.

Many brick-and-mortar stores will try to give you the best of both worlds. If they don’t have a style or size that you want at the moment, they can make an online order for you. Home delivery may cost a little extra, so it may be better to pick them up when they’re delivered to the store. The salesperson may try to up sale (that’s just their job) and you may turn it down or perhaps those inserts are a good idea after all.

Shoes are for so much more than simply protecting your feet. Not only do they cushion the foot, but the correct shoe size will also aid in supporting the alignment of your foot as it touches the ground. Wearing the correct shoe size is essential for even the mundane act of walking comfortably. It is thus crucial to know methods for shrinking leather shoes that are too big in the event that you get the wrong fit.

Boots, particularly work boots, protect your feet from injury. However, ill-fitting boots can cause more injury than they prevent. Improper shoe size may lead to injuries of the foot and ankle. Foot cramps and blackened or cracked toenails are examples of what can happen if one constantly wears poorly fitting shoes. It can even exacerbate any pre-existing health conditions.

Many people suffer from smelly feet never realizing that the wrong shoe size is what’s contributing to the problem. Improper foot hygiene may cause even more aggravated circumstances. Well-fitting shoe aids in maintaining a good posture and proper balance.

It is easier to find your balance in shoes that fit well and help you maintain an upright position. Good posture leads to better overall health. An off-balance posture leads to fatigue and muscle weakness. And really, it just looks better. Wear shoes that fit right, and you might be crowned the King (or Queen) of Posture!

How to Pick the Right Shoe Size

Contrary to stereotypes, a woman might actually have an easier time getting shoes than a man. While a woman might be fussy over styles and colors, chances are she’s worn the same shoe size since junior high. A man might be in his late twenties before his feet reach a final size.

In later years, particularly if he has a profession that requires a lot of standing or walking, his feet may stretch out to a half or even full size larger. Men with particularly large feet may have trouble finding anything that fits. So, how do you get a fit without having a fit? Chances are good that you are suffering through all this trouble due to the simple fact that you picked the wrong shoe size.

While it’s true that it may have fit perfectly when you tried it on at the store, it may seemingly become bigger just moments later. New shoes tend to stretch easily. It is necessary to not only know the way to shrink too big leather shoes but also how to find the right shoe size to start with. Keep these tips in mind when you are shopping for the correct shoe size.

Trace your feet:

Remember tracing your hand to draw a turkey in Kindergarten? Well, now you can do the same with your feet, wing, beak, and feet optional. Bring this tracing with you when you go shoe shopping and put the shoe above it. If the shoe looks narrower or broader, then it very likely won’t fit. You may want to trace both feet, just in case one is larger than the other.

As feet have a tendency to change with age, it is vital that you have both of your feet measured when you are purchasing shoes. In some instances, one foot will look a bit bigger than the other foot. Opt for the size for the bigger foot under this instance. It’s easier to make a big boot fit a small foot than to make a small boot fit a big foot.

Shop in the late afternoon:

As your feet tend to expand as you walk a lot during the day, the afternoon is the best time to go shoe shopping. Do it after work or running a few errands or doing other shopping. Maybe take a power walk around the mall first. Likewise, if you are purchasing work-out shoes you may want to measure your feet right after working out.

Do not change your socks:

Wear the same socks you will be wearing every when you go shoe shopping. This will ensure an accurate fit. Maybe wear clean ones with no holes. For hygienic purposes, many stores may ask you to put a nylon stocking over your foot before trying the shoe on.

Physically try putting on both shoes:

When shopping for shoes, looking at the shoe size is never enough. Wear both of the boots and walk around a few steps to gauge how comfortable they feel. Most shoe stores have floor level mirrors so you can have a good look at how they fit.

The correct shoe size should allow for some space where the toes can wiggle and move about freely. Sizes may at times be different so trying them out allows you a more precise judgment. Also, the world traveler may want to keep in mind that shoe sizes may vary from one country to another.

For instance, a man’s 14 wide is a 31 and a half in Mexico and a 48 and a half throughout much of Europe. A woman’s size seven is a size five and a half in the United Kingdom. Different brands may have different ideas on what sizes are as well.

Consider your foot width:

Most shoes come with a width size. Check the width of your foot from the tracing you against a sizing table. Many shoe stores provide sizing tables and a few offers all tables for other different countries. This will likely be the big cities with a high immigrant or tourist population. Very often, people do not take into account their foot’s width and are saddled with shoes that are the wrong size entirely.

How to Keep Your Boots From Stretching Out in the First Place

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What this American Founding Father was trying to say was that the best way to solve a problem was to keep from having that problem to start with.

If your boots don’t stretch out, you will never have to worry about getting them to shrink back to a proper size. Here are some simple care and maintenance tips to ensure that your boots always fit properly.

  • Polish. Every shoe material needs regular polishing to keep it properly moisturized. When neglected, leather tends to become excessively dry and hard leading to cracks.
  • Condition leather shoes with a cream conditioner. Even though this will not make your shoes shiny, conditioning prevents cracking in leather shoes. Always apply cream conditioners sparsely. It is recommended that you use only a pea-sized drop for each shoe. When applied excessively, conditioning creams can block the pores of the leather. This severely limits breathability.
  • Waterproof. In excessive amounts, water has a horrible effect on the leather material. Waterproofing or even just waxing works to make a coating that seals extra moisture out.
  • Wash them carefully. Keep in mind not to use a brush that has stiff bristles to prevent scratching of the material. Another alternative is to clean your shoes using a damp piece of cloth.
  • Air-dry. Drying your shoes in the air is the best choice compared to blow-drying. Blow-drying is a fast method of removing excess moisture. However, if this is done too often it can lead to cracking and damaging the leather material. If you must use a blow dryer, always set it at a medium level setting. Another efficient (not to mention energy saving) method of drying wet shoes is to stuff them with pieces of newspaper or dry fabric. Magazine pages tend to be a bit too slick to absorb well. Notebook paper is middling. Dry newsprint paper, the older the better, is best for this job.
  • Always wear your socks with leather shoes. Wearing socks keeps the leather from being damaged by your sweat, which can easily wear it out. This is a common mistake among shoe aficionados. What’s more, always let your shoes have plenty of time to dry thoroughly before you wear them the next time. Leather requires at least one day to dry off from absorbing natural perspiration after being used heavily. Give your leather time to recover so that you can have them for a very long time.
  • Change shoes regularly. It is not healthy for you or the shoes to wearing the same pair consecutively. If you must re-wear the same shoe do not do this more than three times consecutively to allow for natural aeration.
  • Replace your shoes. Eventually, even if they are very well cared for, shoes will inevitably wear out. The correct period to get a replacement for your boots is after at the most two years. This could depend on the brand, some being harder than others. If you have bought leather shoes of high quality, the leather may last a good long while if you have taken proper care of the shoe. Consider the possibility of resoling them in order to stretch out its lifespan.


Always do a decent amount of research before you buy a pair of shoes. This can mean going online or trying the shoes on in a brick-and-mortar store. Circumstances may lead to you having too big boots such as feet that are different sizes, having to make do with hand-me-downs until you can buy new ones that fit or just not wanting to deal with the returns department. Remember to read the above instructions all the way through before following them and follow them precisely. This way, you can ensure boots that have the correct fit.



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