So you recently bought a gorgeous new pair of leather boots only to discover they are a tad too loose on your feet. This may be a little distressing, but no need to worry. You can resolve this issue with some simple hacks and tips. While sometimes it is best to simply return the boots for better fitting ones, this handy guide on how to shrink leather boots is an excellent alternative.
How to Ascertain if You Require Tighter Boots
Do your boots feel slack and uncomfortable when you walk in them? If you answered yes, that is a good sign that they need tightening. Ill-fitting boots leave lots of room around the toes and heel. Generally, if you are able to fit two or more fingers between the rear of your boot and the back of your ankle, your boots are too large. Some heel slippage is acceptable, but not excessive, as this may lead to chafing and blisters.
Remember that it is always best to get proper fitting shoes rather than attempting to alter an oversized one. This is because the shrinking process may lead to irreversible changes or ruin the appearance of your boots.
Dos & Don’ts
See also: How to Tell If Boots are Too Big
Top Methods to Shrink Leather Boots
Method 1: Use Water
Materials you will need
- A large bucket or washbasin
- A pair of socks
- Fill the bucket or washbasin with water
- Place your boots in the water ensuring that they are completely underwater. Let the boots soak for approximately one hour. The boots may not shrink evenly if they are not adequately soaked
- Wear the pair of socks after which you submerge your feet within the water. The wet socks will help ensure even shrinking of the boots
- Take the boots out of the water and wear them over your socks
- Keep wearing the wet socks and boots until they dry out. This will take approximately 8 hours.
- Once the boots are dry, take them off after which you rub a generous amount of leather conditioner on the boots. Applying the conditioner will help replenish the natural oils that were lost during the shrinking process.
See also: How to Stretch Work Boots
Method 2: Use a Hairdryer
Materials you will need:
- A hairdryer
- Shoe tree
- Dunk your leather boots in a bucket or tub of water
- Once the boots have absorbed water, take them out and wear them. You can also utilize a shoe tree
- Set the hairdryer to low or medium heat and switch it on to start the drying process. Remember, if the dryer runs at its usual heated temperature, it may cause your leather boots to crack, warp, or sag.
- Holding the hairdryer approximately 6 inches away from the wet boots, pass over each boot gradually and evenly until they dry out completely. If you hold the hairdryer too close to your boots, you risk ruining the leather.
- After your boots have dried, treat them using an oil-rich conditioner. This will help restore the leather’s natural oils as well as preserve its original oil.
See also: How to Dry Work Boots
Method 3: Use an Elastic Band
Materials you will need:
- A flexible strip
- A sewing needle (thick one)
- A heel grip if your boots are very thick
- Grab the flexible strip and place it on the shoe’s heel ensuring it is optimally located
- Thread the needle and use it to sew the strip’s edges through the boot’s edges. If your boot has very thick leather, this will almost certainly be impossible. If your leather boots are very thick, take the heel grip and attach it to the inside of your boot using the adhesive side.
Method 4: Use Thick Socks and Insoles
What you will need:
- A pair of thick wool socks
- A pair of thick insoles
- Wear thick socks and then put on the boots. If the boots still feel loose after this, wear another pair of thick socks.
- If thick socks fail to resolve the problem, try adding a shoe insole or insert. Custom orthotics are ideal for this purpose as they nicely fill up the superfluous room to deliver the fit and support you require
- If there is excessive space between the tip of the boots and your toes, you can stuff the toe box using some crumpled-up newspaper.