How to Shrink Leather Boots

How to Shrink Leather Boots

Leather boots are the best investment you can make for your shoe collection. Leather is a stylish material that never goes out of fashion and is durable as well.

There is nothing better than the feeling of wearing your new pair of premium quality leather boots for the first time and showing them off to your friends. At the same time, there is nothing worse than realizing that the boots you have bought are slightly big for your feet.

Maybe, you ordered the boots online or did not get the chance to try them on at the store, which is why you’ve ended up with the incorrect size. Whatever the reason may be, the fact of the matter is that the boots will not fit you properly. If you plan to wear them for long periods, you will feel very uncomfortable.

Why You Should Wear Boots That Fit

The most apparent reason why you should wear perfectly fitting boots is that they are going to be more comfortable. Buying boots online is becoming increasingly common nowadays. You should only buy boots online if you are familiar with the brand and the style of the boots you want to order so that you can be confident that the size will fit you.

Wearing the right fitting boots is very important. After all, these shoes are more than merely protecting your feet. They do not just offer to cushion for your feet, but the right size also helps support your feet as they touch the ground. As a result, you will be able to walk with ease.

Work boots are typically made of leather. They are designed to protect your feet from injury in strenuous work environments. Wearing the incorrect size for long periods can mess with your ability to balance yourself, and lead to a myriad of foot and ankle injuries.

If you continue to wear the wrong-sized shoes, it can even worsen your existing health conditions. There is no doubt about the fact that you need to find shoes that fit well and help you maintain a proper stance. A good posture is crucial for your overall health.

What to do if Your Boots are too Big

The first thing we recommend, and probably the first thing you will think of is to get a replacement, so you can get the right size. If the seller is accommodating enough to provide you with an alternative in the right size, that is the ideal solution. Then again, there is the odd chance that a replacement is not an option. What if the seller does not entertain claims like this?

Being stuck with the wrong-sized boots can be heartbreaking. After all, leather boots are costly. Should you just dump the shoes or give them to someone else whom they will fit better? We say do neither.

The beauty of leather boots is that if the size is slightly larger than the ideal fit, you can shrink them to the perfect size.

No Reason to Despair

Shrinking your leather boots may seem like a bit of an odd idea, but it is possible, and you can get them down to the size you need. Some materials can contract naturally, making objects made using the material slightly smaller. Leather is one of those natural materials that can contract. While the weight of your boots will remain the same, you can make them smaller and a bit tighter so that they can fit you.

How to Shrink Leather Boots

One of the greatest things about leather being a natural material is that external conditions can affect it, much like cotton denim. You can use external manipulators like extreme temperatures or gentle stretching to change leather.

There are multiple ways you can make do with shoes that are slightly bigger so that they fit better. You can shrink them just enough to make them hug your feet in a snug fit.

Ideally, people try not to expose their leather boots to high temperatures because exposure to extreme heat can damage leather. Leather contracts due to heat, but it also becomes brittle and starts to wrinkle and develop cracks.

Using extreme heat is not an option because it can also melt the glue in the bindings of the shoe, destroying its structural integrity. Luckily, there is a way to use heat to contract your leather shoes without causing damage.

Things You Will Need

  • Leather Boots
  • Lukewarm Water
  • Well-Fitting Socks
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Hair Dryer
  • A lot of Patience

Before we get started with the step-by-step instructions, it is essential to emphasize that you should not use extreme heat. No space heaters, direct sunlight, or heat guns. Your hair dryer at a minimum setting will do.

Step 1: Fill up a bucket

The first step is to take a bucket and fill it up with lukewarm water. The bucket should be tall enough so that the entire boots can fit in there. A large bucket or even your bathtub can do. Add a little bit of rubbing alcohol to the water so that it can speed up the drying process.

Step2: Submerge the boots

The next step is to submerge your boots in the lukewarm water. Yes, we know that water damages leather, but this is the safest way to expose your boots to a consistently high temperature.

Step 3: Let them soak

Allow your boots to soak in the lukewarm water for at least an hour. This will make sure that the shoes are able to absorb the warm water and become saturated completely.

Step 4: Soak your socks

Take the best fitting pair of socks you own and leave them in lukewarm water to soak thoroughly.

Step 5: Put them on

The socks will not take very long to soak up the warm water. Once you have allowed the boots soak in warm water for an hour, pull on the wet socks on your feet and then put the wet boots on over that. This is not going to be particularly pleasant, and you might have to struggle with putting them on, but it is not impossible.

Step 6: Let them dry out

This is where the hairdryer and a lot of patience come in. You need to wear the wet boots and socks until they dry out. It can take up a considerable portion of the day. You have already added rubbing alcohol to the water to speed up the drying process. Using the hairdryer at minimum heat and at least 6 inches away with constant movement, you can speed up the drying process further.

Step 7: Apply conditioner

After the boots dry out completely, you should take them off and then apply a leather conditioner. This will repair any surface damage caused by shrinking and by the water. Allow the conditioner to dry naturally.

Things to Note

  • As the leather dries, the leather shrinks due to the warm water. Wearing the boots on your feet while the leather dries allows the shrinking leather to mold to the shape of your foot.
  • Remember that wet socks are essential because they will protect your feet from the shrinking leather.
  • Keeping your feet wet for prolonged periods can damage your skin. Be sure to remove the boots as soon as the socks are dry and use the hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
  • Use the hairdryer in constant motion at a 6-inch distance from your boots, so it helps the boots dry faster without damaging the leather.

Alternative Methods to Fit into Larger Leather Boots

Shrinking your boots to make them conform to the shape of your foot is perhaps the ideal way to make them a more comfortable fit for your feet. We do understand that a lot of people might not be comfortable using a method that will keep their feet wet for hours as the tough leather tightens around their feet.

It is essential to be careful and follow the instructions correctly so you can shrink the boots to the right fit. There are other methods to make your boots fit you better, and they do not involve soaking the leather or your feet.

Sewing an Elastic Band on the Boot Heel

This is a straightforward way to get your leather boots to fit your feet better. Ideally, it works well if you have boots made of thin leather. You should use this method if you are handy with a needle and thread. You need only a few things to make this work:

  • Leather boots made of thin leather
  • Curved sewing pin and thick thread
  • A small patch of elastic band
  • Safety pins
  • A pair of scissors

Step 1: Find a thick elastic band

Take a thick elastic band that can make a difference when you insert it into the heel counter of the shoe (the rear inner section where your heel rests in the boot). You can buy one of these easily from a craft shop.

Step 2: Cut the elastic band

Since you will be cutting a section of the elastic and attaching it inside the shoe’s heel counter, you need to cut out a piece of the band you can fit in there. Keep the patch a little larger than you will need. This makes the process of stitching easier.

Step 3: Anchor elastic band in place

When you have the cutout piece of the elastic band, insert it into the heel counter where you will need it. Use a couple of hairpins to hold the elastic band in place to align it with the heel area.

Step 4: Stitch it up

Using a thick thread and curved leatherworking needle, sew the piece with the boots. The curved needle is suitable because it makes it easier to puncture the leather and sew the patch.

Step 5: Cut the extra elastic and remove the pins

Once the elastic band is attached in the heel counter, remove the pins you inserted to hold the elastic band in place and cut out the excess elastic band from the sides of the stitching.

Wearing Inserts

If you do not like to get your feet wet, and you do not have a knack for the art of stitching, there is still a saving grace for your favorite pair of boots that won’t fit your feet. You can simply try wearing inserts.

When the size of the boots is slightly larger, using inserts is a simple way to make them fit. Custom orthotics are the best inserts that can fit into the shoe, fill up the extra space, and provide you with the supportive fit you need.

Buy a thick shoe insert that is the same size as the shoe you have and insert it over the inner sole already in there. Sometimes, that is all you need to do to make your slightly larger boots fit your feet well.

Final Thoughts

When buying a pair of shoes, it pays off to do a decent amount of research on them. It is easier to go to a physical shoe store to buy your boots since you can try out different sizes. Buying leather boots online poses a problem since you cannot try different sizes before ordering them. Adding another step to your research can eliminate that problem.

Make sure that you read online reviews of people who already use those shoes. Be on the lookout for anything related to whether the size runs true with standard shoes. If the size runs too small or too large, you might be better off ordering a size larger or smaller, based on the reviews.

Remember to read the instructions all the way before you follow them and follow them to the letter. This way, you can be sure that your new boots will have the perfect fit.