How to Make Shoes Soft

Updated April 17, 2017

A new pair of shoes right out of the box may feel rigid on your foot, and breaking them in through a full day's wear can be a painful process. Even if purchased in your size, new leather can feel stiff and cause the same problems, such as rubbing and chaffing, as an ill-fitting shoe. It is possible, however, to soften the leather and allow it to better mould to the shape of your foot before you wear them.

Swipe the exterior with saddle soap or apply a leather conditioner with the cloth. Always test first on an inside area of your shoe to make sure it dries with no discolouration.

Gently use your fingers to stretch any specific area that needs it. As shoes dry, repeat stretching. Alternatively you can wear the shoes for a couple hours as they dry to get a more custom fit.

You may have to repeat this process over several days to get the proper amount of stretch. Always remember to use a leather conditioner before attempting to stretch since leather that's not properly moisturised can crack with continued stretching.

Maintain a regular regimen of conditioning to keep shoes moisturised and in good condition.


Don't use stretching techniques that employ extreme heat or cold since they can damage the leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Saddle soap or a leather conditioner
  • Soft cloth
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Misty Witenberg has been a magazine and freelance writer (including "Shape," "Fit Pregnancy," "Natural Health" and "Mom & Baby") since 2004. Her experience is in fashion, beauty, travel, fitness and culture writing.