How to Make Shoes Soft

Written by misty witenberg
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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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Saddle soap or a leather conditioner
  • Soft cloth

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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

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

Tips and warnings

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

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