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How to shrink loafers

Updated February 21, 2017

If you own a pair of leather loafers that are simply too big, you can fix them by shrinking the leather. Most shoe salesmen advise against getting your leather shoes wet and drying them in the heat. This is because it will result in shrinking your shoes. But you can use this advice to your benefit. Any attempt to shrink loafers should be done slowly because most leather shoes can become easily damaged by water and heat.

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  1. Remove the insoles of the loafer and set them aside.

  2. Spray the loafers with clean water until they are wet but not soaked. Soaking may ruin the leather’s colour and texture.

  3. Set the loafers out in the hot sun to dry. If this is not possible, dry the shoes with a hair dryer on a low setting. As the shoes are drying, try them on several times. If they have shrunk enough, wear the shoes around until they dry completely to help the shoes mould to your feet.

  4. When the loafers are dry, replace the insoles. If the shoes have dried completely and are still not small enough, repeat the process by spraying the shoes wet again. This time however, dry them with your hair dryer in a higher setting or put them in your dryer on low. If you are putting them in your dryer, tie a shoelace to each shoe and close the laces in the door to prevent the shoes from hitting the sides of the machine.

  5. If this works, use leather conditioner to help soften the shoes. Drying and shrinking shoes can be hard on the leather and can make them stiff and cracked.

  6. If the process does not work, take your loafers to a shoe shop. They will be trained in leather working and will be able to tell you if shrinking the loafers is possible and, if so, will be able to perform it without ruining your shoes.

  7. Warning

    Be careful whenever working with leather and avoid working with loafers you could not live without. Performing this type of operation on your loafers may result in damaging them. If you are concerned about this, consult a professional when trying to shrink your shoes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Hair dryer
  • Drying machine (optional)
  • Leather conditioner

About the Author

Kaye Wagner

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.

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