Leather shoes that are too tight pinch the feet and may even cause serious problems ranging from blisters to other foot issues, such as bunions or corns. Some types of shoes, if purchased in the wrong size, may be a lost cause. Leather has the ability to stretch up to two or three sizes from the initial size. As long as the wearer proceeds carefully, leather shoes stretch successfully in just one day. It is not necessary to rush the process since some leather requires a few treatments.
Wear the shoes
One easy way to stretch out a pair of leather shoes is to wear them around in an effort to break them in. The key is to wear the shoes around the house for an hour or two at a time. One trick is to put on one or two pairs of socks, preferably wool socks, before putting on the shoes. Doing so increases the space between the foot and the shoe thus stretching the shoe more. Keep the shoes on a shoe rack overnight, or when they are not in use, to ensure that the original shape is maintained over time.
Alternate with stretching tools
Understandably, shoes do not get stretched out quickly simply by wearing them, and the wearer's feet are likely to give out before the shoes stretch adequately. This is where stretching tools come in handy. A shoe stretcher is a useful tool because it is a wooden device that fits into the shoe. By twisting a knob on the back, owners can expand the stretcher and stretch the leather to their liking. This technique works better with length rather than width, however, so use it in concert with wearing the shoes when possible.
Since cold causes water to become larger when it freezes, it is possible to use ice as a tool to stretch leather shoes. Put enough water into a sandwich baggie to fill it from 1/4 to halfway full. Leave some air in the bag to give the water room to expand. Make sure the bag is sealed well, and then put it inside a freezer baggie. This offers another layer of protection in case the first bag tears as the water freezes.
Applying the ice
Take some of the air out of the freezer bag before sealing it so that the bag can fold over to fit inside the shoe. Then, put the shoes in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, take the shoes out of the freezer and let the ice bag thaw enough to remove it safely from the shoe. Repeat the process until you have reached an ideal fit. Be careful to keep the shoes dry during the process so that they do not dry out and crack.
If the ice was not the most effective method, then heat might work better. Put on a pair of wool socks followed by the shoes. Use a hair dryer to apply the highest level heat to the shoes, focusing primarily on the tightest parts of the shoes. High heat is all right to use, as long as the heat does not remain focused on one area for longer than a few seconds. Keep the hair dryer moving, and hold it at least 15 cm away from the surface of the shoes.
As the shoes heat up, the wearer should work their feet and toes to help loosen the leather. Once the shoes are warm and are starting to loosen up, the wearer should keep them on and keep their toes and feet moving until the shoes cool down again. A good idea is to walk around the house wearing the shoes while doing normal tasks. Once the shoes cool, remove the socks, and try the shoes on for size. If they still require additional stretching, repeat the process.
How to buy items to stretch leather shoes on eBay
Sellers on eBay have a variety of different methods to help you stretch your leather shoes. If you have tried a couple of methods already, do not give up. If you need a set of shoe stretchers, simply create a keyword search for that phrase. Some tools are plastic, but others are made of cedar and are a more accurate representation of a foot. Whichever method you prefer, include those terms in the search box found on any eBay page to help narrow down the results further.