how to shrink leather boots

How to Shrink Leather Boots – Learning Some Tips that Actually Work

Owning leather boots that have stretched out due to overuse or that are too big can be quite frustrating. It’s mainly because you won’t be able to take advantage of the pair just like how you want them.

The good news is that you can actually deal with the mentioned issues by shrinking them. How to shrink leather boots is not actually difficult to learn. However, damages may occur if you do it incorrectly.

Luckily, this article is now around to guide you all throughout the process.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

  • Spray bottle filled with lukewarm water
  • Source of heat – a blower, for example
  • Thick insoles – should be constructed out of foam or rubber
  • Tissue paper
  • Arch cookie
  • Elastic band
  • Hair or safety pins
  • A thick thread and a curved needle – Both of these make it easier to perform the stitching process.

Step-by-Step Instructions on how to shrink leather boots

Step 1 – Use Water and Heat

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Make sure to do this technique correctly to avoid damaging your leather boots. The first thing you have to do is to get a spray bottle and pour lukewarm water into it. Spray water on loose areas. These include the heel, upper or the area around the toe.

Avoid wetting the entire surface. It should just be enough. The next thing you have to do is to use heat to dry the leather boots. If you want to speed up this process, place the footwear near a source of heat like a fireplace.

You may also place it under the sun. Make sure it’s not too close to your chosen source of heat, though. The goal is to provide just enough warmth, not too much heat. The slower you dry the leather material, the lower its chances of getting wrinkles and cracks.

You may also use a blower. Make sure, however, to set the temperature at the lowest. There should also be enough distance between the boots and the blower. The distance should be around six inches.

Avoid using the blower at just one spot of the leather. Rotate the boots when drying it using the blower to avoid possible damages.

Step 2 – Insert Thick Insoles

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This is a good technique if you noticed a space in between the upper part of your foot and the leather material. In this case, the thick insole works efficiently in getting rid of or shortening the gap.

A thick insole created out of foam or rubber is extremely useful in this step. You can purchase this at a local store. You can also check your old pair of boots and find out if you can use its insoles.

If your boots come with a glued insole, however, avoid plucking it as it might only lead to damage. You may use a new insole on top as an alternative. In this case, it would be best to choose the less thick insole.

Step 3 – Use Tissue Paper

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Tissue paper is also an alternative solution when it comes to shrinking leather boots. All you have to do is to stuff the toe portion with tissue paper. This is helpful if it’s too big on the toe.

A small amount of tissue paper can already help in preventing the boots from slipping. As an alternative, you may also use newspaper or cloth. Make sure, however, to test if it is comfortable enough for you by walking around your home for at least one hour.

Step 4 – Integrate an Arch Cookie

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Adding a ¾ length arch support can also help. Arch cookie actually refers to an arch in the form of letter D then glued into the arch area of the footwear.

This is a huge help in shrinking leather boots as it works in tightening the instep, thereby ensuring that your foot does not slide. The arch support performs the same function.

However, note that it usually takes more space as it is an arch, which also requires ¾-length insoles. Because it does not go to the full-length of the leather boots, you can expect the support to tighten your toes.

Step 5 – Sew a Band on the Heel

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Choose an elastic band for this. This is an ideal technique for thin leather boots. The first thing you should do is to purchase an elastic band from a sewing shop or craft store.

Cut one piece of it. The thickness should just be enough to make a difference. Retain the excessive patch. This makes the process of stitching easier plus you can also cut it out later with a scissor.

Get a hair or safety pin. This should secure the band and ensure that it stays aligned into the heel of the boots. You can then use a thick thread and a curved needle to sew it into the boots. Remove the pins right after.


Did you enjoy the tutorial? The steps mentioned in this article are all useful in ensuring that you’ll have an easier time shrinking your leather boots for maximum comfort.

If you love the information stated in this article, feel free to post your opinion in the comment section or share it with your friends and loved ones.

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