Leather is an excellent choice when it comes to footwear selection. Not only are they always in style, but they also deliver comfort, protection, and ventilation.
But all good things come at a price. Leather shoes might feel hard on the skin in the initial usage. They can feel stiff and coarse once they are out of their boxes. Such a material can be exhausting and uncomfortable to wear.
However, leather can be softened up if the right methods are used. The following techniques can help you walk in your favourite leather shoes without any pain or discomfort.
How To Soften Leather Shoes Without Ruining Them
Slowly Start Wearing Them
Imagine the scenario: You have recently bought a pair of classic leather shoes, and you are falling for the temptation of wearing them every day. Well, you need to fight that feeling.
The most basic and the easiest way to soften your leather boots is to wear them sparingly. Do not wear them for a longer time for dinner parties or work meetings.
You can try wearing them while walking around the house for a few minutes, dumping the garbage outside, or getting the groceries from the car.
Although this might feel awkward initially, it is an essential step as it helps get the leather stretched out but not for longer internals. Moreover, you can prevent them from getting dirty.
If it is comfortable for you, try wearing shoes with some thick socks. It will help in fastening the process.
Wear them Indoors
Wearing your shoes inside might or might not be allowed in your house, but such a simple trick can go a long way in making leather shoes comfortable.
As mentioned earlier, leather boots can be rough to wear initially. They might feel distressing on the feet. Most of the time, this is because it requires some breaking-in time.
So, before you start wearing your fancy boots outdoors, wear them around your house. This will allow the material to stretch according to the contours of your feet. If the shoes are tight, they will loosen up with such usage.
Besides stretching them out, you can also get used to the feel of leather shoes. Furthermore, it will reduce the chances of accidental falls or other negative consequences.
Use a Hairdryer
Sometimes, the most basic appliances lying around in your house can work in wondrous ways. Heat is known to make the materials malleable. The same results are seen in leather shoes.
Wear your leather shoes. You can also wear thick socks for faster and better results.
Aim the hairdryer towards the shoe and let it blow for twenty-thirty seconds. Ensure that the hairdryer is at a safe distance to avoid burning yourself.
Walk regularly in your shoes for a few minutes till they cool down. You might feel that the leather has become flexible. If not, repeat the process.
Note: Do not expose leather to heat for a more extended period. It might cause the formation of cracks on it.
Oiling your shoes is one of the best techniques in softening leather shoes. But before using it, you must get your shoes cleaned.
Here is what you will need:
- Clean cloth
- Any type of oil like coconut oil, mink oil, etc.
- Damp cloth
Use a damp cotton cloth to clean the shoes thoroughly. Cover all nooks and corners and eliminate any traces of dirt and dust. After cleaning it, wipe it down with a dry cloth to get rid of the moisture.
After the shoes are entirely dried up, you can start oiling them.
You can use any type of oil like coconut mink or food oil. Specific leather oils are also available in the market. But before you buy such oils, ensure that it does not contain harmful and toxic particles like castor oil or mineral oil. Such additions can ruin the leather.
Pour the required oil into a container to prevent any wastage. Use a piece of clean cloth and dip it in the oil. Make sure it does not drip directly onto the shoes.
Dab the cloth lightly on the shoes’ surface and rub it in circular motions. Do not change the direction midway.
The leather might take some time to absorb the oil, so be patient. Once it has been soaked in and the shoes are dry, apply the second coat. Keep enough interval between two applications.
Let the shoes dry, and do not wear them if they feel oily and greasy. After everything is completed, try them on. If they do not feel soft, repeat the process.
Note: Oils can have a side-effect on leather as they can darken the fabric. To avoid this, try it on a small patch before lathering the entire shoe with the oil.
Rubbing Alcohol and Vaseline
Rubbing alcohol is known for its disinfecting properties, but it can also be used to soften leather boots.
Pour the rubbing alcohol into a container. Use a cotton ball and dab and rub the alcohol to the entirety of the shoes. You can remove the laces to cover the tip as well as the tongue of the boots.
You can also rub it in the shoes’ interiors. After the entire application, let it sit dry for a couple of hours.
If you feel that the shoes haven’t softened up according to your standards, you can try rubbing some vaseline over them.
Use a brush or a toothbrush and apply the vaseline to all the significant parts of the shoes. Keep it to the minimum, and do not overdo it.
Once it has been applied, let it sit for thirty minutes. Try it on after that.
If you do not feel the softness, repeat the process.
The main highlight or benefit of using vaseline is that it does not cause any discolouration to the material.
Home remedies might not work the entire time. As some materials are stubborn or stiff, you have to rely on some professional tools.
A shoe stretcher can help you soften the leather and loosening it up. It has been a revolutionary product that is relatively easy to use.
Place the shoe stretcher in the shoe, especially near the right place. Leave it overnight and let it do its job.
If the shoes are still hard, repeat the process.
Stretch with a Spoon
This might sound unconventional, but a spoon can help you soften up your boots by making the fabric softer.
Take a spoon and gently lever and move it in all the tight regions of the shoes. This can allow you to give your boots the required stretch.
Screwed Up Newspaper
Do you have some old newspapers lying around? Utilize them in stretching your leather boots.
Crumble the paper into balls by adding little water. Place them in your boots and leave them overnight or for a day.
Try it out, and you must find your boots to be softened.
Note: Do not soak the paper entirely, as the water will ruin the shoes’ interiors.
Lastly, stretching spray can fasten the process of softening your leather boots.
Get a reliable stretching spray and spray it on the shoes’ interior. Quickly wear it after spraying them to allow the material to flex according to your feet.
This alternative gives quick and enhanced results. Moreover, it does not leave any stains behind.
The bottom line
There you have it, the easiest and hassle-free ways to soften your leather shoes. Always remember that not every method will work out for you. As every shoe is made unique according to the manufacturing and brand, you might have to experiment to get the right amount of comfort. Carefully follow the steps to avoid any accidents and get those soft and comfortable shoes that your feet deserve!
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Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.