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How do you stretch suede shoes?

Let's face it one of the worst feelings when it comes to buying shoes is purchasing a pair of beautiful suede boots just to discover that it is too small. Seriously, it’s the worst. They look good but they crush those little piggies.

Have you ever wondered how you could stretch suede shoes? Well its possible, not only possible it can be very affordable to do it too. Here are some hacks that could help you get those boots up a size.

What You Need Before You Start Stretching Your Suede Footwear?

The first thing you want to do is get stretch spray, this is a spray that helps to expand the suede so that the leather is not damage. However, make sure that you get shoe spray that is design for specifically for suede. I personally recommend FOOTMATTERS™ or Simple Shine™ they work very well and don’t leave a sticky residue.

Its important that when choosing a shoe stretcher, consider whether you need to stretch out just the foot area or the calf as well in the case of high-top boots.

In most cases these sprays can be applied to both the inside and outside of the shoe. Immediately after applying the shoe spray put on some thick socks and wear the shoes throughout the day. You can help the process by flexing the shoes. Imagine making a fist with your toes.

If the shoes are not stretched enough after a few hours, you can repeat this process.

However, if spraying and wearing the shoes twice does not provide the stretch you need, you will likely need to try using a shoe stretcher. Here is a helpful tip: buy two or you will find yourself waiting more then half a week just to do one pair.

A shoe stretcher is helpful when it comes to moving about a half size up. Before you inserting the shoe stretcher its important that you use some of the shoe spray. This process will help the shoe extend without running the risk of running the leather.

Once you have applied the spray and insert the stretcher begin turning the handle in order to expand it to fill the shoes length. Be careful to not overextend, I recommend stopping at the point where it begins to be a struggle to turn the knob.

For example, After the stretcher is tight, turn it another three to four times in order to put pressure on the suede – you should feel resistance from the shoe as you turn, but should not feel as if you will rip through the shoe. Once set wait about 48 hours.

After you put on the shoe if you find that its still too tight it’s perfectly ok to repeat the process. No matter how tempting it may be at no time should you apply heat to expand it out. Extreme heat or cold can damage the suede, so you should stick to using stretch spray specifically intended for suede leather and shoe stretchers.

Use a Hair Dryer

Okay I know we have some DIY visitors who are itching for an out of the box way to stretch those new suede boots, one way is using a hairdryer. Remember extreme heat can ruin your boots so its import that you are careful with the setting and the application. Too much heat would discolor or dry out the leather, causing cracks. With enough supervision, you can safely use a hairdryer to stretch suede shoes.

How to Use a Hair Dryer to Stretch Suede Shoes

Put about three pairs of socks on your feet or a shoe stretcher.


Turn the dryer on, remember LOW HEAT, and keep the tip of the dryer about half a foot away for your shoes at all time.


Rapidly move the nozzle in different directions while still aiming toward the shoe. Turn off after 30 seconds and inspect the shoe.


Repeat the process as necessary. If you see that the suede is beginning to discolor stop immediately and apply some suede conditioner

Its important that you understand that this method may provide quick results but can revert back to its original size in a week or two especially if they are not worn often or they are worn in cold weather. If you use a hairdryer to stretch your shoes, always pay attention to the leather to avoid damaging the material with heat.

Now I have heard of some that use cold temperatures to expand their shoes, for instance putting shoes in the freezer, I have found that this works temporary but the shoes tend to shrink back and this method causes a lot of stress on the soles and in some shoes it causes them to curl.

Helpful Tips

Avoid Using Shoe Stretchers on Narrow Shoes

The truth of the matter is that some shoes are just designed to be narrow, and so trying to stretch the suede may do more harm than good. One thing you don’t want is to crack the leather or worst tear the sole from the leather.

If you really feel that the shoes are design for narrow feet and you have tried everything you can, it may mean that you are going to just simply cut your loses and move a size up. You could risk stretching the shoes to make them wearable, but if stretching narrow-designed shoes prove fruitless, you could damage your ability to return or sell the shoes. And let’s face it there is noting worst than wasting money by having shoes that just don’t fit.

Rushing it

Remember that old saying “slow and steady wins the race” that applies to here too, especially when it comes to suede. The last thing you want to do is rush the process, this can cause the leather to sperate from the sole, or lead to bulges in the leather, where some areas are stretched more then others.

Stretching too quickly is especially true with using shoe stretchers or even your hands to stretch the leather material. Rushing the stretching process isn’t a good plan, as mistakes happen in an instant but, in some cases, can never be reversed.

Go slow, don’t wear to many socks at first, and set some hours a side to stretch the shoes properly this will ensure lasting results.

Not Using Enough Stretching Spray

Its important that when you use stretching spray that you follow the instruction from the manufacture. Different products have different ways to apply, so make sure that you take the time out to do this.

Suede is made from leather, and leather dries up over time. You need to moisturize it continuously, so it needs even more moisture to make it stretch as opposed to ripping.

Remember that suede will shrink if not worn often so if you are going to take out those blue suede shoes for your Elvis impersonation convention and If you haven’t worn your suede shoes in a while and hope to stretch them again, use lots of shoe stretchers to help the process. It will make the stretching process go faster and reduce the chances you damage your shoes.

Suede shoes are a great addition to an outfit by following these tips you can make sure that your suede boots fit not only the occasion but your feet.

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