How To Shrink Leather Boots (All You Need To Know)

Are You Shrinking Your Off Size Leather Boots The Right Way? READ ON NOW TO LEARN

It is quite painful that you buy a new pair of footwear and just found them to be a little off the size. It happens to many that they buy the product, out of their excitement, without finding the right fit and end up with a wrong size.

No doubt, the first though would be claiming a replacement but what if that’s not an option. What if the seller doesn’t entertain such claims or you love the model so much that you don’t want to lose it.

What if it’s an old leather footwear that you want to fit your feet in? If it’s the case, will you have to dump your pair or is there a way to shrink the leather boots.

[tcb-script type=”text/javascript”]amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;amzn_assoc_search_bar = “false”;amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “myboots02-20”;amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;amzn_assoc_region = “US”;amzn_assoc_title = “Recommended Products”;amzn_assoc_linkid = “a02cbff63c121afd35a89da3f8c3ed4b”;amzn_assoc_asins = “B003IS3HV0,B00YHQC4MK,B017R737P8,B01IRHV4NO”;[/tcb-script][tcb-script src=”//”][/tcb-script]Table Of ContentsMethod 1: Water And Heat To Shrink Leather BootsMethod 2: Sewing An Elastic Band On boot’s heelMethod 3: Stuff The Boots With Tissue PapersMethod 4: Inserting Thick Insoles

No need to disperse at all as I will explain everything about how to shrink your leather boots. But know some ground realities first. If the pair is loose by only half the point or, sometimes, even up to 1 than your actual size, that’s reasonable difference and they are the right candidate for the shrinking practices. You can’t fit a father’s boot to a child’s foot. Let’s go through the practical tips:

Method 1: Water And Heat To Shrink Leather Boots

The leather has a natural property that it shrinks once it is exposed to the heat. Although it sounds simple it could be a disaster as well. A little longer exposure to the heat and the leather cracks, develops wrinkles and gets brittle. So being extra careful and following the suggestions carefully is the key.

Adding further to it, as per the natural behavior of the leather boots, or better say leather itself, it soaks water. So far it’s good but the leathery fibers starts shrinking as they get dry. Again, if you try speeding up the drying process with sharp heat, the leather cracks and gets damaged.

Although, if not implemented carefully, this water and heat trick could cause more damage to your footwear than the shrinkage yet there is a safe and easy practice to shrink the leather boots using these two elements. Let me explain:

  • Apply The Water The Right Way: Do not be crazy with wetting your pair. It’s less like shrinking the leather boots and more like, literally, trimming the extended parts. Fill a Spray-bottle with lukewarm water and press a few sprays on the loose areas like around the toe, the upper or the heel. No need to make the whole surface wet.As an alternative, in case you can’t arrange a spray bottle, dab your fingers in water and puff the boot surface. Do make sure, you don’t let the water reach the insole or outsole as they are, in most cases, glued with the upper. Water may dilute the glue splitting the sole apart. So be extra careful.
  • Dry The Leather Boots The Right Way: So for now, you need to dry up the leather boots. If you are a lazy person, then I count it as a positive point as nothing could be as better as leaving the pair on its own and dry by itself.But if you love speed, place the pair under sunlight or near to a heating source like fireplace. Make sure you don’t place it too close the fireplace. All you need is to conduct some warmth not some intense heat. The slower the leather dries the lesser are the chances for the wrinkles or cracks to appear.As an alternative, you can use a blower. But do make sure that you keep the temperature set to minimum and maintain an adequate distance between the blower and the pair, minimum 6 inches. Also, do not blow with pointing at a particular spot on the leathery surface. Keep rotating the boots while drying them up with a blower.




Some people advise to put your leather boots in a microwave oven to dry them up. All you need to do is just don’t listen to them as, no matter, how much careful you be, it will damage your boots for sure.

  • Must Apply A Leather Conditioner: So far, you have done a great job for shrinking the boots. But, even if you were following the step in the right manner, still the leather surface lost some shine and moisture. Right after it gets dry, you must give it a shot of a leather conditioner. Make sure you don’t use any heating trick to dry up the conditioner. Let it happen naturally. It won’t take long.

Method 2: Sewing An Elastic Band On boot’s heel

In the nutshell, you will be sewing a small patch of an elastic band at inner-side of the heel lining. It works great for thin leather boots as it’s damn hard sewing the band with a thick & hard leather. Follow it as:

  • Cut a piece of an elastic band with enough thickness to create a difference. You can easily buy it from crafts or sewing shops.
  • Keep the patch in excess. It eases the stitching process and the excessive part can be cut later on using a scissor.
  • Use a safety pin or hair pin to nail the elastic band at it’s keeps the band aligned to the heel area.
  • Finally, take a needle and a thick thread to sew the piece with the boots. Its wise choosing a curved needle as it makes the process easier.
  • Additionally, don’t forget removing the clipping pins.




First, pin the one side of the patch with the heel and then stretch the band across the other side and pin it there. It will keep the band tightly snug with the boot. If it appears to be a hard task for yourself, don’t hesitate availing services of a seasoned cobbler.

Method 3: Stuff The Boots With Tissue Papers

If the boots are extra long and extends ahead of your toes, try pushing a few tissue papers to avoid slipping off. As an alternative, you can also stuff it with newspapers or thin pieces of cloths.

Also, try wearing a thick pair of socks and see if it helps. Taking it further, If you are working under some winter conditions, you can wear on two pairs as well.

Method 4: Inserting Thick Insoles

If there is a space between the leather and top of your foot, add a thick insole to eliminate or shorten the gap. You can use a thick insole made with rubber or foam that are easily available at local stores. You can also use the insoles from another old boots as well.

Most of the times, the insoles are not glued with the bottom. If yours pair has a glued insole, don’t try plucking it or you might damage the boots. Instead, use an another insole on top of it. You can prefer a less thicker option in such a case.

As a quick shot, see if lacing up a bit tighter helps. Most of the times it does pretty well.

Other Alternative

You can also reach to a cobbler as he is a specialists in dealing with leather-based materials and have got a lot of expertise in his respective field. He must have adapted his own set of tricks to do the task in exchange of a few bucks.


Hey, you are well-equipped with all the necessary information about how to shrink your leather boots easily and safely. It’s not hard and doesn’t need some solid past experience.

You can try them at home with ease. You should not expect to achieve a major shrinkage with just one shot of the trick. If it still feels loose, just give the shrinking method a few more tries as long it doesn’t feel snug.

Even if I tried to present the safest methods for shrinking the leather boots yet they are for the boots in a broader sense.

You must not ignore any manufacturer specific instruction. Do give a read to any tag on the boots or on the package or if a user-manual is shipped with the product. Different manufacturer gives different treatments to the upper leathery layer of the boots and sometimes provides you with some specific washing guidelines. Do mind that.

Hope That Helped.

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