Shrinking shoes is not exactly anyone’s favorite act but a good option when you have to choose between discarding your thousand dollar pair of fine Beverly heels or Louis Vuitton etc because they just didn’t fit properly.
Buying a pair of shoes either for personal use or gifting purposes is indeed joyous and satisfactory in the wearing or utility of it. So, if they are slightly too tight or too loose, you might want to shrink them to fit your legs better.
What To Consider Before Shrinking Shoes
Identify What Areas to Shrink
To shrink a shoe appropriately, it is best to identify what areas you should work on and where the problem lies that makes them not fit the way they should.You don’t want to risk making well-formed parts of the shoe too small along the way. As a result, your focus should be on how to shrink a specific spot on the shoe, rather than trying to adjust the entire shape to form to your foot.
Wear the shoes and try them out
Put the shoes on and take a few steps, paying close attention to what parts of the sides need adjustments, to avoid slipping while running or pains and blisters to your toes? Once, this is identified shrinking becomes more intentional.
How to Shrink Leather, Canvas and Suede Shoes
First, get a cloth, and dab the area of the shoes you would like to shrink with water until it is damp but do not make it excess. Dip your fingers into cool water and pat the water onto the shoe. Avoid getting water on the insole of the shoe, as this can cause it to become smelly, grow molds, or develop cracks and get discolored.
For a leather or suede shoe, focus the water around the top edge of the shoe, which tends to stretch the most.
For canvases, you will need to use inserts to get a better fit as adding water to the faulted areas won’t have any major impact.
With a blow dryer, set to medium temperature, apply heat to the wet fabric. Hold the dryer at about 6 inches (15 cm) away from the area where you applied the water. Turn the dryer on and leave the dryer on until the fabric is dry to the touch.
For leather and suede, continuously and cautiously move the dryer around the top edge of the shoe to heat the leather, this will make it to contract and shrink. If the leather starts to smell or crack while you are still applying heat, turn the blow dryer off and air dry the shoes.
Avoid holding the blow dryer very close to the fabric it may cause discoloration especially on lighter colored canvas fabrics.
Test the shoes to see if the fit has improved. Once the area is dry, put the shoe back on your foot and stand up with your feet flat on the floor. Try taking a few steps to see if the the fabric feels tighter. If it does, your shoe has shrunk successfully.
If it still feels loose, re-apply the water to the area and repeat blow drying. If they happen to be too tight, wear a pair of thick socks with them to stretch them out slightly without making them too large so it fits better.
Tips : For leather and suede shoes, apply leather conditioner to protect them. Put a pea-sized amount of leather conditioner onto a clean cloth, and rub it evenly all over the shoes to restore moisture to the material. Check the packaging to see how long you should let the conditioner soak into the material before you can wear the shoes.
Furthermore, if your shoes still fill slightly loose use a pair of thick socks for more fit all around especially for shoes where your feet are fully covered and unexposed or if you do not have a thick socks, get creative. Put on 2 or 3 pairs of thinner socks just before you put on your shoes.
For other shoes like ballet, slippers, sandals etc, place a shoe pad preferably termed an insole into the shoe to elevate your foot. They are insoles different sizes and style, lay it on top of the insole that’s already in the shoe to help augment the depth of the shoes and make it more sizeable for your legs or use cushions to improve the fit of a pair of heels or dress shoes. Pull off the protective paper from the back of the cushion and stick it along the back side of the shoe, where the back of your heel would normally touch the shoe. The cushions are about 1⁄6 inch (0.42 cm) thick, so they take up only a little space and does not leave a noticeable gap between your heel and the shoe.
This helps to keep your toes in the same place when you walk. If you have a lot of space in the toe of your shoe, the ball of your foot can slide forward into the shoe, causing the heel of your shoe to slip off when you walk.
How to Shrink Shoes with Natural Heat
Use Natural Heat to Shrink Shoes
Similar to the other wetting and heat method, using natural heat also acts as a shrinking mechanism for your favorite pair of shoes. Since this tactic uses subtler tools to dry out boots and shoes, it is safer to apply to high heels and other delicate shoes than running them through the dryer.
Homemade Sneaker Cleaning Recipe
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup of water
- Sponge or soft cloth
First using a soft brush or cloth, scrub your tennis shoes clean with the lemon juice solution before running them through the washer. Then heat dry in medium sun heat about 20 minutes, to properly dry out without any stench or smell when taken indoors. Do not leave the shoes out in the sun for too long.