How to stretch suede shoes?

There multiple times you have ended up with shoes that don’t fit properly. Maybe you were drawn to them because of the insane discount or their fascinating style. Or they were gifted to you by a dear one. But it doesn’t matter how you got them because they are small and will compress your feet together like 

We can mention so many reasons why wearing extremely tight suede shoes is bad for your feet. First, if you have existing conditions like plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, Edema, and arthritis, tight shoes exacerbate them.

Secondly, extremely tight-fitting shoes compromise breathability. Thirdly, you are likely to harm the feet tissues which eventually invites a slew of other foot problems. For now, let’s address the main question… 

How to stretch suede shoes?

Hear this; you can stretch suede shoes from the comfort of your home. And quite surprising, you don’t need to be a cobbler or be handy. Practically anyone can do it. Here are a few ways you can create more room in suede shoes (or any other style):

1. Wear them for a couple of days

By the way, did you know that you can break in shoes by wearing them? Yes, it’s as simple as that. To do it properly, wear shoes in the evening and walk around the house or neighborhood for a few hours. If you do this for several days, your suede shoes will expand a little and fit right.

Warning: don’t wear tight shoes to work or spend all day in them in an attempt to break them quickly. Doing so could badly hurt your feet.

2. The thick sock approach and a hairdryer

For those wondering if you can stretch shoes with a hairdryer, the answer is a strong ‘yes.’ First, you need to put on a pair or two of your thickest socks. Pick the thickness that you know will create a satisfactory extra room.

Now, wear your shoes and grab hold of a blow dryer (which is set to medium heat). Run a gush of warm air all around the shoe. Just keep your hand moving to avoid exposing one area to too much heat. Wrap the process in about two to three minutes.

Note: Suede shoes don’t react well to heat like leather. So hold your dyer a little far away. Worth mentioning, it would be better to apply conditioning spray to the shoes so they don’t crack or lose their natural features.    

3. Shoe stretchers

Use shoe stretchers if you are hoping to get about a half-size or more from your suede shoes. Unlike heating, stretchers are the safest method to get the desired results. 

But before you squeeze a shoe stretcher in your luxurious suede shoes, first spray them with a stretch spray to soften the upper. Now insert the stretcher and turn the handle until it’s tight. Next, give it two or three more turns so more pressure is applied to the uppers.

Be careful not to turn the shoe stretcher one too many times as you could rip it apart. Once the stretcher is set, let it stay in there for a day or two before dialing it in and pulling it out.

Now slide your feet into the shoe to see if it’s got enough space. If not, then repeat the process but this time spray the top with a little more stretch spray. The only issue with this process is that you have to deal with one shoe at a time and you must ensure to use the same setting so no shoe stretches more than the other.

We would like to strongly advise against using a shoe stretcher on narrow shoes. The reason is simple they don’t have enough room to expand. Instead, they’ll rip apart. So you either return the shoes or count your losses and invest in a new wide pair.

4. Using alcohol spray

Stretch spray is fairly expensive. The next best cheapest option is alcohol since it’s available everywhere. What you need is water, alcohol and a spray can for mixing. Fill the spray can with half water and half alcohol. Then rub it inside the shoes as the outside is too sensitive.

5. Freezing trick

The freezing is another nifty way to get more space in your suede shoes. The idea behind it is that water expands when frozen. What you’ll need is a couple of resealable Ziploc bags. Fill them with water halfway and squeeze each into your shoe. 

From there, put the shoes (with Ziploc bags in them) into the freezer. Hold on. For sanitary purposes, you can’t let shoes that are dirty get in contact with the freezer that you probably use to keep food. So it’s better to wrap them in a plastic bag.

After 24 hours, get your shoes out of the freezer. Don’t try them on just yet. Let them warm up to room temperature before trying them out. 

If you choose to use this method, try to buy high-quality bags that don’t leak. If you are afraid that could happen, then wrap the first bag with another.

6. Stretch spray

If all you want is a bit of small space, then all you need is a can of stretch spray. Apply it inside and outside and once done, shove in your feet while wearing a thick sock. After that, walk around and flex your feet to help the leather expand. 

If you repeat this procedure for the second time without getting the expected results, you are better off trying other methods of stretching suede shoes.

7. Use old newspaper

Some suede shoes are sensitive to water and other spray liquids. Plus some people are squeamish about putting shoes in the freezer. The next best and most affordable way of stretching suede shoes at home is by using newspapers.

First, cut the newspaper into small pieces. Crumple them up and start putting them inside your shoes. Squeeze as many as you can until the shoes feel strained. Let the newspaper rest in there for 6 to 8 hours before pulling them out. Try the shoes on and if they don’t fit, you’ll need to repeat the process but this time use more newspaper.

8. Get help from a pro

We know you can be a pretty good DIY star. But you know what else can be better? Letting a pro do their job. If you don’t know how to stretch suede shoes, the chances are high you could spoil their structural integrity and shape. So when in doubt, be sure to visit a shoemaker. 

Things to avoid when stretching suede shoes

DIY shoe stretching can save you a lot of money. Unfortunately, things don’t always go the way we hope. But that’s life, right? But we are sure you don’t want to flush your money down the drain by spoiling your luxurious suede shoes.

So when stretching your shoes, the first mistake to watch out for is rushing the stretching process. This could result in the shoes ripping from the lining or some parts bulging out more than others.

Secondly, avoid using less stretching spray. This juice tenderizes leather so it can expand. So always use a lot of it so you can get the desired results. Because spraying directions differ with brands, make sure to read the fine print before you rush to using any spray.

Lastly, know when to give up. Some people jump from one method to another trying so hard to stretch suede shoes. Doing so harms the structural integrity of your shoe. Once you have tried several times to no avail, just call it a day. The next best option is to get the help of a professional. 

Wrap Up

Suede is a natural material that can stretch to create some room for a proper snug fit. To be specific, such shoes can expand to add a half size which might be just exactly what you wanted.

You’ve already taken in a lot but here a caveat you must know-shoes get damaged during the stretching process. So always be mindful not to go too hard on them so you can preserve their shape and the tenacity of the upper material. 

But that is not all.

Perhaps the most difficult task about stretching suede shoes is identifying the size and nature of the lining. Synthetic liners don’t create much room in comparison to leather liners. So watch that out, okay. Optionally, you can stick to durable shoes. That’s the only way you can get top-quality stitching.

Lastly, the thickness of stitching will also decide to what extent your suede shoes will stretch. It is obvious that thinner ones are more vulnerable to breaking than thicker ones. If all the mentioned caveats scare you, then always make sure to buy everyday shoes that fit well. At least you won’t have to go through the trouble of stretching.

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