Can You Shrink Leather Boots?

It isn’t uncommon for someone to try a pair of boots on in the store, like the fit, bring the boots home, but once they try it on the next day, they find that it is a size too big for them.

If this is something that has happened to you, there’s no need to panic.

Not only does this happen to other people, but it’s actually something that you can fix.

When faced with this issue, people commonly ask the question, “Can you shrink leather boots”?.

The answer is yes, leather boots can be shrunk down to be able to fit better. There are actually a couple of ways this can be done. It is ideal to do this if the boots are half a size too large, but if they are more than half a size too large, it isn’t recommended to shrink them down.

Shrinking a pair of ill-fitting boots can be done in a wide variety of ways, and in this article, we’re taking a look at some of the most effective ways that you can shrink down leather boots.

So if your new pair of boots feel a bit too loose on your and you want to fix the issue, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.


How To Shrink Leather Boots

If you’re in need of a quick and easy resizing of your leather boots that are too small, there are a couple of things that you can do at home.

However, keep in mind that most of the techniques we’ll be laying out on this list will alter your boots permanently, so if you get it wrong, you might risk damaging your shoes permanently, so proceed with caution.

Before you try and resize boots, check out the return policy of the store you bought it from, as you might actually be able to replace the shoes with a different size if the shoes don’t fit you.

That way, you can get shoes that fit you perfectly without the risk of causing permanent damage to the boots.

But if for whatever reason the only choice you’re left with is shrinking the boots so that they fit your fit just right, then keep reading to learn more about shrinking leather boots.

Using Water

This is a tried and tested trick that has been used by the army for many years and is something they still do to this day if their boots don’t fit quite right.

To do this, all you’re going to need is a bucket, water, and some patience.

Start by filling the bucket with water and submerging your boots in them, making sure they are completely submerged.

You need to let the shoes sit in the water for at least 10-20 minutes before taking them out.

After that, you’re going to have to take the boots out, put on a pair of cotton socks, and wear them.

Once you have them on, you will have to wear them for 6-8 hours up until the boots are fully dry, and keep in mind, when using this method, you run the risk of creasing and wrinkling up the leather on your boots.

After the shoes have finished drying, simply restore them with some leather conditioner and you should be good to go.

Using A Hairdryer

This method is similar to the first one we mentioned, except this time you don’t have to wait 6-8 hours for it to dry.

For this technique, you’re going to need a bucket, water, a shoe tree, and a hairdryer.

Like the previous method, start by filling the bucket with water and submerging the shoes in it.

Once the shoes are completely wet, stick a shoe tree in them to maintain their silhouette.

From there, use your hairdryer to dry the boots, making sure that the dryer is at its lowest temperature setting as higher temperatures can damage the leather.

Also, it’s important to keep the dryer at least 6 inches away from the leather to prevent cracking and other damage.

And once the shoes are completely dry, all you have to do is treat it with an oil-rich leather conditioner to restore the leather and prevent cracking.

Sewing In An Elastic Band

If you’re skilled with a sewing needle, this might be the right method for you.

All you’ll need is a thick sewing needle and an elastic strap.

Start by taking the strip and placing it on the heel, in a position that will shrink and tighten up the boots.

After that, get your needle and start sewing the band into the leather.

This technique will only work with thin leather, but if your shoes are made out of thick leather, then you’re going to have to use a heel grip.

This is a shoe attachment that you can stick to the heel of the boot, inside the shoe, and it will tighten the boots around your ankle, resulting in a better fit.

Getting It Resized By A Professional

If you want to resize your shoes and ensure that they have a proper and snug fit on your feet, but you don’t want to run the risk of damaging the boots, then you might want to get them resized by a professional.

To do this, you have to first find a good shoe repair shop, preferably near your area so you won’t be hassled too much.

Once there, you can ask if they can resize leather boots, and don’t worry, a lot of repair shops can do this pretty easily.

That being said, you will need at least $100 to get this done, and in some cases, the cost can run between $150 and $200.

This is because resizing a leather boot is a complicated and time-consuming process that will take a lot of time and effort, which is why it costs so much.

So before you go ahead and do this, consider the original price of the boot, because in some cases you might actually save money by simply buying yourself a new pair that fits you properly.

Wearing Thicker Socks And Adding An Insole

This is the quickest fix on the list, and it doesn’t actually shrink your shoe.

By using this method, you don’t run any risk of causing permanent damage to your new boots.

If you feel like your shoes are feeling a bit loose, you don’t have to head out and resize them right away.

If the shoes are only loose by a little bit, like half a size, then you can make a quick fix by putting in another insole into the shoe and wearing thicker socks.

In some cases, you can even double up your socks, which can make your feet feel really warm, making this a great method for the winter months.

This will allow your foot to fit more snugly into the shoe and make the boots much more comfortable and natural to wear.


So there you have it, a quick guide to shrinking leather boots.

If you got your hands on a brand new pair of boots that you simply love but they are a bit too loose on you, don’t panic as there are a lot of remedies you can make for this in the comfort of your own home.

But remember, before resorting to any of these techniques, check with the shoe shop you got the boots from if you can return the shoes and replace them with a pair that fits your feet just right.

That way, you avoid all of the hassles of resizing the shoes yourself and don’t run the risk of accidentally damaging your boots.