Do Leather Shoes stretch with wear? [Leather Care Guide]

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I don’t know about you, but I always love wearing a good pair of leather shoes to a party or a meeting.

When you have to wear a suit, or go business casual, nothing beats their class. Whether you prefer brown or black, or even something a little unorthodox, leather shoes have a touch of class to them. That being said, if you don’ take care of them, they will, like all shoes, wear out.

Do leather shoes stretch with wear?

Do Leather Shoes Stretch With Wear?

Many want to know the answer to this question – do leather shoes stretch over time when you wear them? Yes, they do.

The worst part about leather shoes is that they require a lot of maintenance. That’s why I always keep mine back in the box when I’m done with them. They are never lying in my room when I’m done wearing them.

Leather is a naturally stretchy material. It won’t stretch like rubber or suede, but it will stretch when you put excessive force on it.

Hence, leather shoes can tear and become larger overtime. For some, that’s a good thing (the growing, not the tearing). Especially if you’re a teenager or a growing child, you can benefit from shoes that stretch a little.

They can stretch for about a ½ size, but after that, they will begin to spoil.

However, there’s a lot more to caring for your leather shoes than putting them away. So in this post, I’ve included a pretty comprehensive leather care guide for your shoes.

If you want to hang on to your leather shoes, treat them right.

Caring for your leather shoes

A Complete Leather Care Guide for Your Shoes

This is a complete guide to caring for your shoes. It will prevent them from not only losing their sheen, but their shape as well. If you do this regularly, you can make a well-constructed pair of shoes last 5-10 years, depending on use.

However, if you neglect them, they may go bad before they’ve even reached the 5-year limit. If the shoes are worn out despite infrequent use and regular maintenance, know that you’ve made a bad purchase.

Polish Your Shoes after Purchase

Make sure you shine your shoes right after you’ve bought them. Repeat this process regularly before you wear them each time. Polish them regularly for as long as you have them. This will preserve their shine and their luster.

For more info on polishing and conditioning leather, check out my post here.

Use Cedar Shoe Trees

Cedar shoes trees will draw out the inner moisture and reshape leather. Make sure to use them to preserve the shape of your shoes. Many get cramped or misshapen overtime due to surrounding moisture or improper storage. With cedar trees, at least, you’ll be sure the shape will be preserved.

What happens to leather with wear?

Remove Salt Stains

If you get a salt stain on your leather shoes, you should remove it immediately. Since salt is used for the tanning of leather, salt stains can bring out the moisture within the shoe’s leather. This can cause the shoe to be reshaped and worn out.

To get rid of salt stains quickly, you can mix 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar and apply the solution with a rag. You should wipe the stain clean with a gentle hand and wipe the area crystal clean. After that, wipe the remaining water off with a towel.

Don’t leave the water to dry under a fan or outside in the heat. Make sure to wipe any moisture off the shoe.

Waterproof Shoes With Mink Oil

Water brings out the salt that is used for tanning a leather shoe. Hence, any exposure to water should be limited.

Mink oil can be used to waterproof your leather shoes, though it can darken the color of your leather shoes. If you have dark colored shoes already, it doesn’t matter. However, if you have light brown shoes, you can use a wax-based polish instead.

Other options include a waterproofing compound that can add a heavier coat of protection to the shoes.

For a more detailed guide on using Mink Oil, check out my post here.

Clean Shoes Regularly

This is a no-brainer. Whether it’s clothes, or jewelry, or silverware, regular cleaning is always important. Hence, whenever you notice a stain, or grime or something stuck beneath the heel, clean it. It will become harder and harder to scrape or wipe away as time goes by.

To regularly clean your shoes, you can use specialty leather cleaner or some saddle soap. Whichever soap or cleaner you go for, you should avoid ones with detergents or acids. They can warp the shoe and bring out the salt within the leather.

Apply Moisturizing Conditioner

To prevent the shoes from completely drying out, you should apply a moisturizing conditioner or buff with petroleum jelly. This will coat the shoes and prevent excess moisture from leaving the shoes. This is especially helpful for people that live in arid climates.

Caring for shoes that stretch with wear

Stuff Wet Shoes with Newspapers or Teabags

Newspapers, small teabags or towels are great to draw out excess moisture from wet shoes. If you’ve been to the beach, or have been drenched in the rain, stuff your shoes with newspapers and towels. This is also a great way to rid your shoes of the unpleasant feet smell.

Remember to not place your shoes near a heat source. This can remove the needed moisture inside a shoe and cause them to crack.

Use Non-Gel Toothpaste

Non-Gel toothpaste can be used to remove scuff marks from leather shoes. You should rinse, wipe and let the shoes dry after you’re finished.

Have Old Shoes Repaired or Refurbished

This is a great way to get the most out of your best shoes. You can send them to the manufacturer for refurbishing or resoling. This will save you a lot of money on a new pair of shoes.

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