Before you run to your trusted shoemaker, we’ll show you the most effective and safe trick to be able to stretch your leather shoes without damaging or deforming them.
We will also show you how to recognize quality leather products and how to take care of your leather shoes.
5 suggestions to recognize quality leather
When we buy a leather accessory or item we have to consider many factors. In addition to the brand, that can have a great influence on the purchase, usually the quality of the materials used is examined, in this case the leather quality and the various processing techniques and treatments applied on it.
To avoid being fooled and risking to buy products with a high cost but with an awful quality, we have to be able to recognize if the material has an adequate standard.
How? There are five suggestions to understand if the leather good that we are about to buy confirms our expectations.
Here are the five suggestions to recognize a quality leather product:
- Keyword: Observe. It seems obvious but examining the leather carefully can make us understand many things. First of all, don’t trust colored leather or leather that smells of glue. If possible, let’s try to pull the leather slightly or crumple it in our hands to verify its resistance. Since leather is dense of fibers we will notice that some of them are more heavy and thick than others: lets choose these.
- The seams. After checking the quality of the material, let’s move on to the seams. Obviously, the handmade ones are more exclusive and resistant compared to the machine-made ones, that are cheaper and quicker.
- Check the edges. It is fundamental that the edges of the leather are polished and burnished. This allows to create a sort of protective shield for the material from the external conditions. If the edges are not polished correctly, the material may be damaged letting in humidity and consequently causing rottenness. Another element to verify if the hides are of quality are the layers of leather of the edge. If they look like a whole, it means that the quality is very high. In fact, this passage is very complex and only artisans are able to do it.
- The cut. The leather must be cut very carefully, namely it has to be cut in the direction of the grain. Moreover, an artisan knows how to recognize leather imperfections like bites of fleas, scars, cuts, and therefore he knows how to avoid making items of clothing or accessories with these parts.
- The thread. Lastly, we also have to consider how more pieces of leather are assembled and seamed together. Usually a nylon thread is used because, due to its nature, it’s more resistant and flexible.
How to stretch shoes without ruining the leather
It happened to everyone, at least once in life, to buy shoes that are not of the right size for different reasons and to have to stretch them.
Sometimes we discover that those shoes that we liked so much, and that seemed to fit perfectly when we bought them at the shop, hurt or bother us as soon as we try to walk.
Maybe we were fooled by their unique style, that won us over since when we saw them in the shop window, or by the occasion given by the good price.
Or when we purchase online, so we don’t have the possibility to try them on, and once they arrive home they don’t correspond to the size we expected.
But we shouldn’t despair because there are ways of stretching our leather shoes using little tricks before running to the shoemaker.
There are many home methods that resort to using the hair dryer or ice bags. These methods, which are surely very cheap, can work but they risk to ruin our pair of leather shoes irreversibly.
To stretch new leather, suede or fabric shoes in a totally safe way, it is recommendable to always use a shoe stretch spray and the proper shoetree.
The procedure is very simple:
- Shake the shoe stretch spray energetically.
- Spray the foam inside the shoe in a uniform manner;
- Insert the shoetree in the desired size and leave it in for about 15 minutes.
Thanks to its anatomical shape, the shoetree allows to enlarge the footwear without provoking small cracks or splits in the leather, it maintains the leather smooth in time and the suede as new.
It’s a very effective and safe method because it allows to stretch the shoes in a uniform and delicate manner for the leather.
But how can we stretch boots?
It is possible to use the combination of these tools also to stretch leather boots. The problems may be due to the fact that the foot fits too tightly or the leg is too dry for the calf.
According to the type of boot it may be necessary to use a boot stretcher instead of a shoetree. Obviously for ankle boots we will use the same accessory used for shoes, instead for boots with a high leg we should use boot stretchers, which are longer and have a special part to put tension on the leather of the leg.
If we consider it, this method has a lot more advantages compared to the various home methods that we find on internet.
- It can be used on leather , suede and fabric shoes
- It stretches in a uniform and homogeneous manner
- The foam doesn’t stain the leather or the suede
- The enlargement of the shoe due to the use of the shoetree doesn’t split the leather
- It’s a quick and easy method
The only negative aspect is that it’s not as cheap as the others.
Instead, if we don’t want to use specific footwear products, let’s arm ourselves with patience and simple tricks.
Obviously, the basic rule is to wear them gradually, or to wear them when we are at home before trying to go out. Ten minutes to carry out simple activities at home will be enough. Try this for a couple of days and then increase the time of use until you get to an hour.
Using them at work may be the next step. If you have to walk before getting to the office use your old shoes, but when you are at your desk change them with the new ones.
The last suggestion is to try with socks. Wear double socks and try to walk, or simply wear them to avoid the formation of blisters. The thickness of the sock will help you to stretch the shoe.
How to take care of our leather footwear
Our leather shoes can have a long life and accompany us in our daily situations for a lot of time only if we put some tricks into practice.
After every use, our footwear needs to be taken care of by us in order to last in time. Leather requires a regular maintenance and nourishment.
First of all, equip yourself with all the accessories to create your shoe care, like shoe polish creams, wooden brushes with natural bristles and wood tiles.
Then, follow three fundamental steps that are the basis of the maintenance of our leather shoes: dry, brush and polish.
- Shoe drying. After every use, moisture caused by the sweat of our feet is created inside the shoe. To dry them use a wood tile and leave them to rest for a day.
- Shoe polishing. This passage allows us to protect the leather from water, scratches or in any case from external agents. After brushing it, use the polish cream on the shoe to cleanse it and revive the leather’s color. It has to be distributed with a cotton cloth using rotatory movements. Leave it on for about twenty minutes and then brush.
- Shoe brushing. The act of brushing leather shoes is carried out strictly using a wooden brush with natural bristles, and it affects two phases of the care and cleaning of our shoes. In the first phase to eliminate dirt, dust and salt residues, or to remove every particle that may scratch the leather in the polishing phase. At a later time, after the polishing with the shoe polish cream, let’s brush our shoes to give them the shine they need. To obtain an even more shiny leather, a mirror shine effect, delicately rub a woolen cloth on the shoe.
For other tricks I recommend reading this article!
This post is also available in: Italian