How to Shrink Leather Sandals

If you have a favorite leather sandal that is starting to look a bit too large for your foot, don’t despair! If you love wearing leather sandals but don’t want to spend a fortune buying new pairs every time your feet swell, it’s comforting to know that taking some simple steps can make them fit like a charm. It’s surprisingly easy to shrink the size of your sandal in order to get the perfect fit.

How to Shrink Leather Sandals

Whether you’re looking for an easy way to customize the shape and fit of your leather shoe or just want it to stay securely on your foot again, this guide will explain how simply and effectively you can make that happen.

No need to toss out those beloved shoes; all you need are some basic supplies found around any home and our step-by-step instructions—you’ll be ready for summer strolls in no time! Read on as we provide you with some tried-and-true methods for how to shrink leather sandals with quick and effective results!

The Benefits of Shrinking Leather Sandals

1. Good Fit

The most obvious benefit of shrinking leather sandals is that the shoe will fit snugly to your feet again. This eliminates any chance of slippage or discomfort, making them much more comfortable to wear again. Shrinking also helps in keeping your sandals looking great for longer periods of time since the leather material doesn’t become stretched out and worn.

2. Customization

By shrinking your sandals, you can customize the toe box and ankle straps to fit precisely around your feet. This will ensure that your shoes look stylish and put-together every time you wear them. It’s also an easy way to make sure your sandals are the perfect size for any outfit or occasion.

Required Items

In order to shrink your leather sandals, you will need a few items. The most important is some rubbing alcohol, which helps in shrinking the material. You will also need

  • A damp cloth
  • Paper towels
  • A hairdryer
  • An old toothbrush

How to Shrink Leather Sandals in 5 Easy Steps

When it comes to shrinking leather sandals, there are several different methods you can use depending on the type of material the shoe is made from. We’ll cover each option in more detail below:

Step 1: Water and Towels

This is a great option for those who don’t want to mess around with rubbing alcohol. Start by wetting the sole of your sandal and then wrapping it in a towel for 15 minutes before taking it out.

Wetting the Sole of Your Sandal

Step 2: Rubbing Alcohol

This method is best for any type of leather material, including suede or nubuck. Begin by diluting the rubbing alcohol with equal parts water, and then use a damp cloth to apply it onto the sole of your sandal. Leave the solution on for 10 minutes before taking off the excess liquid with a paper towel.

Step 3: Hair Dryer

Turn your hair dryer to its highest setting and hold it around 5 inches away from your leather sandal. Keep the heat on for around 10 minutes, making sure to move it around so that all of the areas of your sandal are evenly shrunk.

Step 4: Old Toothbrush

Once you’ve finished shrinking the leather with the help of a hair dryer, use an old toothbrush to brush over it. This will help to further shrink the material and create a more custom fit.

Step 5: Finish with Conditioner

Once you’re done shrinking your sandals, use a leather conditioner on the surface of your shoe. This will help keep it looking its best and ensure that it stays in great shape for longer periods of time.

Use a Leather Conditioner

8 Tips for Succeeding with How to Shrink Leather Sandals

Now that you know the basics of how to shrink leather sandals, here are some extra tips to help make sure your project turns out perfect:

  1. Always test a small area first before applying rubbing alcohol or heat to the entire shoe. This will ensure that it won’t damage the material or cause any discoloration.
  2. Make sure you keep the hair dryer around 5 inches away from your sandal, as too much heat can ruin the material.
  3. After each step, check how much the shoe has shrunk and go back over with more rubbing alcohol or heat if necessary. You don’t want to end up with a shoe that is too tight.
  4. Don’t leave the rubbing alcohol on for too long, as it can dry out the material of your sandal.
  5. If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, white vinegar can be used in its place. Rubbing alcohol will give better results, however. Also, you can try using a mix of water and vinegar for even better results.
  6. Let your sandals dry completely after each step before making any more changes. Sandals that are still damp can be difficult to work with and may not shrink as much as they should.
  7. If your sandals have laces, make sure you tie them loosely around the ankle before shrinking them. Otherwise, the heat from the hair dryer or rubbing alcohol could cause the laces to shrink too much and become unusable.
  8. When you’re done, put some shoe conditioner on the leather surface to help keep it looking new and shiny for longer periods of time.
Check How Much the Shoe Has Shrunk

We hope that our guide on how to shrink leather sandals has been helpful in getting your favorite shoes fitting comfortably again! Remember to take your time with the process and follow these steps carefully for the best results. Caring for your leather sandals correctly is key to making them last and ensuring they stay looking stylish all season long. So, go ahead and enjoy those summer strolls!

8 Maintenance Tips

  1. Make sure to store your leather sandals in a cool and dry location when you are not wearing them. This will protect the leather from moisture, dirt, dust, and other natural elements that can damage it over time.
  2. Use a soft cloth or brush to wipe away any dirt or stains on the surface of your sandals after each wear. Also, use a leather conditioner to keep your sandals supple and prevent them from cracking.
  3. Keep your sandals in an upright position when not wearing them so that the material does not sag or become distorted over time. This will help maintain the original shape of your sandals for a longer period of time.
  4. Avoid long exposure to direct sunlight and heat. This can cause the leather to become dry, brittle, and cracked over time.
  5. When cleaning your sandals, avoid using strong detergents or harsh chemicals that can damage the material of your sandals. Cleaning products designed for leather should be used instead.
  6. If you find that your sandals are too big or too loose, there is a way to shrink them properly without damaging the material. Before you begin shrinking your sandals, make sure they are completely dry and clean.
  7. To shrink your sandals, soak them in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap for about 20 minutes. This will make the leather more pliable and easier to shape.
  8. Once you remove the sandals from the water, stuff them with newspaper or paper towels until they are dry and have reached their desired size. Allow the sandals to dry in a cool and dry place until they have completely dried. This will help ensure that the shape of the sandals remains the same after shrinking them.

After you have successfully shrunk your leather sandals, it is important to keep them well-maintained through regular cleaning and conditioning. Doing so will help extend their life and keep them looking as good as new for years to come.

Additionally, make sure to store your sandals in a cool and dry place when you are not wearing them so that they do not become damaged by moisture, dirt, dust, or other natural elements. Following these tips will ensure that your leather sandals remain comfortable and look great no matter how often you wear them!

Your Leather Sandals Remain Comfortable


Once you’ve finished shrinking your leather sandals, you can enjoy the perfect fit without spending money on repairs or new shoes. Not only will your shrunken sandals feel and look fantastic, but they’ll also last a long time. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift to someone else, this DIY project is a great way to make sure that your shoes don’t end up in the landfill!

You can rest assured that not only did you save money and time, but you also did something good for the environment by reusing something rather than buying new. Thanks to this tutorial, shrinking leather sandals don’t have to be complicated.

Plus, now you can take comfort in knowing that with just a few simple steps and some knowledge of how to shrink leather sandals, anyone can make sure their footwear fits nicely without having to buy anything new.

Photo of author

Matt Clark

Hi, this is Matt, and I am a leathercraft hobbyist. I have been working with leather for quite a bit of time. When I was a teenager, my father taught me the basics of leathercraft. Along the way I have learned a lot of things about leather work leather items, restoring leather, and creating leather accessories. I started this blog to share my knowledge of leatherworking with others and help people learn about this amazing craft. I also wanted to create a community of like-minded people who could share ideas and support each other in their leatherworking journey.

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