How To Shrink Leather Shoes With Vinegar [ Easiest Ways 2024]

Written By Mahia

Don’t you have an aching heart when you see your favorite pair of leather shoes have stretched out and don’t fit your feet anymore? Well, I have experienced the same when my most worn Hush Puppies shoes had over-stretched.

But do you know that vinegar works magically in restoring the fitting of leather shoes? It may sound peculiar to you, but it is a fact that vinegar can shrink leather shoes and make them your perfect feet size.

After a few trials and errors, I have discovered the best and easy process to shrink leather shoes with vinegar. So if you want to make your leather shoes perfectly fit your feet, don’t forget to read the entire article and know the easiest ways of shrinking leather shoes with vinegar.shrink-leather-shoes-with-vinegar

Why Does Leather Shoe Stretch?

Before you jump into the shrinking procedure, you should know the science behind stretching leather shoes. Today or tomorrow, leather shoes will stretch; it is inevitable.

It’s just that low-quality leather shoes stretch out very fast, and premium quality leather takes a longer time to stretch.

When you wear a pair of leather shoes for a long time, it molds to the shape of your feet. The pressure that your feet produce stretches the shoes from inside.

And gradually the leather shoes become over-stretched which makes them very loose to your feet.

In a hurry? Check out my new post on how to Clean Faux Suede Shoes.

How To Shrink Leather Shoes With Vinegar

Who wants to wear a shabby and loose pair of leather shoes when the solution to this problem is right in your kitchen cupboard.

Yes, I am talking about vinegar, it may sound clickbait to you, but this magical ingredient has some outstanding properties which can shrink stretched-out leather

The vinegar method is one of the most effective ways of shrinking leather shoes.

However, to get the best result, you need to follow the correct techniques. This vinegar method is a very easy-peasy one so that you can do it effortlessly.

Here are the steps following which you can shrink leather shoes with vinegar quickly:

Things you’ll need:

  • One pair socks
  • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • A bowl
  1. Take one cup of white vinegar in a bowl; if you don’t have white vinegar, you can also use apple cider vinegar as an alternative.
  2. Soak a pair of socks in vinegar. Once the socks are thoroughly wet, take them out of the vinegar and do not wring them.
  3. Place the wet socks inside your leather shoes for 1-2 hours. Between this time, the shoe will soak maximum vinegar into it.
  4. After 2 hours, remove the socks from the shoes.
  5. Keep the shoes in an airy place for drying. It is better if you dry the shoes in sunlight. Sunlight helps the shoe to shrink a bit more. But make sure you don’t keep the shoes out in sunlight for a long time, or else your shoes can crack.
  6. Once the shoes are completely dry, wear them and check the fitting.

If you are not satisfied with the shoe-fitting, then you can repeat the same process.

But before that, you check out how to Remove Shoe Polish From Suede Shoes.

How Does Vinegar Shrink Leather Shoes?

Vinegar is slightly acidic in nature, the acetic acid of vinegar contracts the fiber of the leather. When you use vinegar on shoes it soaks the vinegar thoroughly and shrinks the shoes.

It’s not that vinegar only shrinks leather shoes but it also cleanses leather shoes very well. Vinegar can remove ugly and stubborn stains from shoes keeping the leather safe.

Till now, if you were assuming vinegar is only used to enhance the taste of food, then bear in mind that vinegar is a fantastic ingredient that can make your shoe size smaller.

What Are The Advantages Of Vinegar On Leather Shoes?

Apart from shrinking your leather shoes, vinegar has some fantastic properties, which does wonder to leather shoes. For instance:what-are-the-advantages-of-vinegar-on-leather-shoes

  • Vinegar contains 5-8% of acetic acid; it works great for cleansing due to its acidic content. The stubborn stains that you can’t remove using a branded leather cleaner, vinegar can remove that within seconds.
  • Along with cleaning, vinegar has disinfecting properties that kill the bacteria in your shoes. Thus your feet remain healthy and safe from germs.

But before that, go through our epic guide Can I Use Shoe Polish On Suede Shoes.

Things To Remember

Shrinking leather shoes with vinegar is an easy process with the guaranteed result, but if you don’t take certain precautions instead of shrinking the shoes, you can ruin them completely.

Let me tell you what things you should remember or avoid while shrinking leather shoes.

  • Don’t keep the leather shoes in direct sunlight for a long time. Too much exposure to sunlight slowly evaporates the leather’s natural oils, making them very dry and eventually cracking the leather making.
  • Indeed, vinegar doesn’t damage leather shoes, but excessive and frequent vinegar use can dry out the shoes. So make sure not to use vinegar on leather shoes regularly.
  • If you are using a blow dryer to dry the leather shoes, then keep the dryer at least 6 inches away from the shoes. Also, don’t hold the dryer in one place for a long time, or else you can burn the shoes.
  • If your leather shoes seem a bit dry after using vinegar, try using a good quality leather conditioner. The conditioner will smoothen the leather, adds moisture, and prevent them from cracking.

Is There Any Alternative Method To Shrink Leather Shoes?

Of course, yes! There are many other methods of shrinking leather shoes, but as I said earlier, no other can beat the vinegar method.

You can also use alternative methods to shrink your shoes, but I can’t guarantee the outcome will be worth it.

Method 1: Shrink leather shoes with water

You can shrink leather shoes using water, but there is always a risk of damaging them. Sometimes water can ruin the leather, so it is better to apply a leather protector on your shoes before starting the shrinking process with water.

Here are the steps following which you can shrink your leather shoes with water:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with clean water and spray the areas of your shoes where you want them to shrink. As the shoes get damp, with your fingertips, rub the wet areas. Make sure water doesn’t go inside the sole or base of the shoe.
  2. Keep the shoes under sunlight to let them dry; this is when the shoes’ shrinking will occur. You can also use a blow dryer to increase the drying process; in that case, make sure you don’t hold the dryer too close.
  3. Once the shoes become thoroughly dried, apply a leather conditioner to the shoes to remain moisturized.
  4. Wear the shoes and check the fittings. If you want more adjustments, then repeat the process.

Method 2: Shrink suede shoes with a cloth

Till now, I have been talking about the shrinking process of leather shoes, but what about suede shoes. As suede and leather are different materials, their shrinking method also differs from each other.

As the suede fabric is very delicate, you need to be very careful while shrinking them. The sponge method is particularly great to shrink suede shoes as this doesn’t damage the suede.

Here are the steps following which you can shrink suede shoes:

  1. Wet a clean cloth with water and wring it out thoroughly.
  2. Gently dab on the shoes with the damp cloth. The places where you think are overstretched, delicately dab the fabric on that area. Please ensure the cloth is damp and not wet because the wet cloth can leave watermarks on the suede shoes.
  3. Now dry the shoes in a well-ventilated and airy place. Avoid drying suede shoes in direct sunlight.
  4. After the shoes are completely dried, you can wear them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vinegar damage leather shoes?

No, vinegar doesn’t damage leather shoes at all. There are several uses of vinegar on shoes; it can clean stains, shrink the shoes, disinfect the shoes, etc. However, excessive use of vinegar on leather shoes dry them out and sometimes even crack them.

Will the shoes smell if vinegar is used?

Vinegar has a pungent smell which you may not like. Right after using vinegar on the shoes, it will definitely smell like vinegar. But as the shoes dry, the pungent odor will go away.

Vinegar works great as a deodorizing product. It can remove foul odor from your smelly shoes.


Leather shoes not only complement the outfit but also say a lot about one’s personality. So why wear overstretched shoes and ruin your impression when you can quickly shrink them with vinegar.

So take the vinegar out of your kitchen cupboard and start the shrinking process right away.

If this article was helpful to you, then please let us know your valuable feedback.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

Leave a Comment