Leather shoes can become a bit snug over time and may require some stretching to be comfortable. While it's generally best to take the shoe to a professional shoe repair shop to stretch them properly – especially for expensive leather items that could be damaged with water, heat or weight – there are several at-home methods to give your shoes a little extra room without distorting their shape or overall fit.
One of the most common ways to make leather shoes or boots a little more flexible is to wear them with thick socks. According to Eduard Shimunov of Leather Express Shoe Repair in New York, this method can help make leather shoes a little more flexible and mold to the shape of the foot. He recommends wearing them in short bursts at first and slowly increasing the amount of time you wear them each day.
A blow dryer can also speed up the process of stretching leather shoes by heating up the tight parts and softening them. Aim the blow dryer at the leather material from about 5 inches away, focusing on the parts that feel tight, for 30 seconds. Keep the shoes on as they cool.
Several companies offer special shoe stretching sprays or solutions that are applied to the inside of the shoes and can be worn while they're damp. According to Eduard Shimunov of the Leather Express Shoe Repair in New York, these products work by penetrating the leather and relaxing the fibers so that it is easier to stretch.