How to Shrink Leather Shoes with Vinegar?

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Do you want to shrink your leather shoes? Are you looking for ways to do it?

You can stop your search here. A good pair of leather shoes can make someone’s day, but also badly ruin it if it goes out of shape.

Leather footwears carry a lot of the weight of your personality- because they reflect your maintenance capabilities. Wearing loose or stretched leather shoes may make a bad impression.

So keep reading and learn how to shrink leather shoes with vinegar!

Why do Leather Shoes Stretch?

All leather shoes will stretch at some point in time. There is no denying that.

While low-quality shoes may stretch and become loose faster, high-quality shoes will take their time but will stretch nonetheless. Leather shoes mainly stretch because,

with each wear, they get more adapted to the shape of your feet. With strain and pressure leather further stretches to reform its shape. As a result, you may end up with a pair of leather shoes that look loose and shabby, affecting your whole impression.

Which is why you may want to shrink and tighten them with vinegar.

How to Shrink Leather Shoes with Vinegar

Yes, you read that right- vinegar! It is a magic ingredient that sits in all of our kitchen cupboards. Vinegar is a common choice to shrink or tighten leather shoes. Now before I jump into the process of shrinking leather shoes, I will first answer the most important query:

How can Vinegar Shrink Leather Shoes?

Vinegar has certain properties that help contract the leather fibers and thus shrink leather shoes. It has a high content of Acetic Acid which causes a shrinking effect of leather due to its acidic properties.

The Process of Shrinking Leather Shoes with Vinegar:

  • Soak 2 socks, basically a pair (preferably old or unloved) in vinegar measuring 1 cup.
  • Once they are fully soaked, take them out of the bowl but do not squeeze them to remove access vinegar. Carefully place them inside the leather shoes you want to shrink. Leave them in for an hour or two.
  • After removing the socks, place the shoes in a dry, warm place- preferably sunlight. This will not only help them to dry but will also cause them to shrink a bit more due to the heat.
  • Try them on to see if they fit once they dry down!

What if Vinegar Does not Shrink Them Enough?

In case your shoes still feel a bit stretched or are loose, do not panic! Dampen them with water carefully so as not to get them wet, and again place them in sunlight to dry. This process can be carried out a few times to get the perfect fit but I doubt that would be needed!

Can Vinegar Have Side Effects on Leather?

Not if you maintain the instructions provided above!

However, too much vinegar or too frequent use of it can have a terrible drying effect. This is because of the Acetic Acid.

But do not worry. If that happens, you can use some leather conditioner to hide the dull, dried-up look! All you will need is a light layer of coating of a good quality one! Be careful not to dry out your leather shoes too much because they might crack and lose durability!

Benefits of Vinegar on Leather Shoes

Besides shrinking leather shoes, vinegar can also have some other benefits for them. You must be eager to know what they are. I will tell you!

  • Vinegar, due to its acidic content, has cleansing and disinfecting properties. You can use a solution of vinegar and water to clean your shoes. Firstly make the solution using 50% water and 50% vinegar, be careful not to use more vinegar than water. Dab a cotton cloth in the solution and use it to clean your shoes. Do it carefully and do not get your shoes too wet!
  • Because of the acidic properties, like I said they also have a disinfecting effect. If you use vinegar to shrink your shoes in the process mentioned above, it will also eliminate microbes.

Besides, vinegar has a lot of health benefits but that is the story for some other day!


leather shoes need just as much care as your most delicate items. As I said, they really do reflect your personality as if they do not look perfect and well taken care of- people will think you are a slob. So instead of wearing stretched out leather shoes, shrink them with vinegar!

And vinegar also has some great other benefits, so get to work and take care of your shoes! Maybe a pair needs some cleaning?

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