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How to Stretch Suede Shoes? – 5 Effective Methods

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

how to stretch suede shoes

Suede shoes are known for being stylish and classy. They are so fashionable and iconic that even the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, sang about a pair of Blue Suede Shoes.

If you’re curious about suede, know that it is a lighter subcategory of leather. This material appears to be soft because it is the interior of the animal skin. The fibers are also elevated on the surface, giving it a napped finish.

Like regular leather shoes, stretching suede boots is advisable to achieve the perfect fit, and there are several methods on how to stretch suede shoes. Learn about them below.

Ways to Stretch Suede Shoes


If you have brand new shoes that are too small, stretching their material can make them comfortable to wear.

Suede naturally stretches out and takes the form of your feet after a couple of uses. But as you may already know, having to break in suede boots or any kind of footwear for that matter, can be painful.

So if you want to save yourself the pain and time, here are some methods you can try:

1. Wearing Thick Socks

This method is commonly used not only to break in suede shoes, but almost all sneakers.

In this method, all you need to do is to wear a pair of thick or chunky socks and walk around in your shoes for a few hours.

2. Using a Suede Shoe Stretcher or Shoe Tree


As its name suggests, a shoe stretcher is a device that is specially designed to enlarge shoes or simply keep them in-shape. They are usually made of wood and resemble an actual foot. These shoe trees are also adjustable, so you don’t have to worry about them not fitting your footwear.

There are also stretchers specifically made for long boots that squeeze your calves. So if you’re trying to stretch suede over the knee boot, then you can invest in such a tool.

For this method, you will need:

  • 2 Shoe stretchers/trees
  • Stretch spray for suede shoes
  • Old newspaper

Step #1: Lay a sheet of old newspaper on a table, and place your shoes on top.

Step #2: Apply stretch spray for suede shoes inside and outside the pair.

Step #3: Insert the shoe stretcher inside the shoes.

  • Wiggle the handle to begin stretching the shoes. Make necessary adjustments according to your desired fit.
  • Try on your shoes and repeat the above step if they are still snug.

Step #4: For better results, leave the stretchers inside the shoes for 24-48 hours.

3. Using Balls of Newspaper


If you don’t have shoe trees ready, you can always make your own. One of the go-to methods of breaking in footwear without a shoe stretcher is to use balls of newspaper. The steps are simple, and you will only need the following materials:

  • Old newspapers
  • Socks
  • Stretch spray

Step #1: Form the newspapers into balls.

Although you can place the newspaper balls directly inside the shoes, putting them inside socks will make them more manageable. It also ensures that the ink will not stain your footwear.

Step #2: Begin stuffing the socks with newspaper balls.

Ensure that the socks are large enough that they can put pressure on the suede.

Step #3: Spray the interior of your suede shoes with stretch spray before you put the socks inside the shoes.

Step #4: Put the socks inside the shoes, and leave them there for 6-8 hours.

Check if you got the fit that you want afterwards. You can add more newspaper to add more stretch if the suede shoes are still snug.

4. Hairdryer


It’s no longer a secret that heat causes certain materials to expand, including suede. However, too much heat can also damage this leather. Using a hair dryer is a common way to stretch suede, and you can adjust how hot you want the blower air to be.

Materials needed:

  • Hairdryer
  • Thick socks
  • Stretch spray
  • Suede conditioner

Step #1: Wear your thick socks, and then put on your suede shoes.

Step #2: Turn on the hair dryer. Adjust the heat and make sure that it is not too hot.

Step #3: Apply heat to each shoe for 30 minutes. While doing this step, make sure that you are moving your feet in a wiggling motion. This allows the suede to stretch.

Step #4: Allow your shoes to cool before you take them off.

Step #5: Apply a special suede conditioner to moisturize the suede. Do not use conditioners for other materials, or you may damage your footwear.

5. Freeze Your Shoes

If you want to stay away from using heat to stretch out suede boots or shoes, you can try making them cold instead.

In this method, the low temperature does not instantly expand the footwear. Instead, you are making a shoe stretcher by allowing water to freeze inside the shoes.

You will need:

  • Ziploc bags
  • Tray (optional)
  • Big plastic bag (optional)

Step #1: Put water inside the ziploc bags.

  • In doing this step, make sure that you don’t fill the bags entirely. Allow some space for the water to expand.
  • To ensure that the setup is leak-proof, reinforce the first ziploc bag containing water with another ziploc bag.

Step #2: Put the water bags inside the shoes.

Step #3: Place your suede shoes on a tray or inside a big plastic bag before popping them in the freezer. Leave them to freeze.

Step #4: Once the footwear has stayed inside the fridge for 8 hours, carefully take the shoes out from the freezer and remove the ziploc bags. Do not let the ice melt inside your shoes.

How Do You Make Suede Shoes Wider?


The best way to stretch suede shoes wider is to use stretchers. This is because these items are not only adjustable in length, but also adjustable in width.

Moreover, you can use calf stretchers if you want to widen tall suede boots that are too tight above your ankles. Just leave these devices inside the footwear for 24 hours.

However, you can also try the other methods previously listed as they are also effective.

How Can I Stretch My Shoes Quickly?


You’ll need:

  • Stretch Spray
  • Alcohol (for D.I.Y stretch spray)
  • Water (for D.I.Y stretch spray)
  • Spray Bottle (for D.I.Y stretch spray)

If you don’t have hours to spare to break in your shoes, there’s a quick method for you to try. You can use a stretch spray. Either buy it in stores, or make your own by mixing water with rubbing alcohol.

In making your own stretch spray, you only need to mix equal parts water and alcohol before transferring the solution into a spray bottle.

Step 1: Apply the stretch spray inside and outside your shoes.

Step 2: Wear them for a few hours, and you will notice that the suede eventually stretches.


Suede is a delicate material, and using it for shoes means that delicate measures are to be employed in taking care of them. Therefore, check out this guide on cleaning it properly and detailed steps to waterproof suede shoes here. 

Just like any other footwear, your suede shoes can last a long time if you have a knack for maintaining the quality of their material. We hope this article showed you how to stretch suede shoes without damaging them.

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