How To Stretch Patent Leather Shoes

Stretching Patent Leather shoes is simple! To break them in, buy the right size and wear them with a thick sock for a couple of minutes. If this doesn’t work, simply soften the leather, stretch the shoes, and put them on. Brand new, patent leather shoes can be unpleasant, but when you properly stretch them, they will last for many years.

How to stretch patent leather shoes?

When buying a pair of patent leather shoes it is better to buy the right size because this type of material does not stretch easily. Fortunately, they do stretch a bit so you can still break in your new shoes for a more comfortable fit on your feet.

You can use several tools to stretch your patent leather shoes easily and some tried and tested older methods. We’ll go into them all in this guide so you’ll find the best solution for you and your shoes.

Jump immediately to the FAQ section of this page

Can you stretch patent leather shoes?

Yes, There are a few methods to stretch patent leather shoes, but as mentioned before, not many. For your convenience, buying a comfortable pair is the best way to save your feet the pain. Check 5 simple ways to stretch patent leather shoes (executive summary):

  1. Use Shoe stretching spray: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations how to apply this solution
  2. Overnight, leave the shoes with shoe trees or shoe stretchers inside.
  3. For a few hours, put on the shoes and thick socks.
  4. Gently heat the shoes with a blow dryer, or put a bag with water in the shoes freeze the shoes
  5. To help the shoes fit your feet properly, walk on various surfaces.

This way you only need to stretch the shoes in the problem areas, which is normally the broadest part of the feet. If you’re pressed for time there is, for starters, a professional shoe repair person that can help you.

Related: Can You Dry Shoes with a Blow Dryer?

The following sections will show a few methods to stretch your patent leather shoes to fit independently.

Stretch patent leather shoes with a stretcher
Stretch patent leather shoes with a stretcher

The Easy Way to stretch patent leather shoes

You can easily break the shoes in or stretch them to fit more comfortably on your feet by simply wearing them. This way may take a bit longer, but it is pretty effective and will gradually stretch the shoes to fit your feet.

Start by putting on thick socks and wear the shoes for about 10 to 15 minutes. This needs to be done on a daily basis for the same amount of time for the first two or three days.

Gradually increase the daily wear time until you reach an hour of wear time, by this time the shoes should fit comfortably. As soon as you get to one hour you can wear normal thickness socks with the shoes as you would normally.

For the best results, this method will take a week or more but your shoes will easily and comfortably on your feet. Some people will just start wearing shoes for two to three hours a day and wear thick socks with them.

The thick socks will help protect your feet against pinching and scuffing to prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort.

Use Hot Air

This method is best if you are pressed for time and need to use the shoes soon after buying them. Put on a pair of thick socks and squeeze your feet into the shoe that needs to be stretched for a better fit.

Now blow hot air over the problem area for about 20 seconds with a hair blower set at medium heat. Remember not to heat the shoe for more than 20 seconds or the heat will damage the finish and the leather.

Let the shoes cool off and repeat the 20 seconds heating process. Repeat it for two to three minutes. While heating the shoes, you should move your feet around inside the shoes to stretch the leather of the shoes.

When you are done with the heating process, please do not take the shoes off but walk around inside them while cooling off. This method will have to be done two to three times for the shoes to fit comfortably and perfectly on your feet.

You let the shoes cool off on your feet so the leather can mold to the shape and size of your feet. When the shoes are completely cooled off, put on normal size socks you would normally wear with the shoes.

Feel if it fits better. If not, do all the steps from the beginning until the shoes fit perfectly.

DIY Stretching out a pair of shoes + DEMO by RaeDoesDopeShit

Using Tools To Stretch Patent Leather Shoes

You can use specialized tools to stretch the leather, so you do not need to endure the pain.

Related: Do Shoe Stretchers Really Work?

Ball-And-Ring Shoe Stretcher

This tool looks like a pair of pliers with a small ring on one tip and a ball on the other tip with a screw at the back end. You put this tool over the problem part and tighten it to leave it overnight to do the stretching.

Because patent leather is difficult to stretch, you will have to repeat the process several times until you are satisfied. Using this tool, a bump will be left on the leather but settle down when you wear the shoe.

To protect the finish on the shoe, put it in a plastic bag before using the tool for stretching. These specialized tools can be pricey and might not be worth the money if you fix just one pair of shoes.

Our choice of Ball-And-Ring-Shoe-Stretcher to stretch patent leather shoes.

Related: Can You Use a Shoe Stretcher on Boots?

Two-Way Shoe Stretcher

This tool comes with a screw included that will lengthen or widen with the opening and closing of the screw. This allows you to stretch the shoe in length and width simultaneously, but be careful.

This process can be damaging to the leather if you stretch too quickly and too much at the first attempt. 

Insert the tool inside the shoe, turn the nut to lengthen to the back, and widen at the front, slowly.

You can gradually add more strength by turning the crank of the tool every eight hours. It should be left for 24 to 48 hours. Also, remember that this tool will not be cheap and can easily damage your shoes if not used correctly.

Related: Do Shoe Stretchers Really Work?

Other Methods To Stretch Your Patent Leather Shoes

If the above options don’t appeal to you, don’t despair. There are a few tried and tested methods to stretch your shoes that were used by many people with great results.

Some people use a tightly rolled-up sock and leave it in the shoe overnight or longer until preferred results are reached.

Others use the newspaper method where it is made into a tight ball and pressed into the shoes to help stretch it.

You can also use shoe-stretching spray to help stretch, but these chemicals must be used properly.

Another method is to put a large potato inside the shoe to do the same job the rolled-up sock or newspaper do.

Related: Do Suede Shoes Stretch with Wear?

How to stretch patent leather shoes explained (video)

How to Stretch Patent Leather Shoes by ExpertVillage Leaf Group

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How are fake patent leather shoes stretched?

You can stretch Faux Patent leather or Plastic shoes in a couple of ways: To mold the shoes to your feet while wearing them, use a blow dryer. Use a leather-stretching spray or conditioning oil to soften and stretch out faux leather cloth. Use Shoe trees or shoe stretchers to keep the fabric stretched whenever you aren’t wearing plastic or faux leather shoes.

How to break or stretch patent shoes, real or fake leather - to increase comfortable fit
How to break or stretch patent shoes, real or fake leather – to increase comfortable fit

Can patent leather be stretched?

Yes, Patent Leather can be stretched but only a little. Why? A tiny layer of plastic is applied to the leather to give modern patent leather shoes their sheen. Sadly, this plastic coating renders patent leather shoes rigid and challenging to stretch. By purchasing shoes that fit correctly and taking a few simple precautions to protect your feet, you can reduce the need to break in.


That’s it! You should be able to easily and effectively stretch your patent leather shoes and start showing off with them soon. Go for a stretcher!

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