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Our tips and tricks to soften and stretch your leather shoes
Because we all know, when we buy a new pair of leather shoes, our feet always hurt a little at first.
It's quite normal that leather seems rigid the first few times you wear them, it takes a few days for a shoe to adapt to its owner.
But that's no reason to send your shoes back or to do anything silly to try to soften them at all costs.
So yes, many will tell you to use techniques using water, cold or hot but at Melvin & Hamilton we recommend other methods that are just as effective and much more respectful to the leather of your shoes, especially when it is vegetable tanned, as on most of our models.
The essential shoe trees
We can't tell you enough, there are many reasons why it is essential to have cedar shoe trees. In addition to preventing creases and cracking in the leather, shoe trees allow you to soften leather shoes in both length and width. At first leave the shoe trees in place for several days, then place them after each use of the shoes.
As for your skin: hydrate leather
To soften leather shoes, take a good example from your skin! Applying a good moisturising cream at the beginning of the treatment, in addition to acting as a make-up remover and removing old layers of shoe polish, will soften and relax the leather to help it to adapt to the foot. And it is in any case an essential step in the care of your leather shoes, whether they are new or not, this is where care starts.
Take care of your feet
A particularly effective method is to apply a thick, highly moisturising cream, such as Nivea, to your feet. Apply it all over the foot and then put on your shoes without socks. Moisturising will soften the leather shoe from the inside, the previous method moisturised the outside already.
Step by step
Your shoe needs time to fit the shape of your feet. For that, no other choice than wearing them! But be careful, at first, not just like that.
Start wearing them at home, with 1 or 2 pairs of thick socks. And walk, move your toes, all this regularly for one or two hours at a time. Okay, it's going to be uncomfortable, but once you need to stand all day, you'll be glad you made the sacrifice!
Then you can wear your new shoes for short outings. To go to the local bakery, for example. Do this on a regular basis, to get your feet used to the new shoes little by little.
Wet socks to the rescue
One last technique to soften and stretch your leather shoes is to use wet socks, but not just in anyway! With a cedar wood shoe tree, and especially not a metal one, you will understand why.
Put a wet sock around a cedar shoe tree, then slip it into your shoe and let it dry overnight. The shoe tree will absorb moisture and swell, making the shoe a little wider and longer.
All these methods are of course complementary, you can use several of them to stretch your shoes very slightly and soften them gently.
We hope we have helped you in finding a way to respectfully stretch and soften the leather of your brand new shoes!