How to Stretch Leather


Leather is a material that will naturally stretch over time, but sometimes you want to quicken that process. Whether you want to stretch out your leather shoes, jacket, or accessory, there are several strategies you can follow. There are many ways you can stretching leather, from using a hairdryer to heat up the leather to applying alcohol to areas you’d like to stretch out. You can even use a stretching spray to achieve the perfect stretch. By choosing a tactic that works with your leather item, you’ll be stretching out your leather in no time.

Using Liquid to Stretch Leather

Fill a sink or container with water. If your piece of leather will fit in the sink, great! Fill it up with enough water to submerge the leather. You can also use a container or tub, filling your chosen container up with water. Just make sure your leather will fit in the container without the water overflowing.[6]

  • You can use warm water or room temperature water.
Submerge the leather completely in the water. Once you’ve filled up a container or sink, place your leather in the water. You want the leather to be fully submerged in the water, so you may have to twist it around a little for the water to soak into the leather.
Let the leather soak in the water for 10 minutes. Make sure your leather is entirely saturated with water. A good way to check for this is to wait until there are no more bubbles coming from the leather. Once you think it’s saturated with water, let the leather continue to soak for 10 minutes.[8]
Use rubbing alcohol as an alternative to soaking your leather. If you’re wary of submerging your leather in a tub of water, you can use rubbing alcohol and water instead. This will simply be sprayed onto specific parts of your leather as opposed to saturating it entirely.

Wear the leather while it’s wet to stretch it out. After the 10 minutes are up, put on the wet leather. While this may not be the most comfortable way to wear your leather, it’s important for you to move around with it on to stretch it out. Wear the leather for an hour or two, continuing to bend the parts of the leather you wish to be stretched.[9]This works best when you’re dealing with leather clothing, shoes, or accessories, such as a belt.

Mix 1 part isopropyl rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water. Combine the rubbing alcohol and water into a bowl, stirring it around. Once the solution is mixed, pour it into an empty spray bottle.

If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can also use a paper towel or cloth. Dip the paper towel into the mixture, making sure that it’s damp but not soaking wet.

Spray the mixture onto targeted areas of your leather. Spray the solution onto the parts of the leather that you want to stretch out. If you’re spraying an article of clothing, aim for the areas that will be bending when you wear them. You don’t need to completely saturate the leather, but it should be wet.[11]

  • If you’re using a paper towel, dab the leather with the damp paper towel to transfer the mixture onto the leather.

Put on the leather once you’ve applied the alcohol. Right after you’ve applied the mixture to the leather, put it on. Bend and stretch the parts that have the mixture on them. Wear the leather until the spots where you applied the alcohol are completely dry.[12]

  • Wear thick socks if you’re spraying the alcohol mixture onto your shoes before putting the leather shoes on to stretch them out.
  • If you’ve applied the alcohol to something other than a wearable item, bend and stretch the item using your hands.



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