Skip to content Skip to footer

To get a fine fit of shoes, it is essential to check the internal room or forefoot flexibility of the shoe that holds your feet more comfortably. If it is loose or you feel extra space with no desired fittings, there’s a possibility you can lose your balance. It also makes a player show dull performance, and ultimately just because of the shoe’s inappropriate fittings, your whole day can be a waste!!

Shrinking shoes is not as easy at first glance. It takes some practice, but once you’ve memorized the three methods that work best for your feet – it will be like playing shrink-a hider!

But what if in the last few seconds before leaving for an important event you feel an uneasy walk or heavy step’s sound? Of course, this can be due to many reasons, and one of them is shoe fittings.

Below is the complete guide to help you shrink shoes, and also, in which areas this situation compels you to follow DIY methods are explained. The purpose of this guide is to give you quick solutions that involve little effort and lasting results.

So let’s get some easy ways if you don’t know how to shrink DIY shoes and practice at home.

When do you need to fix big shoes?

The need for fixing big shoes originates in many forms. Big shoes are very annoying to deal with. They are not appropriate for wearing, and reasons can be different, where you had to buy such shoes according to the situation. Maybe your feet’ appearance is not suitable for all shoe sizes, or the smallest size you buy is still loose in your feet. Other reasons can be related to medical conditions where you were advised to buy big shoes rather than narrow ones. But after recovery, you need to fix those big shoes back to the standard fittings. Right?

Similarly, in the long run, using shoes can affect the size, and the leather turns out swollen. It happens mostly with players and those who go jogging daily. The good-fitting shoes become big shoes, and you feel no more comfort weaning them. These are some everyday situations when you need to fix big shoes. If you don’t know where to start, get some easy methods below.

Using these methods to shrink shoes in a perfect size

Among the possible ways to make shoes smaller, we have listed below some quickly following methods if you don’t know how to shrink your shoe size. These methods are doable at home, and the conditions and tools required are also readily available that anyone can perform effectively.

Method 1- How to shrink shoes using water

This is the easiest way to shrink shoes which involves water as the main ingredient and makes the complete process done in no time. You need to figure out which areas are more likely to shrink when soaked in water and how they dissipate the shoe’s grip if not treated.

The main areas that can be treated using the water shrinking method are vamp, tongue, quarter, backstay, and lining. The tongue with side quarters and backstay, once shrunk, can hold the ankle more strongly. Vamp shrinking is necessary for the comforting forefoot. However, in the actual process, only a few steps are involved.

First, spray leather shoes by taking water in a bottle and make sure you are not over spraying that can damage leather. For canvas and other fabric-composed shoes, directly dip them in warm water and rest them for an hour or two. Once finely soaked, let them dry in sunlight or air. If conditions are not naturally supportive, pick a hairdryer and make it done. Repeat the process if the results are not as expected.

Precautions: Do not add any glue or hardening factor to water; use dryer at lowest settings; do not place shoes for hours under direct sunlight.

Method 2 – Shrinking shoes with a blow dryer

The method of blow dry shrinking of the shoe is just fun and effective for leather and suede leather shoes. You need warm water in a spray bottle. In another way, the wet fabric can also be used for wetting/moistening the shoe surface.

Ensure that you are not dumping or soaking that can damage the insole by affecting its holding from the edges. Instead, spray the surface from a slight distance and use a blow dryer for final results. Set the dryer to heated air mode and dry the surface until the tongue and vamp attain their shrunk form. Repeat the process if your desired size is not achieved in the first cycle. In the case of leather and suede, this method is highly suitable. Suede leathers require extra care, and if you damp such shoes in water, there’s a possibility you are destroying your shoe yourself.

For better outcomes, use leather conditioners explicitly to look after leather shoes softness and fresh appearance. This solution of water plus conditioner delivers high-quality results and makes shoes’ leather shinny which is hard to achieve after months of use, once leather is dull, and you don’t think it can be recovered.

Precautions: Heating at a moderate scale is optimum; do not add too much conditioner for getting exceptional results and read the quantity on the label before use;

Method 3- How to iron on shoes

Shoes can be ironed to be shrunk for better fittings and movement of feet. This is another easy method that doesn’t require a specific iron for shoes. But an ordinary iron used at home for ironing clothes would be sufficient.

This method is recommended for shoes in which you want the fitting of specific sides that you have identified. The iron shrink shoe by sectionally going to each part where fittings are required. Within twenty to thirty minutes, you are done with this process, and the result is in front of you. This is so far the quicker method than the other two methods we discussed above. However, for shrinking dress shoes, you need to be more careful using this method.

In the process, firstly, find out areas where there’s a need for shrinking. Usually, the tongue, quarters, and backstay need to be ironed to regain strength to hold the ankle perfectly. It can be performed by covering the targeted area with a wet towel or fabric that doesn’t dampen the leather’s surface. Pre-heat iron to a minimum temperature which is not harmful to outer coverings.

Now gently press the iron on the towel, which is applied to targeted areas. Ensure you are not dragging iron nor dispositioning the shoes. Once done, remove the towel, and you will see the size is reduced to half than before. Repeat the process of all directions where you want improvements or fittings.

Precautions: Do not overheat the iron; do not allow the iron to get in direct contact with leather; save your hand while controlling iron; use a towel of small size which is manageable.

Method 4 – Use insoles/Cushions if the shoes are too long

Big shoe discomforting is a problem that cannot be ignored and needs to be fixed as soon as possible. The longer a person wears uncomfortable shoes, the more adverse side effects they would have to face. That is why shoe comfort by adding cushioning to insoles is essential, making the shoe appropriate in the sense of fittings and size.

The shoe’s heels become hard most of the time due to the thinning of paddy material that supports the rearfoot. Also, when the insole vanishes due to overuse, you feel the internal room empty, and the shoe seems big when you walk or run. Therefore, place a cushion at the back heel and use a ball of foot cushions to fill the toe area to prevent any sudden injury to the foot.

There are multiple advantages of adding extra insoles into the shoes to elevate your foot. This extra padding/cushioning is a source of shock absorber and sudden prevention from hard kicks where feet are vulnerable to a serious injury that can last for a long time.

Thanks for the extra insoles and cushioning products that are easily available online for all types of shoes. If you don’t know which size of insole you need, measure your feet’ size and accordingly order the insole padding. This way, you get ultimate comfort and confidence in solving such tasks at home.

Method 5 – How to shrink leather shoes with vinegar

If you don’t know how to shrink shoes in the dryer, use this vinegar method which is 100% effective and brings similar outcomes from drying methods. You will need paper towels, white vinegar, rubber bands, and a towel or rag to dry with.

The steps include:

1) Peel off your old shoe insoles if you can.

2) Pour some vinegar onto the bottom of your shoes. It should only be enough, so it doesn’t leak out of the shoe if you stand up.

3) Turn your shoes upside down for about 5 minutes.

4) Remove the towel or rag underneath the shoe and use paper towels to wipe off any excess moisture.

5) Fill up a sink with hot water and submerge your shoes in it for 15-20 minutes before drying them out.

6) Add your new insoles, and you’re good to go!


Can you shrink vans shoes?

Yes! You can shrink vans shoes if they are classic canvas slip-ons, vans vulcanized originals slip-ons, or any pair of woven sneakers like the sk8-hi. All you need to do is machine wash them on warm with phosphate bleach (like OxiClean), tumble dry them on low heat, and they’ll be shrunken within just a couple of hours.

Can you shrink your feet?

No, but there are ways to make them look as though they’re shrinking. Diminutive footwear does wonders for literally making feet appear smaller and more feminine. As a rule of thumb, the height of heels should always be an inch or two less than that of the wearer’s actual height, and you can use tricks like stacking one heel on top of another to create a couple of extra inches without it looking too awkward. Alternatively, you can also invest in lifts for your shoes – these hidden inserts will look inconspicuous, and they won’t be nearly as tedious as wearing high-heeled shoes all day long if you don’t want to!

How to shrink shoes half a size?

To shrink shoes half a size:

  1. Soak them in warm water and put them in the dryer in a cloth bag.
  2. Place in a garment bag and add a couple of tennis balls to break up clumps and help the shoes dry more evenly.
  3. Allow the shoes to air-dry completely before wearing.

Will shoes shrink in the washing machine?

The chances are that your shoes will not shrink in the washing machine or dryer. The problem with laundry is that it’s always best to air dry clothes instead of using a dryer, which can cause the fabric to deteriorate from the heat. As long as you let your shoes air out, they should be just as big as they were before you threw them in the machine.