How to Shrink a Suede Shoe

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Suede moccasins mold to the feet.
Suede moccasins mold to the feet. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Suede is a flexible leather used in a variety of shoes, such as dance or dress shoes, for its softness and comfortable wear. However, the delicate nature of the fabric makes it susceptible to stretching, which causes an uncomfortable fit. Carefully applying water to the suede from the inside can shrink the shoe up to a half-size smaller. The process requires drying the shoe without heat and using only a small amount of water to ensure the exterior of the shoe retains the original appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge or tea kettle
  • Shoe brush
  • Suede conditioner

Soak a sponge with water, and squeeze out some of the excess. The sponge should be wet, but not dripping with water.

Insert the sponge into the shoes, and allow to soak for about five minutes. Alternatively, fill a kettle with water, and allow it to boil on the stove. Hold the shoe over the steam for three to five minutes.

Set the shoes in a sunny space outside to dry. Do not use heat to dry suede as it will damage the material. Brush the exterior of the shoe along the nap to smooth the suede. Apply a leather conditioner to the shoe according to product directions to help the suede regain its moisture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use a hair or clothes dryer to shrink shoes, as the heat will ruin the leather.

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