How to Soften the Back of New Shoes

After purchasing a new leather pair, we all tend to have this question in mind – how to soften the back of new shoes? Sure, the shoes will get comfortable after a generous amount of wear. However, you might get blisters for the first week you are wearing those shoes. This article will show you all the hacks how to soften the back of new shoes easily at home.

Why Shoes Need Softening at the Back?

When you buy a new shoe, often you’ll notice that the back and sides of the shoes are rough. It isn’t the shoe maker’s mistake. New shoes tend to have sharp edges. However, these sharp edges can cause you uneasiness while walking.

Buying shoes that are a bit tight or slightly small may cause you blisters. These issues may not seem too much worrisome while purchasing the shoes. However, the first few days you’ll wear the shoes can hurt your feet. 

To avoid such circumstances, it’s necessary to soften the back of your new shoes. It makes your first steps comfortable and help you to sustain your shoes in the long run. 

Here’s how to soften the back of new shoes in home-remedy styles. We’ll show you all of the shoe softening methods using both liquids and other non-conventional activities.

Using Liquid Alternatives

You can use oils, alcohol, kerosene, shoe sprays, and petroleum jelly as liquid substances. They are very much effective in softening the back of your leather shoes. Do you want to see how? Keep reading.

Glycerin or Castor Oil

Leather shoes can often feel tight for your feet. One scale larger shoe is also loose for you. What to do? Applying glycerin or castor oil helps a lot in this case. 

You can use any type of high-fat oil as alternatives. As soon as you buy your new pair, apply a generous amount of oil outside the shoes. Don’t just pour in the oil. Rub it using your hand or a brush. Your shoes will soak the oil after few hours. As a result, your shoes will get softer. 

We love this oiling method very much. It’s not only because the back of the shoes gets softened but also for giving the shoes a shiny finish. Your shoes will look evergreen and they will be in a healthy condition for a long time. 

Vinegar and Kerosene Mixture

Vinegar and kerosene do an excellent job softening the back of your leather shoes. You won’t be mixing the two liquid together rather apply it one after another. 

At first, rib some vinegar on top of your shoes, especially the areas where you want to soften. Keep it aside for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then, apply kerosene on that vinegar-soaked leather. 

The kerosene will act as a coating here. While the vinegar softens the edges, kerosene will secure the area. Your shoes will become more enjoyable to wear after the process is completely done.

You might feel a little uncomfortable using this technique for the smell vinegar has. Don’t worry, the air will take care of it. Your new shoes won’t smell awkward.

Rubbing Alcohol

Yes, alcohol can stretch your shoes to a few millimeters. This is not some regular alcohol that we drink. Rubbing alcohol is purely used in non-consumable activities. 

Take a small bowl and mix rubbing with water maintaining 1:1 proportion. Put it on the shoes gently. Don’t wear the shoes in bare feet until the alcohol completely dries off. In case, it’s an emergency, use stockings or socks to walk in around with the shoes. 

Remember to check if your shoes have any unstable paint on them. Rubbing alcohol has bleaching power that can wash away any poor-quality paint on your shoes. 

Shoe Stretch Sprays

Liquid softening hacks can make your leather shoes too wet. It can be dangerous sometimes to roam around in these wet shoes. In this case, shoe stretch sprays are excellent in use.

You can get them at any shoe-repair store or make a DIY one at home. Usually, leather shoes tend to soften after a few usages. However, shoe stretch sprays can accelerate the process if you are in a hurry.

This spray makes the leather moist but not too moist that your feet will get wet. You can walk around in these shoes immediately after spraying. Remember to wear socks to avoid damaging your skin.

So, you have seen how to soften the back of new shoes with a shoe stretch spray. Luckily, this spray also helps to contain the shoes better. The shoes can be conditioned deeply and have a glossy finish.

You can use this technique for both leather shoes and women boots. It will work better in both of the cases.

Petroleum Jelly

This tactic might surprise you but petroleum jelly works effectively to soften the back of your new shoes. Take a generous amount of petroleum jelly and apply it on the heel area. Let the jelly soak in just like any other liquid substance.

Wipe off the excess jelly from the shoes. After several hours, you’ll notice that your shoes have stretched a bit. You can use it then just like you wanted.

Using Non-Conventional Alternatives

Now, let’s see some non-conventional tactics that you can apply. They might sound a little weird at first but it will be all cleared once we describe it. Check out the following hacks below to make your shoe stretching journey easier.

Hair Dryer Method

Do you have a hair dryer at home? Use it for stretching your shoes! This is probably the weirdest yet easiest technique you can apply. You won’t have to worry how to soften the back of new shoes using any complicated solution. 

It just uses the principle of heat. When a solid material comes across heat, it expands. It’s like a common theory. We’ll use a hair dryer in this case to employ heat on the strict area. 

Keep heating the back of the shoes in a medium heat. Take out your socks and stretch it out till the toe. Then, wear the shoes. Until your shoes are comfortable in your feet, keep repeating the process. After several attempts, you’ll definitely reach your goal. 

Wooden Inserts

Okay, you might have heard about wooden inserts but did you ever use them? If not, then now it’s time! Wooden inserts might seem old to you as they are not popular too much these days. However, these classics do an amazing job when it comes to shoe-softening.

They are really easy to use. You just place them at the back of your new shoes. They will stretch the leather shoes to a few millimeters. Even if you intend to store the shoes while keeping them soft, wooden inserts are pretty handy in this case.

Thick Padded Socks

Another fascinating technique about how to soften the back of new shoes is to wear thick padded socks with your shoes. As basic as it sounds, these socks help to improve comfortability.

Simply, wear your new shoes with these thick padded socks and walk around your house for a few minutes. It’ll get a bit soften for walking outside. Repeat this tactic for several days at a stretch. You’ll eventually see the results for yourself.

Common Soap

Now, we are going to talk about a really weird method. Perhaps, you haven’t heard about it around. Yes, rubbing soap bar solution can soften the heels of your shoes.

You will require a regular soap bar available at your home. Wash it and make it wet. Now, rub the bar on the back of your shoes to eliminate the tightness.

After you are done rubbing, put the shoes on and walk around in them for several hours. By repeating this process for a few days, your shoes will reach the perfect level of softness. It will undoubtedly make your walking smooth and comfortable.


Lastly, we’ll introduce a very basic technique that uses scientific theory. We will apply here the science behind frozen water. If you notice carefully, you’ll see ice cubes usually expand than normal temperature water. 

Take two small bags of one-quarter filled water for your shoes. Keep them inside the shoes and chuck them inside the freezer. As the water inside the bag starts freezing, the bag size will expand. As a result, your shoes will get bigger too!

Once your shoes are nicely stretched, they are ready to wear. If you feel like they aren’t soft enough, then put them inside the freezer again.

Final Thoughts

It’s not really a heavy task softening your new pair. There are various options you can try at yourself. It won’t even cost you too much! If you feel confused, then feel free to use at least one of the aforementioned techniques. Make sure you are using the correct method for the right shoe type. 

You can also read: Why Wear Golf Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

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