Fresh leather from the factory is typically very stiff and may require softening. Leather is renowned for being durable, stylish, and long-lasting. This would also imply that leather occasionally has a stiff, limited range of motion. The sort of leather is stronger the harder it is. However, when discussing a jacket, most people would like a softer texture than rigid leather. For this reason, we must learn how to soften leather without compromising its integrity or harming it.
Leather can dry out and become stiff over time if improper care is not taken. You definitely want to avoid this because it loses its original appearance, gets less comfortable, and is more likely to crack.
What makes a leather stiff?
Because the skins used to create the products have not been buffed, sanded, or snuffed, full-grain leather tends to produce products of the greatest quality, while split and corrected-grain leather are two of the lower-quality variants. You should prepare to pay extra for premium full-grain leather, but in this case, the saying “you get what you pay for” is applicable.
Tips for Softening Leather Shoes
Using a Hairdryer
Put the shoes between two pieces of cardboard if they are not waterproof to prevent them from wetting from the soggy ground. Shake your shoe erratically for around 30 seconds to allow all the extra water to run out. If water is still flowing from it, you could also place some rice or cat litter inside. To the areas of your shoes that are the tightest and toughest, apply a brief burst of heat (about 20 seconds is ideal). Put on a pair of extremely thick socks and insert your foot. Wear them around the home until the leather is cool to the touch.
Using oil to stretch
By utilizing adhesive or oil made for this purpose, you can avoid the time- and labor-intensive task of stretching leather shoes by hand. Do this step outside to avoid damaging your floor because shoe-stretching adhesive might be a little messy at first. Take a clean rag and liberally spread shoe-stretching adhesive or oil for easy application. Your shoes’ leather surface will soften if you rub oil or glue. Wearing rubber gloves for increased grip, knead the leather with your hands to hasten the process.
Using a stretching spray
You might use the following trick: after putting your shoes on, start pressing them down with your palms to loosen them up. Apply some stretching spray on the shoes using a brush or your finger. Use gloves or finger cots to prevent getting any of the liquid on your hands. Each strap should be repeatedly pulled back and forth until it is loosened and soft. After that, remove your shoes and repeat the process if necessary.
Begin wearing them again
This should work for you if the hardness of your leather shoes is just a result of their prolonged storage. Just start wearing them again, even without standing for long periods or long distances daily. It exhausts them both inside and outside the house. Your hard shoes are ready to be softened if you notice a slight squeak with each step.
Put damp newspaper inside boots and shoes
Using a little water to help, roll the pages into balls before stuffing them into your leather boots or shoes. After around 24 hours, remove the newspaper; you should notice that the leather has softened.
Even while it’s preferable to avoid leather from becoming stiff by properly storing and treating it, even if it does, not all is lost. Any techniques mentioned above can be used to restore your leather accessory or clothing to its former splendor if there isn’t any major damage.
It’s important to remember that some techniques and advice are not appropriate for imitation leather products and that you should always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for taking care of your leather shoes.