There are several reasons why you may need to soften your canvas shoes; maybe you just want to unmold them or you need to widen a pair that is too tight. We’ve all been there, you tried your shoes on in the store and they fit perfectly, but when you first wear them, the friction of the leather against the materials causes you discomfort and pain.
In this guide, we discover some of the easiest ways to get your new canvas shoes perfectly fitting, whether it’s a pair of our Old Skools or our iconic Slip-Ons.
TIPS FOR UNMOLDING CANVAS SHOES
The first and perhaps the most effective method of loosening a pair of canvas shoes is to wear a thick pair of socks with your canvas shoes to slowly unmold the material without hurting your feet.
- Find a pair of winter socks and put them on inside your new canvas shoes
- Lace-up your shoes as you normally would, making sure they aren’t too tight
- Wear your shoes indoors for a couple of hours at a time, and repeat the process as needed
This method is a great way to slowly and gradually unmold your canvas shoes and make sure you loosen them just right, without them getting too loose.
STUFF THE SHOES
Another way to soften your canvas shoes is to pad them, especially if your new shoes are particularly tight on the toes and your toes need a little extra room to move.
- Crumple up some newspaper or roll up a pair of socks
- Push the newspaper or socks into the bottom of the shoes, making sure they are pressed enough to spread the material
- Leave your shoes on overnight and remove the padding the next morning
- If your shoes aren’t loose enough, repeat the process until they’re loose
A less conventional method of padding is to fill two airtight bags with water, seal them before putting them in your shoes, and then leave them in the freezer. As the water freezes, it will expand and loosen the fabric of the shoe. But be careful, the water must not run into your new shoes!
WARM THE SHOES
Similar to freezing, heat can also help loosen canvas shoes. An easy trick you can do at home is to wear thick socks with your shoes and use your hairdryer to warm the fabric.
- Pull out a pair of thick socks and put on your canvas shoes
- Use a hairdryer to heat each of the areas where the shoes are too tight
- At the same time, flex your feet and move your toes to loosen the shoe material as much as possible
- Keep your shoes and socks on until they are cold – this helps the process
If you’ve tried all of our homemade methods but your canvas shoes are still a little tight, there are tools you can buy to help loosen the material. For example, there are pliers that can enlarge specific parts of the shoe or shapes that can stretch the entire shoe in one go.
PLIERS FOR CORNS AND TOES FROM SHOEMAKERS OR LEATHER GOODS
- Find the spot on your shoe that most needs to be softened
- Insert one arm of the gripper inside the shoe and one outside at that point
- Squeeze the pliers to stretch the canvas sufficiently
- Secure the clamp in place using the clamp
- Leave the pliers like this overnight even if you will immediately see that the canvas has already softened
- Place the last inside the canvas shoe, the end with the screw should be placed on the heel side
- Stretch the shape until the fabric softens
- Leave the shape like this overnight and turn the screw once every 8 hours if necessary