How To Break In & Stretch Faux Leather Shoes The Right Way

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The process of breaking in and stretching shoes is usually painful and time-consuming, but when the shoes are made of faux leather, it becomes its own unique challenge. Vegan and faux leather does stretch but unlike real leather, it is not as malleable, which means it doesn’t stretch as easily. As a result, breaking in vegan leather shoes can be even more painful than breaking in regular leather shoes. Keep reading to find out how to break in faux leather shoes the right way!

Key Takeaways: How to Break in and Stretch Faux Leather Shoes

  • Buy the best quality pair you can afford
  • Think about paying a cobbler to stretch them
  • If you are on a budget use heat, oil, and shoe stretchers
  • Be patient and break them in gradually to avoid over stretching

How to Break in and Stretch Faux Leather Shoes

There are a few things you can do to help break in your faux leather shoes more comfortably. Here are 8 tips to get you started.

1. Buy a Good Quality Pair of Faux Leather Shoes

The first step to breaking in and stretching your faux leather shoes is to buy a good quality pair. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s important to remember that not all faux leather shoes are created equal. Some faux leather does look cheap and is made with low-priced materials that won’t stretch as easily such as PVC. Other vegan shoes are made with higher quality materials that will break in more easily like microsuede.

Footwear is diverse, with many categories including fashion, sports, and baby footwear. These types of shoes are generally made from many different vegan and non-vegan materials which look very similar. And it is often difficult how to tell if the shoes are vegan or not without paying close attention to the shoe labels.

Nae Vegan Shoes are a Portuguese brand that I buy from and are easy to break in. They produce beautiful quality men’s and women’s footwear from a range of vegan materials including Pinatex (pineapple leather), cork, corn, and apple leather.

2. Have them Stretched by a Professional

Vegan leather does not stretch easily. If you want to avoid any pain while breaking in your faux leather shoes, I recommend having them stretched by a professional. Any shoe-repair shop can do this for you. It saves your feet from having to do the hard work and avoids potential blisters and sore feet the first few times you wear your new shoes. Secondly, it ensures an even stretch, so your shoes will be more comfortable to wear. This is because the professionals will have the proper tools and techniques to stretch your shoes without damaging them.

3. Use Heat

If you’re on a budget or can’t get to a shoe-repair shop, you can try stretching your shoes at home using heat. One way to do this is to use a hairdryer.

How to Use a Hairdryer to Break In Faux Leather Shoes

Step 1 – Put on a pair of socks and your shoes.

Step 2 – Turn the hairdryer on to the hottest setting and hold it about six inches away from your shoes.

Step 3 – Move the hairdryer around so that the heat is evenly distributed.

Step 4 – Do this for about five minutes or until the faux leather is warm and pliable.

Step 5 – Remove your shoes and socks and let them cool down for a few minutes.

Step 6 – Try on your shoes again. They should feel a bit more comfortable.

Be careful when using heat as it can sometimes loosen the glue used on shoes, causing the uppers and soles to separate. To avoid this, don’t leave the hair dryer nozzle in any one place for too long. Additionally, do not try to stretch plastic or PVC shoes with heat as they won’t respond well and you could release toxic fumes into your home.1

4. Wear Them Around the House

The next step is to start wearing them around the house. This will help to stretch them out and make them more comfortable.

Step 1 – Put on a pair of thick socks and your faux leather shoes.

Step 2 – To get started, walk around your house for a few minutes. Gradually build up the time. Just be sure not to wear them for too long at first, as this can cause pain and discomfort.

Step 3 – Repeat this process a few times until the shoes feel more comfortable.

Tip: According to Nae Vegan Shoes, you should aim to wear your new vegan shoes for a total of ten to fifteen hours before their first full day out.2

5. Use a Leather Stretching Spray

You can try using a leather stretching spray or oil if you’re still having trouble breaking in your faux leather shoes. This will help to soften the fabric and make it more pliable. Simply spray or apply the oil to the inside and outside of your shoes. Repeat this process as necessary. You can also combine use of the spray with one of the other methods on this list, such as wearing them around the house or using a shoe stretcher.

6. Use Shoe Stretchers

Shoe stretchers are devices that you insert into your shoes to help stretch them out. They come in different sizes, so make sure you get the right size for your shoes.

When purchasing shoe stretchers, keep in mind that some come as a pair while others are single units that can stretch both shoes. There are also shoe stretchers tailored for various types of footwear, such as flats, heels, and boots. Just make sure you purchase the right tool for the job. There is a huge range of highly reviewed shoe stretchers at different price points on Amazon for you to choose from.

How to Use a Shoe Stretcher to Break in Faux Leather Shoes

Step 1 – Spray the inside and outside of your shoes with water or a liquid shoe stretch spray. This will help to soften the faux leather and make it more pliable. Let the liquid absorb for a few minutes.

Step 2 – Place the shoe stretchers into your shoes. The stretchers should be as wide as the shoe can handle.

Step 3 To stretch your shoe, turn the knob on the shoe stretcher until you feel resistance.

Step 4 – Leave them in for a few hours or overnight.

Step 5 – Remove the shoe stretchers and try on your shoes. They should be more comfortable.

Tip: If you leave the shoes on the stretcher for too long, they will start to over-stretch. To avoid this problem, try stretching them for a shorter period of time at first. Shoes that are too loose can cause just as many problems as those that are too small.

7. Walk Them Around Outside

Once you’ve stretched and broken them in a bit, it’s time to take them for a walk around the block. This will help stretch out the fabric even further and make them even more comfortable. If possible, try walking on different types of surfaces so that your shoes can really stretch out. For example, walk on both concrete and grass or pavement and carpet. This will help ensure that your shoes are as comfortable as possible!

8 . Be Patient

Ultimately, the best way to stretch and break in faux leather shoes is just to give them time and do it gradually. The more you wear them, the more they’ll conform to your feet. So, be patient, and eventually, they’ll be as comfortable as any other pair of shoes!


Breaking in vegan leather shoes might seem like mission impossible, but with a little effort and patience, you can make them just as comfortable as any other pair of shoes and learn how to care for them.

If you are on a budget, there are affordable ways to stretch and make your vegan shoes last without spending too much money with a professional cobbler. Just be patient and take it slowly!

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