Can I Make the Heel in My Loafers Wider?

Mme. Shoe Lady-

The heel of my leather loafers is too tight. I bought heel lifters so the shoe heel would fall higher up.  It is still too tight.  Is there any way to make the the heel of the show wider?

Dear Jane,

Yes there is.  You can take the shoes to a shoe repair shop where the proprietor will put a leather softening liquid on the shoes and put them on a wooden form to stretch the heel.  It is an awkward angle but a good shoe repair shop will have the tools.

However, I very much approve of your attempt to adjust the fit with a heel lifter first.  The heel of a shoe has a curve to it.  From the sole to the top of the back of the heel the material curves out very slightly and then curves in.  I’ve had the same problem you describe.  If the curve inward is too sharp, it will hurt the back of your heel.  If the height of that curved seam is a bit too long… or too short it will hit your heel wrong and hurt the back of your heel.

But if you stretch it too much, the shoe will not stay on your heel at all!

If the lift didn’t work, I suggest you take one more tiny step toward adjustment before going to have it professionally stretched wider.  In a store that carries shoe care supplies, buy a small bottle of leather softener.  Thoroughly moisten the area that annoys your heel, not the whole area, just the part that touches your heel.  While it is damp, grit your teeth and walk around the house in the shoe.  This should both soften and slightly loosen the back.

It may not work.  The problem could be the length of the seam (back to the lift) or the thickness of the stitched area.  Take it to a shoe shop with a professional cobbler for advice.  But be cautious. If you stretch it too much, the heel will slip off your foot.

Good luck.
The Shoe Lady