New leather shoes can be stiff and inflexible when first worn. Also, shoes you have not worn for a long time can become stiff. And that can make them uncomfortable to wear. Stiff shoes also are susceptible to tearing or cracking. Over time, as you wear your shoes, the leather will soften and stretch. But if you need your shoes stretched sooner, expedite the process with a few household items.

There are two primary methods of stretching out leather shoes.

Stretching leather shoes with isopropyl alcohol:

Wipe the leather shoes with a cleaning cloth or rag -- both inside and out -- to remove dust and dirt.

Mix a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent isopropyl alcohol and pour it into a spray bottle. Ensure that it is mixed well.

 Spray small amounts of the mixture around the inside of the shoe, paying special attention to exposed leather and around the edges of the foot opening.

 Put on a pair or two of thick socks and put your shoes on. Walk around in the shoes, which may feel damp, for a few hours to help stretch and loosen the leather.

Do not soak the leather in the mixture.

Do not walk around open flames or heat sources because the mixture may be flammable.

Stretch out leather shoes with water and ice:

Fill small zip lock bags about three quarters the way full with tap water.

Wipe down and dry off the leather shoes. Place a small bag full of water inside each shoe. 

Place the shoes inside the freezer overnight. The water will freeze and expand and gently expand the leather. 

Remove the shoes from the freezer the next day and remove the ice bags. Put on some heavy socks and wear the cold shoes around the house for a few hours to complete the process.