Stretch marks in leather shoes are usually the result of bad habits and improper shoe care. Hastily putting leather shoes on and simply throwing them on the floor or in the closet can lead to stretch marks in the leather. Although leather shoes are durable, they need to be properly cared for and conditioned to keep them in good shape. Shoes take a lot of abuse from general wear and tear as well as from the natural elements, which all compromise the integrity of the leather as well.
Insert shoe trees inside of the shoes. Shoe trees approximate the contour and shape of the foot and help the shoe to maintain its shape. Stretch marks occur as the shoe begins to lose its shape. Leave the shoe trees in the shoes for 24 hours. High quality cedar shoe trees also absorb moisture.
Clean the shoes with saddle soap. Saddle soap removes the surface dirt and grime without damaging the natural oils of the leather. Rinse the shoes with a clean damp cloth to remove all the soap residue.
Apply a leather conditioner to the shoes. Use a lanolin-based conditioner to restore the natural oils to the leather. Apply the conditioner with a soft cloth.
Polish the shoes with a cream polish. Select a polish that matches the color of the leather. Apply the polish only to the areas of the shoes with the stretch marks. Work the polish into the stretch marks with a soft polishing cloth until the marks begin to blend with the surrounding areas of the shoe. Allow the polish to dry for 10 minutes. Polish the shoes with the cream polish a second time, polishing the whole shoe as well as the area that had the stretch marks. Allow the polish to dry again for another 10 minutes.
Buff the shoes with a horsehair polishing brush. Continue buffing the shoes until the original sheen of the leather is restored. Buff the shoes a second time with a soft clean polishing cloth to restore the full luster of the leather.
Avoid simply slipping your feet into the shoes. Always use a shoe horn when putting them on. A shoe horn prevents stretching the shoe's heel. Don't wear the shoes everyday; rotate them to ensure their longevity and to protect the leather.