Tight Holster? (product review)

I wasn’t happy with the composite holster for my Ruger SR22. I finally found a leather holster that wasn’t exactly made for it, but should fit it fine. Well, it was too tight, to the point where re-holstering the weapon would almost rack the slide back - that’s too tight.

When I first got into this sport I read a post about the “drawer full of holsters” that comes along with it. I seemed to be getting a good start on that prophecy. Then I saw an add on Amazon.

Foot Matters makes a Professional Grade “Shoe Stretch” product is said to work on all manner of leather, reptile skin and other such material. So I ordered a small bottle for my holster. It worked!

I rapped the gun in a thick plastic bag, sprayed the holster inside and out to near saturation, and then jammed the bagged pistol into the holster and twisted it around a bunch. (Be sure to remove the magazine and clear the chamber first!) An hour or so later it was better, but not yet right so I did another application, as the label recommended. Now that holster fits my SR22 like it should.


Never heard of a Shoe Stretch product, but glad you got the holster working.

I use plastic a plastic bag, wrap the gun in it, and shove it in the holster. Sometimes more than one bag, depending on the holster.

I have been selling off most of the contents of my “drawer full of holsters”, but will always have a few extra ones.

I have a leather OWB holster that I keep an exact Blue LEO replica of G43 in in when I am not using it (which is not alot) Over time the leather holster formed perfectly to the weapon.

I don’t have the holster with me now. I am letting a friend try it out.

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@AlexV I will check out Shoe Stretch. Good tip.

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I know with leather, one has to be careful because after a period of time they will begin to lip…

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I’m not going to lie, this sounds like what leather workers call “wet forming”. They recommend a brief soak in warm water, adding your knife or bagged firearm and doing exactly as you described. Then allowing to fully dry followed by oiling with a good leather product such as mink oil (generically speaking).

Sorry if I’m raining on your parade here.

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Hi @Spence,

No. No rain at all. There are countless products that mimic age-old remedies. I found the product but I didn’t know about that remedy - now I do! Thanks for the tip.

Whatever works,


You’re exactly right. The same technique is used to form the leather into the creases to wrap it- or cause the leather to give a little to stretch it.

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My saddle maker buddy took my excessively tight leather holster and dipped it just for a couple minutes into his solution he keeps. It may may be the same sort of solution as your Shoe Stretch. I formed the holster by inserting and removing and reinserting occasionally until the leather was bone dry. It formed very well. He told me the solution saturates better than plain water. He also told me that since the leather was already dyed, it had been sealed, and the leather wouldn’t take to forming as easily as unused leather. It did very well, but I may run it through again sometime.
Your Shoe Stretch may work better. I’ll have to take you up on the good word and get a bottle.
BTW Coop warned me that wet forming could darken the leather some. I believe it did slightly, but it was already fairly dark. It looks good. Did the Shoe Stretch darken your leather?
When Coop formed my 686+ holster, we wanted it kind of hard. It turned out perfect! Hard as kydex on the outside too.

Hi Bugleboy,

I sprayed it inside and out, almost to saturation. It took three rounds to become acceptable. That was a month or so ago and I just gave it another spray, wait to dry, and respray, with the pistol wrapped in plastic inside it while it dried. Also, I twisted the gun inide the holster just to help it stretch, according to instructions.

It’s just about perfect now and I’ve still got a nearly full bottle so it was work the price.

Not sure if it’s darker, as it was a flat black to begin with. It doesn’t seem to be any harder either, though it was hard enough to keep it’s shape when the gun was removed before I started all this.

I have a “ballistic material” holster for the SR22 that has a safety snap that holds it just below the hammer, and it has a slot for an extra magazine with its own velcro flap. That holster cost under $20, if memory serves and it’s great for open carry. I wanted a leather OWB for concealed carry should I choose to do so with a 22.

Something tells me the “secret solution” your leather guy uses is a product of many years of experience, and somewhat better as an all around stretching agent than by store bought spray. I’ll bet it’s even good for the leather.

Coop says it isn’t bad for the leather. I don’t know about improving its health. I believe he buys this stuff, but I could be wrong.
Making the leather that hard was a different process. I’m sorry if I stirred the beans there. I was just bragging on him a bit.
I think I’d still like to have a spray bottle at home. It’s nearly a half mile to Cooper’s shop, and gas and time aren’t cheap anymore lol.
Seriously, does the spray smell like alcohol?