We've all experienced it before. Either we ordered shoes online and eagerly awaited their arrival only to discover that they are somewhat tight and run small. Or, despite being a half-size too small, we purchased our dream pair of shoes after finding them on the clearance rack. Sometimes one foot is slightly smaller than the other, or we simply purchased the incorrect size shoe, which feels too tight. Whatever the situation, stretching too-tight shoes to a half-size or larger can be done quickly and effectively. While going to the cobbler to have your shoes stretched professionally is always an option, there are quite a few simple do-it-yourself tricks you can use to stretch your shoes at home.
How to Spread Your Shoes Out
As you wear shoes, they typically stretch naturally. Leather shoes, whether they are women's heels or dress shoes for men, will eventually fit properly. However, if they are too small and uncomfortable to wear, try some of these simple tricks to enlarge your shoes by about half a size to fit your feet. You can stretch your shoes to avoid rubbing and blisters and not have to walk around on your tiptoes. Try some of these methods to see if you can stretch your shoes to fit you if you can't or don't want to return your shoes.
1. Put them on at night
Simply wearing your shoes around the house in the evening is one of the simplest and most effortless ways to begin stretching them. Put on a pair of thick socks or several layers of socks, then pace the house until your feet hurt. You'll notice a significant difference in how your feet feel in your shoes after doing this for a few days. Tight shoes will loosen up due to the shape of your feet, the pressure of walking, and the addition of thick socks. Avoid wearing down the soles of the shoes by only walking on rugs, carpets, mats, and bathroom rugs if you plan to return them if they don't feel right.
When purchasing shoes, consider their intended use and the type of socks you will wear with them. For instance, it's more likely that you will wear thicker socks than thin dress socks if you purchase hiking boots or winter snow boots. On occasion, we neglect to purchase slightly larger shoes when we intend to wear them with thicker socks. Before wearing the shoes on the trails, walking around with thick socks will help you stretch them to the size that feels comfortable for you.
2. A blow dryer and thick socks
A blow dryer and some socks are needed for a different method of stretching shoes at home. Put on several pairs of thick socks if possible. Put on several pairs of thinner socks or men's socks if you don't have thick socks to achieve the same result. Put on your socks and cram your feet into your shoes. Blow-dry the parts of the shoe that feel tight for 20 to 30 seconds at a time while applying heat with a hairdryer. To avoid overheating, drying out, or accidentally burning the leather, we advise using only medium heat while moving the blow dryer. In order to nourish the leather after it has been stressed by the heat and dryness, we advise applying a leather conditioner or moisturizer to the shoes after completing this.
3. A Zip-Closed Frozen Bag
In addition to using heat, you can also use cold to stretch leather. While this technique works for non-leather shoes as well, it is acceptable for leather shoes. We advise switching to the heat option when working with leather. You can use a zip-top bag filled with water to gently stretch non-leather shoes like sneakers or slippers in the freezer. You should check your zip-close bag to make sure there are no leak-prone holes before inserting it inside your shoe because you don't want your shoes to get wet. Once you're certain your baggie won't leak, fill them with water to about a quarter of the way, then firmly insert them inside the shoes. Place the footwear in the freezer, and keep it there until the water freezes. Once frozen, take it out and let it thaw. Try this method once more if the shoes don't fit after the first go-around.
Water shoes and canvas shoes, both of which can get wet, can become instantly frozen. Put these shoes in the freezer to freeze after lightly wetting them with water. Remove them and allow them to thaw After some freezer time, they ought to fit comfortably.
Four. Content in Newspapers
Use other objects to stretch the shoes instead of your feet if you're sick of stomping around the house in new shoes to try to stretch them out. You can do this in a retro way by stuffing your shoes with newspapers. The tightly packed paper's shape and pressure will gradually and gently stretch out the shoes. If you don't have any crumpled-up newspaper lying around, try stuffing some extra pairs of socks into your shoes to achieve the same result. The shoes should feel noticeably roomier in a few days.
5. Employ the peel-a-potato trick
This trick to stretch tight shoes may sound like an old wives' tale, but it works hilariously well. Potatoes can be peeled and molded into the front of shoes where your toes go. Put the potato in your shoe overnight after drying it with a paper towel. Although this approach sounds ridiculous, you can expect to wake up with a little extra room in your shoes.
6. Modular Shoe Trees
The fancier and more sophisticated method of stretching your shoes is with adjustable shoe trees. Adjustable shoe trees are actually frequently kept in the closet with both men's and women's shoes. To maintain the shape of various types of fancy dress shoes, adjustable shoe trees are frequently used. In order to maintain the appearance and aesthetic of the shoe, shoe trees are made to smooth out the lining of your shoes and prevent any creases or dents. Although they are not specifically made for stretching shoes, shoe trees can.
Shoe trees, which are available in a variety of materials including plastic, cedarwood, and stainless steel, are excellent for stretching sneakers and leather shoes. These practical tools can lengthen and widen a shoe, making them especially useful for people with bunions or wider feet. When using the adjustable shoe tree, stretch the shoes by turning the tree's adjustable handle every 8 to 12 hours until you achieve the desired length and width.
7. Shoe Stretch Liquids and Sprays
For a more successful outcome, adjustable shoe trees can also be used in conjunction with shoe stretching liquids and sprays. There are numerous liquids and sprays available that work well for stretching leather, fabric, and even vinyl shoes. You can use these stretch sprays on the areas of the shoe that feel constrictive. Spray the restricted areas, then move around in your shoes to expand them. Alternately, stretch the shoes using a shoe stretcher or adjustable shoe tree after using the stretch sprays and liquid.
8. Locate a Shoe Repair Expert
There is no issue if you don't feel like working on this project by yourself. For those who are short on time or simply don't want to bother stretching shoes at home, taking shoes to specialized shoe repair shops, also known as cobblers, is a great option. Cobblers are still prevalent in most cities and some more rural or suburban areas even though they are less prevalent than they once were. With the aid of equipment and training, shoe experts offer services for stretching shoes. This is a fantastic alternative for both men's and women's boots. A professional cobbler or shoe repairer will have all the equipment necessary to stretch even the most difficult or delicate of shoes. Additionally, taking your worn-out footwear to a professional cobbler or shoemaker is a great way to have them spruced up, reshaped, and even resoled to extend their lifespan and maintain their great looks.
9. Rough Alcohol
Another typical household item that can be used to loosen up tight shoes is rubbing alcohol. If your feet are having trouble breaking in that new pair of shoes, rubbing alcohol will make the process easier. Put 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to dilute the rubbing alcohol. Spray the footwear's interior and put them on for 20 to 30 minutes. Alternately, you can just apply rubbing alcohol to the areas of the shoes that require stretching or feel particularly constrictive. Wear the shoes while they are wet after rubbing alcohol over the tighter areas. Last but not least, you can immerse a pair of socks in rubbing alcohol, put them on, and wear them while wearing your shoes or boots until the alcohol dries. You can do this as many times as necessary.
10. Invest in a shoe stretcher.
Using a shoe stretcher is yet another easy method of stretching shoes. Shoe stretchers are inserts made to stretch the shoe from the inside and encourage it to maintain its shape, much like an adjustable shoe tree. For leather and dress shoes, shoe stretchers are excellent. Even if you don't need to stretch your shoes, having a shoe stretcher on hand will make you appear even more polished in your men's suit or women's business attire by assisting your dress shoes in maintaining their shape. Spraying the inside and outside of the shoe with a stretch spray will help your shoe stretch. Alternatively, just slip the stretcher into the shoe and use the lengthening wheel to resize it. Don't leave the stretcher in for more than six to eight hours because the shoe might become too stretched and loosen.
Try one of these simple techniques to give your toes a little more room and make your feet feel more comfortable if you are having trouble breaking in a pair of new shoes, purchased a pair that are too small, or otherwise ended up with shoes that feel uncomfortable. Just keep in mind the next time you buy shoes to try them on with the proper size sock and walk around in them for a while before you commit. If not, try some of these simple fixes to improve the fit of your shoes. At Lands' End, complete your look and discover fantastic business attire, casual attire, and outdoor gear to pair with your newly stretched shoes.