Wearing shoes that are too tight can be a real pain – literally – and after a day of walking around in them, all you can think about is pulling them off and setting your poor aching feet free.
However, if your shoes are so tight that they are causing you problems, you don’t need to suffer unnecessarily because there are several things you can do to give your feet a bit more room.
So how to Stretch Shoes? In this post, we talk about seven effective ways to stretch shoes for wide feet.
Why do you need to stretch shoes?
Many people will know what it’s like to go into a shoe shop and find a pair of shoes they instantly fall in love with, only to be told that the right size is currently out of stock.
What do you do in this situation? While it’s not recommended to buy shoes that are too small, if you can’t bear to let them go – and they’re not that much too small – you can consider buying them and then stretching them out a little to make them fit more comfortably.
Then there are those who have naturally wide feet for whom finding shoes in the right size is always more of a challenge.
For these people, having shoes made specially each time can be expensive, and stretching shoes that are too tight can be a much more affordable choice.
So now let’s look at seven ways of doing it.
How to Stretch Shoes for Wide Feet? 7 shoe-stretching techniques that really work!
Here are seven practical techniques you can use to stretch your shoes – sometimes just using one technique will do the job, but if not, we recommend trying two or more together until you manage to mold your shoes to the perfect size and shape for your feet.
1. Wear them in gradually
If you have a pair of shoes that are too tight to wear comfortably, the simplest way to stretch them is just to wear them in gradually at home.
All you need to do for this is to put them on at home and walk around in them for a few minutes. After that, take them off and give your feet a rest before putting them back on and repeating.
Depending on how quickly you want to stretch them, you can repeat this process every evening until they become comfortable enough to wear when you go out.
This is a perfect technique for shoes that only need to be stretched a little – and it’s a much better way of breaking them in and stretching them than just putting them on while they’re too small and suffering foot pain until they fit.
2. Wear thick socks
Another trick for stretching shoes is to wear thick socks while you wear them. Essentially, this is the same as the technique in #1, but with the thicker socks, you will be able to stretch them more.
Then, when you take off the thick socks and put on a pair of normal socks, you should find the fit is already more comfortable.
If the shoes are too tight to do this without squeezing your feet too much, one option is to start in a pair of normal socks as in #1 and then switch to thicker socks when you have stretched them enough to make this possible.
These techniques work well with leather shoes since they stretch naturally with time.
3. Use a hairdryer
To speed up the process of stretching your shoes, you can start by warming them up with a hairdryer before you put them on. This will make them more supple so when you put them on your feet, they will stretch more easily.
Warm them for around 30 seconds – using a low or medium setting so you don’t damage them – and then put them on a walk around in them as they cool.
Repeat this process several times and you find they quickly mold to the shape of your feet.
A good tip is to use a combination of techniques #1, #2 and #3 until your shoes have stretched enough to become comfortable.
However, avoid using a hairdryer on leather shoes as it will damage them – this is a technique that works best with sports shoes and sneakers.
4. Stuff them
If you don’t want to risk using a hairdryer on your shoes and you aren’t willing to go through the discomfort of stretching them using your own feet, another option is to stretch them by stuffing them.
All you need to do is push in some socks or something similar and then leave them for a few hours or overnight.
After leaving them for a while, try them again and see if they have improved. If they aren’t quite right, repeat the process until you achieve the desired results.
5. Freeze them
A slightly off-the-wall solution to stretching your shoes is to put them in the freezer.
This technique is based on the fact that water expands when it freezes – so all you need to do is fill zip-lock bags with water, put them in your shoes and leave them in the freezer.
As the water expands, it will gently stretch your shoes to the right size so that when you take them out and try them on, they will fit better.
However, this technique might not be suitable for high-end shoes since the freezing process might leave them looking less than perfect – this would be a better technique to use for something like work boots.
6. Use a shoe stretcher
If you regularly have problems finding shoes that fit properly, a smart option could be to invest in a shoe-stretching tool.
These are not particularly expensive and can be obtained for around $25. You push them into the shoe and then turn the screw to make them expand, stretching your shoe in the process.
Using a shoe stretcher gives you accurate control over how much you stretch your shoes, so while it might sound like an expensive option if you only need it once, if it’s something you will use often, this is a great choice.
7. Take them to a professional cobbler
Finally, if you have a pair of shoes that are causing you pain because they are too tight, you can always take them to a professional cobbler to have them stretched.
This is the most expensive solution, but cobblers have the necessary tools and skills to do the job, so if you have an expensive pair of shoes that need stretching and you don’t want to damage them, this is probably the best choice.
Buy the right shoes in the first place
While we would always recommend taking time to find the right shoes when you buy them and never to buy shoes that are too small, we understand that sometimes buying shoes that are too tight is necessary, especially for people with naturally wide feet.
If this is a situation you are familiar with and often find yourself dealing with uncomfortably tight shoes, trying one or several of the techniques we’ve given you here should help bring you some relief from the pain of wearing tight shoes.