Imagine a case where you spend your hard-earned cash to buy a pair of shoes online only to receive shoes that are too tight. What would you do? While it’s obvious that people will react differently in such a situation, there are a few ways to stretch them out for a more comfortable fit.
You should note that you can’t change the size of your shoes much. Maybe you can increase their size by a quarter to half a size. Also, you can only increase the size of their width since they will not change much lengthwise.
There are plenty of home-backed solutions for your small problem. Some of the solutions will not yield an instant result. Therefore, you might want to have some patience while using some of the methods below.
The Best Ways to Stretch Your Shoes Wider
Some of the techniques that you can use to widen your shoes include the following:
1. Wear your shoes for an hour at a time
Let’s start off with the simplest of the methods, shall we? Wearing your shoes for an hour at a time will help increase their size. You only need to wear them several times a day, one hour at a time. If the shoes are too tight, you can wear them with a pair of thick socks. The socks will cushion your skin against blisters.
This technique works great if your shoes are a little too tight. Your shoes will stretch out gradually over time. So, patience is key if you are using this method. Once they start loosening a bit, you can increase the duration you wear them per day, say from an hour to two. Before you know it, your shoes will be fitting your snugly and comfortably. You can use this technique with any shoe type since it doesn’t harm the shoe material in any way.
2. Use a blowdryer to stretch them out
You should put on a pair of thick cotton socks and slip your feet inside your tight shoes. After which, take your blowdryer out and set the heat to medium. Blast each shoe for 30 seconds making sure you warm different areas.
This will distribute the heat and prevent overheating one area or the shoe glue. As your shoes get warmer, wiggle your toes and bend your feet to help stretch them out so your feet can slide in. Once you are successfully in, continue wearing the shoes as they cool down.
This shoe-stretching method is ideal for leather or suede-made shoes. The heat from the blowdryer will soften the leather or suede, making them stretchable a bit. That when you will successfully slide in. As your shoes will be cooling down, they will be taking the shape of your feet. Remember to apply suede or leather conditioner after you’re done with this method.
3. Use the freezer method
Use what? That’s right, use the freezer method to stretch out your sneakers, Peep-toe or pointed-toe heels and non-leather shoes! The procedure here is very simple and you can do it. First, you are going to need sandwich-size Ziploc bags to pull this off. And obviously, you must have a freezer.
Once you have all the requirements, fill up a third of the Ziploc bag with water. Secure it tightly so it has a little room at the top. Squeeze it to make sure there aren’t any leaks. If it’s fine, place it inside one of the shoes. Mold the Ziploc bag so it perfectly fits the toe area where the shoes squeeze the most. Repeat the procedure with the other shoe.
After that, place your shoes inside the freezer until the water turns into ice. Remove the shoes and let them thaw for 20 minutes or slightly more. The science behind this method is water expands when it turns into ice. The ice will then stretch out your tight shoes. For you to achieve your perfect size, you’ll have to repeat this method multiple times. You already know what types of shoes to stretch out using this method, don’t you?
4. Use a shoe stretcher
Another convenient method of stretching out your shoes is using a shoe stretcher. There is a plethora of shoe stretchers to choose from. All you need to do is find a product that will work perfectly with your shoe type. One such product is the Miserwe Shoe Stretcher. This shoe stretcher is ideal for both the left and right shoe. No need to worry. It’s an ideal stretching tool since it stretches out shoes both length and widthwise!
However, not all shoes are compatible with it. Ideal shoes for use with this stretching tool include sandals, flat shoes, casual shoes, canvas shoes, sports shoes and 6 cm high heels! High-quality tough polyurethane plastic and premium steel shaft go into the manufacture of this stretching tool. Using it for only 24 hours delivers a noticeable result. You can check it out or find a product that is for use with your shoe type.
5. Use wet newspapers
If you have a few sheets of newspapers lying around, you actually have something to stretch out your shoes with. All you need to do is dampen the sheets and mold them into balls that can fit in the toe box. Then, stuff them in your shoes until your shoes are full. The newspaper balls will dry, expand and harden, stretching out your shoes!
It is important not to saturate the newspaper balls with water since they might damage the inside of your shoes. Also, avoid using this technique with leather-made shoes. Leather doesn’t tolerate water better as other shoe materials do. While using this technique, be sure to arrange the newspaper balls in such a way that they assume the shape of your shoes. It very amazing how you can use just about anything within your reach to stretch your shoes wider.
6. Using as many socks as necessary
This shoe stretching method is gradual, so patience is key again. In this method, you will need to roll up socks tightly from the toes all the way to the top. You will need many socks depending on your shoe type and size. Then, stick them down your shoes until you completely fill up your shoes.
You will then store away your shoes overnight or keep them until you’re ready to wear them. This method stretches out shoes gently over time. It’s an ideal method for leather shoes, vintage or other delicate shoes. If you have other types of shoes such as dress shoes or upper mesh material shoes, you might want to use other stretching methods, and not this one.
7. Use rubbing alcohol to stretch them out
To successfully use this stretching technique, you will need rubbing alcohol and a small spray bottle, and of course, the shoes whose size you want to increase. You will fill the spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and saturate the outside of your shoes. Wear them and walk around as the alcohol dries.
The shoes should stretch out and comfortably accommodate the shape of your feet. Also, you can soak a pair of cotton socks in the rubbing alcohol and squeeze out the excess alcohol. Then, wear the socks and put on your shoes until the alcohol evaporates. Rubbing alcohol dries very quickly and it shouldn’t damage the materials of your shoes. This technique is ideal for canvas and athletic shoes. If you have some other shoe type, you might want to try another technique.
8. Use a shoe stretch spray or liquids
Shoe stretch sprays work excellently with leather-made shoes. They loosen up the fabrics of the leather, making it stretch out a bit to accommodate the shape of your feet very comfortably. All you need to do is wear your shoes and spritz the spray according to usage instructions. Continue wearing the shoes as the spray dries.
The upper leather will stretch out around your feet for a comfortable snug fit. Since leather is delicate, this technique is one of the best methods to use to stretch leather-made shoes wider.
9. Using wet grains, oats or rice method
In this method, you are going to need grains, oatmeal or rice, a small amount of water and resealable plastic bags. You will pour the rice, oatmeal or grain into the resealable plastic bags and add water so it covers all the grains or rice.
Place the plastic bags in your shoes and leave them overnight. Grains and rice swell when they absorb water. It is this swelling that will stretch out your shoes. This method is old fashioned but it’s another honorable and practical method to use at home. You can choose one of the grains named above but not all. Oatmeal works exceptionally fine.
10. Using a spoon strap and back
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth’s personal stylist, Stewart Parvin uses this method to stretch out her shoes? You too can use it, and it is not a very complicated technique. Besides, you always have access to spoons, making this method one of the easiest.
To use a spoon to stretch out your shoes so they fit perfectly and comfortably, you might want to have a spoon strap. Also, you will be stretching out the shoes with the back of the spoon. While using this method, furiously work the parts that rub your feet.
The back of the spoon will loosen those parts a bit, giving you an additional room in your shoes. The back of the spoons will mimic your heel, giving you a noticeable result over time. Just as most methods on the list, this one is also gradual. Keeping using this method and you will soon have a positive result.
11. Hire a professional shoe expert
If you don’t like to get your hands-on, giving the shoe-stretching task to a pro is a great idea. Besides, a professional cobbler has special tools with which he/she will stretch out your shoes without any damage. You can as well consult professional footwear stores for help.
They also have specialized equipment to make your shoes to fit perfectly and comfortably. When opting for this technique, you might incur an extra cost depending on a number of factors such as where you’re taking your shoes to for service.
12. Use the steaming method
This shoe stretching method is ideal for canvas shoes. This method works great and you can do it at home. You will need a heat source, water and a container such as a kettle. You will have to heat the water until it reaches the boiling point.
At this point, steam will be coming off the water. Take your canvas shoes and hold them over the steaming water for 3-5 minutes. Take great care not to burn yourself. Steam can cause severe burns just as fire does. Basically, steam will loosen the canvas fabrics making it malleable to your feet’s shape.
After holding them over the steam, try them on and flex your feet as you walk around. Do this until the shoes can comfortably fit your feet. This is a practical method and requires minimal tools.
How can I buy the right-size shoes?
Having the right-size shoes brings unmatched in-shoe comfort. You should, therefore, always strive to buy shoes that fit you perfectly and comfortably. But how do you shop for the right-size shoes?
First, the ideal shoe size is one that leaves about the width of your thumb between your longest toe and the tip of the shoes. Also, you should have some space around your heel. The space between your heel and the rear side of the shoe should permit your thumb to slip through if you push it down the gap.
For you to have such spaces around your shoes, it’s a great idea to try on new shoes at the store in the late afternoon. The reason behind this timing is that your feet tend to swell and becomes bigger towards the end of the day. When you try on new shoes at this time, you will be sure to choose the right shoe size.
The news shoes should not exert any hurting pressure against your feet. If they do, they are not your size, therefore you will need to opt for another pair. Also, if they are oversized, don’t buy them. Oversized shoes will cause in-shoe slips that might pose an injury risk. Besides, podiatrists and orthotists insist on getting the right size shoes.
1. What shoe size do I need if one of my feet is bigger than the other?
You might be surprised to learn that one of your feet is bigger in size than the other. As a matter of fact, we all have a foot that’s bigger than the other. It’s only that the difference in foot size differs from one person to another. In case you have this condition, you should always buy a pair of shoes for the larger feet. After which, you can proceed to place an insert inside the shoe for the smaller foot.
2. How do I know my shoe size?
There is no better way of knowing your shoe size than trying a few pairs on until you find your perfect fit. Once you have found your right size, you will have to memorize that number from there henceforth. You will have a hassle-free shopping experience if you know your size. Remember that a perfect fit is one that leaves room in the toe box for some toe wiggle. Also, you should have some room around your heel but not too much.
3. What should I do if my shoes don’t get any wider?
If you have tried using a technique but don’t see any positive result, it is a good idea to repeat it a few times. The key is to choose the appropriate method and use it. Your shoe type will need a specific stretching method. As such, be keen to choose the method that will not damage the upper material of your shoes. From our list, you will find a technique that is purely for your shoe type.
Finding the right size shoes is very important. You should always make sure that a pair of shoes fit you perfectly and comfortably before paying for them. But sometimes you might order for a pair of shoes online and find that they are squeezing your feet, making you very uncomfortable. In such a case, one of your options is to increase their size by either a quarter or half a size. Now that you are armed with the appropriate techniques, you can stretch out your shoes until they fit you excellently.
Some of the above techniques will only work with some shoe types and not others. Be keen to choose the appropriate technique as per the type of your shoes. With time, you will have perfectly fitting shoes! Buying tight shoes doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore if you know just how to correct their small size.