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Do you have a pair of shoes that are a little too tight? Or maybe you’ve heard that you can stretch your shoes to make them fit better. If so, you’re not alone! In this article, I’ll cover 6 awesome do-it-yourself shoe stretching techniques as well as cover some of the best shoe stretchers of 2023.
A lot of people seem to be curious about whether shoe stretching actually works or not. Instead of buying new shoes, I’ll take a look at the truth about shoe stretching and find out whether it’s really worth your time. I’m going to help make your shoes fit!
How to Stretch Your Shoes Length and Width
Stretching the Length of Your Shoes:
- Use a shoe stretching spray inside and outside the shoes – and on specific areas that are tighter.
- Use one shoe stretcher on both shoes for the required duration.
- Ensure that the toe block of the shoe stretcher is fully closed.
- Turn the handle of the shoe stretcher clockwise to push the heel block towards the heel counter of the shoe.
- Leave the stretcher in the shoe this way for 6-8 hours.
- Turn the wheel anti-clockwise to remove the stretcher.
- Repeat the process with the other shoe and again with this shoe if required.
- For more permanent results, leave the shoe trees inside the shoe when you are not using it.
Stretching the Width of Tight Shoes
- Use the shoe stretching spray inside and outside the shoes, with more on the areas that are tight. FootMatters of the best shoe stretching sprays on the market and it’s just $9.99 on Amazon.
- Insert spot stretching plugs in the areas where your shoe feels tight. Don’t remove it until your shoe has loosened enough.
- Place the shoe stretcher once in each shoe till they have loosened enough.
- Make sure that the toe block is fully closed and touches the end of the toe box. Also, the heel block of the shoe stretcher should be inside the shoe.
- Turn the handle of the stretcher clockwise (two or three times) to ensure proper stretching.
- Leave the stretcher in for 6-8 hours.
- You can repeat the same process to stretch the other shoe.
- Leave the shoe tree inside the shoes when not in use for permanent stretching.
Shoe Stretching Cons
There are a few disadvantages to using shoe stretchers:
- Some shoe stretchers can be expensive.
- Stretchers may not work on all types of shoes.
- Shoe stretching can damage the material of the shoe if used incorrectly.
How To Stretch Shoes Without Buying a Shoe Stretcher
Here are my six best tips for stretching shoes without buying a stretcher device:
1. Using A Leather Conditioner Can Help With Shoe Stretching
A leather shoe conditioner is a product that you can apply to shoes to soften the leather and stretch your shoes. This will help to make your shoes more comfortable and less likely to cause blisters.
2. How To Use Rubbing Alcohol To Stretch Shoes:
Spray the inside of your shoes with some rubbing alcohol, put on some socks, and then wear them as usual. This method may take a couple of applications and takes a bit more time than other methods but it does work.
Rubbing Alcohol works to loosen the fibers in your shoes, allowing them to expand without drying them out. As an added bonus, rubbing alcohol helps rid your shoes of odor-causing bacteria.
3. How To Stretch Shoes Using Ice:
Open a zip-lock bag and place it inside your shoes. You can double bag it if desired. Then pure water into the bag and seal it. Lastly, carefully place your shoes in the freezer.
Now just wait for the magic to happen. We all know that water expands when it freezes!
4. Try Thick Socks And A Blow Dryer For Stretching Shoes:
Put on a couple of pairs of socks to make them thick. Put your shoes on a turn on your blow dryer. Wiggle your feet around while heating up your shoes.
Be sure not to put the blow dryer too close to your shoes to prevent scorching. You want them to heat up but not burn or melt! You will need to be the most careful with white shoes.
The combination of wearing a thick pair of socks, wiggling your feet, and the extra heat from the blow dryer will help loosen the shoe fabrics.
5. Apply A Synthetic Conditioner To Your Shoes
A synthetic conditioner is a liquid that may be used on synthetic textiles to make them more pliable. This will help to make your shoes more comfortable and decrease the risk of blisters.
6. Get Adjustable Shoe Laces
Adjustable shoelaces are a great way to make your shoes more comfortable. They obviously won’t stretch your shoes but they allow you to loosen or tighten the laces as needed, so you can get a perfect fit every time.
How Does Shoe Stretching Work?
The idea behind shoe stretching is that it will help to loosen up the fabric of your shoes so that they’re more comfortable to wear.
It’s important to note, however, that not all shoes can be stretched. This is because some shoes are made from materials that don’t respond well to stretching, such as leather. Additionally, some shoes simply aren’t designed to be stretched, such as those with pointy toes.
That being said, if you have a pair of shoes that are made from a stretchable material and that don’t have any delicate details that could be damaged by stretching, then it’s definitely worth trying out!
Why Should I Use Shoe Stretchers?
There are a few reasons why you might want to use shoe stretchers. Firstly, as we mentioned above, they can help to make your shoes more comfortable to wear.
If you have a pair of shoes that are just a little too tight, then using a shoe stretcher can help to loosen them up so that they’re more comfortable.
Additionally, shoe stretchers can also help to fix minor issues with the fit of your shoes. For example, if you have a pair of shoes that are a little too big and tend to slip off your feet, then using a shoe stretcher can help to tighten them up so that they fit better.
Use These Precautions When Stretching Shoes
Let’s take a look at some of the precautions that you should take when stretching your shoes.
Not all shoes may be stretched. This is due to the fact that some shoes are constructed of materials that don’t respond well to stretching, such as leather.
Depending on the type of stretch and the part of your foot, different kinds of shoes can be stretched. For example, some pointy-toed shoes aren’t meant to be stretched. If you’re not sure whether your shoes can be stretched, it’s always a good idea to check with a specialist before doing so.
It’s also crucial to be cautious when stretching your footwear. You don’t want to go too far, as this might harm your shoes or make them unpleasant to wear. Finally, before using your shoe stretcher, carefully read the instructions that came with it.
Terms Related to Shoe Stretchers
- Toe box – A toe box is the part of a shoe that covers your toes. It’s often made from a different material than the rest of the shoe, and it’s designed to provide extra support and comfort when the end of the toe is getting hurt.
- Stretching spray – A stretching spray is a type of product that you can use to help stretch your shoes. It’s applied to the outside of your shoes, and it works by lubricating the fabric so that it’s easier to stretch.
- Boot stretcher – A boot stretcher is a type of shoe stretcher that’s specifically designed for use with boots. They’re often larger and more heavy-duty than standard shoe stretchers, and they can help to stretch your boots in both length and width. A boot stretcher is perfect for leather shoes and boots because they chaff the most.
- Heel block – A heel block is a small piece of wood or plastic that’s placed in the back of a shoe stretcher. When you stretch your shoes, it’s important to use an easel in order to prevent the stretcher from sliding out of position.
- Toe block – A toe block is a small piece of wood or plastic that’s placed in the front of a shoe stretcher. It helps to prevent the stretcher from slipping out of place while you’re stretching your shoes.
- Bunion plugs – Bunion plugs are small pieces of foam that are placed in the toe area of a shoe stretcher. They help to protect your bunions from being damaged while you’re stretching your shoes.
- Shoe trees – Shoe trees are devices that are placed inside your shoes when you’re not wearing them. They help to maintain the shape of your shoes and prevent them from becoming creased or damaged.
- Instep – The instep is the highest point of the inside arch of your foot. It’s often where shoes are tightest, so using a shoe stretcher to stretch this area can be helpful.
What Are the Different Types of Shoe Stretchers?
One-Way Shoe Stretcher
A one-way shoe stretcher is a type of shoe stretcher that can only be used to stretch your shoes in one direction. They’re often less expensive than two-way shoe stretchers, but they can only be used to stretch your shoes in length, not width.
Two-Way Shoe Stretcher
A two-way shoe stretcher is a type of shoe stretcher that can be used to stretch your shoes in both length and width. Two-way shoe stretchers are more expensive than one-way shoe stretchers, but they’re more versatile and can be used on a wider range of shoes.
An instep stretcher is a type of shoe stretcher that’s specifically designed to stretch the instep area of your shoes. They’re often used in conjunction with a two-way shoe stretcher, and they can be helpful if your shoes are tight in this area.
HOUNDSBAY Men’s Cedar Shoe Stretchers
The HOUNDSBAY Men’s Cedar Shoe Stretchers are a type of shoe stretcher that’s made from cedar wood. They’re designed to be used with leather shoes, and they can help to stretch your shoes in both length and width.
Original Shoe Tree Company Fresh Cedar Shoe Stretchers
The Original Shoe Tree Company Fresh Cedar Shoe Stretchers are a type of shoe stretcher that’s made from cedar wood. The insoles are built for leather shoes and can assist in stretching your footwear in both length and breadth.
Deluxe Wood Shoe Stretchers
The Deluxe Wood Shoe Stretchers are a type of shoe stretcher that’s made from wood. They’re designed for use with all types of shoes, and they can help to stretch your shoes in both length and width.
Toe box raiser
Whichever you use, shoe stretchers work best on natural materials like suede and leather shoes. Using them on fitting shoes with synthetic materials like vinyl will only stretch shoes temporarily.
If you found my shoe stretching research helpful I’d love it if you would consider sharing it on one of your social profiles! Here are a few of my top picks:
- Foot Matters Shoe Stretching Spray – Overall best shoe stretcher spray.
- Foot Fitter Heels or Shoe Stretching Device – Overall best shoe stretchers device.
- Foot Fitter Metal Spot Stretching Plug Set – Overall best plug set. These are specifically meant to work with the Footfitter shoe stretchers. Shoe plugs help relieve tension from specific shoe spots.
If you have your own technique not listed in my article, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll add it to my DIY shoe stretching list!
All the best and good luck!