How does the saying go -’Beauty is pain?’ If you’re going to invest so much into crafting your perfect aesthetic, you shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than what you expect.
When it comes to shoe shopping, it’s pretty much a hit or miss. If you do most of your shoe shopping online, then you’re no stranger to the let-down of receiving the wrong fit. Even going shoe shopping in person isn’t fool-proof.
So what to do when you have the bittersweet realization of having the perfect pair of shoes that are just a tad too tight? No, don’t throw them out. Fortunately, there are many ways to safely stretch out tight shoes and mold them to your size.
And the thing is, it’s not even that hard! Here are six easy and quick ways to stretch out tight shoes.
6 Quick and Effective Ways to Stretch Out Tight Shoes
You’d be surprised to know just how easy it is to stretch out tight shoes with things lying around in your house. Let’s have a look!
1- The Blow Dryer Method
If you’ve taken elementary level science, you may know that heat causes things to expand. Well, that’s the basic idea here. The blow dryer method is a quick way to stretch out tight shoes without damaging them.
- First, you need to put on a thick pair of socks. In fact, try wearing two or three layers just for good measure.
- Then, wear your shoes and walk around for a few minutes to prepare them.
- Next, turn on the hairdryer at its lowest setting and keep it at least six inches away from the shoes. Do this for 20 seconds at a time.
- Take your time and work around the shoes, wiggling your toes and flexing your feet in the process. Try not to hover over one spot for too long.
- After five minutes, turn off the dryer. Keep the shoes on until the material has completely cooled off. Try walking for a few minutes while you wait.
As an aftercare step, apply a generous amount of leather conditioner to the shoes. This step is optional.
2- Frozen Ziploc Bag Method
Resuming our little science lesson earlier, water is the exception to the ‘expand upon heating’ rule. Instead, water expands as it cools. Now, this may seem unconventional, but trust me, it works great!
Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Fill small Ziploc bags with water and seal them.
- Then, stuff them into the shoe as tightly as you can, along all the edges. To reinforce the water-filled Ziploc, you can use socks to lock them into place.
- Once you’re done, carefully place the shoes into a bigger bag. Do this slowly to make sure the bags don't shift around.
- Place the shoes inside your freezer. Leave them there overnight. As the Ziploc expands, it will exert pressure against the material and stretch it out.
- Take the Ziploc out of the shoes and try to wear them along with socks. Walk around in the shoes for 10-15 minutes.
Here’s a pro-tip: leather is extremely vulnerable against water. Therefore, this method is only suitable for waterproof shoes, like Loom Waterproof and breathable sneakers.
3- Stretch Sprays
Stretch sprays are lxiquids that allow materials to loosen up. This makes it more susceptible to stretching and flexing.
Most stretch sprays are around $15 and won’t go beyond $25. Kiwi Select, Bickmore, and FootMatters are some of the best brands for cheap, high-quality stretch sprays.
Stretch Sprays are especially great for leather shoes. Leather is usually very resistant to flexing and stretching. However, these sprays temporarily loosen the leather so that they can stretch out without damage. They also work great on other materials.
After spraying the shoes, you can wear them and flex your feet. Or, you can flex the shoe with your hands. Alternatively, you can use stretch sprays in combination with the first method above as well.
4- Shoe Stretcher
Shoe stretchers are specially designed to stretch out small shoes. If you are willing to spend a little, they are a great investment ranging anywhere from $15 to $60.
Using shoe stretchers is one of the most hassle-free and effective ways to stretch out tight shoes safely. They come with latches adjustment handles, which makes it very easy to control pressure and stretch out small shoes.
It can be a little tricky to figure out at first, but it shouldn’t take you longer than a few minutes to get the hang of it.
For even better results, spray the shoes with stretch sprays first. Once the shoes fully absorb the liquid, stretch them around with your hands first. Then go in with the shoe stretcher.
5- Break Them in With Some Socks
The most common way to break into any shoes is to wear them around the house. However, the constant friction can cause blisters and sores. And like I said before, beauty is not pain.
The best way to do this is to wear socks that are thicker than your usual preference. Not only do the socks serve as a protective layer, but they can also stretch out small shoes that are mildly uncomfortable to wear.
The point is to walk around in the shoes so that the material can move and adjust to your feet.
Be careful, though. Don’t try to hasten the process by wearing them for too long. Doing this will both injure your feet and damage the material.
Instead, try this method: for the first few days, wear them at small intervals of 10 minutes. Then, gradually increase both the frequency and the time over a few days.
This method is only suitable for shoes that are just a little snug around your feet. It won’t work as well to stretch out extremely tight shoes effectively. It also takes much longer than other methods.
6- Rubbing Alcohol Method
Rubbing alcohol is a do-it-yourself alternative to stretch sprays. Although it’s not perfect, it is still quite effective. Additionally, it won’t stain the material. The idea is more or less the same as stretch sprays.
Spray some rubbing alcohol onto the material, and do it sparingly. It’s better to spray a tiny section first and wait for a few minutes. Most likely, there won’t be any discoloration.
If you see any discoloration, don’t continue with the spraying. You don’t want to ruin your whole shoe, right?
Afterward, you can stretch the shoes out by walking around in them until the alcohol evaporates, and the material dries out. Or if you have a shoe stretcher, you can use that as well.
So there you have it: a comprehensive list of the easiest and safest ways to stretch out small and tight shoes. I did tell you that beauty is not pain, but it certainly is dedication and creativity.
Still, if you feel iffy about potentially ruining your shoes, you can always take them to a shoe repair professional. They can stretch out your shoes in a matter of minutes, and it won’t even cost that much.