How to stretch tight shoes

Last updated November 22, 2017

how to stretch suede high heel shoesHave you ever experienced something like this before? You visit a shoe store, buy a pair of sneakers and try them on. You are delighted, what an absolute fit! You take them home, and suddenly, they don’t fit as well as they should, or after adding that favorite pair of socks, it becomes practically impossible to wear the shoe comfortably.

Before you give out those lovely new sneakers you just bought or that fabulous cowboy boots you have been eyeing due to the shoes been too small for you, try to to stretch your too tight shoes at home. There are some things to consider though before you go on and do this:

    stretch shoe too tight men foot women sandal grey background

  • You can expand your shoes wider, but not make them very much longer. If your shoes are so small that it hurts the toes than it is better to change the pair for the a bigger one.
  • Wear your new shoes for a couple of days if they are not really that tight. Some footwear needs time to be broken in.

In this article, we shall be introducing you to a number of ways to stretch leather and synthetic shoes and boots as well as sneakers to make them more comfortable and wearable. Quality leather is the easiest material to stretch for wide feet.

Ice bags

One of the way to make those tight pair of shoes more comfortable and wearable is to fit a zippered plastic bag into your shoe, place some water in the plastic bag, tie the tip of plastic bag to avoid leakage and then put the shoe containing the plastic bag of water inside the freezer overnight. As the water expands turning into ice, the shoes would get a little wider!

Alcohol spray

You can stretch leather shoes by spraying alcohol based sprays on a small area of the shoe that is tight such as the toe, ankles or the entire surface of the shoe. Once the shoe is damp or visibly wet, wear a sock or use your bare feet and put on the shoe. Walk around as much as possible with the shoe until the alcohol dries off. Repeat again until the shoe is comfortable!

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Wooden shoe stretcher

There are a number of shoe stretchers that can stretch shoes wider for feet, toes or ankles. Buy a wooden boot stretcher that is specialized for increasing the size of toe, ankle or foot areas. Place the shoe stretcher in the area that you are interested in stretching and leave it there overnight, or up to 48 hours. The shoe should be wider now!

FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher- Stretches Length and Width

Stretch sneaker shoes with wooden shoe stretchers: Another way to remove the pains associated with pinching shoes is to use a wooden shoe stretcher. These wooden stretchers are inexpensive and can be bought to match your foot size. Just insert it into your sneakers or boots and leave them alone for a few days. The shoe would get wider and more comfortable!

Apply heat

Heat your boots up with either warm water or hairdryer and wear the shoes while the material is warm. Repeat several times for a better stretch.

Stretch boots with hair dryer: Wear a pair of thick socks, then put on your shoes. Using a hair dryer, aim at the part of the shoe where you feel uncomfortable and turn it on for a few seconds. Keep wriggling your toes and foot inside the shoe while the dryer is switched on. Turn off the hairdryer and try walking around with the shoe until the shoe cools down. If the shoe is still not comfortable or wearable, repeat the process again.

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Stretching suede/nubuck shoes

Suede, nubuck and other special soft types of leather may also be stretched. You can’t apply sprays or water on this type of leather as it will damage the color or leave spots. Generally, suede and nubuck leather shoes will stretch with wear. If they are still pretty tight – use the shoe stretcher spray along with a wooden stretcher tool.

FootMatters Professional Boot & Shoe Stretch Spray - Softener & Stretcher for Leather, Suede, Nubuck, Canvas - 4 oz

Rolled up socks

This is the most gentle method that I will be applying to my new suede high heels. I have very wide feet so fitting into narrow stylish Covani pumps is often painful.

I found some thick clean socks and rolled them up.

rooled up socks to stretch suede high heels shoes howto stock photo

Shove the sock inside each shoe and let them be for a night. You can also wet the socks a little bit and dry them with heat. Not sure if it’s a good idea for suede leather, but I didn’t want to risk my lovely pumps.

rolled socks inside heel shoes to stretch stock

Next day I tried them on and they were fitting much better!

how to stretch suede high heel shoes

It is really hard to stretch synthetic shoes. Start with applying heat and ice and move on to alcohol and shoe stretchers. You won’t be guaranteed success, but may be able to stretch the synthetic material a little bit.

After stretching, your shoes will become thinner and need extra shoe care.