We all know what that's like, you try the shoes on in the store and the feel not too bad, but once you get them home and try to wear them for more than a few minutes it's obvious that they are just too tight.
Over the weekend I bought some new shoes that fit right into this category. When I tried them on and walked around the section, they seemed fine, but the first time I wore them out they were too tight and hurt after the first 10 minutes.
So I have been researching and trying out different methods as I actually have a few pairs of shoes that could benefit from a little stretching. It's important to note that you may need to try some of these multiple times before the shoes stretch enough, but these techniques can give you up to a full size larger if done right.
Technique No. 1 The most obvious is to wear them around the house constantly to stretch them through natural movement. Wearing a thick pair of socks whilst walking around in them also helps. I am not particularly patient with this method in all honesty so whilst I am trying to do this, I really want options that are a little faster.
This is the first technique I tried last night and I must say that when I tried the shoes on this morning there was a definite easing of the tightness, although not quite enough yet.
Technique No. 3 Ice. This technique I found quite funny, but when you think about it logically it does make sense. This is the water and ice stretching technique. Fill a zip lock bag, balloon or similar item 1/4 with water and settle this into the base of your shoes, making sure it fills the toe area especially. Pop the shoes into the freezer and let the water freeze and solidify, leave them overnight and as they freeze the water will expand and stretch the shoes. The damp environment of the freezer helps too. The next day, pull them out, let the water defrost and try them on.
PS. If you are looking to stretch shoes that have been worn you might want to consider not using your food freezer if you can, if not, wrap them in a plastic bad so you are not infecting your food, gross!
Technique No. 4 Heat. Now this technique is for leather shoes, I do plan to try it on my two patent tip shoes but not the other pair as they are made from man made materials. Put your shoes on with a thick pair of socks, using a hairdryer, give the shoes a blast of heat, not so close you burn them, but close enough that the heat will soften them. Wriggle your toes, stretch and flex your feet as much as you can and even walk around as they cool.
Repeat for both shoes and as many times as needed to help stretch and soften your shoes. No more than 30 second blasts of heat before letting it cool and if you use the heat more than a couple of times rub a good leather conditioner into your shoes to prevent the leather from drying out later and cracking.
Technique No. 5 Potatoes. Yep, that's right, potatoes. This one really boggled my mind and I am not sure I want to try it, but it does sound interesting. Find a potato that is large enough to fill and stretch the toes of your shoes, peel it (its the juices and the moisture in the potato that is supposed to help it stretch), push it firmly into the toes of your shoes and leave it overnight. This would be a good one to try on worn shoes as I believe that the potatoes are great for absorbing and removing odours too. Wipe out the potato reside from the shoes with a damp cloth. I would probably not recommend doing this one on shoes that cannot get wet, like sand shoes or canvas shoes that might absorb the potato juices.
I would definitely not suggest you eat the potato after, ugh!
Do you have any shoe DIY shoe stretching techniques you can share in comments, would love to hear from you what you have tried and what worked for you?
Images by marin, bigjom, John Kasawa & Mister GC on freedigitalphotos.net