You know what it’s like. Drooling over a pair of expensive shoes that seem just too perfect and saving for them for months. You can’t stop doing your happy dance when you see an amazing deal on them online and, without wasting much time, you order them.
The day comes for the shoes to be delivered and you feel no less than Carrie Bradshaw – ready to own the streets of New York all over again. But to your dismay, the shoes turn out to be ridiculously tight and too painful to walk in. You still try to strut around in your house, hoping that they will loosen up by themselves, but sadly no luck!
Don’t worry! It’s not doomsday just yet. You can still manage to break in those new pumps without causing blisters on your feet.
Also, you may need these tricks for your old shoes. Yes, your old shoes can actually shrink! Or sometimes your feet can swell up for various reasons. Wearing shoes that are too tight for too long can also give way to bunions, corns or calluses, which can turn walking into a painful task.
If you’re the latest victim of tight shoes, read on to learn how to stretch shoes that are too tight by yourself using these four quick hacks.
- Method 1: Use Heat (Leather or Suede)
- Method 2: Use the Freezing Method
- Method 3: Use Rubbing Alcohol (Natural Fabrics)
- Method 4: Use Professional Stretching Tools
Method 1: Use Heat (Leather or Suede)
Remember your science class where you learned that heat causes things to expand? Well, it’s time to put those lessons to use. Applying some heat with a hair dryer on leather or suede shoes will help expand the material and loosen the shoes to get the right fit.
Note: Use the heat method on leather or suede shoes only. Other fabrics might not tolerate the heat, and you could end up ruining your shoes.
Things you’ll need:
- Hair dryer
- Pair of thick socks
- Tight shoes
Step 1. Put on a pair of thick socks
- Put on some thick socks. If you feel the socks are not thick enough, put on a second pair. The tighter the shoes, the thicker your socks should be. However, do not go overboard. You do need to be able to get the shoes on your feet.
- Slip on your tight shoes. You may need to give them a little tug in order to get them on.
Step 2. Heat up the shoes with a hair dryer
- Switch on your hair dryer and aim the hot air on the tight sections of your shoes.
- Continue to blow the hot air for a few seconds. While doing so, keep wiggling your toes and flexing your feet to aid the process.
- Switch off the heat and keep wearing the shoes until the leather or suede cools off.
- Remove the socks and try on the shoes. They should now be comfortable to get in. If you need to loosen them further, repeat the heating process.
Method 2: Use the Freezing Method
Another quick hack to break in tight shoes is by putting a bag of water inside them and freezing it. The water will expand as it freezes, and in turn stretch your shoes to make space for itself.
Things you’ll need:
- Large zip-lock bags – 2
- Tight shoes
Step 1. Fill the zip-lock bags with a little water
- Fill 2 large zip-lock bags with enough water that can fill up the toe cap of the shoe with its volume. If you need to expand the whole shoe, prepare 2 bags for each shoe.
- Squeeze out all the air and seal the bags.
Step 2. Insert the water bags into your shoes and put them in the freezer
- Place the bags of water inside your shoes.
- Put the shoes in the freezer for 4 to 8 hours, so the water freezes.
Step 3. Remove the ice bags and check the fit
- Once the water has turned to ice, remove the bags from the shoes and put them on to check their fit.
- If needed, repeat the process to stretch them further to your liking.
Method 3: Use Rubbing Alcohol (Natural Fabrics)
There’s an array of stretch sprays available online that can help stretch shoes that are too tight. But why shell out the big bucks when you can get the same results with inexpensive rubbing alcohol? You can use the rubbing alcohol later to clean other stuff as well.
Rubbing alcohol works best on natural fabrics.
Note: Test the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous part of your shoe to check for any discoloration. Also, do not use rubbing alcohol repeatedly on leather shoes, as it will eventually dry out the leather.
Things you’ll need:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Spray bottle (or cotton balls)
- Pair of tight shoes
Step 1. Pour some rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle
- Since it’s easiest to spray the rubbing alcohol on your shoes, pour some into a spray bottle.
- If you don’t have a spray bottle, soaking a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol will also do.
Step 2. Spray rubbing alcohol on the tight areas and walk around in your shoes
- Squirt the rubbing alcohol generously onto the tight areas of your shoes. If using a cotton ball, dab it on the tight areas until the fabric is wet.
- Immediately put on your shoes and walk around. You’ll need to be quick here, as the rubbing alcohol dries up pretty fast and it will only work while the shoes are still wet.
- If your shoes are tight all around, soak a pair of thick socks with rubbing alcohol. Quickly put them on and slip into the shoes. Walk around in the shoes until the alcohol evaporates completely from the socks.
- You shoes will be successfully stretched for a better fit to your feet.
Method 4: Use Professional Stretching Tools
If none of the above hacks have worked and you don’t want to give up on those Jimmy Choo’s, you can get yourself a professional stretching spray and a mechanical shoe stretcher. These products are readily available online and shoe stretchers come in different variants for flats, high heels, boots and other specific types of footwear.
Note: Do check if the stretching spray is suitable for your shoes by testing it on a hidden area first.
- Spray the stretching spray on the tighter areas of your shoes. Spray it on both the inside and outside.
- Insert the shoe stretcher and turn the knob to elongate or widen your shoes. These tools can stretch your shoes both lengthwise and widthwise.
- Once you’re done, try on the shoes. If they are still tight, reinsert the stretcher and give its knob a few more turns until the shoes are resized to your comfort.
- When using the heat method for stretching shoes made of cloth, moisten the shoes by spraying some water on them before blow-drying them.
- When not using a pair of shoes, place shoe trees inside them to maintain their shape and size.
- Place silica gel packs in your shoes when not in use. The silica gel works brilliantly in absorbing moisture from the shoes and prevents shrinking.
- If nothing has worked for you, take the shoes back to the store where you bought them. Most merchants will fix your shoes for free.
- You can also get your shoes resized by a professional shoe repair shop.