We’ve all been there: Standing in front of our closets, a sexy boot pulled halfway on, only to discover that it’s in dire need of a little workout. And by workout, we mean it needs to stretch. While learning how to stretch shoes isn’t rocket science, it’s also not as easy as wiggling around the material and hoping for some give. There are some tried-and-true methods out there that promise to make it easier for you to wear your hottest shoes without a struggle. Learn how to stretch your favorite footwear with some of the tips below.
Visit the Cobbler
While you shouldn’t buy shoes specifically with the intention of repairing them, sometimes the hottest pair in town is just too hard to resist. A cobbler can alter the fit with a stretching machine, either by length or width.
Spray It Out
Talk about easy. Turns out you can stretch shoes with a spray specifically designed to relax leather and make it more malleable. After spraying, insert a shoe stretcher into your shoe and twist the mechanical rod, which helps to slowly increase the shoe’s length and width.
Break Them In
You don’t want to risk stepping outside in new shoes that don’t quite fit only to try and return them the next day. By wearing them around the house, you’ll have a chance to relax the material (be it fabric or leather) and make them a bit more comfortable for when you do finally show them off.
Wear Some Socks
If you’re sporting a pair of too-snug heels, a pair of socks may be just what you need to stretch them into shape. Choose something thick (sleek trouser socks need not apply) and walk around like that for a little while.
That’s right, you’ve finally learned how to stretch shoes and it all boils down to shoving them into your freezer. But first you’ll need to stuff them with tightly sealed bags of water (make sure they are sealed tight — you can stretch shoes much easier than you can repair water damage). Place the shoes in the freezer until the water bags are completely frozen. After a slight thawing period, remove the ice bags. The material of your shoes should have a bit more give.
Or Heat Them
If not one, then try the other! This tip is a bit more user-friendly and certainly doesn’t involve waiting for bags of water to freeze. Just slip into a pair of thick socks, wear your shoes and aim a hair dryer directly at the tightest spots. Blast some high heat at them as you wiggle your foot a little, slowly loosening the shoe’s fabric and resulting in a better fitting, more comfortable shoe.