Ever wondered how to widen shoes? Maybe you bought a pair a pinch too tight, or maybe your foot shape has changed. Follow our guide to make your feet happy.
There may come a time when you need to widen a pair of shoes, and there are plenty of environmentally-friendly ways to do so. You don’t need to spend cash on expensive sprays and other products. Instead, you can use things you already have in your home. All that’s needed is a little inventiveness, a splash of patience, and maybe a potato or two.
Here are 10 ways you can treat your feet to more comfortable shoes.
How to Widen Shoes at Home: 7 Methods
Follow these tips on how to widen shoes in a matter of hours or days. Of course, different types of shoes may respond better to different approaches – read more on that in the next section.
- Break them in by walking around the house. If the shoes are new, ideally wear them on carpets, and keep the labels intact, so if you need to return them they will not have any scuffs from wooden flooring. Wear then for an hour at a time. This may loosen them up enough after a few wears, so they are comfortable enough for you to wear for longer periods, until they have softened to fit.
- Wear slightly thicker socks that you usually would, or if you normally wear the shoes without socks, opt for a thin sock instead. This will add extra stretch to the shoe.
- You can partially fill a reusable bag with water, and push into the tight area of the shoe. Then place the shoe with the bag inside it in the freezer overnight. The water will expand, thus widening the shoe.
- Did you read that you can use potatoes? Yes, you did. You can peel an adequately sized potato and mold it to the inside of your shoe. Make sure it is dry, and push it into your shoe. Leave overnight to stretch.
- Reuse old newspaper. Just like the potato, mold the paper to the inside of the shoe. Scrunch as much as you can into the shoe without breaking its structure. Leave overnight or for a couple of days.
- If you are happy to spend a little amount of money, you could buy an adjustable shoe tree. Aim for a eco-friendly wooden shoe tree (like this one on Amazon** ) to avoid non-degradable plastic. You can add a little extra stretch every 12 hours or so.
- Find a cobbler. Most cobblers have specialist equipment that will stretch your shoes. Cobblers are becoming harder to find, but it’s worth a look to see if there is one in your area. It’s also worth getting to know a cobbler to help patch shoes later on.
Tip: Keep in mind that shoes may feel different throughout the day. Feet tend to swell on hot days, or after physical activity like walking or running, which can make your shoes feel tighter than normal
Methods for Different Shoe Types
Not all shoes are made the same. So which technique should you try for your specific needs? Here are some tips for specialized shoe-widening:
For heeled shoes:
Wearing your shoes around the house with thin socks is the best way to break them in. Be wary of a shoe-stretcher with very formed heels such as those pictured, as you want to retain the distinct shape.
Socks and the newspaper technique work best for boots. Don’t use the potato method, as you might not be able to retrieve it!
For sneakers and pumps:
The ice method works well for sports and casual shoes, and is best avoided for leather shoes.
For mens dress shoes:
The potato method and the shoe stretcher method will provide some movement for the shoes, using the approach suggested.
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