Have you ever known that a pair of shoes didn’t fit quite right, but you bought them anyway? Whether we need them for work, an event, or because we love their style, sometimes we end up with shoes that are too tight. Other times, the shoes seem to fit when we buy them, but over time, the material actually shrinks and ruins the fit — especially if they’re not worn often.
Tight shoes aren’t just uncomfortable. They can actually lead to more serious conditions like bunions, Morton’s neuroma, or hammertoes. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw out your ill-fitting shoes just yet. Below are three easy D.I.Y tricks you can use to stretch out your shoes.
Trick #1. Thick Socks and Blow Dryer
Heat is known to make metal, plastic, glass, and countless other materials more pliable, and the same goes for shoes. And the good news is, you don’t even need a lot of heat.
The thick socks and blow dryer trick is quite old, and is known to work on most shoes that are made of leather. If your shoes are made of synthetic plastic or fake leather, it may still work, but it may also melt or damage your shoes — so proceed with caution.
All you have to do is put on a pair (or several pairs) of thick winter or athletic socks. Then, put on your shoes, and apply heat with a blow dryer on the snug areas for a few minutes. Wiggle your feet around as you do this so that the material stretches. Keep your shoes on until they completely cool, and you should have a permanent stretch.
Trick #2. Frozen Zip-Close Bag
If your shoes are made of synthetic or other non-leather materials, you may want to skip the harsh heat of a blow dryer in favor of something cooler.
The frozen zip-close bag uses extremely cool temperatures and force to change the shape of your shoes, which is great for finicky materials like plastic.
Simply fill a zip-close bag partway with water, then place it inside of your shoe. Try to ensure it’s firmly touching all the snug areas, and don’t be afraid to stuff it deep into the shoe. Then, place the shoe and bag in the freezer and leave it there overnight.
As the water freezes, it will expand and gently stretch your shoes.
Trick #3. The Peeled Potato
This one may sound a bit odd, but it’s actually quite effective. It’s also great for people who have shoes made out of fragile materials that may get damaged with extreme temperatures.
All you have to do is peel a large potato and mold it to fit snugly into your shoe’s toe box. Make sure you pick a potato of the right size and shape, and mold it to ensure it presses against the tight areas.
Then, simply wrap the potato with some paper towels, put it into your shoe, and leave it overnight. It should stretch the shoes and make them more roomy.
While these three tricks can be effective in stretching out shoes that are too tight, it’s always best to have a pair of shoes that fit well to begin with.
Try to opt for wide toe box shoes in order to give your feet the space they need. And, if you want to prevent your toes from being cramped together even further, consider getting an orthopedic device like toe spacers.
Whether you stretch out your old shoes, buy new ones, or use devices like toe spacers, making sure your feet have room to move and stretch out is critical to maintaining proper foot health.