How To Stretch Shoes To Help Your Sore, Aching Feet

Shoes collection on shelves

Foot pain is a problem that can plague people for years if left untreated. If you’ve had foot pain for any amount of time, you’ve probably searched the internet for how to stretch shoes to help solve that problem. After all, if your feet aren’t squished in your shoes, it would make sense that they would get some relief.

Foot pain can be caused by a few factors such as injury, overuse, or conditions causing inflammation. Walking around a lot during the day with tight shoes checks the boxes for overuse and conditions that could cause inflammation. With that being the case, it would make sense to wonder how to stretch shoes, and questioning if it’s even possible?

Is Stretching Shoes Possible?

If you bought a pair of shoes that you later thought too tight, you don’t need to return them. You can stretch your shoes using a few different methods. Shoe stretchers exist, and there are other methods to stretch your shoes that will let you know about.

With so many ways to stretch shoes, you won’t need to throw away a slightly small pair just to get some relief for your sore feet.

Stretching shoes can also be helpful if you have young kids who are continually growing. You don’t have to buy them new shoes quite as often!

Will Stretching Your Shoes Help With Your Foot Pain?

3 pair of shoes for the whole family placed at the carpet

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

​If you learn how to stretch shoes, you may be surprised by how much it helps your foot pain. Stretching your shoes will reduce the strain on your feet and help reduce inflammation.

Many forms of foot pain can be caused by overuse and constant strain from being in an uncomfortable environment. And having shoes that constrict your feet can restrict blood flow and create a few other problems.

Learning how to stretch shoes will be exceptionally useful for people who are on their feet all day. That extra relief that comes from better-fitting shoes could surprise you.

How To Stretch Shoes

​​​​You may be trying to learn how to stretch shoes for a few reasons. Not only could you be looking for a solution to your foot pain, but you could also have just bought a new pair of shoes online that are just a little too small. Rather than sending the shoes back and buying a new pair, it may be easier to learn how to stretch shoes.

Using a shoe stretcher is the most common way of how to stretch shoes. However, there are several other methods, such as filling your shoes with bags of water and putting them in the freezer or using shoe stretch spray.

Try this handy device


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​​A shoe stretcher is a precise and straightforward tool that you can use to increase the size of your shoes. When learning how to stretch shoes, this should be the first option that you consider. It’s an especially convenient method if you have limited free time and need a quick fix.

Additionally, a shoe stretcher is the best option for maintaining the integrity of your shoes. Many of the methods we’ll discuss below are useful but will reduce the life expectancy of the shoe. As a result, if you’re stretching an expensive pair of shoes, a shoe stretcher is the way to go.

With a shoe stretcher, areas that need to be stretched are targeted using stretching plugs you can insert into the shoe stretcher. There are two types of shoe stretchers: a one-way shoe stretcher and a two-way shoe stretcher.

A one-way shoe stretcher stretches the width of the shoe. Conversely, a two-way shoe stretcher stretches the width and length and is, therefore, more versatile. Additionally, both shoe stretchers are useful for both the left and right shoes.

How to use one

To begin the process of stretching your shoes, you have the option of using shoe stretch spray. The spray will help loosen up the fibers to make it easier for the shoes to stretch. However, it isn’t entirely necessary, and you can use shoe stretcher without the spray.

First, insert your stretching plugs into the area that needs stretching. Once the stretching plugs are in place, you can insert the shoe stretcher. Once inserted, turn the handle until you have the desired size.

Give the handle another full turn every eight hours until you have the right size. You should leave the shoe stretcher in place for two days to ensure that the shoes stretch effectively. However, it’s essential to check on the progress a few times a day.

You can stretch the shoes in less time than two days, but it may depend on how much you intend to spread the shoe as well as their material.

Break 'em in


Try breaking them in by wearing them around the house for a while. This may seem too easy to be right, but it’s one of the most common methods for stretching shoes. However, you won’t be wearing them regularly, and you’ll need to slip on a pair of thick socks as well, two if possible.

Once you have your thick socks and shoes on, walk around the house for half an hour. This will begin the stretching process. Repeat as many times as it takes for the stretching to take place.

This process may take a few days, but it is usually the first and cheapest step people take to stretch out their shoes.

Fill your shoes with water


It's an interesting fact that water freezes it expands, and you can harness this phenomenon. As a result, using water as a method of how to stretch shoes has become very common. However, you don’t want to put water directly into your shoes as that could comprise the structural integrity.

To use this method, you’ll want to fill a Ziploc bag roughly one-third of the way with water. Once you’ve made sure it’s closed tight, you can put the bag into your shoe. If you’re afraid of spillage, then double bag the water.

Make sure that when the bag is in your shoes, it fits into every corner. You should especially make sure it fits into the places you want to stretch. You may need more than one bag to fill your shoe, so use your best judgment on how many bags of water you need.

Once you’ve filled your shoes, place them into the freezer and leave it there until it freezes. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the freezer and let them thaw. Once thawed, remove the bags and try on your shoes.

If they are the desired size, then great! However, if they still need a bit more stretching, repeat the process until they reach the desired size.

Stuff your shoes


This method of how to stretch shoes is probably the simplest of them all. All you need to do is stuff as many socks as you can into balls and pack them into your shoes.

Once your shoes are at capacity, leave them overnight. The stretching process may take a few nights, so repeat as many times as necessary.

Cheap DIY


This process is like the method of walking around the house in that you’ll need to put on a thick pair of socks or two. However, instead of walking around the house, once you have your socks and shoes on, you’ll blast them with a blow dryer for 30 seconds.

Make sure the blow dryer is on medium heat to avoid burning yourself. Focus the blow dryer on the areas that are the tightest. Additionally, keep moving the blow dryer around to avoid overheating one area.

Flex and move your toes around to help loosen the shoes and speed up the process. Once you've finished, make sure you keep your shoes on while they cool down. Taking off your shoes while they’re still hot may result in them shrinking back to the regular size.

Spray away the pain


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Using shoe stretch spray isn’t a method that works on its own. It’s a tool that you can use to make other methods of stretching more effective and quicker.

What stretch spray does is loosen the fibers in the shoe to make it easier to stretch out. It also makes the process quicker. Since the shoe isn’t as tight to start, the stretching process is much faster.

Call in reinforcements


​If nothing is working, and you can’t figure out the right way of how to stretch shoes, visit your local cobbler. The cobbler won’t be free, like the freezer method, for example, but if you’re willing to spend a little cash, a cobbler can stretch your shoes for you.

A cobbler will have machines that can apply gentle pressure and heat to your shoes that will stretch out your shoes. This is a very effective method, but it will take a few days. As a result, make sure you have another pair of shoes you can wear home.

Is Learning How To Stretch Shoes The Right Way To Help Your Foot Pain?

​​​​​​​​​Learning how to stretch shoes could be a great way to help relieve foot pain. However, you should only try this as a preliminary method to alleviate your foot pain. If your foot pain persists, you should see a doctor, as it may be something more serious.

If you’re looking for us to tell you which method of how to stretch shoes is the most effective, we can’t. The method that works best depends on several factors, such as the material of your shoes and their age. However, we can confidently say that people have used all these methods to varying degrees of success.

Do you feel like you know how to stretch shoes now? If you’ve tried stretching your shoes, did it help with your foot pain? Let us know in the comments!​

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