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Stretching Shoes and Boots

Category Repairing
Sometimes to make footware more comfortable, you need to make them bigger. This guide is about stretching shoes and boots.


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10 found this helpful
August 23, 2012

I have really big muscular calves and wide feet (thanks, Mum!), making it very hard for me to fit into shoes I fancy. I bought these suede boots and pumps online because they were dirt cheap and super cute. When they arrived, not surprisingly, I could not fit into them.

I was able to stretch them with this solution:
Mix 3 parts water to 1 part isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Dampen a clean rag or cotton ball with the mixture and generously rub on the inside of your boot or shoe. Try them on again, slowly they will stretch out. Leave them on for a bit. You may have to do this process one more time. Ta-da! Happy feet!

By attosa from Los Angeles, CA

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December 7, 20160 found this helpful

I've tried it on SO MANY types-- all good.

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3 found this helpful
January 8, 2016

Please Note: The use of this instruction is at your own risk and cost. I suggest not using this method in cold or freezing weather. Also note that it is the least costly, no chemical and safest way to exactly stretch your footwear to your feet.

Put very hot water from your sink or tub tap into your boots/shoes. Let sit until you feel that you can place your foot in the boot/shoe without burning your foot. The water may be warm, but the colder the water, the longer time it takes to stretch to your feet. After observing the water temperature, dump the water out of boot/shoe and place your feet into the wet boot/shoe with socks on, two pair if you choose or to stretch more or later. Wear the boot/shoe as much as possible. I usually have to do this procedure several times, but this works on all but rubber/plastic type footwear.

Think of this method as walking in the rain, stream, or puddle jumping. PS: The boot/shoe should somewhat fit your foot.

Something about my feet, I've had one foot broken leaving me with a high arch and the other foot mashed leaving it wider than the other. This is my long trial of using this method and it works on my footwear.

Thank you for your time and I hope this inexpensive way works for you. Happy New Year (2016)

Comment Was this helpful? 3
January 8, 20160 found this helpful

Disagreeing with you, Herb. This does work very well on all leather products, but plastics and faux leather? Not so much. It's difficult nowadays to find footwear that's 100% leather so I'm glad you included the "at your own risk" note.

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3 found this helpful
March 26, 2010

I saw that some time ago, someone requested a way to stretch shoes. Bunch up newspapers, wet it, and stuff it in your shoes. The key is to make sure there is enough newspaper in each.


August 27, 2012

If you have shoes that are uncomfortable, spray the uncomfortable area of the shoes inside and out with bath spray (also called body splash and body spray), then wear the shoes until they are dry. Repeat if needed.


1 found this helpful
October 20, 2014

I wrapped my calf with two long ace bandages. Then I warmed my boots with a hair dryer. Get the leather of the boot very warm but not hot. Put the boot on and force it to zip. Wear for about an hour and heat again with hair dryer.


January 25, 2011

Have a new pair of shoes that's just a tad too tight or uncomfortable? Try wearing them with socks a little while each day. I had a cute pair that I loved, but knew they weren't more than 'fifteen minute' shoes.



Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

January 3, 20170 found this helpful

A pair of vinyl running sneakers.

This is a guide about stretching vinyl sneakers. Vinyl sneakers can be difficult to stretch but it can be done.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 20, 20140 found this helpful

I have bought an expensive pair of boots online, but they only zip 3/4 of the way up. The lace up has a tongue that is attached to the boot. I am afraid to ruin them with water or rubbing alcohol. I have considered saddle soap, but the inside lining of the boots is a linen cloth material that is somewhat rough to touch. I do not want to return them.

By Mindy

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 21, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

Find a shoemaker that can sew on leather. they can sometimes put a gusset (leather insert) into the seam to make more room for your calves. Saddle shops may have these people. Also motorcycle cops know where they are, as they have their boots adjusted. It can be expensive work.

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February 22, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

If they were expensive, it may be worth paying a bit extra to get them professionally stretched by a shoemender. At least a craftsman is likely to be honest with you if s/he thinks it can't be done.

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February 21, 20140 found this helpful

I do not think that there is any way to stretch these. I would return them.

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0 found this helpful
April 25, 2015

What is a good way to stretch shoes?

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April 25, 20150 found this helpful

If shoes are tight, get a bottle of body spray from the dollar store, and saturate the area of the shoe that is tight inside and out, then wear the shoes until they are dry. Repeat if needed. This works on smooth leather and fake leather shoes. It also works on suede shoes, but may change the color or texture. You can also use alcohol, but the bath spray smells better. I have a hammer toe on one foot, and this works well for me. I spray the area over the toe, and shoes don't rub on it. Hope this is helpful to you.

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April 27, 20150 found this helpful

Put a bread bag inside the shoe, push it up into the toes and heel, then put the excess bag over the edges of the shoe. Fill the bag with water and put into the freezer for 24 hours. This should stretch the shoes enough to be wearable. I have done this and it does work.

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January 20, 20170 found this helpful

This tip really works!! Some shoes and boots are tight on the sides of my feet. Put on a couple of pairs of heavy socks, so you can get your foot into the shoes or boots, they will be extremely tight. Use a blow dryer, I use the high setting. Blow dry the shoes/boots where they are hurting your feet. I do it several minutes for each shoe. When finished, leave the shoes/boots on for about 5-10 minutes, or until they are no longer hot. Take off the socks and put on the socks you want to wear. Put the shoes/boots on, you will be AMAZED at how great they feel, no pain!!

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0 found this helpful
December 17, 2008

I am looking to stretch a pair of ankle boots that I have. Instead of buying an expensive stretch spray, does anyone know of a homemade solution?

Marie from FL

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December 19, 20080 found this helpful

In the army they would stand in a pail of water, with boots on. They would wear untill dry, perfect fit.I know this sounds bad but,my boyfriend said it was the only way.Their boot where new, stiff and hard.

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December 20, 20080 found this helpful

Put the shoes on and spray them down with water and wear them until they are dry. They will fit much better, I once had a pair of shoes I could only wear little while. I chased my 2 yr old son in damp grass and then just wiped the shoes off and kept going. The next time they never hurt my feet.

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December 21, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you all for your suggestions. I just have a question though.....will the water harm my leather boots?

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October 22, 20130 found this helpful

I have purchased leather clogs on line from a manufacturer whose product I have worn for years. The medium is a bit too narrow and I know the wide would not work. I am not having much luck stretching them using all the suggested methods, stretching spray, heat, wooden stretcher, and socks! Help.

By Nonnie

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October 26, 20130 found this helpful

Soak a pair of cotton socks in rubbing alcohol. Wear the wet socks, while wearing your shoes. Wear the socks and shoes, until the socks are dry! This should stretch your shoes!

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0 found this helpful
May 25, 2011

I purchased a pair of Dawgs rubber clogs, size 10 regular. Size 10W is too wide, but regular is a little too tight. Anyone know of a way to stretch the width on these a little?

By Gayle from Rochester, NY

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May 26, 20110 found this helpful

Rubber is difficult to stretch permanently-you could take the shoes to a shoe repair store and ask what can be done. I've had some very good results from my favorite shoe repair person who helps me with shoe modifications for my old ballet feet. For a less aggressive approach: If you wear socks with them, try wearing two pair or thicker and much thicker socks.

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May 26, 20110 found this helpful

Put plastic bags inside the shoes, fill the bags with water and then freeze the whole thing, this seems to stretch the shoes enough to wear.

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0 found this helpful
October 4, 2012

I have extra large wooden shoe trees, but wonder if soaking the leather shoes (in water?) before using the shoe trees might work? Or does someone have a better idea that worked?

By Sylvia

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October 9, 20120 found this helpful

Before using water on leather shoes, I'd try heating with a hair dryer. I've put on a thick pair of socks and stuffed my feet into the shoes, warmed with a hair dryer, and walked around the house. Repeat a couple times and it does the trick for me.

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0 found this helpful
November 20, 2013

My wife has just bought a pair of suede boots, but they are too tight to get her foot in. They are the right size, she just cannot get her foot to slide in. Any ideas on how to stretch them in this area? Thanks.

By silicatrucks

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July 31, 20130 found this helpful

I have a pair of super cute riding boots. They are rubber and waterproof for those muddy days on the farm. I bought them in the right size, in the late winter. Now that they've set in my room for a few months they feel a lot smaller. My feet have not grown, and I cannot wear them even just to walk around, my boots never felt so narrow. The length is fine, I need to stretch the width at the toes. The boot toes are pointed to be able to catch the stirrups, and the boots overall are too big for the freezer! I don't actually ride horses, but those boots are great for anything wet and muddy! (Especially going out to feed the chickens, the puddles in the yard are huge and deep!)

By Felicia J.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 26, 20100 found this helpful

Fitting shoes can be tricky. I used to use shoe stretch I got at the shoe repair store but I ran out. To get a new pair to fit just right, I applied regular rubbing alcohol to the pressure points (inside and out) and walked around as it dried. And it WORKED! (Did it a couple of times.) Mine were rough suede, try a little on a spot that is not seen to test other sorts of leathers.

By Pam from L.A., CA


Frugal Shoe Stretch

This is good, Pam. Thanks! My Dad swears by his years-old technique: wearing his new shoes/boots into the bathtub. (Yes, getting them totally absolutely soaking wet, inside and out.) He walks around in them whilst they dry. (Can you imagine anything more uncomfortable?) I much prefer your recommendation!

By wordswork

Frugal Shoe Stretch

Think will try that with an OLD pair, and I'm one that will not even wear a good pair if rainin . Got to change my ways of thinking! Thanks (11/06/2006)

By minymont

Frugal Shoe Stretch

I tried this a number of years ago. I believe I read it somewhere.

It was on a pair of leather cowboy type shoes.

I poured neatsfoot oil(this is an oil that is used on the leather to soften new saddles) inside the shoes, a tablespoon or so in each shoe and spread it around to coat the inner leather, then I put plastic bags on my feet over a pair of socks. I then walked around the house in the shoes. I did this several days in a row. It works beautifully. (03/30/2007)

By dot

Frugal Shoe Stretch

Magic Wrinkle Remover (for clothes) works by using the same directions as used to be listed on the back of the shoe stretch cans:

Spray. Wear until dry. Repeat as necessary.

You can find it in the laundry aisle of most stores, hanging out with or near the Downy wrinkle remover. The Magic brand (think Faultless spray starch) is an aerosol can (Downy isn't). (12/16/2008)

By phermes

Frugal Shoe Stretch

Rose Anne, I too know your father's trick. Although uncomfortable, as the shoe, boot, etc. dries, the leather conforms to the shape of your foot as though custom made for you, making them fit like a glove. (09/09/2009)

By indianlady

Frugal Shoe Stretch

I use body spray from the dollar store to spray shoes inside and out, then wear until dry. Spray suede shoes inside only. I have a hammer toe on one foot, and shoes usually fit except over that toe. This works since the main ingredient is alcohol. And your shoes smell good too. (09/10/2009)

By Omanana

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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