Sometimes to make footware more comfortable, you need to make them bigger. This guide is about stretching shoes and boots.
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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
I saw that some time ago, someone requested a way to stretch shoes. Well, there is a way. Bunch up newspapers, wet the bunch, and stuff it in your shoes. The key is to make sure there is enough newspaper in each. Then place the shoes in the freezer until the newspaper is frozen. Remove from the freezer and wait until it thaws, then remove the newspaper. The shoes should be somewhat stretched out.
Source: My friend.
By Estypesty from Baltimore, MD
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.
Bath spray is available in many scents from the dollar store, and comes in a pump spray bottle. I have a hammer toe on one foot, and shoes frequently fit well except over that toe. The baths spray works well to make the shoe more comfortable. I have used this on both real and fake leather shoes. This method works because these sprays contain alcohol. They also smell better and are cheaper than the commercial shoe stretch sprays.
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. I tried the sock technique while puttering around the house for a couple of days, and viola! they feel good.
By ssfelts from Tallassee, TN
Here is what I did. 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. Wear another hour and the stretch should be good. Mine stretched about 1/2 inch.
Do it again if you need more stretch or put another ace bandage around your calf beforehand or after you have some stretch.
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Here are questions related to Stretching Shoes and Boots.
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.
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.
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.
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
By Jackie (Guest Post) 12/21/2008
I had my husband take my boots and after a little thought he cme up with the follwing method. It stretched the calves of my tall boots :) almost 2 ".
Get small inflatable rubber balls, about 6 " or 10" depending upn the width of the boots. After treating them very well, almost to the point of being wet with leather softener, insert the rubber balls as they fit into the areas needed to stretch, pump up slowly until the leather starts stretching, you will hear it and it is uniform all around as the ball gets tight in the boots. leave sit for at least 2 hours, pump up slowly 2-3 more pumps and let sit another hour. Deflate the balls, recondition the boots and try them out. my success was awesome. no tears, no marks in the leather and it even worked near the top of the zippers, just make sure you go slow near them and use extra softener. Good luck.
What is a good way to stretch shoes?
By Debra 
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.