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Stretching Shoes and Boots

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.

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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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January 8, 2016

Put very hot water from your sink or tub tap into your boots. Let sit until you feel that you can place your foot in the boot without burning your foot. Wear the boot as much as possible. I usually have to do this procedure several times, but this works on all but rubber/plastic type footwear.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Questions

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.

September 3, 2019

How do I know the shoe is wet enough to stretch the shoe? How long does it take to dry? Can I apply heat to loosen the leather as well?


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September 3, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

Water is not good for stretching leather. I had leather shoes get wet and they shrunk and were ruined. My husband had the same issue. Both of us got caught in rainstorms with our shoes on and both had shoes destroyed because they shrunk so much and could not be reshaped. It was not fun.

The best way to stretch shoes is to buy one of those old fashioned wooden stretchers and use it any time you are not wearing the shoes. Some people say it helps to use a warm blow dryer (NOT HOT) to warm the leather after you put the stretchers in (for a few minutes each time you insert the stretchers), but I never went that route.

I wear my shoes, put the stretcher in, and let them sit

I inherited my wooden stretchers, but there are tons on the internet. I guess the plastic ones you can buy in places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Walmart may work also, but I have always had the best luck with the wood ones with the metal crank handles.

PS if your shoes are already wet, already you can try stuffing them with brown paper bags (make sure no ink touches the leather, and put them in a cool, breezy place outside to dry...out of direct sun.

It can take several days to dry. Once they start to dry, then insert the wooden stretchers and see if you can save them.

Post back with an update.

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September 3, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

I stretched shoes by putting a plastic bag in the shoe, filling it with water, sealing it and putting it in the freezer. As the water froze, it expanded and stretched the shoe.

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September 3, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would buy a wooden shoe steacher and use this in the shoes. They are quite old and you may still ba able to pick up some of them at the second-hand store. I use to watch my dad put these in his shoes when he was not wearing them to keep them in shape and also when he had to get new ones they would stretch them out to fit his foot better.

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February 20, 2014

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

Answers

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
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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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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 17, 20080 found this helpful

Depending on the size, shove a soup can, or soda bottle, something that fits tight, into the shoe/boot and then generously blot alcohol on the area you want stretched. Works best on leather.

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By Judy (Guest Post)
December 19, 20080 found this helpful

Put a plastic bag in the shoe. Fill the bag with water and tie it up. Put the bag in the freezer. The next day take it out. The shoe should be stretched.

I don't remember where I read this, but I tried it and it works.

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By Kathleen W. (Guest Post)
December 19, 20080 found this helpful

I put alcohol on my feet just before I put tight shoes on, it works. You may also need to put some on the spot that needs stretching.

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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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By reniesue (Guest Post)
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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By Marie (Guest Post)
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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How do I stretch these new sneakers that come all the way up to the ankle and are causing me a friction burn on my ankle? These are Easy Spirit sneakers - which fit well, but I don't know how to stretch only at the ankle area.


Thanks for any suggestions.

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What is a good way to stretch shoes?


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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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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 John M.

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October 22, 2013

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 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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July 31, 2013

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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