One of the most annoying problems you can experience with a pair of shoes is tightness. This usually happens to young people who are still growing. Even if you are finished with the growth stage and your shoes seem to fit comfortably in the winter, they could become too snug in the summer when your feet expand. Tight shoes can cause problems with your feet over time, but you may be able to stretch the shoe heel a bit as a temporary solution.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Shoe stretcher
- Leather conditioner (optional)
Apply a thin layer of a leather softening or conditioning product to the outside of your shoe's heel if you have a leather shoe. This will help make the shoe stretch more readily. (If the shoe is not leather, skip this step.)
Insert a two-part (sometimes called two-way) shoe stretcher into the shoe. These are wooden tools that are shaped like the inside of a shoe, with one part that pushes up against the inner toe and one part that pushes against the heel. You can find them at shoe stores and shoe repair shops.
Twist the handle of the shoe stretcher until the back part fits tightly against the back inside of the heel.
Examine the shoe carefully to see if the stretcher appears to be in a tight enough position to stretch the heel back about a quarter to a half inch. If not, twist the shoe stretcher's handle a few more times.
Remove the shoe stretchers after at least six hours have passed; it's often best to leave the stretchers in overnight. Your shoes should have stretched to a more comfortable fit.
Tips and warnings
- Don't twist the shoe stretcher too much or you could ruin the shoes. Too much stretching could make the fabric or leather of the shoe so flexible that it won't hold securely around your foot.
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