It happens to everyone. You purchase a great pair of boots at the store and when you try to wear them a few days later, they're too tight. If you can't return them, or don't want to, stretching the boots is an inexpensive alternative to purchasing another pair.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Stretching fluid
- Shoe stretchers
Determine the specific area of the boot that needs to be stretched.
Apply suede-safe stretching fluid, either to the inside or the outside of the boot. Stretching solution, such as Dyo, allows the fibres of the suede to relax, stretching the material without damaging it. Put the boots on your feet and walk around until the solution is dry. Be warned, though, if your boots are dyed, stretching solution may cause the boots to bleed colour onto your feet. If you can, wear a pair of socks to keep the dye off your skin.
If you cannot put your foot into the boot, you'll have to use a boot stretcher. These can be found in the organizational or closet section of department stores or in shoe stores. This plastic or wooden device is designed to stretch boots and shoes by using various screws to alter the size of the stretcher. There are different stretchers for width, length and bunions. You will need to know which is appropriate for you.
To use a boot stretcher, spray the affected area of the boot with stretching fluid. Insert the stretcher into the boot and turn the handle clockwise. The stretcher will expand against the sides of the boot. Keep turning until the stretcher is visible beneath the suede. Once the stretcher is visible, slowly turn the handle three more times.Leave the stretcher in the boots and allow them to dry overnight.
Remove the stretchers and try on the boots. If more stretching is needed, repeat step 4.
Visit the local shoe repair shop if you're afraid you'll damage your boots. They use professional stretching machines to focus pressure and heat in exact locations, stretching the boots as little as possible while rendering them comfortable to wear. In addition to stretching the width, length and bunion areas, professionals can also adjust the instep and raise the toes, if need be.
Tips and warnings
- Purchase shoes and boots at the end of the day for the best fit.
- No matter which method you use, boots should be worn as soon as possible after stretching.
- Boot stretchers can frequently be found at thrift shops, in yard sales and in online auctions.
- Even under the best of circumstances, shoes can only be stretched ½ size larger.
- Do not try to stretch your boots by wearing them as this can injure your feet. You can always buy new boots. The feet you have are the only pair you'll ever get.
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