How to Use a Shoe Stretcher

Written by darci anne gilbert
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How to Use a Shoe Stretcher
Shoe stretchers are easy to use. (Bob MacInnes, Flickr,

Shoes can sometimes stretch with natural wear, but you can utilise the help of a shoe stretcher to make the shoe bigger in a shorter period of time. A shoe stretcher can usually be purchased in the shoe department of a department store, at a dedicated shoe store or at any retailer that sells shoes and shoe supplies. A shoe stretcher is shaped like a foot and the length and width can be expanded and contracted to create the correct fit for the shoe you wish to stretch.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Shoe stretchers

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  1. 1

    Turn the shoe stretcher down to a size setting where it will easily fit inside of the shoe your wish to stretch.

  2. 2

    Insert the stretcher into the shoe and gently adjust the screw to form tension on the surface of the shoe. The shoe stretcher should fit inside the shoe like a foot that is slightly too big for the shoe.

  3. 3

    Wait 12 to 24 hours, then remove the stretcher from the shoe.

  4. 4

    Try on the shoe and see if it has been stretched enough. If not, re-insert the stretcher and adjust it to form more tension.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process until the shoe is stretched enough to wear comfortably. For each additional stretch, decrease the stretching time to about four to six hours to avoid overstretching the shoes.

Tips and warnings

  • Shoe stretchers come in different shapes and can perform different functions, depending on the type of fit issue you wish to correct. Most general stretchers will adjust the width and length of the shoe, but there are speciality stretchers that can also adjust the height of the toe area, the instep, or even stretch the shoe in areas where you may have bunions or toe problems.
  • You could also try wearing thick socks and walking in the shoes after the first round of stretching. The socks will shield your feet from developing a blister and help the shoes to stretch even further.
  • Gradually increase the tension on a shoe stretcher. If you try to stretch the shoe too much, you could risk tearing the shoe material.

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