How to Use an Instep Stretcher

If your shoes or boots are feeling too tight, you may be able to stretch them for a better, more comfortable fit. An instep stretcher is a tool that stretches the instep of shoes or boots. The instep is the main part of your foot. It is the upper, centre section of your foot, between the toes and ankle. The instep is measured in height, from the floor to where the tallest bone in your foot sticks up.

Spray the shoes with shoe stretching spray, or rub them with stretching solution. This will open up the leather fibres and allow them to be stretched more successfully.

Place the instep stretcher snugly and firmly inside the shoe.

Turn the knob on the shoe stretcher to widen it, until you feel that the stretcher is just to the tight point. Then turn the knob three or four more times to widen the stretcher further.

Place the shoe, with the stretcher still inside, in a cool, dry place at least overnight.

Remove the shoe stretcher from the shoe. Turning the knob in the opposite direction will make the shoe stretcher narrower for easy removal.

Try the shoe on. If it is still too tight, repeat steps one through five.


Vinyl shoes do not stretch as well as leather shoes do. Try it if you like, but realise that it may not be successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoe stretching spray or solution
  • Leather shoes
  • Instep stretcher
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About the Author

Sandra Rousseau has been writing since 1990, covering such topics as home decorating, fashion, health, beauty, gardening and cooking. Her articles appear her hometown newspaper, the "Aledo Community News," and on various websites. Rousseau holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and advertising from the University of Texas at Arlington.