Home remedy to stretch shoes

The day after buying that perfect pair of shoes, you put them on and discover they're too tight. You can return them, take them to a shoe repair shop for a professional stretching or save some money and stretch them yourself. Most leather shoes have enough flexibility to be stretched a small amount. Just don't have unrealistic expectations that you can go up a whole size. There are some tricks to make the shoes more comfortable.

Liquid Solution

This solution can be applied as a spray or liquid. By spraying or dabbing it on the exterior and interior of the area you want stretched, the leather will soften, allowing it to adjust to your feet or shoe stretcher. This solution can be found in shoe stores and shoe repair shops.

Shoe Stretchers

Used with or without a stretching solution, the shoe stretcher is designed to widen the shoe. After inserting it into the shoe, you can turn the screw to the desired width, forcing the shoe to widen. It's best to widen the shoe a little bit at a time, until the proper width is achieved. Be careful not to break the leather, stitching or glue holding it together. Leave the device in the shoe overnight, and by morning, the shoe should hold its new shape. These shoe stretching devices can be found in department stores, chemists, discount stores, shoe repair shops and thrift stores.


When water freezes it expands, so fill some bags with water, seal them, and insert them into the shoes. Put them in the freezer and leave them overnight. As the water becomes ice, it will widen the shoes. The cold temperature will cause the shoes to contract and tighten around the ice. Be aware that this may damage the leather, so try this with older or less expensive shoes the first time.

Stuff Them

You can stuff your shoes with another shoe, peeled potatoes, banana peels or wet newspapers. Leave it in overnight to allow it to dry.

Wear Them

The old-fashioned way to stretch shoes is to simply wear them and "break them in." Although this may be the most painful, it will force the shoes to mould to your feet over time.

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About the Author

Debby Mayne started writing professionally in 1992. Her work has appeared in regional parenting magazines and she has been managing editor of the magazine, "Coping with Cancer." She was also fashion product information writer for HSN. During college, Mayne worked as an instructor at a fitness center. She holds a Bachelor of Science in health, PE and recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.