Practical ways to break in a new pair of shoes with ease

Jan 28, 2024
Stretch out your shoes for a more relaxed, comfortable fit. Source: Getty Images.

Do you own a stylish pair of shoes that, unfortunately, feel uncomfortably tight on your feet? It’s a common experience we’ve all encountered at some point. You may have purchased a brand-new pair of shoes that seemed to fit perfectly in the store, but once you’re back home, you discover they’re a tad too snug for your liking. The good news is that there are effective methods you can employ to expand the size of your shoes and make them more accommodating for a comfortable and relaxed fit.

Here are some practical and straightforward tips to successfully stretch your shoes and ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable wearing experience.

Stretch with a blowdryer

Grab your blowdryer and put on a super thick pair of socks. Then put on your shoes and blast the tight areas on high heat for around 20 seconds, while moving your feet around inside the shoe. Keep the shoes on while they cool down. If the shoes are still tight without the socks, keep going with the blowdryer. This tip works best for leather or suede boots.

Use the freezer method

Did you know that you can stretch tight shoes with ice? All you have to do is fill a zip-lock bag one-third of the way with water. Then place the partially filled bag inside your shoe (make sure to mould the bag near the tight spots), and stick them in the freezer overnight. The water will turn into ice and expand — this is what stretches out your shoes slightly. Then take out your shoes to thaw for about 20 minutes. This method works best on peep-toe or pointed-toe heels, runners, and other non-leather shoes.

Use rubbing alcohol

Mix a solution of 50 per cent rubbing alcohol and 50 per cent water in a spray bottle. Spray the inside of each shoe until they are slightly damp and wear for about 20 minutes. Wearing the slightly damp shoes will allow the material to loosen up and stretch. Repeat several times if necessary.

An alternative to this is to put rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and apply it to the part of your feet where the shoes will rub.

Use the potato method

Yes, you read that right — you can simply stretch your shoes using a potato. All you have to do is peel a potato, wrap it in a paper towel or a piece of newspaper and put it into your shoes and leave overnight. The potato will dry out and stretch your shoes.

Wear them around the house

If all else fails, the best way to break in shoes is to wear them around. Wearing the shoes at home for short periods will help soften the material and stretch out the shoes. To speed up the process, wear a thick pair of socks.

We’ve all encountered the frustration of snug shoes at some point, but there’s no need to endure discomfort. These simple yet effective hacks offer a way to achieve a more comfortable and relaxed fit for your beloved footwear. Whether it’s using the blowdryer and thick socks, the freezer method for expanding your shoes, the rubbing alcohol technique, the surprising potato method, or simply wearing them around the house with a little patience, you have a variety of options at your disposal to ensure your shoes feel just right.



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