For those of us with wide feet, the struggle to find comfortable shoes is never-ending. Some shoes come in wide sizes, but not many. Most shoe companies instead choose to use sizes that will fit most people somewhat comfortably, but that means that they're going to be uncomfortable for a lot of us.
Since it's so hard to find shoes that fit wide feet, a lot of us have simply given up on trying to find comfortable shoes. The situation isn't hopeless, though. You don't have to buy specially sized shoes to be comfortable, you just need to stretch out your shoes to fit your feet better.
This guide will teach you how to stretch your sneakers for wide feet so that you'll never have to wear uncomfortable shoes again.
Wear them at home
The easiest way to stretch out your shoes is to wear them at home.
This trick is best for shoes that don't need much stretching. That means it's for people whose feet aren't overly wide, or who's shoes aren't overly tight. Essentially it's a way to break in a new pair of shoes and stretch them lightly so you don't have to endure wearing uncomfortable shoes to work or out with friends.
The best trick for leather shoes
This is a great trick for stretching out shoes, but it will only work with leather shoes. Since leather shoes are usually very narrow, learning to stretch them effectively is important.
The best part about this trick for leather shoes is that with most shoes it should stretch them enough to be comfortable in just a few minutes. It will take much longer for thicker leather shoes, like cowboy boots, but for leather dress shoes it will work very quickly.
Use the hair dryer
Now that we've given you a trick that will only work with leather shoes, here's one that you really shouldn't use on leather. Using a hair dryer on regular sneakers can be a great way to stretch them, though.
It's a surprising method, but it really does work quickly. The heat from the hair dryer loosens up the material enough to allow your foot to stretch it and soften it faster than it would otherwise. For non-leather shoes, this is one of the best ways to stretch them.
Stuff them overnight
This method works especially well for running shoes or other athletic shoes, since they tend to be made of light, more flexible materials.
Do this, and by morning your shoes will have stretched just enough to be comfortable for your wide feet. Again, this works best with lighter shoes made for running or other athletics, since the lighter material will stretch more easily.
Freeze your sneakers
Freezing sneakers is a common trick to get rid of odor or remove sticky substances like chewing gum, but it can be an effective technique for stretching them too. Here's how to stretch sneakers for wide feet using the freezer.
This method works very well, although it may be strange to open your freezer and see a pair of shoes in there. Because the water expands when it's frozen, it will gently stretch your shoes as long as you're sure to really fill them up with water before freezing. This is one of the easiest ways for you to stretch out your sneakers at home without having to wear them while they're too tight.
5 WAYS TO FIT/BREAK INTO TOO SMALL SHOES Watching This Video
Use shoe stretchers
If you'd rather not rely on home methods, there are professional tools that are designed specifically to stretch out your sneakers. Shoe stretchers usually come as a kit, with a specialized spray and a wedge shaped plug.
This is the method that's most recommended by professional and shoe manufactures, because the tool has been designed for the specific purpose of stretching your shoes. It's guaranteed to work, but some people would rather not pay for a tool they'll probably only use once.
Not all stretchers are the same; some won't have any kind of spray, and others won't have a knob. Just follow the instructions that came with it and it will work.
Fill with rice or oats
This is really old-school trick for stretching out your shoes. It doesn't have to be rice; it can really be anything that will absorb and hold water.
It's definitely an unusual method, but it works and has worked for a long time. Some people advise pouring the grain directly into the shoes and adding water, but that's just going to make a mess. The plastic bag keeps everything neat and clean.
Frequently asked questions
How much do I need to stretch my shoes?
That depends on how wide your feet are, and how narrow the shoes are. The only way to determine if the shoes have stretched enough to be comfortable is to try them on and see.
Will my shoes be able to stretch enough?
Yes, unless you've bought shoes that are actually too small for your feet. Shoes are designed to stretch, since all shoes are made to fit all types of feet. If you've tried everything and the shoes just won't stretch enough, you probably need to buy a larger size shoe.
Which method is the best for stretching my sneakers?
The best method is using a shoe stretcher, since it's guaranteed to work in just eight hours and it's the recommended method by every shoe manufacturer. The difference between that and the other methods isn't much, though.
What if I stretch my shoes too much?
It's unlikely that will happen, since none of these methods stretch the shoes by a large amount. If it does happen, though, you may need to buy new shoes. Fortunately, it's very difficult to stretch your sneakers so much that they become too big.
How do I know if I need to stretch my shoes?
Good question! Sometimes a shoe feels tight, but it will start to loosen up on the first day you wear it. It's when the shoe still feels too tight after a day or two that you should think about stretching it. Even for people with wide feet, many shoes will stretch enough on their own during the first day that won't have to do anything else.
Will any of these methods damage my shoes?
Not if you follow the instructions carefully, no. These methods are all very safe to use and guaranteed to work.
If you were wondering how to stretch sneakers for wide feet, any of the methods we've listed here will work. The best part is that most of them can easily be done at home without buying any sort of specialized equipment. Try them out and never worry about shoes that are too tight again.
If you can't find the shoes you want in wide sizes, don't worry. You can easily stretch a regular size shoe to comfortably fit a wide foot. Most of these methods work very quickly, too, so you won't even have to wait long. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully to be sure that it works.