Made to fit, the Art of Stretching your Shoes

The reality is that most of the time, those new cute shoes you can’t live without are not made to perfectly fit your feet. Different manufacturers just have different guidelines for their widths, height, arch, and heel of their shoes. Then there are materials that aren’t as giving as others.

Do you wear “them in” and risk hurting your feet? Even worse, risk bunions. In my opinion, No. You make them fit your feet first or at least comfortable enough to wear all day. That is where – Made to fit – the Art of Stretching your Shoes comes in.

The Art

Is there an art to it? Sure there is. You don’t want to misshape those new beauties.

Shoes can say a lot about an outfit or just your comfort level. Most people put more time into picking out their shoes than their clothes, believe it or not. You want them to look good. Not to have one stretched one way and the other another way. Unless, of course, you have a problem with your feet and then you will need to adjust your art form to mold to that situation. More on that below.

Know your material

The art is simple. Know what type of material your shoes are made of and this can be more than one type per pair of shoes. Some stretch better with spray (leather, suede). All types of materials can be stretched, even man-made materials. I have heard more than a dozen times the only way to stretch man-made faux leather is to wear them. That is simply not true.

Hard synthetic materials need to be stretched more slowly so they don’t look misshaped or pulled. It is easy with the method shown below. Adjust the stretcher a little more day by day, it doesn’t take long and the shoes will still keep their basic shape (but adjusted to your foot size). And with these shoe stretchers, you can move them up little by little in the shoe to widen them so everything stays proportionate to the style of the shoe. After all, you bought them for the style, shape, and color.

Stretching Spray for the art of stretching your shoes

I don’t like to wear them and stretch them out, but if you do. I would suggest using a spray. There are many sprays on Amazon but be sure to get one that works with all types of materials.

You can use these sprays even if you aren’t going to be wearing the shoes that you will be stretching. (It works with the stretchers as well). Although it is nice to wear the spray along with new shoes just in case you get a wear spot somewhere. For instants, new jogging shoes, you never know where those might rub wrong on your feet. The spray is just extra help for new shoes during the day.

Made to fit, the art of stretching your shoes.  Shoe Stretch spray and stretchers
The Art of Stretching your shoes

The tool for made to fit shoes (stretchers)

These are the tools for your art form. They look pretty simple, don’t they? That is the point. Easier to create art with simple tools because you will use them more.

Shoe Stretchers (travel size) for the art of stretching your shoes
Shoe Stretchers – tools for the art of stretching your shoes

On these stretchers, one side is bigger than the other side. For you guessed it, the bigger side of your foot by your big toe. These tools have lasted me for years. These are also travel-sized, so they can go anywhere with you and don’t take up a lot of room in your purse, luggage, or in your closet. You can slowly unscrew them to widen just a little bit more so they adjust easier to the shape of your shoe as well as the shape of your feet.

I know in some descriptions it states they are for children and certainly you can use them for children’s shoes as well. But trust me they work great for my shoes and I am not a child. I don’t have long feet but they are medium to wide width depending on the shoe. And I don’t even use these stretchers out to their fullest width.

Other tools

You don’t have to get anything like the bigger stretchers (see below). The plugs that they have may not even be where you need them to go and they aren’t very maneuverable. All shoes are different and may need stretching in different ways.

Bigger Shoe Shapers

Stretching your shoes in width

A perfect fit, the art of stretching your shoes
Shoe stretching example, for the Art of Stretching your shoes

This is how I use them to stretch the width of the shoes. These shoes don’t need to be stretched but you get the idea. You can keep untwisting out the shoe stretcher more and more if you need the shoe stretched more for your feet. Now if you have really wide feet and need them stretched a lot, I would stretch a bit at a time and would keep moving the stretcher up in the shoe as well to get a really good stretching all the way up the shoe. That way you keep the shape of the shoe intact, but still stretched as mentioned before, it is an art form.

Stretching the heel to be made to fit

You can also do this at the back of a shoe if they are too tight near the heel. With these types of shoes, it is very easy to stretch the heel.

Sometimes I have had issues with some shoes (mainly pumps). I don’t want to stretch them too far, so I will just use the small red side of the shoe stretcher and a small dowel to hold it in place. (One end of the dowel at the toe of the shoe and one on the large side of stretcher). That way the red part (smaller side) stays secure at the heel of the shoe. It will stretch it slightly.

Higher Arch stretch

And another method I use to stretch out the shoes especially if you have a high arch and the shoe does not. Or if you have boots that aren’t as comfortable on the upper part of your foot. I would use the height stretch (as seen below).

Height stretch, in the Art of Stretching your shoes (made to fit)

I actually had to do this with these shoes because they were way snug on the top of my foot. I don’t have a really high arch but I do have an arch and in some shoes, they just aren’t made for that. These are all lined with man-made leather and yes they stretched out just fine. (The shoes will be featured in a new affordable clothes post and yes, they look perfect. You wouldn’t know that I stretched them at all). I have even worn them a few times now and I haven’t had any sore feet.

Other shoe stretching issues

If your heel does rub on your shoes still or you develop a sore, you can get some moleskin in the shoe section or the sporting goods section of your store or amazon. I cut a piece to stick where every there is an issue with the shoe. Honestly, I don’t have to do this often just with running shoes because friction can develop anywhere with new shoes when you are running or walking a distance.

I also know people that have issues with this on their pumps or when they wear them for a long time. Moleskin can stick nicely to the back of pumps so they don’t hurt your heel.

I know they make silicone pads for this as well. Moleskin wool is cheaper and you can cut to size. (I buy in a pack of 6 – 2 x 3 for $5.50. Also comes in tape or roll form). You can use it on the bottoms of your feet if you need cushioning there as well. ( I also use it on other things, a bra strap that rubs too tight on the clip. I even put it on underwire bras before I wear them, just more comfortable and they wear better).

Why use the art of stretching your shoes?

You want to take care of your feet. So that is why your shoes should be made to fit. Either by you or the manufacturer, but either way, you can do it. There is a slight “art to it” but you can stretch any of your shoes out to fit before you were them all day or even for a little while. And still, have them look like the same style that you purchased.

After all your feet have to carry you for a long time and for a long distance.


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