Having invested in a pair of expensive Jimmy Choo shoes I thought would take me everywhere, I was dismayed to discover, after wearing them out a few times, that they were painfully tight. I went on a quest to stretch them and discovered that much of the accepted wisdom about how to stretch tight shoes DID NOT work. Only ONE technique (below) actually worked, and that came out of left field. The fails, some of which you’ve probably tried yourself, included:
-Buying wooden shoe stretchers, applying “stretching liquid” to the shoes and letting them sit with the stretchers inside for over a week.
-Taking them to my cobbler and having him stretch them.
-Taking them back to the where store I bought them and having their pros stretch them (for free).
-Wearing thick socks and walking around the apartment all day
-Putting ‘stretching solution’ on the shoes and wearing the shoes with thick socks all day
The prospect of having wasted my money on shoes I couldn’t wear was disheartening. I contemplated selling the shoes on Ebay, but held onto them thinking “There MUST be a fix.” Finally, a random google search yielded a solution from Ramshackle Glam, who had learned it from a fashion stylist (they seem to know everything about apparel that our mother’s never taught us). This method will stretch leather shoes a good half-size, both men’s and women’s:
1. Put on several pairs of socks. I tried a really thick pair, then added a second for good measure.
2. Stuff your feet into your shoes.
3. Blast your shoes with hot air from a hair dryer (an amazingly useful tool) for about two minutes while flexing your toes and feet to stretch the tight areas.
4. Keep the socks and shoes on until the leather cools. Test out the shoes without socks, and repeat if necessary until they’re comfortable.
The shoes are now wearable, and I am reminded of the lesson I learn daily: always question the experts and try stuff out for/on yourself. (And always keep a hair dryer on hand.)
Note: I’ve since learned an additional trick from a friend (who learned it from a fashion stylist): wet the inside of the shoe with rubbing alcohol.
178 replies on “how to stretch tight shoes: 5 fails yield one great solution”
Doing all the above works great as does soaking your socks with plain rubbing alcohol on the places that need a little stretch. Wear the socks and shoes until the alcohol evaporates and the shoes should fit. You might have to do it more than once, but it works like a charm. Guess all the expensive ‘stretching solution’ is really just alcohol.
Glad to have another technique that works for this age-old problem, cause all except the hair-dryer technique didn’t work. Yikes!! Thanks!!
Hey, I work for a high quality shoe company that prides itself in helping customers with stretching shoes to fit individual feet. I consulted with my manager today after reading this entry and he strongly advises that hairdryers are bad for stretching shoes and can result in serious warping.
I appreciate your feedback. My thinking is that if I’ve tried everything else, including professional shoe stretching (twice) and I really love the shoes, then I’ve got little to lose by trying this…
I’m a guy and came across this site while just googling if “shoe stretch” spray will damage leather. I have quality, black leather military boots. I have no doubt this worked for you and am glad you found a solution, but would caution others that I wouldn’t use a hairdryer on quality leather shoes or boots. I’m not sure if it would damage it persee’…but i would be really hesitant. I’ve seen many boots ruined using such methods, like putting on shoe polish and melting it with a hairdryer for example.
also…just FYI…rubbing alcohol is really bad for leather because it dries it out
Whatever you feel comfortable with. I was seriously UNcomfortable in t hose Jimmy Choo’s and couldn’t wear them. I could have sold them at a lost but decided to try things out on them. Your call.
Who mentioned rubbing alcohol? (:
I’ve used this method with good success on a few different pairs of leather shoes, and never had any issues with warping or damage. I just did it on a pair of Seychelles strappy sandals with a metallic leather and it worked great. Shoes fit, no damage to the leather.
Yay, I’m happy to hear it. My Jimmy Choo’s have been just fine…though still a bit tight. Snakeskin…
I’m going to try this. I need my shoes right away. Thanks
Tried this with my suede louboutin Ron Rons. Worked beautifully and I didn’t have to spend any extra money on stretching shoes that are already expensive.
Yay!!!! Affirmation in the face of the doubters. So glad it worked for you.
My toes also thank you. I tried this last night and was pretty surprised to feel a noticeable difference right away. I especially like that I didn’t need to apply any product to my shoes.
SALLY YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!!!! I have three pair of shoes I love and can now where them all day without any problems!
THREE pairs rescued. That is most gratifying.
…maybe the patron saint of tight shoes? (:
I just bought a pair of Jimmy Choos for my prima and they fit like a glove everywhere Besides my toes and I’m going to be standing in these things for Hours!
Do you think this technique will work on All types of shoes?
I don’t think I’ll be able to fit my foot in the shoe with socks on its so tight on them and I don’t even have wide feet!!!!
And if so should I do this a few times?
Hi, The snakeskin shoes I tried it on are Jimmy Choos. Perhaps you should cut a sock so you can just put it on the toe area. Then try it once, and repeat as necessary. You want to stretch them slowly so you don’t overdo and wreck the v. expensive shoes.
This totally worked! I thought it was a long shot. Thanks!!
I have some Sergio Rossi snake skin shoes that I will try this on and I will post results..I went to a shoe shop to have them stretched and the girl wouldn’t touch them but she gave me the blow dryer idea, minus the socks lol.
Best to go slowly on snakeskin. Let them ease….
Thanks for the tips, I’m sure going to try it, but is it just applicable to leather shoes?
What other kind of shoes are you thinking of? It would likely work with suede but the water might stain it. Synthetic of course, won’t absorb the water. Perhaps do more research on the internet.
Thanks a lot.
Just a thought ladies…maybe you,re not using the golden rule…if the shoe isnt comfy don,t buy it.
I am literally reading this post right now whilst doing the above with a hairdryer… I kept it for a little longer than two minutes, but my leather boots finally fit. I would definitely recommend this as a quick fix!!!
My new Weitzmans just went from “unwearable” to “holy crap my new favourite shoes”. Bless your heart.
p.s. beware– i got the dryer a little too close to some glued on bling and it fell off. Careful not to get the heat anywhere near ornaments, buckles, etc.
YAY. That is so great!!!!
I’ve just tried this tip on my new Tory Burch leather Calyca 5″ heel sandals and it does work. I bought the pair with my size 7.5 but the braided parts on the top were very tight and made my pinkies hurt very bad. I read reviews about this style and saw a lot of customers complained about this issue and returned them. I intended to return them too but felt reluctantly because I bought them with a good discount price from Nordstrom Rack ($180 when the original price was $295). Therefore I searched online to find a way and saw this… They are perfectly comfortable now after about 10 minutes of heating with a hair dryer and 2 socks… Thanks a bunch for posting this helpful tip. I rarely wrote a comment on other postings but thought I should this time to confirm “This tip really works on leather sandals”.
Thanks so much for your feedback and SUCCESS. I’ve just dug out some beautiful shoes that are too tight now that my feet seem to have grown larger (Yikes…age!), and hope to save them with this technique.
This works! I tried it on a pair of Clarks ankle boots. I wasn’t so much worried about ruining the leather; I was more worried about being able to get my left foot back out after literally stuffing it in the shoe, but this worked beautifully. Will do it one more time just for the extra wiggle room.
Tried this this morning with a pair of clearance suede heels bought online. Worked great. Would probably use another once over, but they are already tolerable in a way they weren’t before!
Thanks so much. Tried the hairdryer method with thick walking socks and it worked first time so don’t have to return my first Jimmy Choos that were a gift from my sisters.
Thank you very much for your helpful tip. I’m finally able to wear and rescue a pair of ballerinas that I loved but were extremely tight and uncomfortable to wear all day long. I am a happy bunny now hopping along with them comfortably on!! 🙂
Tried this just now with my new strappy heels and it worked like magic. Thank you 🙂
What ugly shoes…
I just made my Jimmy Choos, Bagdley Mishka, & Chanel shoes wearable again! Thank you for this tip.
Hugs & Kisses for you, my lady! I thought that I would have to give away a pair of $200 Air Jordans. IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY… Thanks
…wow! thank you Sally! Worked like a dream…x
Yay! It’s probably the post that has saved readers the most $$$…in making unwearable shoes WEARABLE.
This is a great idea! Any suggestions for stretching out Jimmy Choo zip up boots? I don’t have big legs but I can’t even zip them!! Would love any suggestions. Thanks!!
I would look for something about the dimension of the zipped bootleg (even a friend who CAN zip the boots up). Put a big sock on it (or not)…You need to make it so you can barely zip the boot up. Then do the rest of the stretching process with a hair dryer. You’ll probably have to do each boot separately.
Let us know what happens and send us photos!
Hi…I just wanted to thank u for this awesome tip! I was about to return my Sam Edelman penny boots because they were too narrow. I tried this and am so happy it worked!! Love my boots and they r comfortable now!:)
Hey! Any idea if this will work on Chloe’s Susanna boots? mine are 1 size down.
The only way to know is to try it. As you can see, a lot of people have had success with this method.
This method works like a charm! Thank you so much for this post. I tried on newly bought Camel Active shoes just now and they expanded one size up! I only did the heating twice, and to make it done faster, I walked around while the shoes were still hot until they cooled off. Took off the two socks and walla! Perfectly fit shoes! Much love from KL 🙂
Will i only have to do this once or will the shoes shrink back to original size and I’ll have to do it every so often?
Thank-you so much for posting this remedy Sally! I got some gorgeous shoes online in a sale (from Boden) and I’ve never had a problem with their sizing before, but this pair were TIGHT across the toes! I’ve just finished trying your method and it absolutely works like a dream. This should be known to all shoe lovers out there (or to everyone, really). The only other time I attempted to stretch a pair of shoes was for my sister’s wedding and I wet the leather, then stuffed wet, rolled up newspaper into them and then used a shoe stretcher! What a disaster! The end result was a pair of shoes that were so loose, they were unwearable. I’m so pleased to have found your post. One very happy bunny here 😀
So, I had been trying to “break in” a new pair of super tight leather cowboy boots for several days. Ouch. Very painful. Especially since my right foot is about a half size bigger than my left foot! Weird, I know! The hair dryer for 2 minutes, on low heat setting, really helped a lot! I wore 1 thick sock on my left foot and 2 thick socks on my right. After the first try, I let the boots cool off a little, then tried on some thin dress socks. I could then pinpoint the exact areas on the right foot that needed more attention. After the second try, both boots are snug, but not super tight like before. I think I can break them in MUCH easier, and less painfully, now. Very much appreciated, and my feet thank you for the stretching tip, too!
Yay. You can gently repeat the process. Just keep an eye on how the leather is doing. If you see any cracks, you’re going to fast.
Holy cow! This really does work! I purchased a pair of expensive tap shoes online and they were so stiff and tight I could not stand it…. literally, I could not stand in them. I usually have been able to break in my tap shoes in a few weeks or so but I could not even leave this new pair on my feet longer than five minutes. I took them to a shoe repair place and they stretched them out for me, twice. While I could get them on easier, I could not tap in them due to the pain.
I had been desperately searching for a solution and came across yours and decided to go for it. I did as suggested with thick socks and heat for three to four minutes. While they were still warm I took them off and stretched them out with my hands. I now can get the shoes on and make sounds without pain! I think I will need to go through the process a couple more times (at least for the right shoe) but I am so happy with the results! Thank you for the post!
Hi. I’m eager to try this! You didn’t mention water in the initial post, but somewhere in the comments, there is discussion of “water staining suede and synthetic not absorbing it”. Are you supposed to wet the leather before blow drying?
No, no water or wetting is used. I think that comment came from someone who had tried a wet method, or I did and had it floating around my memory banks. The method above is definitely the way to go.
Whether it was suggested or not, almost all shoe stretcher sprays/aerosols are 90% alcohol. Alcohol does dries leather, but you are supposed to follow up with a leather conditioner. It is advised you use a leather (suede/nubuck) conditioner after any stretching method and during the course of use to protect and restore from the elements and wear. Good luck.
Sandy, thank you for this great reminder. It would no doubt be a good safeguard to keep the shoes pliable after stretching them.
good tip, will definitely try, but i am so sorry those shoes do not look well on you 🙁
WHAT! You don’t like snakeskin shoes with red socks!!!!
Does the change last? Or wear off after a while?
Yeah, it lasts.
This is a great tip, however, I must post about the appalling cruelty in catching and then killing snakes for their skin. They are kept in a cage having been caught in the wild with dozens of other snakes, then held out and a large needle is inserted into the nostril to “pop” the brain!!!
Its barbaric cruelty.
Please dont buy snakeskin anything
I wasn’t aware of that when I bought them many years ago…
I bought a pair louboutin’s the killed my feet, so the sat in their pretty box and bag on my bedroom floor for a year after one wear. They’re patent leather so the hairdryer heated them up really quickly, I can now wear my beautiful shoes, without any problems at all. Thank you so much Sally ??
I am afraid to use heat on patent leather pointy toe JCrew loafers with a bow can I heat the wooden shoe stretchers before I put them in and crank them bigger each day/
I’m afraid I don’t know. My Jimmy Choo snakeskin shoes were a desperate experiment that worked. You would need to decide if too tight shoes are worth pushing your luck with. Please let us know what you discover.
I just rescued a pair of Taryn Rose suede pumps with this trick … THANK YOU!
Would this method work on sateen fabric shoes?? I believe they’re man made. I ordered them wide and they kill my feet bad!! They’re for my upcoming wedding.
Hi! I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps for my wedding and was really thrilled. I knew my number from a pair of sandals that I have and ordered the same number from the internet (no jimmy choo boutiques in the area to try them on). Once they arrived I put them on full of joy and I immediately felt the pain on my toes. My toes were so cramped that it took all my enthusiasm away…. But I was determined to break them in. After wearing them for an hour a day for 4 days I saw no difference. Not even a slight one and was beginning to search for flats for my wedding so I could change after the ceremony. Buy why buy designer shoes to wear for only one hour? So I googled about stretching shoes and came across your post. Oh my God! I was sceptical and didn’t believe that there would be a difference but Oh My God! My shoed are now so comfortable!! You didn’t just save my shoes, you saved my wedding day!
Thank you for letting me know. That is WONDERFUL!!!
Saved my graduation shoes! My new CLs were essentially amputating by last 2 toes on both feet. A little hair dryer action and I’m doing a happy dance!
Definitely trying this on all the heels i have purchased and have not worn because they are too tight hallelujer
I’m thrilled this worked!! I was afraid the alcohol method would dry the leather out.
I put on callous pads and two pairs of socks. These Frye boots now fit beautifully! Professional stretching didn’t work for me either. Thank you so much!!!
How sad that you have to wear snake-skin shoes. Snakes are usually skinned alive as the skin comes off much easier. Why do you think that snakes should suffer such a painful death for you to have a dubiously fashionable pair of shoes?
I bought the shoes quite a few years ago before I stopped to think where they might have come from. I did not know until your comment, and looking into it that it is truly a terrible practice. Thank you for calling it to my attention.
Hi. Does this method work on fabric shoes per chance?
I haven’t a clue. What have you got to lose if you try it gently, perhaps with only one pair of socks and watch carefully for signs of stretching or breaking point?
thanks!! I just got 4 pair of very expensive shoes at a steep discount (Proenza Sholer, YSL, Versace and Givency) and man do these designers run SMALL! Knowing this I ordered them a full size larger. They came yesterday and all but one pair are a bit too snug in the vamp of my right foot (which is a half size bigger than my left). I’m so glad to read that this works on designer shoes without harming them. I REALLY dont want to send them back so I’m going to give this a try! Thanks!!
Hi. Although I’ve received NUMEROUS testimonials that the method works, I’d try this on one pair just to see if it works enough for your comfort level. If it’s a go, then you can apply to the others. Good luck (sounds like you scored!)
Ok. Help. I have shoe stretchers in my nylon/alittle bit of leather tennies.They are Nikes and I love them. What can I wet them with to help stretch them?
I am not an expert. I just found one solution to leather shoes. That said, I don’t see that water would do anything to nylon but it probably won’t hurt to try.
Well Sally… I was skeptical… but it seems to have worked on some expensive Allen Edmunds men’s shoes. Amazing fix!
Wow! This really worked. Thank you so much for sharing this idea!
Hi I’ve just bought my first pair of CL patent pigalle Plato the toes are VERY pointy and my toes are squashed I was advised to get a half size smaller as my normal size my slightly smaller foot slipped out of the shoe I’ve been considering taking them back (200 mile round trip!) would the hairdryer method work and can it be used on patent leather? Greatfull of Amy help
I haven’t a clue about patent leather as I’ve always found the stuff to rigid to wear. If they’re expensive shoes, I’d take (or send) them back….
Thank you so much for this tip! I’m an unfortunate size 6 and a half and often find myself putting shoes back on the shelf! Tried this with a pair of suede boots and let’s just say I’m going to look dazzling on new years ;D
Thanks a lot for this tip. My kids bought me a pair of Nike Sandals. They were clearly marked as my size, but i couldn’t get them on. I was told id have to wear them until they fit, but that hurt. So, i go online to find a solution and yours is the first one to pop up. I said, i’ve got nothing to lose, so i tried it, and i’ve been wearing them since. thanks
My daughter gave me a pair of expensive boots that were half a size too small for me but I so wanted them to fit me!!! I tried this today and it works like a dream, I am soooooo happy and can’t wait to wear them
Hello, yes I believe in using this SOCK(s) method. Works all the time. However, your very expensive shoes look like they are just too narrow for your feet. Why did they not sell you the wider version? Just saying : ).
Why indeed. Or a size larger.
Sunday, I found the world’s cutest boots at a consignment store-they were a 6.5, which I can often wear although I’m usually a 7, so I tried them on. Walked around the store and even a couple of women who were shopping commented how cute they were…unfortunately, after a few minutes, I realized they were just too snug and were starting to hurt. Reluctantly, I put them back and went home. Couldn’t stop thinking about them, then Google brought me to this article and today I went back to the shop hoping they were still there and HAPPY DAY.they were! I am wearing them as I type this after happy dancing in them around my house-totally pain free!!!! This method worked like a champ! THANK YOU!!!!
HOW GREAT that this method got your wearing “the world’s cutest boots” (which we want). Thanks for the report.
Thanks for the tip! I bought 4 pair of shoes shipped from overseas, full grain leather and just a TAD too small. But this worked!
I don’t know about the model wearing the shoes in this post though – the shoes look like a man is wearing them with the socks on and still too small with the bare foot – but maybe the person doesn’t care because they are some fancy brand name that the toe cleavage didn’t bother them? (I’m not a designer shoe person I’m all ’bout comfort!)
SO glad the strategy worked for you. The “model” was Sally,stretching her own shoes, which worked. Her toes have fabulous cleavage no matter what she is wearing.
Hi Sally, I just received my gorgeous Christian Louboutin black pumps. They are definitely my size lengthwise (I’m even slightly slipping out of them) but they’re very tight across the toes, looks like where yours were tight. They are black velvet, but the inside lining is leather. Any idea if this method might work on these? As I said, they’re definitely long enough, so I don’t want to order up a size. I really want to be able to wear these. I may try this method a little at a time. I’m really hoping this works, and thank you for sharing this. I’d love to be able to wear these without my head exploding!
I really don’t know. Stretching the black velvet might be dicey, that is, worst case, it might rip rather than stretch. If you do try it, go very slowly, as you say, a little at a time…looking carefully to see what is happening with each increment.
An additional trick I’ve since learned from a friend (who learned it from a fashion stylist) is to wet the inside of the shoe with rubbing alcohol.
Hi Sally, just wanted to let you know I decided to send the very pointy toe velvet Louboutins back. Didn’t want to take a chance, because as you know, these are VERY pricey. In addition to concerns about the velvet, they also had a crystal bow decoration, which I was afraid would come apart. I have a pair of satin Stuart Weitzmann’s that actually come in a C width. Perfect fit! They aren’t really wide, but just a hair wider than Medium. I wish all these designers would get a clue, we don’t all have long skinny feet like the wicked witch of the west!
I think you made the right decision. Too risky and expensive. And see, you’ve found another solution! (:
Works like a charm! I bought a pair of ankle boots online, but my wide feet wouldn’t quite squeeze into them. And I need them next week for an event. I was going to get them stretched at a shoe repair place, but when I got there the store had moved! I sat in the car and googled how to stretch shoes, and stumbled across your post. And voila, the boots now fit!! Fantastic tip that I’m sure I will use again and again in the future (cause these wide feet aren’t magically going to narrow)!
Wow. I received yet another pair of good, solidly made, EEEEE wide and sensible shoes for my arthritically deformed feet this morning that felt okay when sitting down. But the second I stood up they cut in under my collapsed left ankle, crushed my clawed toes (also on the left foot) and squashed my big (hammer) toe on my right. Desperate not to put them back into the box as they made my feet look so neat and tidy, I googled the problem and your solutions came up. Two pairs of thick socks on… a squirt of rubbing alcohol on the ankle and heel of the shoe – inside and out (no-one’s going to see it as it ends up practically on the floor anyway)… a blast of warm air over both shoes later… they fit fine! I’m never going to be able to walk very far in them but these shoes will not be the problem. I’ll never forget this. Thank you!
I have narrow feet but my third toe sticks out. Shoe stretchers only widen the middle foot area before ever hitting the third toe area. I have made my own attachments but still the sides stretch out way too far. Larger shoes and big toe boxes DO NOT work, my foot is lost in them. Open Birkenstocks are my favorite but they slant off too soon and I have to use pliers on them. Can’t do that with a closed shoe! Have you ever heard of a ‘toe area stretcher’ I have googled every phrase I can think of. I guess a cobbler is the answer.
I wear open sandals when I can.
Would this work with Sperry canvas boat shoes? Thanks!
Hi Sally, I’m interested in buying a pair of Nubuck Chelsea Boots, my only problem is the size I need is sold out, so I’d have to go a whole size down. Should I avoid purchasing them all together or would this process work?
I really can’t say. Nubuck does stretch quite a lot so you might be okay in width if the length is okay now.
I really don’t know. I tried it as an experiment on leather. Am thinking it might not be great on canvas…You’d just have to experiment
So I found this post after I’d bought wooden shoe stretchers. I have a pair of nurse’s shoes that look like cute skate shoes, and they were a bit too snug in the toes, mainly for my right foot, but if I’d gone up a half-size, I would be stepping out of the shoes. So I was determined to make them fit, just stretch the toes. I’d already tried the wooden stretchers and they’d moved the needle a bit but not enough. AND THEN I FOUND THIS POST. I used the hair dryer on them while the stretchers were in and let them stand overnight, and then again the next day and let them stand overnight. Today I’m happily breaking in the special arch support that the shoes have because now I can wear them! The toes are just right and I’m so happy!
Ah, such a good innovation you found. To make those wooden shoe stretchers work, insert them in the shoe, expand them then BLOW HOT AIR FROM A HAIR DRYER ON THEM…then let them sit overnight. Just the thing they need. Thanks.
Do you think this would work with my Jack Rogers?
don’t know. but if you own them and they’re too small, it’s worth a shot.
THANK YOU! I purchased a pair of heels for my Son’s wedding. I vary between a size 9 and 8 1/2. In order to keep my heel from coming out of the shoe, I had to go with the 8 1/2. The salesman ensured me that the “toe” area, which was very snug at the time of purchase, would “stretch out. Just wear it around the house.” After several days of taking their advice and very painful feet, I had decided last night that I was going to take them back and get the size 9 (the lesser of 2 evils) and put up with my heel slipping out. Then I found your post and IT WORKED like a charm! I am a very happy Mother of the Groom now!
RECEIVED FROM XMAS GIFT CAMAN COWBOY BOOTS IN MY REGULAR SIZE BUT LEFT IS TO TITE ! TRIED ON IN HOUSE AN PINKIES – OUCH ! HAVE ASKED WHY I HAVENT BEEN WARING THEM SAID OW I DO BUT U MISSED ME. WILL UR METHOD WORK ON HITOP CAMAN AN SHOULD I SPRAY ALCHOL 50 % MIXED WITH 50%WATER AN SHOE STRECHER AN BLOWER ? ANTHONY
I’m no expert, just an experimenter. That’s what you will need to do…
Do the shoes eventually shrink back?
Not in my experience.
I have a pair of bottles by Free People, the whole toe areas has reinforced leather inside. Tey need stretch in width and height of toe box. Do you think it will work in this case?
Booties sorry spell check!
I liked the idea of bottles!
What have you got to lose by trying?
hello! i wonder will this trick work for sneakers??? i just bought a pair of Adidas Stan Smith online and i am so sad to discover that they were a size too small for me 🙁 thank you so much!!
OMGG OMG OMG IT ACTUALLY WORKED!!! i heated them up for about 2 and a half minutes and it definitely stretched out the shoes a lil bit! i need to heat them up some more probably but just once my shoes felt a lil bit bigger and it barely fits me already! THANK YOU SO MUCH HAHAHA!
IF the sneakers are leather. Cannot at all promise canvas.
Thank you so much for this! Purchased my first ever jimmy choos and tried to wear them. Agony! Strap over bridge of my foot was far too tight. Just used this method and it worked. Was apprehensive about ruining shiny neon yellow leather but it didnt. Can’t wait to wear them out now 🙂
Wonderful! This worked like a charm on my floral leather pumps. Not expensive but I love them! Also- I just read through all the comments and I think you have a great resilience to mean people. I can’t believe some of the comments I read regarding your photos! I didn’t realize that’s how snakeskin was harvested and I also own a few items of snakeskin… your responses are so polite even when people are obviously being cruel (love your toe cleavage comment haha!) anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this. It saved my favorite shoes so I can wear them post pregnancy!
This is amazing! I needed to squeeze into a pair of shoes for a play, and this worked like a charm. Thank you!
I have a pair of flats that are elastic all the way across the foot. What should I try to stretch them about a half size and maybe a little higher for my crossed toes (I’m old!) ?
I meant to say I need them a half size WIDER and if they are a bit longer that would be nice. I’ve already passed all the comments to a friend who was about to buy some stuff for her hubby’s tight shoes!
Oh wow, juts found this post.. two pairs of Jimmy Choos which I can’t wear but could never bring myself to part with are going to be dug out the closet with at least another 4 or 5 pairs I can’t wear as too tight… if I can salvage one pair, I think that’s a result!
I stand alot in my job, have to look smart so need to wear smart shoes, and having had bunion surgery and tendon repair, finding comfy smart shoes as is like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow..
Tomorrow night, its me, my hairdryer and a closet full of too tight shoes… thank you
Wow. I bought a pair of tall Fryes online and was dreading having to deal with their customer service again. They were way too tight despite being the same size as my other Frye boots and this worked amazingly. Something I’m going to try though is to take a piece of rigid plastic and put it alongside the toebox before I make a second go with the socks because there is a bit of a distinct ‘lump’ where my middle toe is, I’m thinking it is the reinforcing form for the toebox expanding at a different rate. Thanks, you’ve saved me a headache 🙂
This was great for really stubborn patent leather pointy shoes. I just got a pair of secondhand Fendi flats with a deceptively narrow pointed toe and my typical wear it out or wear it around the house with a sock on wasn’t cutting it. The sock + heat method really helped!
Also great as some of my older patent leather shoes have shrunk without wear and my feet have gotten a little wider 10 or so years later.
THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY FEET – THE SHOES ARE NOW SUPER COMFY WHEREAS BEFORE I COULD HARDLY WALK IN THEM
This works!!!!! I was having buyer’s remorse with my new Lark Jimmy Choos…….. I thought they felt fine in the store and then when I got them home I have just looked at them for the last two months because my foot was so cramped in the toe! I finally got the courage to try this today and IT WORKED!!!!!! Thanks so much !
Ok so I’m seriously in my feeling about finally get the Givenchy shark lock boot nearly 2 sizes up (they run small) and they are still tight on the pinky toes and the other side where you would get a bunyon :/ my feet are narrow and I’m sadden that they hurt when I decided to wear them out…i tried pads and gel sleeves for my pinky toes and they were still uncomfortable 🙁 I’ve been googling what to do and came across your story! I can’t wait to try this dryer method I’m just scared to stuff my feet in with a lot of socks I may can’t get them off these boots are already super hard to get off alone ? well we will see what happens…im reliable status to tell my fiance he spent 2200 on some shoes that hurt my feet ????
Don’t try it. Just ruined my ivory badgley Mischka heels. Inside leather bleeds though the outstanding de material and its tan on the toes. Shitty crap. That god they were used and I didn’t pay more than $60 for them.
I was wondering if there would ever be a fail on this method. Yours is the first. It’s definitely try-at-your-own-risk, but most people have nothing to lose.
Okay, here’s one for you! I’ve just bought a Karl Lagerfeld leather dress. Slightly snug round the boobies. Zipped the dress up after stuffing a towel down the front and blowed myself down with the hair drier. It totally works! Thank you so much xx
It worked…I was given a pair of new boots…I was sick they were too tight…Hairdryer worked…I also used a small amount of rubbing alcohol…Now they feel like slippers!!
This works! I’ve used it successfully on 2 pairs of Pigalle Follies. I also put some Vaseline on the inside of the shoe before I blast it with heat. I read this somewhere, but I am wondering if it is to some how protect the leather from drying out too much?
Great site you have here!
Worked like a charm! I don’t have to return my leather pumps!!
Great use of hair dryer. Thanks for tip
OMG, i thot i would never wear a comfy pair of shoes again…thanks immensely!! Wow oh wow oh wow!
So funny I’m reading this I just bought a pair of jimmy sandals and they feel like feet straight jackets, so I’m going to give this a go. Nothing to lose at this point.
Do you think it’s possible to do this on synthetic/vegan material? I have a pair of heels I just got from BAIT footwear that I think I’ll be able to break in dancing, but I’d rather help the process along rather than spending a lot of time in pain. But all of BAIT’s footwear is man-made material, so I don’t know that it will act like normal leather.
I really don’t know if applying heat to what is essentially plastic would work.
This totally worked!!! Thank you! -love, my left foot.
I can’t thank you enough!
Love from India.
Hi i bought a pair of leather fad fine boots and it seems to be tight in the center of the side of my foot.Any help?
I expect so. Check out all the testimonials people wrote.
Your tip worked perfectly. Just received a pair of Fitflop Chelsea boots in the post and the right one was a little tight. I tried your trick, and it worked – if anything the right is now a little loose than the left. Haha!
Tried this method after every other suggestion and it worked!! I have another pair of Doc Marten Mary Janes that are about half an inch too short in length. Will it work on lengthening too?? Thx
What have you got to lose by trying?
Oh, my! I was just SICK that I had bought a $2200 pair of handmade Roger Vivier black suede pumps with white patent leather stitching and a red tassel, and they were SO tight across my very high instep. The backs of the heels were too tight, too, and I have narrow feet. I bought them in Paris, so I definitely couldn’t take them back. There was no way I could wear them UNTIL I tried this. Frankly, I was skeptical.
I did it two times and these are now some of my most comfortable 4″ heels!! If you are a doubting Thomas, just do it.
Thank you SOOOO much for this post! I have Stage IV cancer and I bought those shoes when I still had money. There is NO way I could ever replace them!
Every time I wear them, I always get a lot of great compliments and “Where did you get those gorgeous shoes?” and I tell everybody the story of how I almost had to give them to a friend with a smaller foot than mine! I know that passing on this method has saved some other gals from losing a favorite pair of shoes!
Does this method work on athletic shoes? My son has a pair of Nike Hyperdunks that are tight near the instep.
Only if they are leather. I have no idea how it will work on synthetic materials. It might not hurt to try, with care…(i.e. not heating the shoes too hot)
I just heated a pair of my leather shoes with a heat gun on low. Worked great so I thought I would try another pair. I have a pair of Clarks that I just love. It didn’t work but I think it’s because they have two rows of double stitching across the top of them that won’t let the leather stretch. It was worth a try.
ah… the double stitching. IT may be synthetic, which is way harder to stretch. It might be good to give it another go…
I just bought a pair of Frances Valentine Rebecca cutout sandals. They are gorgeous, but my toes barely fit in the toebox. I’ll be trying this for sure!!
You are officially my shoe hero!! It worked!!!!! I have a gorgeous pair of nude pumps that are next on my list! Thank you, a thousand times, thank you!!!
Am very happy to be a “shoe hero”.
Just tried it on two pairs and yes I will be able to wear them in future. My feet are killing me now tho from stuffing them in with two pairs of socks on. I think I should have a sit down
I am eternally grateful for this tip! Thank you. Worked wonders on a pair that was destined for a charity shop and I am now regretting giving some favourites away! I will console myself with the knowledge that they went to a good cause!
That trick made my day!! Have tried with insert strechers to no avail. My fiancé purchased leather Sperrys with his work account and could not return them. So glad I saw this tip. Thank you!
Does this method work for patent leather shoes? Thank you so much!
I don’t know, sorry. If they are too small, you may have nothing to lose by trying (slowly, watching carefully to what is happening).
I turn my blow dryer on low blow, high heat and set it in the top of my cowgirl boots. After about three minutes, I slide my foot in and wait for the leather to cool. Works perfect. Never had a single problem with leather warping or cracking.
I have a very prominent hammer toe. It is very painful to wear any slip-on shoes. Recently I purchased several pairs of BOC Born slip ons. Love the look, but the hammer toe was being rubbed, Ouch! I have shoe stretchers with the BUMP attachment and several holes to put the bump attachment. After trying on the shoes and locating the hammer toe, circling with a red grease pencil, pushing the shoe stretchers with the bump attached into the shoe where marked. I applied the hair dryer method for 20 seconds (used a timer). Worked like a CHARM! Thank you so very much to your research. I will now do the other pairs that I purchased.
So happy this helped you! Thanks for the report.
This worked so well!! All of my job interview, tall boots and dress shoes are now comfortable without changing the shape of anything with pointy toes.
That’s so great. Hope you get the job!
how can I stretch width on suede heels
You would use the same method as for leather.
The snakes are harvested, just like cows are for their meat and leather. Nothing worse than leather shoe wearing vegetarians, preaching some internet found philosophy in the hope that, bah, can’t even be bothered to finish my sentence..
Thanks for saving my new year’s eve. I bought some patent louboutins months ago that gave been sitting in my closet because they’re so tight. I did this blowdryer trick. I read about trying this before but was worried I’d ruin them. I didn’t do it the full two minutes but they are now loosened up a bit and i can wear them tonight.
Yay! Hope you had a wondrous time. (There is nothing like wearing fabulous shoes…)
Thanks for this awesome tip! My boots barely zip over my bare skin so I’m hoping to stretch them a little.
I just got a pair of ugg boots (not the fuzzy kind) that are leather and sheepskin, the inside where my calf is is leather and the outside is the fuzzy sheepskin. I have rubbing alcohol but no spray bottle, could I just rub the alcohol on the leather inside with a towel or something? or should I get a spray bottle?
Yeah, I’d just rub the inside with the alcohol. Good luck.
“Oh, I’m being swallowed by
a boa constrictor and
I don’t like it very much.
Oh no! He’s up to my toe.
Oh gee, he’s up to my knee.
Oh, fiddle. He’s up to my middle.
Oh, heck. He’s up to my neck.
Oh, dread, he’s up to my hea…GULP GULP…”