You can easily stretch shoes, even if they’re made of the famously finicky fabric suede. A suede-safe stretching spray will do the trick if you just need a bit of a stretch. For tougher jobs, invest in a stretching tool designed for shoes, heels, or boots. If you have trouble, or you’re worried about damaging expensive shoes, consult a shoe repair specialist.
EditUsing a Spray Solution
- Try a spray solution to stretch your shoes 1/4 to 1/2 a size. Spraying your shoes then wearing them for a few hours is a quick fix. If you only need to stretch them 1/4 to 1/2 a shoe size, a spray could do the trick.
- Spray solutions are also your most affordable option.
- Purchase an immediate-use solution marked for suede shoes. There are plenty of stretching products available online or at shoe care stores. To avoid damage or discoloration, look for one labelled specifically for suede. Some are designed to be used overnight with a shoe stretching tool, so go for one marked for immediate use if you want to skip the stretching tool.
- Spray the inside of your shoes lightly. Spray a light, even coat on the inside of your shoes. If necessary, use your fingers or a clean cloth to reach the nooks and crannies and to spread the solution evenly.
- Check your product’s instructions, as some sprays should be applied to the outside, too.
- Wear your shoes for a few hours. There’s no need to walk around, so you can just sit at your desk and get some work done while your shoes mold to your feet. For a little more stretch, you can also put on a pair of thick socks before slipping on your shoes.
- Repeat the process if necessary. If they’re still tight after a few hours, or for thicker shoes and boots, you might need to repeat the process once or twice. You can use most products as many times as you need without damaging your shoe.
- However, if you’ve tried spraying and wearing your shoes twice with no luck, chances are you’ll need a stretching tool.
- Check your product’s instructions to make sure it’s safe to use several times. Some sprays aren’t meant to be used more than once in a short period.
EditTrying a Shoe Stretcher
- Invest in a shoe stretcher that fits your needs. You can find a variety of shoe, high heel, and boot stretcher designs online. They’re typically sold individually and come in size ranges for men and women.
- Spray the shoes with a shoe stretcher solution. Some shoe stretchers come with a spray solution. If yours doesn’t, or if it’s not specifically marked safe for suede, purchase a solution labelled for overnight use with a shoe stretcher. Check your product’s instructions, and spray your shoe as directed.
- Insert the stretcher and turn the handle to tighten it. Insert the end of the shoe stretcher that looks like a foot, and locate the handle on its other end. Turn the handle clockwise until it fits tightly into the shoe.
- If you only have one stretcher, you’ll have to stretch one shoe at a time.
- Turn the handle 3 to 4 times after the stretcher is tight. When the stretcher fits snugly into the shoe, you’ll encounter resistance as you turn the handle. Once it feels tight, turn the handle an additional 3 to 4 times to stretch the shoe.
- Remove the stretcher after 24 to 48 hours. Turn the handle counterclockwise to loosen it, then take it out of your shoe. Try the shoe on and, if necessary, repeat the process. If the fit is good, and if you only have one shoe stretcher, spray and stretch your other shoe.
EditStretching Shoes Safely
- Don’t expose real suede to extreme heat or cold. Some DIY hacks for stretching shoes include using a blow dryer or placing bags of water in shoes and freezing them. Extreme temperatures aren’t good for suede, so don’t try these hacks. In addition, you can’t control how much bags of water expand as they freeze, so they might tear your shoes.
- Check your soles to see if they’ll prevent stretching. There’s a limit to how much you can stretch heavy work boots and other shoes with thick soles. In addition, soles made of heavy plastic, rubber, and other tough materials will get in the way. Even a professional would have trouble, and might be able to expand them by 1/4 to 1/2 shoe size at most.
- Avoid using a stretcher on a shoe with a narrow design. Whether they’re flats or heels, you have to be careful about stretching shoes with narrow toes. You might be able to safely stretch a pair by a fraction of a shoe size if you spray them and wear them. However, using a stretcher might contort their shape permanently.
- Consult a professional if you’re worried about damaging your shoes. You might want to think twice about stretching your shoes yourself if they were expensive, delicately designed, or have thick, plastic or rubber soles that could interfere with stretching. When in doubt, look for a local cobbler or shoe repair specialist.