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How to stretch tight shoes and make them comfortable

Make sure your feet are always comfortable with our top tips on how to stretch shoes.


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Key steps:

Learn how to loosen tight shoes with these methods:

  1. Use a metal spoon to soften hard leather.

  2. Visit a shoe repair shop to have them professionally stretched.

  3. Freeze water in bags inside your shoes to slowly stretch them.

From cramped toes to painful blisters, new shoes aren’t always fun to wear! They often take a couple of weeks to break in, leaving you stuck with sore feet and a funny walk for days on end - unless you take our advice and learn how to stretch new shoes so they're comfy from day 1!

When it comes to how to stretch new shoes, the best method is to simply wear them around your home until you break them in.

How to stretch leather shoes

By softening leather, you can stretch your shoes and make them far more comfortable to wear. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Begin by pressing the areas of your shoes that are causing blisters with the back of a metal spoon.

  2. Work the leather gently to soften and stretch it.

  3. Use a shoe stretching tool to slowly break in the shoe. Not sure how to stretch shoes wider? Use tools that can be adjusted to push against the sides from the inside.

  4. If you have an expensive leather shoe, avoid ruining it by taking it to a professional shoe repair service.

How to loosen tight shoes

If you need a quick, simple fix for tight shoes then give the hairdryer method a try:

  1. Wear either a thick pair of socks or multiple pairs of normal socks.

  2. Put on your shoes - they should be pretty tight!

  3. Go over them with a hairdryer on a warm setting, concentrating on the areas that are particularly tight.

  4. Turn the hairdryer off and walk around until the shoes cool down.

  5.  Once they’ve cooled, they should have stretched.


Stretching leather with a metal spoon or hairdryer can cause damage if you apply too much heat or pressure. Always work gently and visit a professional cobbler if you're worried.

How to stretch sneakers

Learning how to stretch shoes and trainers is different when they're not made of leather. Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your sneakers are clean first - follow our tips on cleaning trainers to help you.

  2. Half fill two 4.5L sealable bags with water.

  3. Place the bags in your shoes, making sure they reach the front and back.

  4. Put your shoes in the freezer overnight.

  5. As the water freezes, it’ll expand and push your shoes outwards.

  6. Remove the shoes in the morning. If they’re not as big as you need them to be then you can repeat the process again until they are.

Knowing how to stretch tight shoes is a useful trick, especially if your feet are in between sizes! Once you’ve stretched them to fit your foot, don't forget to keep your sneakers and shoes fresh with our tips on how to clean shoes.

Originally published