How to Stretch Shoes Wider – 7 Tested Tips

Are your shoes feeling too tight right now? We have a few ways to stretch for you. This article on how to stretch shoes wider is for you. Knowing the method to widen a narrow shoe is important. Even if you bought them online, we all know the hassle of returning bulky items.

Maybe you work in a restaurant or a hospital, and you have just bought yourself this fancy work shoe. They felt comfortable when you tried them on.

But …

You did not realize they are too narrow for your feet. In this short article, you will learn about shoe stretchers and how to widen tight shoes. Leather, rubber, faux leather, suede and even cloth work boots can be stretched.

In the previous article, we discussed the method for how to stop shoes from hurting your heel. This article is closely related to the same. However, it is possible to have workplace boots that are too narrow, yet they do not hurt your heel.

If you have extra wide feet, you need to know how to stretch shoes wider. Sometimes, you can order the right shoes for wide feet, even they too need to be stretched.

How can I stretch my shoes wider? 7 hacks

Most of these are home hacks for stretching narrow footwear. Or you can take your shoe to a professional. If you have a weekend free, you can widen your shoe and comfortable within that time.

We might also mention that the method for how to widen fabric shoe is different from what you would use for how to stretch a shoe wider. For leather boots, you can use the same tactic that you would use for how to stretch suede shoe.

Things you need for stretching narrow shoe with or without toe box:

  • Fridge
  • leak-proof plastic bags
  • Water
  • Hairdryer
  • Old rags/newspapers
  • Pair of thick socks
  • Leather stretching solution

1. Determine just how narrow your shoes are

Some shoes need a lot of work to stretch them wider. The best way to determine just how narrow your shoes are is by wearing them.

Stay with the shoes for minutes and see how the feet feel. If they feel snug but not comfortable, you will definitely need to widen them.

If the shoes feel just a little tight, well, wearing them for a couple of days can help break them in. However, this is only recommended if the shoes feel slightly tight with your socks on. If they feel slightly tight when you do not have your socks on, they will probably need to be widened.

If the shoes are very tight, like they really suffocate your feet, well, perhaps it would be better to take them to a cobbler. He knows the method to stretch tight shoes wider. Let us see what he/she will do with the shoes in the next section.

2.How can I stretch my shoes fast? – Take them to a cobbler

Sometimes, knowing how to widen narrow shoes is important, but you might not have the time for that. Take the shoes to a cobbler and they will do a perfect job of the same.

When you want to know how to widen leather shoes, you might find them a tad too tough for widening. Take them to a cobbler. They may need some cobbler work and you do not have that at home. If you will be using a leather stretching solution, you might not know how much to apply. Too much could make the leather fibers too tight, and cause them to break.

Image of how to stretch narrow shoes

A cobbler will apply the right amount of leather stretching solution. This is something that he/she does everyday and so it is hard to make mistakes. Usually, the shoes are always narrower at the toe area. If they do not have a steel toe box, they can be stretched. If it is steel, it will be hard.

After spraying the shoe with the leather stretcher, the cobbler puts it on the shoe stretcher such as Shoe Keeper Wooden Shoe Stretcher (rights reserved). They can stay there for hours as the solution that they had soaked dries up. In this stretched state, when the leather dries up, the shoe will be stretched enough for your comfort.

3. Apply a leather solution at home

You can buy your own leather stretching solution and apply it at home. You will follow the same procedure as the cobbler. However, since you do not have a shoe stretcher where the shoe can dry up for hours, you will have to improvise.

Here is how to use this method to widen a shoe pair:

First, back to the spraying stage, you need to spray the leather solution thoroughly, so that it soaks into the leather. If the boot or shoe are weatherproofed, you need a solution that can break and penetrate the leather.

Wear thick socks with the shoe. You can even wear two pairs of thick socks if the shoe is too tight. While they are still wet with the stretcher solution, wear them.

Walk around the house in the shoe on your feet so that as the solution stretches the fibers, the shoe starts conforming to the size and shape of your feet. Of course, this will hurt some for very tight shoes. However, it will only be for a couple of hours. When the shoe dries up, it will have widened. That is how to stretch a leather shoe wider at home.

4. Use the freezer method

When water turns into ice, it expands. Ice is a good method for how to stretch shoes wider, especially leather footwear.

Don’t pour ice into the shoes. It won’t work. What you need to do is form the ice right inside the shoes.

Pour water into two plastic bags. Choose one by the size of the shoes. If stretching leather shoes, make the bags big. Pour cold water and place them in the shoes.

Make sure they get to every corner of the boot. Place the shoes in the freezer and turn it on. Leave them for the night. When you remove the shoes, they will have expanded. You have to break the ice to remove it. Don’t pierce the shoes.

When you fit the shoes, we guarantee you they will be bigger. If they are still not to your desired level of comfort, repeat the process.

5. Using Heat – How to stretch narrow shoes

Where ice can work, fire can also work. Remember Game Of Thrones – Song of Fire and Ice? In how to make leather shoes wider, heat works faster than ice.

Just get a pair of thick socks, wear them and put on the shoes. Get a hairdryer, make sure it is working and plug it in. You can find a footstool to step on. Note the places where you feel the shoes are too tight.

Blast the tight spots with heat so that they can loosen up. Do not turn the heat too hot. Keep it moderate. If you can mark the spots that need to be widened a bit, you may not even need to wear the shoes. Just try to pull them with your fingers as you heat them.

If the shoes need a lot of stretching, wear a thick pair of socks. With the shoes on your feet, start applying heat on the tight spots. Walk around in the shoes, prance a little to help elongate the fibers. Do the heat process for how to stretch narrow shoes as much as you feel is necessary.

People always ask whether this process can be used for how to stretch suede shoes. The answer is yes. Since suede is also leather, the same methods work very well to make the suede shoes larger and more comfortable.

6. Does stuffing work for how to stretch leather shoes?

This is most probably the oldest method in the book for stretching suede shoes, leather shoes, fabric, canvas and even plastic shoes. If you are not in a hurry to wear the shoes, stuff them up with old rags, pieces of newspapers or small bags packed with sand.

Pack these materials tightly inside the shoes. Don’t show the shoes any mercy, stuff them up as tightly as they can go. If the upper part of the shoes looks too taut, that is ok. Leather, suede, textile and even canvas have high breaking points especially when they are new.

You can then leave the shoes to lie stuffed like that for a couple of days. By the end of the designated time, you can check them. Try them and you will see that they will have stretched.

One downside with this technique for how to stretch suede shoes or leather shoes is that they always seem to come back together after sometime. However, there is a way around that. When they are stuffed, keep applying heat even with the hairdryer. That way, when they widen, they will stay wide.

7. How can I stretch fabric shoes?

Fabric footwear has some unique chic to it and it has silently found its way back to the market. However, most people wonder whether they can widen them if they tend to run too small. Thankfully, making shoes stretch is ever so easy.

Stretching fabric footwear is not hard. from using ice to a using a shoe stretcher, you can start by any method outlined below:

Stuffing your shoe: Stuff them with newspapers or rags. By stuff, we mean really push in the stuffing material so that it forces the fiber to stretch.

Pop the pair of shoes into a microwave: If the pair of shoes fit snugly and you want them to fit a bit more loosely, it is possible to do that with heat. Just pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds. That will loosen the fibers up and make the shoe stretching easier. When you wear them, they will conform to your feet easily. Use medium heat to stretch your shoes.

Stretching shoes with ice: This method works for hide boots and it works on a fabric shoe. Fill plastic bags with water, put them in the shoe and ensure the water spreads to all areas of the shoe. Put the shoe in a plastic container in the freezer for several hours. Ice is a good shoe stretcher.

Once you are done with shoe stretching, wear them with a thick pair of socks. That should tell you whether your technique has worked. Walk around the house in the shoe pair.

How long should I stretch my shoes?

This depends on the method you use to stretch your shoes. For example, when using heat (oven or hair dryer), you should set it on medium heat and then blast the pair of shoes for about 30 seconds.

When using ice, you can stretch shoe for hours on end. Actually, we recommend that you leave the shoe in a freezer overnight. And you can always repeat the process up to your liking of the stretch.

If you are using a shoe stretcher, you should leave it in your show for several hours. If it was really tight, you can leave the shoe stretcher inside for a couple of days.


You have seen the 7 best ways for how to stretch shoes wider. Now, do not write off your shoe just yet, Start working on them using shoe stretchers and other methods that we have discussed here. For all of these methods, the stretch that you will give your shoe will be permanent. They will stay comfortable until they wear out and their lifespan is not affected.