Several years ago, I bought a pair of fun leopard print ankle boots online to wear to an upcoming work conference. It was a pretty bold choice for me at the time, but even though they were a bit outside of what I would normally wear, I was really looking forward to receiving my sassy new booties in the mail! When they arrived, however, I was disappointed to discover that they were just a little bit too snug on my feet. :-(
At first I considered just sending them back, but I didn’t want to give up without a fight! I decided to find out if there was a way to stretch out my too-tight shoes so that they fit more comfortably. (If it all went wrong, I decided I would simply have to wear them anyway, and suffer in the name of fashion for a few hours.) ;-)
I found a few different shoe-stretching methods online, and tried the first one I read about – the freezer method. It worked perfectly, and I was able to wear my fab leopard print booties in total comfort! In the years since that occasion, I’ve successfully used two other methods to stretch out shoes – the rubbing alcohol method and the hairdryer method. So today I thought I’d share all 3 of those methods with you, just in time to get your favorite shoes ready for all those holiday parties. :-)
Related: How to Clean Suede Shoes & Boots
3 Ways To Stretch Out Too-Tight Shoes
Method #1 – Freezer
- Two large ziplock bags
Unzip both bags and place one inside the other. (You could use just one bag, but I like to use a second one as an added safety measure since there is water involved.)
Place the bottom of the ziplock bags into the bottom of your shoe. Use your hand to press the bags into all the nooks and crannies inside your shoe as best you can.
Once the bags are in place, carefully fill the interior ziplock bag with water until it fills up the inside of the shoe. Carefully seal the bag, then seal the outer bag too if you’re using one.
Carefully place the shoes into your freezer, and leave them there until the water inside the bag is frozen solid. As the water freezes it will expand (by approximately 9%!) and stretch out your shoes.
Remove the shoes from your freezer to allow the ice to thaw slightly. (You just need it to thaw enough that you can wiggle the bagged ice block out of the shoe!)
Once you get the ice out, your shoes should be nicely stretched and ready to wear!
Method #2 – Rubbing Alcohol
- Rubbing alcohol
- Small spray bottle
Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into an empty spray bottle. Spray the inside of your too-tight shoes until they are slightly damp. Put the shoes on, then walk around until the alcohol dries. Repeat as necessary if your shoes are still a bit snug.
A variation on this method is to take a pair of cotton socks, soak them in rubbing alcohol and squeeze out the excess. Then put on the socks and wear with the shoes until the alcohol dries. Repeat several times if necessary.
Method #3 – Hairdryer & Socks
- A pair of thick socks
Put on a thick pair of socks (or as thick as will fit!) and slip on your shoes. Aim a hairdryer on the tight section for a few seconds, while wiggling your toes and and bending your feet inside the shoe. Keep the shoes on while they cool down. If you need more room, repeat the process again.