How To Stretch Shoes - #1 Method For Tight Shoes!

How To Stretch Shoes - #1 Method For Tight Shoes!


Most of us have convinced ourselves to buy a pair of too-tight shoes before. Whether it was the price or the prettiness that twisted your arm, you'll find shoes that are too small completely redundant once you've tried wearing them for a day.

You could try reselling them, or, you could learn how to stretch shoes, say goodbye to blisters and hello to gorgeous feet instead.

There's a super easy, failsafe way to make shoes bigger, and today we're sharing it with you.

So pull off those painful pumps or blister-causing brogues, and listen up.

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in January 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019. 

How to stretch shoes - #1 method for tight shoes!

Stretching shoes has never been easier! For our method, all you need are 2 pairs of socks (one thin and one thick), a hairdryer, and your tight shoes.

This method should work for leather shoes, canvas shoes and even synthetic shoes.  From boots to trainers, you really can get all of your shoes fitting perfectly.

No matter how tight they may be, give our method a try...

1. Grab your thickest pair of socks and pop them on

how to stretch shoes with socks
Grab the thickest socks you can find.

2. Pull your shoes on over your socks

They'll be tight, and may be uncomfortable at first. This is good - snugness is needed to achieve the desired stretching effect.

3. Use a hairdryer

using a hairdryer to stretch shoes
Don't let the hairdryer get too close!

Now it's time to put that hairdryer to work. Blast the hairdryer over your shoes on medium heat for 4 or so minutes - this will soften the leather and make it inclined to stretch. Be sure to wiggle your toes whilst you do this so that enough pressure is applied to the leather.

If you don't have a hairdryer, skip to the next step.

TOP TIP: Don't overdo it! Check the temperature of the shoe frequently to ensure it doesn't become too hot as this may damage the material.

4. Wear them all day long

Keep your shoes and socks on for as long as possible. Ideally, you will start during the morning, and wear them all day whilst doing the laundry, washing up and even watching the TV.

TOP TIP: Keep on your feet as much as possible. The more you move, the more stretch you'll be able to achieve.

5. Check the fit

Take off your socks, and check the fit of your shoes.

6. Repeat

Do the shoes still need a bit more stretching? Repeat the steps with your second, thicker pair of socks. These should, as with the first pair, be snug enough to cause significant pressure.

Whilst stretching shoes shouldn't be relied upon as a method of making all your shoes fit, it certainly does come in handy. Ill-fitting shoes can be extremely uncomfortable and also damage the feet. If you see blisters, calluses and corns appearing on your feet, chances are your shoes are too small.

Other ways to make shoes bigger

blister from tight shoes
Don't suffer - learn how to stretch shoes today!

How to stretch shoes with wet newspaper

Another easy way to make those tight shoes roomier is with wet newspaper. Scrunch wet newspaper into your shoes and leave to dry. The paper will expand as it does, and your shoes should have more give.

How to stretch shoes with ice


The final method you can try at home is using ice. Fill a resealable bag with water (1/4 full for the toe area, 1/2 full for the toe and instep and 1/2-1/3 of the way for the entire shoe including ankle area) then put it inside your shoe. Freeze for around 8 hours before removing.

Similarly to wet newspaper, the water will expand as it solidifies, stretching the shoe slightly.

Have they got a bit damp in the process? Take a look at our article on how to dry shoes next. 



How much does it cost to stretch your shoes?

Shoe stretchers cost around £20 and can be used again and again. If you stretch your shoes using a home remedy, it can usually be done for free.

How long does it take to stretch shoes with a shoe stretcher?

Stretching your shoes with shoe stretchers can take anywhere from one night to 48 hours to complete.

Can you stretch shoes a size bigger?

Normally shoes can be stretched by around a half size.

Can I stretch my running shoes?

Running shoes can be stretched using the methods above. It is, however, not advised as it's important running shoes are professionally fitted to ensure your foot has enough support.


Have you had any experience sretching shoes? Share your tales with us in the comments below!

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Jennie Birch on January 17, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Save the Pain!! Stuff them with damp newspaper as tight as possible and leave overnight!

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Hi Jennie. I'm not sure I would want to stuff my lovely leather brogues with damp paper, for fear it would damage them. However will definitely be giving it a go with other shoes. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Author vikasradhik on January 30, 2019 at 8:03 am

    It is a very helpful article to know about the information how we stretch tight shoes. After reading this article I sure everyone know about the way to stretch the shoes.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 30, 2019 at 9:33 am

      We're glad you found it helpful!

  3. Author John on February 1, 2019 at 9:59 am

    #1 says thickest pair and #6 says second even thicker pair? I usually try to stretch mine after being out in wet weather when shoes are damp to stop them getting tighter. Stuffing them with dry newspaper in a warm room helps them dry too.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 1, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Hi John! That sounds like a great method too.

  4. Author Jay on February 1, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Firstly... just buy shoes that fit! Secondly, if you really have to stretch leather shoes the wet newspaper trick is the best way to go.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 1, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      We love the newspaper trick too! We just find this sock method a lot less messy.

  5. Author Sandeep kumar saini on March 13, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Many Time I Used This method And I very thanksful . Now I use this method On my Very and old Shoes, wear Shoes Very Comfortly

    1. Author Joanne A on March 13, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Great to hear, Sandeep!

  6. Author Antonymous on June 2, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Hi, thanks, I have to try this too. Despite being a guy as said, I agree, having to often wear socks with light shoes even on summer because of blisters and irritation is not the best, especially in warmer days. I have to mostly wear sandals, which I love, sometimes loafers, with shorts, but still alternating ankle socks and no socks, which is only comfy once in a while, but I'd still like to wear shoes more often, if possible :) So, to stretch them not normal socks, but the thickest we have and blowdrying. On the hygiene side, I ready it also helps keeping a consistend foot hygiene, parfumed drying tissue, but hydrated at the same time, some powder on shoes and and undersole? Or would you suggest something else? Thanks so much for your helpful answers and availability Stephanie and Joanne :).

    1. Author Joanne A on June 4, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! Yes, keeping the feet dry is good for hygiene.

    2. Author Antonymous on June 4, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for you answer. I get you mean most of what I mentioned is correct, more or less, as I meant to understant if it would work. As it's mentioned that skin in general, but especially feet, should, of course be both hydrated and dry. And If got it, these tips also help relying less on socks in summer for comfort on tighter shoes, as the black oxford in your second pic, bring me some memories of when I tried once, thinking the weather was right, but probably not the shoe, ouch! :) so maybe this would work. Thanks again

    3. Author Joanne A on June 5, 2019 at 9:15 am

      You're welcome!

  7. Author Amir on September 18, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    What is the best way to stretch yeezys??

    1. Author Joanne A on September 19, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Hi Amir! Have you tried the methods listed in the article?

  8. Author Rita Austin on May 3, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I was brought up in a family of greengrocers and every one used to stretch their shoes with a large potato wrapped in paper and rammed tightly into the shoe, I am in my 80s and still do this and it works every time.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 4, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      I've never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Author Ruby Ralph on June 17, 2020 at 1:34 am

    What would be the best way to stretch a pair of trainers

    1. Author Joanne A on February 24, 2023 at 10:54 am

      To stretch a pair of trainers, you can wear them around the house, use a shoe stretcher, apply heat, or use a stretching spray. Always be careful and stretch them out gradually to avoid damaging the material.

  10. Author Melanie Hakim on March 9, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Hi how can I stretch my Nike Air max leather trainers please

    1. Author Joanne A on March 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Melanie! Have you tried the tips in the article?

  11. Author Jessica A Guaragna on June 21, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I'm going to try the sock method, less blisters while stretching. I got a really nice pair of dress shoes, it seems that leather is going to be a thing of the past, for the environment! Thankyou

    1. Author Joanne A on July 5, 2021 at 5:39 pm

      Good luck, Jessica! We hope you find it helpful.

  12. Author carol on October 20, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    I've bought new shoes twice this year which fitted nicely in the shop. Unfortunately, a medical problem made my feet very swollen so my new shoes won't go on, and I can't leave the house. . If I try to stretch them using the wet paper or potato method, will I be able to unstretch them if my feet go back to normal? How wet should the paper be? and how do you soften the very firm backpanel?

    1. Author Joanne A on January 27, 2023 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Carol! The wet paper or potato method can be used to stretch shoes, but it may not be possible to un-stretch them once they have been stretched in this way. The paper should be damp, not soaking wet, to stretch the shoes. To soften a firm back panel, try wearing the shoes with thick socks and using a shoe stretch spray or foam. You can also try using a hair dryer on low heat to soften the material before wearing them or using a shoe stretcher.

  13. Author Julie on February 22, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    My problem is the heal of my Tom’s wedges. The freezer trick worked for the toes but not the heal! Help!

    1. Author Joanne A on February 23, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      If the freezer trick didn't work for stretching the heel of your Tom's wedges, try using a hairdryer to heat the back of the shoes or wear them around the house with thick socks to stretch the material over time.


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