Fast fix for tight shoes.
I recently bought some black leather pumps on sale for $25. Not anything Carrie Bradshaw-worthy — just good, basic shoes with the perfect heel height for some of my business suits.
Both shoes had those annoying theft control devices in the heels, so I didn’t realize they were a tad small until I got them home. Since they were the only pair in the store, I decided I would just suck it up and endure a little pain while I broke them in.
They were simply too tight — and too boring — to warrant that kind of torture. But by the time I’d reached this conclusion, it was two days past the 30-day return policy.
I stashed the unworn offenders in the Goodwill donation bag.
A few days later I saw someone (okay, on the Nate Berkus show — I may have recorded an episode or two) demonstrate how you can stretch shoes by stuffing them with water-filled Ziploc bags and putting them in the freezer.
I was skeptical about putting leather shoes – or any shoes, really — in my freezer, but seeing as I was already planning to give them away, I figured I didn’t have much to lose.
Since I was a bit foggy on the details, I turned to Google and discovered this handy wikiHow article covering not only the freezer method but lots of other ways to stretch new shoes.
As a result, I ended up going with a less invasive solution — one that doesn’t mix water and leather. It ended up working like magic on my shoes.
Magic that involves a blow dryer and thick socks, that is.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Turn dryer on “high” heat setting and heat the inner toe and heel areas of first shoe.
- Put heated shoe on foot over sock. (Keep in mind that this is not an entirely comfortable process, assuming the shoe was already too tight to begin with *before* adding a thick sock. There will likely be some shoving involved.)
- Heat outer toe and heel of shoe for 20-30 seconds, bending foot as much as possible inside the shoe.
- Repeat entire process with other shoe.
- Still wearing the socks (and avoiding contact with anyone likely to not appreciate your unique footwear situation), walk around in the shoes until the leather cools completely (about five minutes, or until you can no longer stand it).
- Remove socks and test for size. Once was enough to stretch my shoes nearly a half size. I was actually worried I’d stretched them too much, but after wearing them around for a few minutes without socks, they fit perfectly. You can probably repeat the sock/heat routine if necessary to stretch the shoes even further.