How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet?

How To Stretch Sneakers For Wide Feet

For those of us with wide feet, the struggle to find comfortable shoes is never-ending. Some shoes come in wide sizes, but not many.

Most shoe companies instead choose to use sizes that will fit most people somewhat comfortably, but that means that they're going to be uncomfortable for a lot of us.

Since it's so hard to find shoes that fit wide feet, a lot of us have simply given up on trying to find comfortable shoes.

The situation isn't hopeless, though. You don't have to buy specially sized shoes to be comfortable, you just need to stretch out your shoes to fit your feet better.

This guide will teach you how to stretch your sneakers for wide feet so that you'll never have to wear uncomfortable shoes again.

Wear them at home

The easiest way to stretch out your shoes is to wear them at home.

  • Wear them for just a few minutes at a time at first
  • Gradually wear them longer and longer
  • Walk around in them, don't just wear them while you watch TV
  • Don't wear them in public until you've stretched them out to be comfortable

This trick is best for shoes that don't need much stretching. That means it's for people whose feet aren't overly wide, or who's shoes aren't overly tight.

Essentially it's a way to break in a new pair of shoes and stretch them lightly so you don't have to endure wearing uncomfortable shoes to work or out with friends.

The best trick for leather shoes

This is a great trick for stretching out shoes, but it will only work with leather shoes. Since leather shoes are usually very narrow, learning to stretch them effectively is important.

  • Find the thickest pair of socks you have and put them on
  • Now put on your leather shoes- you may have used a lot of force to get your feet into the shoes with the thick socks on
  • Walk around in them, wiggle your feet side to side, and move them back and forth within the shoe
  • Keep doing this until the shoes have stretched to a comfortable size

The best part about this trick for leather shoes is that with most shoes it should stretch them enough to be comfortable in just a few minutes.

It will take much longer for thicker leather shoes, like cowboy boots, but for leather dress shoes it will work very quickly.

Use the hair dryer

Now that we've given you a trick that will only work with leather shoes, here's one that you really shouldn't use on leather. Using a hair dryer on regular sneakers can be a great way to stretch them, though.

  • Heat the shoes with the hair dryer for about two minutes
  • Put the warm shoes on and walk around in them until the cool off
  • Once the shoes have cooled off completely, take them off and heat them again
  • Keep repeating this process until the shoes fit comfortable on your fit, and don't pinch when you walk in them

It's a surprising method, but it really does work quickly. The heat from the hair dryer loosens up the material enough to allow your foot to stretch it and soften it faster than it would otherwise. For non-leather shoes, this is one of the best ways to stretch them.

Stuff them overnight

This method works especially well for running shoes or other athletic shoes, since they tend to be made of light, more flexible materials.

  • Grab a handful of clean cloths, or thick socks
  • Stuff them into your shoes as tightly as you can, don't leave any extra space and make sure you've got the toe box filled
  • Leave them overnight

Do this, and by morning your shoes will have stretched just enough to be comfortable for your wide feet.

Again, this works best with lighter shoes made for running or other athletics, since the lighter material will stretch more easily.

Freeze your sneakers

Freezing sneakers is a common trick to get rid of odor or remove sticky substances like chewing gum.

But it can be an effective technique for stretching them too. Here's how to stretch sneakers for wide feet using the freezer.

  • You'll need large plastic freezer bags
  • Put the freezer bags into the shoes, making sure to push them all the way in with just the mouth of the bag coming out of the opening on the shoe
  • Fill the bags with enough water to completely fill the interior of the shoe, being careful to eliminate any air pockets in the bag before sealing it
  • Put the shoes in the freezer, and leave them there for eight hours
  • As water freezes, it expands. The expanding ice will slowly and gently stretch out your shoes

This method works very well, although it may be strange to open your freezer and see a pair of shoes in there.

Because the water expands when it's frozen, it will gently stretch your shoes as long as you're sure to really fill them up with water before freezing.

This is one of the easiest ways for you to stretch out your sneakers at home without having to wear them while they're too tight.


Use shoe stretchers

If you'd rather not rely on home methods, there are professional tools that are designed specifically to stretch out your sneakers. Shoe stretchers usually come as a kit, with a specialized spray and a wedge shaped plug.

  • Spray the inside of the shoe, making sure to completely cover the interior
  • Next, insert the plug into the shoe
  • There's usually a knob on top of the plug that you twist. Twist it clockwise to expand the stretcher as much as you think you need to
  • Leave the expanded stretcher in the shoes overnight
  • In the morning, turn the knob on the stretcher counter-clockwise to retract it and remove it from the shoe
  • Your shoes should now fit comfortably

This is the method that's most recommended by professional and shoe manufactures, because the tool has been designed for the specific purpose of stretching your shoes.

It's guaranteed to work, but some people would rather not pay for a tool they'll probably only use once.

Not all stretchers are the same; some won't have any kind of spray, and others won't have a knob. Just follow the instructions that came with it and it will work.

Fill with rice or oats

This is really old-school trick for stretching out your shoes. It doesn't have to be rice; it can really be anything that will absorb and hold water.

  • Just like the freezer trick, it's best to line the shoes with a large plastic bag first
  • Once you've lined the shoes with plastic, add your rice, oats, or other substance to the bag.
  • Don't completely fill it up- rice can swell up to three times its size with water
  • Top the bag off with water
  • Check back a little while later. The rice should've absorbed the water you've already poured
  • Add more water and check back later
  • Keep repeating the process until the rice has swelled and is stretching your shoes
  • Leave the swollen rice in the shoes overnight
  • Remove the bag full of rice in the morning. Your shoes should fit much more comfortably now

It's definitely an unusual method, but it works and has worked for a long time. Some people advise pouring the grain directly into the shoes and adding water, but that's just going to make a mess. The plastic bag keeps everything neat and clean.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs(

How Much Do I Need To Stretch My Shoes?

That depends on how wide your feet are, and how narrow the shoes are. The only way to determine if the shoes have stretched enough to be comfortable is to try them on and see.

Will my shoes be able to stretch enough?

Yes, unless you've bought shoes that are actually too small for your feet. Shoes are designed to stretch, since all shoes are made to fit all types of feet.

If you've tried everything and the shoes just won't stretch enough, you probably need to buy a larger size shoe.

Which method is the best for stretching my sneakers?

The best method is using a shoe stretcher, since it's guaranteed to work in just eight hours and it's the recommended method by every shoe manufacturer. The difference between that and the other methods isn't much, though.

What if I stretch my shoes too much?

It's unlikely that will happen, since none of these methods stretch the shoes by a large amount.

If it does happen, though, you may need to buy new shoes. Fortunately, it's very difficult to stretch your sneakers so much that they become too big.

How do I know if I need to stretch my shoes?

Good question! Sometimes a shoe feels tight, but it will start to loosen up on the first day you wear it. It's when the shoe still feels too tight after a day or two that you should think about stretching it.

Even for people with wide feet, many shoes will stretch enough on their own during the first day that won't have to do anything else.

Will any of these methods damage my shoes?

Not if you follow the instructions carefully, no. These methods are all very safe to use and guaranteed to work.


If you were wondering how to stretch sneakers for wide feet, any of the methods we've listed here will work.

The best part is that most of them can easily be done at home without buying any sort of specialized equipment. Try them out and never worry about shoes that are too tight again.

If you can't find the shoes you want in wide sizes, don't worry. You can easily stretch a regular size shoe to comfortably fit a wide foot.

Most of these methods work very quickly, too, so you won't even have to wait long. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully to be sure that it works.

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