You just bought a pair of new shoes and you can't wait to wear them -- but after a few hours, your new shoes may suddenly feel snug and uncomfortable. Before you subject yourself to more pain as you break them in, consider a few tips and tricks to stretch them in the right places and make them comfortable fast. Forget blisters and abrasions -- you can break in new shoes without pain and discomfort.
1. Stretching Products
Stretching solution mimics the effects of perspiration, which naturally stretches shoes, while a shoe stretcher can reshape the shoe in tight areas. Purchase a shoe stretcher and stretching solution at a shoe store or shoe repair shop. Make sure the solution is safe for the fabric of your shoes first. Spray the solution directly onto the inside and outside of the shoes, focusing on the areas that need stretching. Then, turn the knob of the shoe stretcher as wide as it will allow to fit into the shoe. Insert the stretcher into the shoe, and then continue turning the mechanism to stretch the shoe. Try on the shoes after a few turns; if they are still tight, reinsert the stretcher and turn the knob a few more turns. Repeat until you achieve the desired results.
2. Hair Dryer Method
Your body's heat and perspiration stretch shoes -- but you can mimic these effects by using a hair dryer. Put on a few pairs of socks, and then stuff your feet into the shoes. Aim the dryer at the tight areas of the shoes and flex your feet as the hot air blows on them for a few minutes. When you're finished, keep the shoes on while they cool. Repeat the process until you feel you have a good fit. Be careful with leather shoes -- too much heat will dry out leather and suede. Apply a polish or cream afterward to leather shoes.
3. Freezing Technique
Fill two plastic bags with water and seal them. If you are trying to stretch the toes of the shoes, fill the bags about one-quarter of the way. If you want to stretch the toes and insteps, fill the bags halfway. To stretch the entire shoe, fill each bag completely. Place one sealed bag of water inside each shoe; put the shoes in the freezer overnight. The water will expand and freeze inside the shoes. In the morning, remove the shoes from the freezer and the bags of water from the shoes. Allow the shoes to come to room temperature and try them on. If they're still too snug, repeat the process as necessary.
4. Professional Help
Head to your local shoe-repair shop for fast shoe stretching by a professional. The repair shop will spray a stretching solution onto your shoe, which will penetrate the material to relax the fibers. The shoes are then placed on a stretching machine, which will dry them into their new size. The process may take 24 hours, though some facilities may use heat as a means of stretching shoes to speed up the process.
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