How to Stretch Plastic Shoes

Sometimes, you’ll find a perfect shoe with a less than perfect fit. With synthetic materials like plastic, the stretching process may be more difficult than that of leather or fabric. Luckily, with the use of some common household items like kitchen storage bags and a hairdryer, your shoes can find that desired fit.

EditSteps

EditBlow-Drying Your Shoes

  1. Wear thick socks and put on the shoe. Wearing thick socks before putting on the shoe will give more room for it to stretch. Wear one or two pairs to fit into the shoe snugly. If the shoes have zippers, zip them up as far as they can go.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 1.jpg
    • Wear thick wool socks for the maximum amount of stretching.[1]
  2. Use the blow dryer in 20-30 second intervals. While on the hottest setting, hold the blow dryer a few inches away from the shoe and heat the areas that feel tight. Wiggle your foot and toes to allow the plastic to expand.[2]
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 2.jpg
    • For shoes with zippers, as you heat the shoe, work the zipper up to promote stretching and a perfect fit.[3]
  3. Walk while wearing the shoe until the shoe cools. While the shoe is still hot from the blow dryer, walk around the house to allow the shoe to stretch more. Leave on the thick socks to allow for the shoe to expand.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 3.jpg
  4. Remove your socks and try on the shoe. Use this time to ensure that the shoes now fit. If they still don’t feel right, put the socks back on and continue to blow dry and stretch. Work the shoe with heat and your foot until it fits exactly how you want.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 4.jpg
    • Run your thumb between your skin and the shoe to stretch the fit for shoes that come past the ankle or calf.[4]

EditFreezing Water in Your Shoes

  1. Fill a resealable bag halfway with water. Use a durable bag that will not come undone through the process. Fill it with enough water to fit inside of your shoe. Remove the excess air from the bag and seal tight.[5]
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 5.jpg
    • Be sure not to overfill or else the bag could break and cause water damage to the shoe.
  2. Place the water-filled bag in your shoe. Push the bag into the toe area of your shoe. The bag should fit snugly into the shoe and fill the volume that you wish to be stretched. Ensure the seal is tight and no water is leaking.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 6.jpg
  3. Freeze your shoes overnight. Allow for the water inside of your shoe to freeze. As it freezes, the ice will expand and stretch your shoes. 
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 7.jpg
    • To protect the outer sides of your shoes (and the rest of your freezer items), you can put your shoes in another plastic bag before putting them in the freezer.[6]
  4. Thaw your shoes for a half hour. The following morning, allow your shoes and the bags to thaw for 20-30 minutes before removing the bags.[7] Try on your shoes to see if they have stretched enough. If not, you can repeat the freezing process again until the desired fit.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 8.jpg

EditUsing a Shoe Stretcher

  1. Purchase a shoe stretcher that fits your style shoe. Shoe stretchers come in a variety of styles depending on the type of shoe you’re trying to stretch. Different stretchers will be available for flats, boots, high heels, and other styles. Determine if you need to adjust the length, width, or both. One shoe stretcher will work on both the left and the right shoe.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 9.jpg
    • A ‘two-way’ stretcher will adjust both length and width.
    • Other common shoe stretchers are toe stretchers, vamp stretchers, and high heel stretchers.
    • Many stretchers have holes to add attachments for trouble areas, such as bunions.[8]
  2. Tighten the stretcher in your shoe. Turn the knobs clockwise until the shoe stretcher fits tight in the shoe. After that, twist the knob three or four more times to stretch the shoe. Leave the stretcher in the shoe overnight.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 10.jpg
    • Remember to start small as to not overstretch the shoes too quickly.
  3. Try on your shoe. Loosen the stretcher by turning the dial counter-clockwise and remove. If the shoe is still too tight, continue to use the stretcher in your shoe. Use an extra few turns when stretching again.
    Stretch Plastic Shoes Step 11.jpg
    • Be careful not to overstretch the shoe as a loose shoe will not be comfortable either.

EditTips

  • When not wearing the shoes, leave a shoe stretcher inside so they retain their shape.
  • Walk around your house while wearing the shoes to continue breaking them in.

EditSources and Citations

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