Do Running Shoes Stretch?

(Last Updated On: April 12, 2021)



It’s awful when you purchase a stylish pair of shoes only to discover that they’re too small for your feet. They will fit when you try them on, but after wearing them for a few hours, you will realize how uncomfortable they are. There is no reason to return a nice pair of shoes simply because they are too small. There are five methods for stretching your shoes.

Walking Around The House In The Shoes

walking in home new shoes

If you want to wear the shoes for extended periods without experiencing discomfort, you must break them in. The most effective method is to wear the shoe foot for a brief period each day while in the house. By doing so, you will loosen the material and stretch the shoe.

The Bottom Line

Suppose you wear shoes regularly while at home; the shoe will eventually mold to your feet’ shape and size and feel comfortable to run in. To expedite the process, wear thicker socks with the shoe and, once the shoe begins to hurt your feet, remove it and repeat the process regularly.

Oatmeal Will Help You Stretch Your Shoes

oatmeal for new shoes stretching

While the procedure may sound absurd, it is effective. If you don’t have a freezer or don’t want to place your shoes next to your foot, the best alternative is oatmeal. Fill a bag with oatmeal, and then add some water. Following that, place the oatmeal bag inside your shoes overnight. Overnight, as the oatmeal expands, it will stretch the shoe.

The Bottom Line

Oatmeal is the most effective way to stretch your shoes without having to monitor them. Ensure that the bag contains an adequate amount of oatmeal for the process to be effective.

Utilize The Freezing Technique

freezing technique new shoes stretching

A freezer is another excellent tool for breaking into your shoes. All you need to do is fill a bag with water, place it inside your shoes, and freeze them for eight hours. When water freezes, it expands, stretching your shoes in the process.

The Bottom Line

Remove the shoes from the freezer once the water has frozen and check to see if they fit. You can always repeat the process to achieve the desired level of stretch.

Thick socks and a blow dryer

If the first method does not work, this one will add additional stretch to the shoes and aid in their conformation to your feet.

Put On A Pair Of Thick Socks & Securely Fasten Your Shoes

Now, apply a hairdryer to the tight areas for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Use only medium heat and keep the blow dryer moving to avoid over-drying or burning the leather. Using this method, it’s good to apply a leather conditioner or moisturizer to the shoes.

The Trick With The Peeled Potato

peeled potato to stretch new shoes

Peel a potato and shape it into the toe box of your shoe (front of the shoe). After wiping the potato dry with a paper towel, stuff it into your shoe and leave it overnight. This method can provide some stretch.

Shoe Trees That Can Be Adjusted

shoe tree new shoes stretching

Previously only available in specialty shoe repair shops, four-way adjustable shoe trees are now available for home use for less than $25. There are versions for men’s and women’s shoes. For a small additional cost, deluxe versions made of cedar or other types of wood and stainless steel are available. These devices enable you to lengthen and widen a shoe. Additionally, specially designed plugs (bunion plugs) can target problem areas in the toe box’s top. Adjust the shoe tree’s adjustment handle every 8 to 12 hours to maintain the desired length and width. This technique may be used in conjunction with shoe stretching sprays and liquids. It’s ideal for leather and canvas shoes.

Employ Rubbing Alcohol

When it comes to stretching your shoes, rubbing alcohol works wonders. Fill a spray bottle halfway with rubbing alcohol. If you do not have a spray bottle, a rubbing cotton ball will suffice. Inside your shoes, spray the rubbing alcohol into the tight areas and, if using a cotton ball, dab it into the close areas until the fabric is wet. As soon as you’ve done that, quickly put on your shoes and walk around, as rubbing alcohol dries very quickly. Bear in mind that the alcohol will only work on a wet shoe! As a result, be extremely quick when putting on the shoe following the rubbing alcohol application.

The Bottom Line

Rubbing alcohol works exceptionally well. Ensure that you use it properly, and you will undoubtedly obtain the desired results. While there are numerous methods for stretching running shoes, it is essential to remember that running shoes contain some rubber and should never be tested using heat. While heat expands fabrics, it also can cause permanent damage by melting plastic, rubber, and other materials found in running shoes. However, the tips above are excellent and will have you running in no time with your favorite running shoes.

Sprays & Liquids For Shoe Stretching

There are numerous liquids and sprays available for stretching leather, fabric, and even vinyl. Spray them in congested areas and then walk in them. Additionally, these products can be used in conjunction with adjustable shoe stretchers to help provide a custom fit for your shoes.

Locate A Shoe Repair Specialist

Stretching services are available at the majority of professional shoe repair shops and cobblers. They have the necessary equipment and training to alter shoes. Not only can a cobbler stretch your shoes, but they can also repair and refresh your current pair, extending their overall life. However, these shops are becoming increasingly scarce in most areas due to a lack of interest. Your toes, too, require stretching.

If your toes are tangled in your shoes, they are too small. Along with stretching your footwear, you must assist your toes in reestablishing their natural state of separation. Several things you can do are as follows:

  • Gently separate your toes with your hands.
  • Separate and wiggle your toes.
  • Each day, wiggle your toes slightly.
  • Remove your shoes, socks, and stockings to expose your toes to sunlight and air.

Shopping Advice For Shoes

  • Allow yourself time. Never make a hasty shoe purchase. While you’re in the store, make every effort to determine whether the shoes fit. Before making a purchase, ensure that you understand the return policy.
  • Track down the return policy. If you purchase something online, be sure to read the return policy. Certain sellers offer free return shipping on all of their footwear.
  • Consult an expert. Certain shoe stores employ salespeople who are also certified, fitters. They will be knowledgeable about the shoes available in the store or on the market, will be able to measure your feet, and will be able to recommend shoes that fit correctly.
  • Investigate specialty stores. If you suffer from foot problems such as bunions, seek out specialty shoe stores that carry orthopedic and specialty styles.
  • Seek out toe boxes that are shaped like the shape of your foot. Avoid pointy, curved, and irregularly shaped shoes for the best fit. Look for a big toe box.
  • Determine which brands work best for you. Because different brands are known for their shoe styles, widths, and shapes, you may be able to rely on specific brands more.
  • Purchase men’s shoes. Consider purchasing men’s athletic shoes if you have wide feet. These are more generously cut and have a larger toe box.
  • Later in the day, go shoe shopping. Your feet may swell in the afternoon and evening and appear slightly more significant than they were at the start of the day.

Foot Problems As A Result Of Wearing Tight Shoes

Avoid wearing high heels for extended periods and distance. While they may appear to be attractive on you, your feet will suffer in the long run. Therefore, be kind to yourself and limit your use of them. Your shoes could be too big or too small. If your shoes are too loose, you risk developing blisters where they rub against your skin.  Tight shoes can exacerbate the problem. They are capable of you to be unsteady on your feet deform your toes, cause blisters between them, and exacerbate structural issues such as hammertoe, mallet toe, and bone spurs exacerbating foot problems such as bunions, flat feet, numbness, inflammation, and pain in the heel or ball of your foot (metatarsalgia) cause long-term cartilage loss in your toes and feet’s joints.


Shoes that fit correctly are critical for your health and well-being. Never make a hasty shoe purchase. Always take the time to ensure that the shoes you purchase work properly. If you end up with slightly too-tight shoes, there are a few things you can do at home or with the assistance of a shoemaker to adjust them to fit correctly.



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