The shoe stretcher has become the answer to the problem so many people have with shoes that are not the right size. This can be for a number of reasons, but most commonly it is due to buying shoes that end up a bit too snug or in cases where someone’s feet may swell. Even if you try your shoes on in the store, you may find that those shoes don’t fit as well once you get home and try them on.
Instead of having to take them back or, even worse, give them away, you may actually be able to take advantage of a stretcher for shoes. Even if your shoes fit you may have been hoping that they would stretch naturally once broken in. If that isn’t the case, using a stretcher can help make those shoes more comfortable or even just plain wearable.
Is a Stretcher for Shoes Right for You?
There are many reasons someone may want or need to use this type of device. Some of the most common reasons include but are not limited to:
• Shoes shrink – Certain materials, namely leather, can actually shrink, especially if they get wet. Simply wearing them may not be enough. In fact, even a little shrinkage may make it next to impossible to get the shoes on to wear and stretch back out. In this case using a manual stretcher can help.
• Feet swell – Over time your feet do swell. In fact, the size of your foot in the morning compared to the end of the day can make a difference. Even as adults over time our feet may not grow to another size but they do usually still “spread out” enough to increase the size slightly. An increase in physical activity can promote this as well. Pregnancy is another reason that feet may swell or change in size. Whatever the cause, if your feet swell even a little your shoes may no longer fit the same or at all.
• Foot conditions – It is not uncommon to develop conditions that can cause our feet to hurt and adding shoes that once fit but are now just a little too tight only aggravates the issue. Conditions such as corns and bunions make it necessary to wear a larger shoe size. Instead of buying all new shoes, using a stretcher can help immensely. Without doing this, your feet may not only hurt but the condition can get worse.
• Being between sizes – It is actually quite common for people to fall between two sizes. Actually everyone has one foot that is slightly larger than the other. What usually happens is that people buy shoes to fit the smaller size foot and then one foot is crammed into a shoe that is just too small. Some people even are forced to buy two pairs of the same shoes just to fit both feet. Using a stretcher can help cut down on dealing with this problem in expensive or painful ways.
Remember, this type of stretching tool can help with either the length or the width of the shoe, or both if needed. It depends on the type of stretcher you buy, so take into consideration if you want a two way stretcher or not before making a purchase. In fact, some stretchers even come with an attachment that will help stretch just in areas to accommodate for corns or bunions.
Get the Most from Your Shoes
In most cases, stretchers work best on shoes made from leather, suede and natural materials such as cotton. Unnatural materials such as vinyl don’t usually have as much give, and a stretcher may not be as effective. However, keep in mind there is only so much a stretcher can do for giving more room.
If you are trying to increase shoes by two sizes or omre, this probably isn’t going to work. So don’t plan on buying those shoes that are on sale but two sizes too small and then using a stretcher to make them fit. It is always a good idea to buy shoes that actually fit your size and get fitted for shoes each time you go shopping to make sure you have an accurate size.
Usually when you buy your stretcher for shoes it should be able to work for either the right or the left shoe. However you may need a different style based on the shoes you want to stretch. For example, the stretcher you need for a man’s work boot will probably be different that what you use for a woman’s high heel. You can even find stretchers that can help increase the top part of a boot to accommodate your calf or to be able to fit your pant leg inside easier.
One other thing to keep in mind is that you can also get a spray that is meant to help to stretch out certain types of shoe materials. Although this may not always be as effective as a manual stretcher, it can help. Generally people will buy both together to use together.
The spray can help to soften the material and begin the stretching process. The manual stretcher can then do the majority of the harder work. If you know you have a tendency to need a shoe stretcher you owe it to your feet to get one.