We tend to take our feet for granted. It’s easy to ignore a lot of things until we experience discomfort, pain, or a foot condition. Getting things like bunions, hammer toes, rough heels, or toenail fungus cause us to take notice. Paying attention to your feet is important. This includes the comfort of the shoes that you wear. If your shoes are causing discomfort, you may want to start using the best shoe stretcher.
What is a shoe stretcher, and how can it be useful? Our feet can ‘change’ throughout the day, and shoes can change over time. Feet can swell, or shoes can start to shrink. If you do develop a condition, like bunions or corns, you’re not going to want to wear shoes that don’t provide any breathing room.
As you might expect, will help to expand the width and/or length of your shoes with ease. So, the next time you put them on, you won’t have to experience any discomfort.
Different types of shoe stretchers are based on your specific needs and the kind of shoes you’re looking to expand. Whether you have new shoes that must be broken in or need to expand your shoes for a bit of extra comfort, a stretcher can do the job.
Table of Contents:
- 1 What Are the Top 5 Shoe Stretcher Picks for 2018?
- 1.1 FootFitter Premium Professional 1-Way Shoe Stretcher
- 1.2 FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher
- 1.3 KevenAnna High Heel Adjustable Shoe Trees
- 1.4 FootFitter Premium Professional Boot Stretcher
- 1.5 Houseables Expander for Shoes
- 2 What is the Best Shoe Stretch Spray?
What Are the Top 5 Shoe Stretcher Picks for 2018?
Because there are many types, it’s important to know what might work best for you. This article will cover different varieties to determine the top product in each category. We will also share information on what shoe materials work best for stretching, and offer a complete guide on how to use a stretcher properly.
What should you look for in a quality shoe stretcher?
- Made from durable, lasting materials like wood, hard plastic, or metal
- Extra features, such as bunion plugs for a specialized custom fit
- Portability or hanging options
- Ability to work on either the left or right shoe
If your shoes are uncomfortable, or you’re experiencing pain when you wear them, it may be time to look into the benefits of a shoe stretcher. You’ll find some of the best varieties.
FootFitter Premium Professional 1-Way Shoe Stretcher
Professional shoe stretchers are often used to expand high heels and dress shoes. They are perfect for both men and women.
This FootFitter stretcher has multiple features that are not only ideal for your shoes but will provide extra comfort to your favorite pair. It can take new shoes and make them feel as though you’ve been wearing them for years, or revitalize old shoes that don’t fit the way they should.
- They are made of real beechwood.
- Three bunion plugs are included, that will help to stretch specific areas where you’re experiencing pain. They are adjustable, so you can move them around as needed.
- They only stretch the width of the shoe, so they’re better suited to fit your needs.
- It is designed to fit both the left and right shoe perfectly, so you can focus on stretching one shoe at a time for a custom fit.
The product is designed with durability and comfort in mind, using durable materials like stainless steel and German-harvested Beechwood. It works for both men and women’s shoes in various sizes, and allows you full control when slipping it into your shoe, thanks to a threaded center rod.
This one-way stretcher looks and feels sleek and stylish on its own. It’s also compact and lightweight so that you can take it with you on business trips. You’ll never have to worry about tight, uncomfortable shoes again, no matter where your career may take you.
Check the Price of the FootFitter Premium Professional 1-Way Shoe Stretcher on Amazon!
FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher
With many of the same great features as the one-way stretcher, this professional expander is designed to stretch your shoe’s width and length. It’s a great way to reap even more benefits from a solid product. If your shoes are ill-fitting all around, being able to stretch them both ways can provide additional comfort.
Much like the one-way stretcher, the FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher is made from German Beechwood and stainless steel. It is designed to be strong, yet compact.
- Stainless steel washers around the heel block to allow you to achieve your desired length. These washers make it easy to make even the slightest length adjustments for ultimate comfort.
- The wooden part of the expander contains 14 plug holes (seven on each side) and comes with three bunion plugs.
- Easy customizable stretching experience.
- Works perfectly for elongating the shoe, or increasing the width.
FootFitter has taken their one-way design and made it more practical for people who need a bit more room all over. It is a quality product that is perfect for business and dress shoes of all sizes. It is recommended with any FootFitter product that you use a stretching spray before inserting the expanding device into your shoe. This will allow for more noticeable results and extra comfort
Check the Price of the FootFitter Premium Pro 2-Way Shoe Stretcher on Amazon!
KevenAnna High Heel Adjustable Shoe Trees
Finding a stretcher that works on high heels can be a lifesaver for many women. Pumps and heels look great, whether you’re wearing them for professional or casual purposes. However, they can often rub the heels, causing blisters. Or, they can pinch the toes. When your toes are crammed into a small, tight space, it can create bunions, blisters, or put you at risk for toenail fungus. Your feet need to be able to have some room to breathe.
Expanders, like KevenAnna adjustable shoe trees, make wearing high heels more comfortable than ever.
- They are sold as a pair for extra value.
- Their design allows you to stretch both the length and width of your heels.
- The materials include polyurethane plastic and steel for durability and strength.
- The pair includes a pack of 12 bunion plugs so you can stretch the area of your heels that need it most.
The holes within the KevenAnna stretchers are designed for pressure point relief, so you can wear high heels all day long without feeling any pain. You’ll also give your toes the opportunity to breathe and move around. They are not suitable for wide-width shoes. However, they do work on larger sizes, up to a women’s 9.5.
For convenience, the design allows you to hang them up when they aren’t in use, so you don’t have to worry about extra clutter. The sleek design makes them the perfect solution for your favorite high heels.
If you have suede high heels, you may need to spray them with a shoe stretching spray before using the expander. This will help to soften the material even more, so the expander can sink into the toe area of the heel. Leave the stretcher(s) in overnight for best results. Your heels may feel too loose the next day, but keep wearing them, and they will begin to conform to the natural shape of your foot quickly.
Check the Price of the KevenAnna Pair of Women High Heel Shoe Stretcher Professional 2-way Adjustable Shoe Trees For USA Women's Size 4.5 - 9.5 on Amazon!
FootFitter Premium Professional Boot Stretcher
Whether you’re an avid hiker or you use work boots every day for your job, nothing is worse than being active and working hard in boots that cause you pain. Boots that fit are a necessity to anyone who uses them regularly. Because work boots and hiking boots often are worn when we are very active, they can collect moisture inside. If your toes don’t have enough room, this could potentially lead to toenail fungus.
The FootFitter Boot Stretcher is designed for even the toughest boot materials. Boots are usually made to withstand harsher environments, especially if you use them for hiking or outdoor work. So, they can be tough to stretch if you don’t have a quality expander, like this design by FootFitter. Much like their shoe stretchers, it is made from Beechwood and features three bunion plugs so you can alleviate the stress at your pressure points.
- An extra-long shaft for deep boots.
- A long handle for easy insertion and removal.
- Reaches all the way to the toe box of both tall and short boots.
This boot stretcher is available in six different sizes and works on either the left or right boot. While it does work for fashion boots, it’s not suitable for western-style boots. Please note that only one stretcher is included, not a pair.
Check the Price of the FootFitter Premium Professional Boot Stretcher on Amazon!
Houseables Expander for Shoes
With the Houseables Two-Way Shoe Stretcher, you can expand almost any pair of shoes to your perfect fit. They work on new shoes to break them in, or old shoes that need to be adjusted. No matter how you use them, they can help to create a custom fit, each time.
This expander comes in a set, and both fit either the left or right shoe.
- A compact, ergonomic design to reach tight-fitting areas.
- Eight pressure point pads for easy customization.
- Made from 100% pine wood.
- Easy-to-use and adjustable knob for the perfect fit.
- Stretches out both the length and width of the shoe.
Houseables recommends leaving the stretchers in your shoes overnight, or anywhere between 24-48 hours. These expanders work on loafers, wedges, sandals, flats, and more. With one simple rotating knob, you can adjust both the length and width of your shoes in seconds. These easy-to-use expanders can put a stop to painful blisters and uncomfortable tightness in nearly every pair of shoes you own, making it one of the most versatile solutions on this list.
Check the Price of the Houseables Two-Way Shoe Stretcher on Amazon!
What is the Best Shoe Stretch Spray?
While shoe stretchers work with any support, you can help the process, along with a top quality shoe stretch spray. A shoe-stretching liquid works by softening the material of the shoe, making it easier to expand and move. You can use the spray on its own, or with a shoe tree to ensure the shoe expands to your custom fit.
One of the best shoe stretching sprays is Kiwi SELECT Universal Shoe Stretch. It is designed to instantly soften the material of your shoes so they can expand to fit perfectly. You don’t even need to use a shoe tree with this spray, you can just slide your feet in after applying it, and your own feet will create a custom fit for you, so you’ll be comfortable all day.
This special stretching spray is meant for leather, suede, Nu-buck, or reptile skin materials, and it works on all different colors. It won’t stain or tarnish your shoes in any way.
To use, just spray a small amount directly on the inside of your shoes, wherever you need a little extra room. For most people, this is either on the sides or in the toe area. Then, slip your feet into your shoes. They will conform to your feet better than ever before. Whether you need it for professional dress shoes or work boots, this spray can provide a sense of comfort to almost any new, or ill-fitted pair.
Check the Price of Kiwi SELECT Universal Shoe Stretch on Amazon!
Do Shoe Stretchers Work on Sneakers?
Shoe stretchers tend to work best with certain types of shoes and materials. You’ll see the most change in size in leather, suede, or other natural materials. Do they work on sneakers or synthetic shoes? Yes, to an extent. However, a bit more effort may be required.
To use a shoe stretcher for synthetic shoes, be sure to use a stretching spray, and leave the device in the shoe for as long as possible – at least eight hours. You shouldn’t expect a huge difference in size, but it may provide just enough of a push to make them more comfortable.
When it comes to sneakers, they can also be increased with the right stretcher. Typically, sneakers are made from soft, synthetic materials. They should be relatively comfortable, to begin with, but an expander can be used to break them in faster. Keep in mind that sneakers may not keep their shape or stability as well as shoes made from tougher materials.
If you’re expecting to change the size of a synthetic shoe or a sneaker, it’s not going to happen by using an expanding device. For example, if you’re trying to turn a size 8 shoe into a size 10, you’re better off only buying new shoes. But, if you’re just looking for a little extra wiggle room, a shoe stretcher can work for these types of materials.
How to Expand Non-Leather Shoes
We touched briefly on the fact that shoe stretchers can work on synthetic materials, but they are designed for natural materials like leather. To make the most of stretching out a sneaker or synthetic-type shoe, use the following steps.
- Use your favorite type of shoe-stretching liquid to start. Cover a flat surface with newspaper, and put your shoes in the center.
- Spray one shoe evenly with the liquid. You don’t want the spray to run down the shoes, but you do want to get a thick coat evenly across the material.
- Before the liquid dries, insert a shoe expander, and adjust it to your desired fit.
- Repeat with the other shoe.
- Leave the expanders in the shoes for 24-48 hours for best results.
Keep in mind that synthetic materials are usually softer and pliable. This is particularly the case for sneakers. They may not hold their shape as well as leather shoes, even after they have been adjusted. You may need to repeat this process periodically if the material begins to lose its form or tighten up again.
For best results, put shoe stretchers in the shoes whenever you are not wearing them. This will help them to hold the desired shape longer, and you won’t need to spray them each time.
What Are the Benefits?
Aside from making your feet more comfortable, there are plenty of benefits that go along with shoe trees and expanders. If you’re still unsure about whether or not it’s a viable purchase, let’s take a look at some of the best benefits you can expect when you start to use a shoe stretcher regularly:
- Resize your shoe to fit your particular foot shape and size. While they aren’t going to stretch out your shoe two additional sizes, they can provide just enough room to make it feel as though any pair of shoes was custom made for you. Whether you have a new pair of shoes that you can’t return or an old pair that doesn’t fit as well anymore, using an expander can add comfort, and save you money from having to buy a newer pair in a different size.
- Tight shoes will trap moisture. Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day, or you’re extremely active, our feet sweat on a daily basis. When moisture gets trapped in a confined space, like ill-fitting shoes, it can allow toenail fungus to form. Having a little wiggle room for your toes is important, as it will keep air circulating properly and will help to avoid a buildup of excess moisture. If this is a problem, we also recommend wearing antifungal socks to soak up excess moisture.
- Shoe stretchers are built to last. They are an extremely inexpensive investment that you can use again and again on multiple pairs of shoes. You can choose whether you want a hard, durable plastic expander, or a solid wooden stretcher. With the right care and storage, almost any pair of shoes you own can fit perfectly for the rest of your life with the same expander.
How to Stretch Shoes Made from Natural Materials
If you do purchase a shoe stretcher for leather or suede shoes, stretching them is easy. You can choose whether or not you’d additionally like to use a stretching spray, but most expanders will work well without any assistance. Use the following instructions for the best results, and to create custom-fitted shoes in a matter of hours.
- If the expander comes with bunion attachments, insert them into the proper holes. The idea is to place them at certain pressure points where you’re having discomfort so that they can expand even more in those particular spots.
- Insert the stretcher into your shoe. Most will come with a handle or knob that turns for easy expansion. You should rotate it until you begin to notice pressure against the shoe’s surface. You can then adjust the expansion as needed.
- Leave the stretcher in your shoe overnight, or longer for even better results.
- Remove the expander by rotating the knob in the opposite direction, and pulling it out.
- Try on your shoes to ensure they fit. If they need more adjusting, repeat the process.
Making sure you don’t over-stretch your shoe is essential. It can be tempting to crank the expander as wide or as long as it will go. But, if your shoes end up being too loose, that can also cause discomfort and other possible foot conditions. It’s best to adjust the fit a little bit at a time until you find the comfort level you desire.
How Can I Keep My Shoes Fitting Right?
Once you’ve purchased a shoe stretcher, you can use it again and again. As you’ve seen throughout this article, they can be utilized on many different types of shoes from heels to boots, and they work with many different materials.
To keep the perfect shape of your shoes, you can leave the stretchers in whenever you aren’t wearing them, or purchase an additional shoe tree in the correct size. A shoe tree doesn’t necessarily expand the shoe, but it will help it to keep its shape when it isn’t being worn.
Shoe expanders are a great investment for anyone struggling with foot problems due to ill-fitting shoes. You don’t have to worry about throwing money away when you’re trying to find the perfect size shoe in the store because you can adjust your perfect fit at home.
Whether you need more comfort while sitting at your desk all day, or relief from tight boots on long hikes, using a shoe stretcher can make your current footwear feel as though it was tailor-made for you. Any of the best shoe stretchers listed in this article will provide multiple benefits, and offer comfort and relief from foot pain. Find out about our top pick, the FootFitter Premium Professional 1-Way Shoe Stretcher.