How To Stretch Shoes


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could avoid the rubbing and blistering of new shoes?

Royal couturier Stewart Parvin has spoken about how HRH Queen Elizabeth II sidesteps that issue: “The shoes have to be immediately comfortable,” he told the Evening Standard. “She does get someone to wear them. The Queen can never say ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more.’ She has the right to have someone wear them in.”

While we may not have someone whose sole job it is to break in our shoes, there are ways it can be done without shredding your feet to pieces. Read on for* Vogue*’s top tips:

Wear them in a little at a time

The impulse to just wear new shoes out straightaway is sometimes too much to ignore, but if you can fight the temptation (and you should) wear them around the house first – in thick socks, if possible – and begin the wearing-in process.

Spoon straps and backs

Using the back of a spoon, furiously work it into the heel or anywhere a pair of shoes are rubbing. It is essentially mimicking the effect of your foot, but it will make those strappy, tighter places softened up before wearing.

Blast on the hairdryer

Wearing multiple pairs of socks and the shoes in question, hold a hairdryer up to the parts of the shoe that are tightest whilst flexing or moving your feet. This will help stretching leather them. Just be sure to let the shoes cool with your feet still in them.

Read more: Best Statement Shoes

Invest in shoe stretchers

Less useful for heels, but flats can easily be stretched using metal or wooden stretchers. Try Amazon for a range of styles. Some will even come with a shoe stretch spray that can help the process along. Just be prepared to put the stretchers in and let them sit tight for a while.

Stuff them with newspaper

Crumple up newspaper, wet it slightly – note: it must not be soaked through, otherwise it will damage the inner sole – let it dry and remove before wearing.

Go to the professionals

Take a cue from the Queen and enlist a professional. Vogue’s go-to shoe repair specialist is The Restory, and they provide a breaking-in service. Just be sure to allow at least three days for them to work their magic. Prices start from £20.

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