Friday, September 10, 2010

Stretching Shoes

At last I got to wear my adorable new All Saints oxfords, which languished in my closet for several months while I tried to decide whether to stretch them or send them back. Obviously I decided to stretch them, and although they could still use a little more work, they're already vastly more wearable than they were at first.

The problem with these shoes was the width, which I increased using FootFitter Pro stretchers and stretching spray. From the reviews I read on several of the different models of shoe stretchers, I deduced that the issue with the plastic-threaded ones is that they can strip when you tighten them. However, the models with metal threads are more than twice as expensive, and I wanted to be able to buy two so that I could stretch both shoes at once (I'm not exactly known for my patience). So I went with the plastic-threaded model and proceeded with caution, at first turning the width adjustment until it was just tight, and increasing the tension about 3/4 of a turn per day, preceded by a thorough soaking with the stretching spray.

In the end it took me about a week to complete the stretching, using the spray, tighten, wait overnight, and repeat technique. It worked so well that I've already got several other pairs in mind for some size adjustment. Considering that it costs around $12 per pair to have shoes stretched professionally, it will take less than 3 pairs for these stretchers to totally pay for themselves. And if I end up with shoes that are more comfortable, the cost really becomes negligible.

All in all I'd highly recommend getting your own set of shoe stretchers if you're like me and struggle with the comfort of your shoes, and also if you have several pairs that need length and/or width adjustment. Not only can you make initial adjustments to new shoes, but you can go back and readjust older shoes that may have become tighter during months of not being worn (this is a particular concern for people who live in areas of temperature extremes, where you have entire seasons where certain shoes cannot be worn). Note that the stretchers I've discussed here do not work on boots; boots require a special kind of stretcher that is typically a lot more expensive. If anyone has a model of boot stretcher they can recommend, I'd love to hear about it.  

Cardigan, shoes: All Saints
Shirt: Tulle
Belt: Lazaro
Shorts: White House Black Market


Hannah said...

The formula for shoe stretch spray is 3:1 water:rubbing alcohol. Save yourself some money, make your own. When I sold shoes we did.

Cute shoes, BTW

shams said...

You are full of all sorts of useful info, Audi! Thanks. :)

Rad said...

I love these shoes, and you are rocking the shorts!
Also, thanks for the shoe stretching info. I am a bit wide of foot myself, and I could definitely try these out!

Julia said...

Wow! I didn't know you could stretch shoes on your own - I guess I never looked into it. Thanks for the great info, I have some wide feet and this is really helpful!

I really like the shoes you're wearing!

Healthy and Homemade said...

Okay amazing recommendation, that's so cool it's actually working. Those are some awesome shoes!

Rebecca said...

I've used the diy technique for making one's own stretching liquid, except I used tequila! It's the alcohol that relaxes the leather (and thus allows the stretching), and I was out of rubbing alcohol...

My technique is to use a cotton ball, soak it in Cheap-Clear-Booze-of-Choice, rub it on the INSIDE of the shoe at the offending point, then put the shoe on and work the leather with my foot (take an exaggerated step, etc). Granted, I didn't need much stretching to get it to fit properly. But it worked on my 'vogs!

Sheila said...

Such a font of useful information, Audi, and the gals above as well!

Those are totally awesome shoes! Nice to see someone else did the Oxford theme this week. ;)

C said...

Fascinating. I have honestly never heard of anything that helps stretch your shoes (which, now that I know exists, seems painfully obvious that it would), and I'm totally intrigued. Christmas present idea!

tinyjunco said...

i've been idly shopping for a shoe stretcher the past couple of years (why jump into anything, i say). thanks for the recommend and review - those stretchers look like a good deal. plus they have the 'bunion bumps' included. i do enough barefoot outfit posts that no one should be surprised that i cold use those bumps!

thanks again for taking the time to do a comprehensive review, steph

Little LeeLou said...

I love these shoes also, I have a similar pair in grey/black!

Anonymous said...

I know I'm coming to this thread late, but I thought I'd just offer another technique I learned from a costumer friend of mine.

Fill a ziplock sandwich baggie about 1/3 full of water. Put it in the toe box of the shoe (assume that's what needs stretching) and put the shoe in the freezer. As the water freezes, it will expand and with it, the shoe.