How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet – 9 Easy Methods

How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet

It can be quite a pain to have wide feet. It’s not easy to find shoes that fit and even the ones that do may be a bit too tight for your liking.

The problem becomes more prominent with sneakers because they’re already tight. When you have wide feet, you can get a pair of sneakers exactly your size and still be uncomfortable wearing them.

For that reason, we’ll show you how to stretch sneakers for wide feet. You don’t have to go out with shoes that are too tight for your feet anymore.

how to stretch sneakers for wide feet: man tying running shoes

How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet

Stretching sneakers doesn’t necessarily mean ruining them or changing their size. Instead, these methods will push the material to leave some room for your feet inside without ruining it. Here’s how to do it.

Wear the Sneakers at Home

Wearing sneakers at home isn’t ideal because no one wants to do home chores while wearing shoes. It also works only for shoes that need only little stretching.

However, it’s a good solution if you don’t want to interfere with the material. You’ll stretch the shoes naturally without using any external tricks.

To do that, wear the sneakers for 15–30 minutes on the first day. Then, wear them for longer each time. Try to walk around with them as much as possible, and they’ll stretch after some days. 

If the shoes need to get stretched by a considerable bit, you may need to opt for another method.

Use a Shoe Tree

A shoe tree is a traditional solution to your problem. It works wonders for tight shoes, and it won’t ruin your pair because it’s made specifically for widening tight shoes.

To use your tree, you’ll have to push it inside the sneakers. It’ll already be designed to take the shape of the shoes’ interior, so you don’t have to worry about that.

When you get it inside, turn its adjustment handle to push the material out, then leave it for 12 hours. After that time, move the handle again to stretch the material further.

When you reach your desired size, remove the shoe tree and wear your sneakers. It’s worth noting that you can use a shoe spray with the tree if you want faster results.

Hair dryer isolated on white

Use Your Hair Dryer

If you have a hairdryer, it can work wonders on your sneakers. The warm air will cause the material to stretch a bit, solving your wide feet problem.

However, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t use a hairdryer if the shoes are made of leather or have any leather bits. 

Plugin your hairdryer and direct warm air towards the shoes for 2–3 minutes to stretch them. Don’t keep the dryer directed at the shoes for too long because it may cause the material to wear out or stretch too far.

When you’re done drying the shoes, wear them and keep walking around until they get cool again. When they’re cool, take them off and turn on the hairdryer again.

Repeat the process a couple of times until you feel that the shoes are comfortable enough around your feet.

Use Ice

Ice is pretty helpful for a couple of applications. You can use it to remove gum from clothes or rugs, which is virtually impossible otherwise. On top of that, it helps get rid of odors in specific settings.

If you haven’t caught up yet, ice can help you stretch your sneakers too. To use it, grab some freezer bags and put them in the shoes.

They should be empty because you’ll fill them with water later on. So, make sure to push them inside the shoes well and only leave the opening extending out because you’ll tie it afterward.

Then, fill the bags with water, and close the bags tightly, ensuring there aren’t any air pockets inside. Place your sneakers in the freezer, leaving them inside overnight. Or leave them for the whole day.

The water will freeze, expanding and stretching the material along with it. You’ll then only have to remove the bags and wear the shoes.

Remember that this method doesn’t leave a long-term effect, though. The shoes may return to their original size if you don’t wear them and walk around with them enough.

Use Thick Socks

If your shoes are made of a rigid material, you can opt for the thick socks solution. It’s often used for leather shoes, so it generally works well for materials that aren’t too flexible.

But, unfortunately, it also stretches the shoes by a considerable bit.

To try this solution, grab a thick pair of socks and wear them. Try to choose extra-thick socks, or wear two pairs on top of each other for the best results. Then, get your feet inside the shoes.

You should find it hard to do so. If your feet slip inside easily, you may need to add one more sock.

When your feet are inside the shoes, walk around and keep wiggling your toes inside. Then, start moving your feet in round motions to stretch the material and repeatedly move them from side to side.

After doing this, the shoes should be stretched by a good bit. If the shoes are still tight, you may need to repeat the steps the next day.

Female hands with pair of women socks on blue background.

Use a Stretcher Spray

Although home methods are reliable, they don’t always show strong effects. So, if you want to stretch the sneakers by a good bit, you’ll need to use a stretcher spray to make sure the size does change.

For the spray to work, you need to get a stretcher to put inside the shoes. Usually, these kits are sold as a whole, but if you want only to buy the spray, you can always put any item inside, as long as it takes the shoes’ shape.

To use the stretcher, apply the spray inside the shoes first. Make sure to get every nook and cranny, and focus on the toe box.

Then, put the stretcher that comes with the kit in the shoes. Expand it so that the shoe’s material stretches, then leave the shoes overnight.

The next day, remove the mold from the shoes, and you’ll find that your feet are now more comfortable inside.

Use Rice

Rice is often used for stretching shoes because of its ability to absorb and retain water. Believe it or not, that’s also why it’s used to fix phones that fall in the water when they’re not waterproof.

Anyway, to use rice for stretching your sneakers, first grab a plastic bag and insert it into the shoes. Make sure that its opening is extending outwards, then fill it with rice.

If you don’t have rice or you don’t want to waste it, you can use any other substance that has the same properties, like oats.

When filling the bag with rice, make sure not to fill it up to the brim. Rice will expand inside the shoes, so make sure to leave some room for that.

When you’re done filling, pour some water on the rice and leave it for a few hours.

When you return to check it, you should find the rice bigger than earlier and the water gone.

If it’s not stretching the shoes enough, add more water. Leave the bag inside overnight, and keep repeating these steps until the shoes are wide enough for your feet.

rice bag isolated on white background

Use a Potato

If you thought using rice to stretch your shoes is unusual, you haven’t seen this method yet! Yes, apparently, you can use a potato to stretch your sneakers.

All you have to do is grab a large potato; it should be large enough to fit inside the shoes and push the material outward.

Firstly, peel the potato, then cut it into the shape of the toe box of your sneakers. Then, wipe it quickly with a towel, or wrap a paper towel around it if you don’t want starch coating your shoes.

Push the potato inside the shoes and leave it overnight.

It won’t stretch the shoes dramatically, but it’ll make the toe box to be more comfortable. And don’t worry; it doesn’t leave a smell behind.

Use Stuffings

Sneakers are often flexible and made from soft materials. In this case, you can solve the wide feet problem with some stuffings. 

All you have to do is grab some socks or even clothes and wrap them in balls. Then, put them inside your shoes, cramming them tightly to make sure they push the material out.

You’ll also want to make sure they’re filling the toe box since it’s the essential piece to stretch.

Leave the socks inside the shoes overnight, then remove them. You’ll find the sneakers slightly wider, and if the effect isn’t significant, you can leave it like that another night.

All that said, bear in mind that this method won’t work for shoes made of rigid materials. It’ll only work if the shoes are soft, like running and training shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have doubts about the way you’ll stretch your sneakers, check these answers to frequently asked questions. They may help answer some of your confusion.

Will these methods stretch the shoes enough?

Yes, some of these methods are incredibly effective, such as the stretcher spray and the shoe tree.

Sneakers are already easy to stretch because they’re made of flexible materials, so you don’t have to worry about stretching your pair.

If you try these methods and the shoes are still tight, you may want to look for one larger size to accommodate your wide feet.

What’s the safest method to stretch my sneakers?

The safest method to stretch your sneakers is to use a shoe tree. In the end, it’s a tool that’s made to adjust sizes, so you won’t risk damaging the material.

It also doesn’t include any liquids or materials that may affect the material.

Stretching sprays are safe and pretty effective as well.

How to know if my sneakers need stretching?

If your sneakers keep feeling tight around your feet, although you’ve been wearing them for a while, then they need stretching. Additionally, you need to stretch them if your big toe hurts you when you wear the shoe for long.

The same goes if your pinkie toe keeps pressing on the one next to it inside the shoes. The toe box should be wide enough to fit all your toes comfortably.

Final Thoughts On How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet

Having wide feet may be a bit of a nuisance, but you shouldn’t have to worry much about your sneakers.

Shoes are generally easy to stretch using the aforementioned methods, and you don’t have to buy special tools for them.

With a plastic bag and some rice or ice—that rhymes!—you’ll be able to stretch the shoes to your desired size.