Do Shoe Stretchers Work ? And Learn How To Use Them [2024]

Written By Mahia

Buying an accurate size of shoes is a real struggle. We always end up buying shoes that are too big or too small. Ultimately all the unfit shoes go into storage.

But in this article, I will talk about a particular product that will be your game-changer for shoes that are too small in size. And that is a shoe stretcher.


Does shoe stretcher work?

Yes, shoe stretchers work excellently at breaking in shoes that are too tight-fitting.

You must be thinking of how a shoe stretcher can make a small-sized shoe wearable. Just keep your eyes on this article and learn all the mind-blowing techniques on how shoe stretchers work.

What Is A Shoe Stretcher?

A shoe stretcher is an instrument that we use to enlarge shoes lengthwise and widthwise. It also stretches certain places where you feel tighter or spaces where you have blisters or swelling due to friction with the shoes against your skin.

Shoe stretchers are made from top-end plastic, wood, or metal. Mostly comes in pairs, but singles will also do the work as the shoe stretcher doest have any right or left foot.

Shoe stretchers work differently depending upon the shoe fabric. Shoe stretchers work best on natural materials like leather or suede. The result in these fabrics lasts longer.


Whereas a synthetic fabric shoe stretcher may work, but the outcome will not be up to the mark. You will need to stretch it again because synthetic materials tend to return to their original shape over time.

Check out our epic guide: Can I Wear Work Boots to Ride Motorcycles

Why Should You Use A Shoe Stretcher?

Most of you are unaware that feet size changes at different times of the day. Our feet tend to swell a bit during the daytime. In the afternoon or evening, our feet are the largest.

So buying shoes in the daytime may fit you perfectly, but in the evening or night, the same shoes will be tight-fitted in your feet. As a result, you end up buying a pair of wrong size shoes.

In that case, the shoe stretcher is to the rescue. The shoe stretcher will expand the shoes about half an inch extra, making sure your shoes fit perfectly. But if your shoes are too tight and you are expecting a shoe stretcher will ultimately make it in your size, then you are wrong, dear! Shoe stretchers only do miracles to shoes that are a bit tight.

Follow our guide to know Can Work Boots Be Resoled.

Different Types And Uses Of Shoe Stretchers

There are various types of shoe stretchers. From boots to high-heel, each shoe stretcher is designed for a particular kind of shoe. You have to know which shoe stretcher is suitable for your shoes.

Some of the types of shoe stretchers and how to use them are discussed below:

1. Boot Stretcher

From dress boots to pixie boots, boot stretchers will add up to an extra inch to your tight-fitting boots.

Here are the steps of how to use a boot stretcher:

Things you will need:

  • Boots
  • Boot stretcher
  • Shoe stretching spray

Step 1: Make your boots ready by spraying shoe stretching spray inside and outside of your boot. Heavily mist the areas where you feel are tight.

However, before using shoe stretching spray all over the boots, always do a patch test. Spray the shoe stretching spray in a small section and see whether it changes your shoe’s color or not. If it changes your shoe color or changes the boot’s texture, then don’t use it.


Step 2: Insert the boot stretcher inside the boots. Ensure the stretcher is placed entirely inside your shoes, the toe block is completely closed, and touches the toe box’s ending point.

Step 3: At the end of the stretcher, there is a handgrip; turn round the handgrip in the clockwise motion; this will make the toe box wider and will make sure the fit is tight. Turn the handle about 2-3 times, and you will see your boot is enlarging.

Step 4: Leave the boots for about 8-9 hours with the stretcher inside them. Within these hours, the stretcher will do its work.

Step 5: If you are not satisfied with the stretching, keep it inside for some extra 6-7 hours more. Ensure you do not place the stretcher inside the boots for too long otherwise, your shoes will stretch too much and loosen it.

Step 6: After 8-9 hours, turn the handle anti-clockwise to unfasten the stretcher.

Step 7: Take off the stretcher from the boots and check the fitting.

If you still need some adjustments, just repeat the process.

Read more on How Much Do Steel Toe Work Boots Weigh.

2. One-Way Stretcher

You can use a one-way stretcher for stretching certain areas like the width, the toe box, or the place between the ball and the ankle of the feet.

Things you will need:

  • Shoe
  • One-way stretcher
  • Shoe stretcher spray

Here are the steps of how to use a one-way stretcher:

Step 1: To relax the shoe for stretching, apply the shoe stretcher spray inside and outside the shoe.

Step 2: Place the stretcher inside your shoes and make sure the stretcher’s toe block touches the toe box.

Step 3: Rotate the handle of the stretcher in a clockwise motion to widen the shoe. For proper stretching, turn the handle 2-3 times.

Step 4: When you are satisfied with the width, leave the shoe with the stretcher in it for 7-8 hours.

Step 5: To loosen the stretcher, rotate the handle counterclockwise, and slowly take out the stretcher.

Step 6: Check the fitting.

3. Two-Way Stretcher

You can use a two-way stretcher to stretch the length and width of the shoe. You can use small plugs to mark the pressure spots where you tend to have swellings, blisters, or corns.

Here are the steps of how to use a two-way stretcher:

Things you will need:

  • Shoe
  • Two-way shoe stretcher
  • Shoe stretching spray

How To Stretch Shoes Widthwise?

  1. Prepare the shoes by spraying shoe stretcher spray.
  2. Place the plugs if you have any pressure spots.
  3. Insert the stretcher inside of your shoes.

Follow the same process as one-way stretching.

How To Stretch Shoes Lengthwise?

  1. Spray the stretching spray inside and outside of the shoe to relax.
  2. Place the stretcher inside the shoe. Make sure the toe block is closed and touches the ending point of the toe box.
  3. Rotate the lengthening disc to make sure the fit is tight.
  4. Turn the disc clockwise; the heel block will move toward the heel counter.
  5. To get the heel block to the back of the shoes, turn the wheel 5-8 times.
  6. Leave the stretcher inside the boots for about 7-8 hours.
  7. Remove the stretcher by rotating the handle anticlockwise.
  8. Check the fitting.

But before that, check out what is a Steel Shank In A Work Boot.

4. Toe box raiser

The toe box raiser only stretches the toe area without stretching any other part of the shoe.

Here are the steps of using a toe-box raiser:

  1. Slide the toe box raiser into your shoes or boots and press the top area with the attached metal ring.
  2. Locks the lifter in place.
  3. Leave it overnight.

It will expand about 5 inches in the shoes’ opening and lift the shoe about 2 inches.

Top 3 shoe stretchers


1. The Original Shoe Tree Company Fresh Cedar Shoe Stretchers

Shoe stretchers from the Original Shoe Tree Company have ranked as the best choice among all stretchers. Engraved with feet designations, joined with spring coils and the subtle fragrant of cedar hardwood makes it the number one shoe stretcher.

Follow our guide to know Are Timberlands Good Work Boots.

2. Deluxe Wood Shoe Stretchers

It is a two-way stretcher that alters the length and width of the shoes. Very easy to use and doesn’t need any extra work to slide into the shoes. Deluxe Wood shoe stretchers are mostly used with men’s shoes.

3. HOUNDSBAY Men’s Cedar Shoe Stretchers

Easy to work with, the broad heel of the stretcher helps keep the heel’s shape intact. The stretchers are made of heartwood, which absorbs moisture and keeps the leather’s strength. The light aroma of the cedar removes any foul smell.

Things You Should Keep In Mind While Using Shoe Stretcher

  • Do not leave the stretcher for too long in your shoes; it will loosen the shoes too broadly.
  • Always do a patch test before applying shoe stretcher spray.
  • Use a shoe tree to keep the shape of the shoes intact.

Frequent Asking Questions

Question: How long should you use a shoe stretcher?

 Answer: Not too long; otherwise, your shoe will be too loose. Turn the stretcher’s handle 4-5 times inside the shoes and leave the boots about 8-9 hours with the stretcher inside it.

Within these hours, the stretcher will do its work. If you are not satisfied with the stretching, keep it inside for some extra 6-7 hours.

Question: How much does it cost to stretch shoes?

Answer: You can do stretching yourself if you want to extend about 2-3 inches. But if you’re going to do it by professionals, about $15-$20 will be spent on a cobbler.


Now that you know the usage of shoe stretchers, brace yourself up to stretch all the tight-fitting shoes that you have kept in the wardrobe for too long.

Do let us know in the comment section which technique helped you the most.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

Leave a Comment