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July 31, 2013

Neat Tips and Tricks: Stretch and Shrink Your Shoes!

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Written by: Recultured Team
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Ever found a pair of shoes that was breathtaking but then realized it wasn’t your size? I am a size 4.5 to a 5, so whether I’m here in Vancouver or in Taiwan I always have trouble finding shoes that will fit just right. My friend, on the other hand, has another story. She tends to have wider feet at the front, thus forcing her to buy a size bigger than she should. Do some these scenarios sound similar to your own when shopping for the shoes you desire? Well, whether you are shopping for new shoes or have old pairs that are over stretched and now too loose, read on to find some neat tips and tricks on how to stretch and shrink your shoes.

 

STRETCH

Heat and Socks Method

Heat and Socks Method

Photo credit: aksem

All you need for this method are socks and a blow dryer. What we are essentially doing here is stretching out the fiber. This works for leather shoes.

Step 1: Wear a pair of thick socks or layer a few of thinner ones. Slip your feet into your shoes.
Step 2: Take a blow dryer and use heat (around 10-15 cm away depending on the heat of your hairdryer) on area that is tight for 20 to 30 seconds.
Step 3: Test and try. Repeat the steps until the desired result is reached.

Tips:

  1. Take breaks. You don’t want to damage the quality of your shoes (e.g. drying out the leather), so it is important to let it cool off in-between.
  2. Apply leather conditioner after to restore and keep its moisture. This is also a way of preventing leather shoes from drying.

 

Ice it Method

Ice it Method

Photo credit: Sarah-Rose

Simply using science! We all know when we want frozen water bottles; we don’t fill it all the way to the top because the volume expands when liquids are frozen. Using the same logic but on shoes, overall this tends to expand it by a little bit. This kind of technique is best for plastic and fabric shoes. Leather is not suitable for this kind of method as freezing and water can damage it.

Step 1: Fill Ziploc bag(s) with water and put it in your shoe(s).
Step 2: Put it in the freezer over night or leave it in until the water is completely transformed to ice.
Step 3: Take your shoes out and let it thaw for 20 to 30 minutes before removing the bag.

Tips:

    Put your shoes in a bag to keep your frozen foods sanitized

 

Two birds with one Potato Method

Two birds with one Potato Method

Photo credit: Eric Bartholomew

Potato juice has two functions: one is to help expand your shoes and the other is to reduce odors; which is beneficial for those who tend to have athlete’s foot. I suggest this should be used on plastic shoes and not leather nor fabric because the potato juice can really sink into them.

Step 1: Pick and buy potato(es) that kind of fit your shoe(s).
Step 2: Peel the potato and put it in your shoe.
Step 3: Leave it overnight (or longer) and wipe excess, if need

Tips:

    It is okay if you can’t find a shape that fits your shoe. You can custom shape it to fit just right.

 

SHRINK

The Old Fashioned Method

The good old handy soles. You buy them and stuff or tape them to the inner part of your shoes. But, what if they don’t match your feet proportionally? Custom-size it by cutting them!

 

Strapping Method (Sorry guys, this one for the girls)

Strapping Method

Photo credit: Lis Ferla

Of all methods here for shrinking shoes, I would say buying shoes (e.g. heels or flats etc.) with straps around the ankles would be fastest and easiest way to resolve most unfitting shoe issues. Or if you already have a pair of shoes that’s a bit big, you can always go to your local cobbler and ask them to add a strap around them.

 

Sewing Method

Sewing Method

Photo credit: mararie

Now if you don’t want an ankle strap around the shoe you already own. Grab a curve needle and a small section of elastic band for garments. Sew that near the ankle area of the shoes. This shrinks your shoe (by half to 1 size) depending on the length of the elastic band you used. This works for thinner leather and fabric flats.
For more information on where to stitch the elastic band, click here.

 

Heat and Water Method

Heat and Water Method

Photo credit: sharyn morrow

Similar to the Heat and Socks Method from STRETCH, we need a blow dryer but this time instead of socks we need water. This method works for leather and fabric shoes

Step 1: Damp the side of the shoes and try not getting the sole of the shoes wet.
Step 2: Blow dry (around 10-15 cm away) without putting your feet in the shoes
Step 3: Repeat the steps if need.

Tips:

  1. Take breaks in-between to avoid damaging the quality of the shoes.
  2. Apply leather conditioner after to restore and preserve the longevity.

 

Leave it Be Method

Leave it Be Method

Photo credit: mararie

Second easiest and one of the lazier method for fabric shoes (e.g. Toms). Like clothing when we wash and dry them they tend to shrink a little.

Step 1: Use warm water and damp the fabric part of the shoes
Step 2: Place it somewhere warm (e.g. outside on a sunny day)

Tips:

  1. If drying outside, try avoid the sun and find somewhere with shade to keep the longevity of the colour of the shoe.
  2. Do not throw them into the dryer, as it can physically damage not only the quality but also may deform the structure of the shoes.
  3. I suggest not using a hairdryer as it may take some time to dry it, but if you do remember to take breaks in-between so it doesn’t over heat.

 

What were your favorite methods when it comes to fixing shoe size issues? Do you have a different way of stretch/shrink your shoes? Let me know by commenting below.

 

Featured Image by Reema

 



About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!





 
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