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How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet

Have you ever bought sneakers, just to get home, wear them a few times and realize they are just too tight? Length wise they are the right size, but somehow still hurts you. Don’t worry because we have listed down three easy ways to stretch sneakers for wide feet. 

I never thought I would see this day, because I have really narrow feet. But I am really struggling with with a very expensive pair of beautiful Nikes that I would love to wear more often. 

Stay tuned to how I’m going to stretch them out.

But first you may want to find out the answer to the below question:

Do Sneakers Stretch?

When you go out to purchase shoes the salespeople will always try and convince you that the sneakers will stretch out, this is somewhat true for the width of the shoe, but definitely not the length.

Shoe Fitting and Buying Tips

Ever had foot, knee or hip problems at some point of your life? 

Did you ever consider that it could be caused by the shoes that you are wearing? 

Very rarely the shoe brand is to blame, it’s mostly due to the consumer not paying too much attention to the fit and size, but more about the aesthetic and color of the sneakers. 

Do you also just try your normal shoe size on, check that your toes have enough space, walk a few rounds in the store and then make your purchase?

Well here I’m going to give you some advice to make the best-informed decisions possible before you spend your hard earned money on more ill fitting sneakers that could possibly cause you a lot of injuries and medical expenses. 

  1. It is extremely important to buy sneakers that fit properly from the moment you buy them. Never buy shoes hoping you would break them in later, you are already injuring yourself during the period of “walking them in”. 
  2. Signs that your shoes are too narrow include foot cramping, numbness, pins and needles or your feet feeling like they are “falling asleep”. 
  3. Consider the fit and support, they are so important. This is where having your feet professionally measured by experts come into play, as they understand how sneakers are supposed to fit. It is definitely worth your time and expenses. 

How to make the best sneaker purchase in store

  1. Try on shoes towards the end of the day when your feet have already naturally swollen. 
  2. Have both feet measured yearly, your left and right foot are probably not the same size.
  3. Know which one is your larger foot, and always try the size that’s comfortable on that foot first. 
  4. Purchase sneakers that mimic the shape of your foot. Not the other way around. 
  5. Check to see that the widest part of your foot should sit in the widest part of the shoe. 
  6. Sneakers should have a comfortable snug fit, but it should not place pressure on the bridge of your feet or feel too tight. 
  7. When walking around the store in your shoes, have a feel for seams on the inside of the sneaker and make sure there are no pressure points. 

How do you know if your running shoes are too narrow?

If you have ever experienced any of these symptoms after walking or running with new running shoes it means your running shoes are too narrow?

1. After a long walk or run, your arches ache, your Achilles-tendon is sensitive, or you feel your calves are tight. 

Fix: “An improperly aligned flex point can lead to arch pain or plantar fasciitis, while a lack of heel support and flexibility leads to Achilles-tendon or calf strain,” says Chris Carter, M.D., sports medicine physician at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Centre in Birmingham, Alabama. 

2. You should be able to get your shoes on and off without completely loosening the laces. Fix: Size up in your shoes size if this is the case.

3. Numbness or tightness on the top of your foot. Fix: This means the shoe is too tight or too loose on your foot. The upper material should be snug but not too tight around your foot to limit blood flow. 

4. You are feeling a stab sensation in your knees while running, especially downhill. This should be your first sign of ITB syndrome, especially if you recently bought and started wearing new shoes. There could be a lot of reasons for this, one being your gait that changed due to the shoe fitting poorly. Fix: Getting fitted for a new pair of running shoes by a professional at a running store.  

Here are three easy ways to stretch Sneakers Wider

1. Freezing a zip-lock bag – Follow these steps

  • Fill a zip lock bag half with water. 
  • Place the bag inside the sneaker, try and place it where the shoe is the tightest. 
  • Then place the shoe with the bag inside, in the freezer. 

As the water freezes, the ice will expand and stretch your shoes.

2. Using a Shoe Stretcher, Sprays and Liquids

This method will work to stretch leather, fabric and even vinyl. 

The directions are as simple as spray it on the tight areas and then walk around in your shoes for a while. You can find these products for sale at your local shoe store or you can buy online. It will also work best with an adjustable shoe stretcher

3. Using a peeled potato

  • You will need to peel a potato according to the shape of your foot and shoe. 
  • Make sure to wipe the potato dry, and cover it in a bag of some sort, stuff it inside your shoe where your foot would normally press. 
  • Leave it for at least 2 days. 
  • This method should provide a little bit of a stretch in the necessary areas. 

Worst case if none of these methods work, your best bet would be to pass your beloved sneakers on if you can’t get a refund. 

A bad fitting pair of shoes can end up causing really bad injuries to your feet, knees, hips and joints and will definitely not be worth it in the long run. Make sure to follow the tips on buying the right running shoes or trainers in the future.

Good luck out there and safe running!

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Information sources: 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/shoes-too-tight#stretch-them-out
  2. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/9-signs-youre-wearing-the-wrong-size-running-shoe/
  3. https://www.canadianfootwear.com/fitting-buying-tips

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