How-To Tuesday: Easy Ways to Break-In New Shoes

Now matter how much of a proponent of stylish footwear you may be, there’s an essential level of comfort that needs to be found in a pair of shoes. Not to say that high heels should feel like slippers, but the ability to move in shoes without feeling like your toes are going to pinch right off is important. Give your feet some forgiveness with these at-home tips on stretching or breaking in your shoes.

Plastic Bag Method

For this method, it’s important that the shoes you’re using are made of leather, or a material that naturally stretches over time, in order to prevent damage. Simply fill two sandwich-sized Ziploc bags with water, and wedge them into the front or bag of the shoes, depending on where you need some extra room. Then, place your shoes in the freezer for ten to twenty minutes. This will cause the water to freeze and expand, acting as a stretching device inside the shoe.  After your shoes have warmed up, you should notice some extra room in the toe or heel region of the shoes.

Dana Reszutek/WSN
Dana Reszutek/WSN

Newspaper Method

This technique is a great way to stretch your shoes overnight. Take some spare newspaper, crumple the paper into balls, and then dampen with water. Stuff your shoes, adding more for a bigger stretch, and less for a lighter stretch. Allow your shoes to dry, which should take a few hours, but can be left to dry overnight as well. This method works for all types of shoes, and is the best technique to use for boots, since the newspaper can allow not only the toe region to stretch, but the calf region of a boot as well.

Dana Reszutek/WSN
Dana Reszutek/WSN

Hairdryer Method

For a quick, yet slight stretch, a thick pair of socks and a hairdryer is all you need. Slip on a pair of your thickest socks, or any pair of socks that are thicker that what you’d normally wear with the shoes. Next, with a hairdryer, apply heat to the shoes, while slowly moving your feet around, focusing on the area you’d like to stretch. Do this for about a minute or two, and then a small, yet noticeable, difference in size will be noticed. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the desired fit is found.

Dana Reszutek/WSN
Dana Reszutek/WSN

Dana Reszutek is a staff writer. Email her at

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