The subject of stretching shoes has been featured several times here on the blog, it’s really the only way to make small shoes larger. Here’s a tip on how to take care of the shoe stretching yourself.
As most people know the common way to stretch shoes is to have a cobbler put the shoes in a stretching machine pushing out the shoes in the places where they are too small. The stretching lasts are increased gradually, and the leather is treated with moisturizing agents to handle the stress better. However, in some cases when it comes to shoes that are a bit too small at only one or a few specific places, a DIY shoe stretching can be a good alternative.
If you look closely at the picture you see to the right shoe (left in the picture is) bulges slightly at the inner part of the vamp, compared to the left shoe. The following describes how I went about it.
This is something I came up with myself and tried on a pair of shoes with successful results, and since then I do it every now and then on shoes that needs slight modifications to fit. Here I will show the procedur for two pairs of shoes that were too tight over the right foot’s big toe lump, a place I’m extra sensitive to since I have a so-called juvenile hallux valgus, and a pair where it squeezed a bit on the pinky toes. In other words the fit was okay at the time, and the very fact that it has only been a minor correction that had to be made was why I tried this own way to stretch the shoes. In addition, the cobblers stretching machine can be somewhat limited when it comes to stretching only at a specific location, then this kind of homemade solution offers a bit more precision.
What’s needed for this procedure is a pair of shoe trees that fits well in the shoe to be stretched (especially important is that they sit tight in the specific area that you want to stretch), Compeed or similar plasters made for sore feet (you have different sizes to choose from), and any so-called felt rings (which are used to reduce pressure on corns). The latter two are available at any pharmacy at the podiatry shelf. It can also be useful to moisture the area to be stretched, both inside and outside, either with a leather lotion or with stretching spray, which softens the leather a bit, before you insert the modified shoe trees
What you do is simply to build up a bulge at the point to be stretched out. You can use the felt rings and its smaller central parts in the bottom if it’s a greater size to be built, and then put plasters on top of it, or just build with plasters. If you want to stretch them quite a bit, it may be an idea to start a bit smaller, and then expand it over time once the leather already has been stretched a bit. In contrast to the stronger stretching method made by a cobbler, this is a method that requires a bit more time. You simply let the shoes sit with the trees with this self-developed distance attached, and over time the leather will give. For me, it has taken a few of days before you noticed a difference, but I have since kept the bulges on for several months and finally the shoe is pretty settled at the critical place, and they fit quite comfortably without pressing any longer. That said, this is, something that should only be used for minor corrections of the fit at some individual places. If the shoes more clearly are too small a visit to the cobbler will always be the best option.