Nothing is more awful than splurging your money into good quality shoes that end up not fitting you well. Sometimes, some shoes fit okay when you are in the store trying them out but turn out a bit too tight when you start to go out in them.
It is a good thing that we have shoe stretchers to remedy this problem. I had to purchase several brands before I was able to find the one that does what it promises. In this article, I will help guide you in finding the best shoe stretchers in the market and different ways for you to maximize them.
What are shoe stretchers?
Shoe stretchers are devices that resembles the size and shape of a foot. The material used to create these devices is usually a good quality wood, preferably, maple or cedar. They have several adjustment knobs and screws that can be manipulated in re-sizing your shoes.
To look for the best shoe stretchers, you can check in your local hardware stores or you can also order them online. These devices utilize the method of "dry stretching" that requires days to achieve results.
The resizing can be done with the length, width, vamp, shaft (in cases of boots) and also locally as in bunions and corns.
What shoe stretcher should you buy?
Even if one knows the exact measurements of their feet, there are still several aspects that should be considered. The width and size of shoes change when the material starts shrinking. A person's feet can swell thus rendering previously well-fitted shoes tighter.
The same thing can also happen when one develops concerns in their feet such as corns and bunions. These issues are very uncomfortable and at most, painful. However, you do not need to get rid of the investment you had for your shoes nor should you suffer from discomfort.
This is the main reason why a shoe stretcher was made available in the market.
Why use a shoe stretcher?
The best shoe stretchers do a good job in expanding the length and width of your shoes. To achieve these two benefits, you have to choose a "two-way" shoe stretcher. This has an adjustment knob that you can turn either clockwise or counter-clockwise to widen and lengthen your shoes.
There are also shoe stretchers that feature vamp and toe adjustments. There is also a specific stretcher for high heel shoes. You can use a single stretcher for both of your left and right shoes. However, it is advisable to get a pair of stretchers especially if you want to hasten your procedure.
In this way, your shoes can be adjusted at the same time and you will not have to wait for a shoe to be finished before you can proceed to the other one. In cases where you have to adjust your shoes because of corn or bunion, you must choose a device that lets you fix that.
These stretchers have holes in them where you can insert bunion attachments to the specific areas of concern. If you are looking for shoe stretchers for boots, you can find devices that will expand the shaft area to accommodate the size of your legs.
Where to use shoe stretchers?
Shoes that are made out of natural materials such as leather and suede can benefit well with shoe stretchers. In comparison, materials that are synthetic, which tends to have a memory, resulting to the return to its original size, can also be stretched but the end result is not as plausible compared to the natural materials.
Even if you end up using the best shoe stretchers, the outcome is still dependent on the material. If you do not achieve your desired outcome, you can try and repeat the procedure. You also have to take note that shoe stretchers are only intended to help out shoes that are a little bit tight.
However, if you want to increase your shoe size from a 10 to a 12, this won't work. I also find that a shoe stretcher serves as a good tool to straighten some creases on several of my shoes.
Two-way or one-way
Metal and hardwood
German beech wood
Flat shoes, heels and boots
Polyurethane plastic and steel
Beech wood and stainless steel
Hard wood and metal
How to utilize shoe stretchers?
The proper way to use a shoe stretcher is dependent on each specific product. It is advised to inquire prior to purchasing an item as the seller are more knowledgeable on how to utilize their items. Always follow the instructions that came with your devices.
However, in general, most shoe stretchers are used in conjunction with a stretching spray or liquid that soaks in the shoe material making it more susceptible to stretching. The first thing to consider is the area of the shoe that needs to be stretched.
Once determined, apply your fluid on it and let the material soak it in. Remember to only apply the fluid in the insides of your shoes as applying it outside is unnecessary and can damage the shoe material. This will allow the fibers to relax and facilitate the procedure better.
The fluid can cause some dye used on your shoes to taint so it must be tested first on a small spot. Be careful with shoes that have synthetic inner materials because the fluid might glue it to the stretcher. When this happens, you can remove it by leaving the shoe inside the freezer to cool it down.
Using the adjustment knob, increase the size of the stretcher to its maximum expansion that the shoe can accommodate. Once you achieve your desired expansion, you can now then insert the device in your shoe. Once inside, continue to manipulate the knob to start adjusting.
Depending on your shoe material and quality of your shoe stretcher, you can leave the device overnight or you can wait up to 24-48 hours to produce your desired effect. The idea is that the longer the device stays inside the shoe, the wider is the result.
Therefore, it is advisable to check every 12 hours or so to see if you have already achieved your desired fit as loose shoes are even harder to remedy if you overstretched them.
Top 9 best shoe stretchers Reviews
- Made of metal and hardwood
- High quality and can last for many uses
- Can be used for a two-way stretching
- Offers bunion spacers for localized adjustment
- Operates smoothly
- More expensive compared to other brands
- The size is bigger or smaller than advertised and won't sometimes fit with the intended shoe size
- Doesn't open wide enough
- Turn handle is made of black plastic and slips with extreme pressure
The Two-way Premium FootFitter has an overall high quality. It is made of metal and polished German beech wood that add to its durability. Nickel plated stainless steel was also used for its mechanical parts. The product is expensive compared to other brands because of the materials used.
However, there are couple of issues with the advertised size, as being too big or too small and width adjustment does not expand well enough.
- Can be used with heels and boots
- The German beech wood was constructed well
- Includes 14 holes and plugs for localized adjustments
- Can be used on both the right and left shoe
- The device tends to slide back to the heel when stretching is done
- The turn handle is made of plastic and tends to break with force
- Can only be used to stretch the width of the shoe
- The advertised size is larger than the actual size
The stretcher is made of good quality beech wood paired with stainless steel. For the most part, the device is durable and high quality. It is also very versatile as it can be used to locally expand areas with bunions or corns. Using only one stretcher, you can adjust both the right and left shoe.
It can also be used on shoes that have half or an inch of heels. However, many users have reported that the sizes advertised are either too small or too big. This results to the device sliding back to the heel when you start adjusting the knob.
There is also an issue with the turn handle breaking easily as it is made out of plastic.
- Made of very high quality polyurethane plastic and the shaft is of premium steel
- Can be used for both right and left shoe
- Provides relief from pain caused by bunions and corns with its pressure relief pods that enables localized adjustment
- Expensive compared to other shoe stretchers
- Internal mechanism uses plastic that can wear off in the long run
High heels may already be a bit uncomfortable to wear and having them on the wrong size can hurt even more. This high heel shoe tree stretcher is even suitable on luxury shoes such as Louboutins. It is a two-way stretcher that lets you adjust the width and length of your shoes using only one device.
It also comes with pressure relief pods suitable for those who need localized adjustment. This device is expensive compared to its counterparts. The internal mechanism is metal covered with a plastic material that can wear off on several uses.
However, the rest of the materials used are of high quality and proven to be sturdy making it one of the best shoe stretchers you can find in the market.
The product is rated as a 5 star product because it handles ice like no other machine. However, there seems to be a high risk of danger on the operator just in case it might come apart and break the container.
- Specifically made for shoes that have three to six inches of heels
- Made out of premium polished beech wood
- Provides two pressure relief pods that can be inserted in several holes for localized adjustment
- Can be used for both the right and the left shoe
- Shoe stretcher is too wide for several kinds of shoes and may stretch the width too much
This shoe stretcher does the job for the adjustment of your high heels. This is specifically made for three to six inches shoes. You can order only one and this can be used on both of your right and left high heels.
This is also made out of premium polished beech wood making it very durable even for several uses. It also comes with two relief pods that you can use to target specific areas that may be caused by bunions and corns.
In some cases, the stretcher is a bit wide that creates an overstretching of the shoes' width. However, if width does not concern you, you should definitely give this device a try.
- Constructed using high quality beech wood paired with stainless steel
- A good width stretcher for shoes with three to six inches heels
- Localized adjustment is also available as it comes with three bunion plugs to target specific problem areas
- The size specified turns out to be bigger when used in actual shoes
- Tends to be narrow and must be cranked several times in order to touch the side of the shoes
- Metal parts may cause dents on shoes when cranked too much
Overall, this is one of the best shoe stretchers because of its good quality using premium beech wood and stainless steel. This can't be used in flat shoes because it is curved and specifically made for three to six inches high heel shoes only.
It is also a plus that it includes three bunion plugs unlike others that come only with two, thus, allowing you to treat more local areas. However, the sizes of this device can be a bit bigger than the standard shoe size.
And even though it is supposed to fix the width of your shoes, this device turns out to be narrow and a lot of cranking is needed in order for it to touch the actual sides of a shoe. There are also cases when this leaves a dent on the soles because the metal part pushes it down after too much cranking.
- Uses genuine hard wood and metal for its components
- Specifically made to cater shoes that have shorter heels, one and a half to three inches high
- Allows localized adjustments with its pressure pods
- This can be used for both the right and the left shoe
- Cheaper price compared to its other counterparts
- The bend of the stretcher is minimal causing it not to fit in most high heels
- The width is too wide so it doesn't fit quite well in some toe boxes
- May create lumps in some shoes because it is big and may stretch the shoe on other areas
The device is made of durable wood and metal and is supposed to work for shoes that have 1.5 to 3 inches heels. This comes with bunion plugs that can be used for specific areas that need further adjustment. One device can be used alternately in both the right and left shoe.
However, the bend of the stretcher which is supposed to cater high heels is a bit minimal, making it useless for some high heel shoes. The size is also wider than advertised so it may not fit all toe boxes. The device itself is enormous creating unnecessary lumps on some areas of the shoe.
- The kit comes with a professional shoe stretcher to adjust the width of your shoes and a shoe stretch spray to hasten the procedure
- Stretch spray can soften and is suitable for leather
- The device also includes metal bunion plugs
- Can be used for both right and left shoe
- Can only be used to stretch the width of shoes and not the length
- The back area tends to separate more than the toe area when cranked
- Can come a bit shorter
- Only works best with pointed shoes and not on wider shoes
The device is made of sturdy materials. The quality is good and can definitely be used for several uses. The kit also includes a shoe stretcher spray that comes in handy when you are trying to widen leather shoes as the spray helps soften the material.
However, this device is only intended to adjust the width of your shoes and not the length, thus, you might need to get a separate or different device if you intend to adjust both as this is not a two-way stretcher.
This is also a bit narrow making it perfect for pointed and narrowed toe shoes and unsuitable for wider ones.
- Specifically made for the adjustment of shoes that have high instep and for the vamp area of boots
- Created using a heavy duty cast aluminum for stronger built
- Can be used alternately for both the right and the left shoe
- Uses a screw mechanism allowing easy maneuver for adjustment
- The rod for adjustment is made of metal and may require regular maintenance and oiling
- Tends to slide inside the boots when cranked
- This is on the pricier side
As this shoe stretcher is made using heavy duty cast aluminum, you can be sure that the quality is high and the built is strong. As the rods are also made of metal, you may need to regularly oil it to avoid rusting and ensure continuous quality.
This is specifically made to ease the adjustment of your boots vamp area. You will only need one device as this also works in both the right and left shoe. However, if you prefer to adjust your boots all at the same time, you can opt to buy two of this if the high price does not bother you.
- Very versatile and can fit all sizes
- Created using heavy duty metal to ensure durability and strength
- Sports a unique locking mechanism to provide proper stretching
- Guarantees to lift up to two inches
- Tends to slip a lot and doesn't stay in place
- Provides a little range of motion for maneuvering
- The design looks crude and needs more polishing
The device is made using heavy duty metal making it reliable when it comes to strength and durability. However, the design itself needs more polishing as the heavy metal creates a crude appearance for the device.
It promises to lift the shoes up to two inches, however, in most cases, you will need to wrap it up or add a pad to achieve the desired lift.
Overall, the best shoe stretchers are created using high quality materials such as metal and polished wood. In most cases, there are issues with the width being too narrow than it is supposed to be.
In my own opinion, basing on quality and performance, your best bet for high heel shoes is the Ladies' Two-way High Heel Shoe Stretcher. This is made of a high quality polyurethane plastic and can be used for both length and width adjustment. The size is good and there were no issues with its fit.
The Boot Instep Stretcher Made from Cast Aluminum is also a good option as it stands out in quality and durability because of its superior aluminum material. There are no fitting issues and it also doesn't slip, thus providing the needed adjustment for your boots.