Can a Shoe or Boot be Stretched? Can I Stretch a Shoe or Boot Myself?

Can a Shoe or Boot be Stretched?

Yes, any shoe or boot can be stretched. At Boyer’s BootNShoe, we stretch dozens of boots and shoes every day. How much your footwear can be stretched will vary depending on what material they are made of and which area needs stretching. Leather footwear will stretch much more than man-made footwear. At Boyer’s BootNShoe we can expertly increase the size of your shoes using a variety of professional equipment. We routinely stretch boots and shoes in the length, width, instep, heel, bunions or corns. On boots we also stretch tops and throats to make a boot easier to get on. If anywhere hurts we can usually stretch or soften the exact spot to give you relief.

Can I stretch a Shoe or Boot Myself?

Yes you can stretch a boot or shoe yourself. But how much and where it can be stretch will be more limited than what we at can do with our large assortment of professional equipment.

How to stretch shoes yourself.

Getting a shoe to stretch requires two things: preparing the material and applying pressure.

Preparing the material:

  • Preparing Leather – Leather will stretch best when it is wet. Warm water can be used for this, however it may discolor or stain the leather. We recommend using a stretching solution, like Justin Boot Stretch. This product easily penetrates the leather surface . You should test the solution on an area to make sure it does not discolor. However, we find that it rarely causes any discoloration.
  • Preparing Vinyl and Urethane – Man-made leather is best prepared by warming the surface. A Warm blow dryer can be used for this. Note that the surface may be damaged if it gets too hot, so use caution.
  • Preparing Fabric – Fabric can also be treated with Justin Boot Stretch. Test it in an inconspicuous place to make sure it will not discolor the surface. However, we find that it rarely causes any discoloration.

Stretching the Shoe or Boot – This requires applying pressure to the area. This can be accomplished with several means.

  • Wear it. Just wearing the shoe after applying a wetting agent may be all that is needed. The shoe or boot will stretch in the tight area. However this takes time and if the shoe is too tight it may hurt too much during the process. This usually only works for the width or for a bunion or little toe area. It will not work for stretching the length.
  • Use a stretching tool. You can buy wooden or plastic shoe and boot stretchers that spread apart and widen a shoe. Stretch to the desired size and then let the shoe dry or cool while still on the stretcher. Leave them on the stretcher overnight.
  • Stuff It. I’ve heard of people just stuffing their footwear with Newspaper. But this does not apply as much pressure so it limits how much it can be stretched.
  • Professional Tools – You can buy all kinds of professional tools but it may be more cost efficient to send them to use to fix or take to your local shoe repairman.

Answers to questions and comments about Stretching?

Can man-made materials be stretched? Yes, but not as much as leather can. Leather is more forgiving.

Will Boots and Shoes stretch on their own? Yes, but it takes time and lots of wear. A good rule of thumb is: If a shoe or boot hurts your foot then stretch it. If a shoe or boot is snug then just wear it until it stretches or conforms to your foot.

28 thoughts on “Can a Shoe or Boot be Stretched? Can I Stretch a Shoe or Boot Myself?

  1. Pingback: How should a new boot fit? | Ask the Boot Guy

  2. Pingback: Can I stretch my boot tops or add a panel? | Ask the Boot Guy

    • Yes, we stretch Justin Gypsy boots everyday. Any leather footwear can be stretched. Footwear made of Man-made materials can be stretched too, but usually not as much as leather. Justin Gypsy boots are made of leather and will stretch very nicely.

  3. How much to stretch one chuck taylor hightop canvas. My right foot has a bunion. Shoes are great looking but can’t wear them.

    • Yes, we can them stretch in the Length for you. Vegan leather is not leather but is made of synthetic materials. Vegan leather will not stretch as much as real leather, but it still can be stretched some. If the boots are the right size, but just tight in the toes, then we can stretch them enough for you to wear.

        • The steel toe can’t be stretched, but the shoes can be made to fit better. The leather behind the toes can be stretched and this can keep the steel toe from hurting your toes. Also See this post I made about making steel toes fit better. here is the link
          The boots must still be ASTM approved to be safe and that limits some of what can be done. Stretching the steel may make the boots unsafe.

    • Leather can be stretched an amazing amount. I have stretched some boot tops as much as 2-3 inches. But there are many factors in how much a boot will stretch. Here is a good rule of thumb for you: If you can get the boots on, but they are tight, then I am sure they can be stretched enough. If you need more than that, then you are in the questionable area. It would be taking a chance in stretching them. Your boots may stretch but there is a chance the stretching may pop a seam or bust the leather. I would recommend if you need a lot of stretch to add a leather panel or or some elastic to give you the room you need. But if you don’t mind taking a chance because you can’t wear the boots anyway, then give them a stretch. It is the least expensive thing to do.

  4. I have a pair of Keen boots. I love them to bits. When I get them on they fit perfectly and they keep my feet so warm. The only qualm I have with them is putting them on. My heel gets stuck and it’s a fight trying to push and pull at the same time to get them on. I have two questions for you…My first question is, can the opening of my boots be stretched? And my second question is, about how long would it take?

    • Yes they can be stretched so you can get them on easier. We call the area you need stretched the Throat of the boot. We can stretch the throat and it opens up the top making the boot easier to get on. Stretching the throat does not change the fit of the foot of the boot.
      We only need a day or two to stretch your boots.

      • Thank you for your promt reply! I had a feeling it could be stretched. The two local stores said it couldn’t be stretched, but then tried selling me a new pair of boots. I smelled something fishy, so I thought I’d ask someone else.
        The boots in question are the second pair on this link. They’re called “Helena” and the part that my heels get stuck on is the seam going around the boot just under the laces.

        • Yes, your Keen Helena boot can easily be stretched.
          We probably do this about 10-15 times a day. We often stretch brand new boots so folks can get the boots on easier. Some Brands just run tight in the Throat area. Its an easy fix.

  5. Does the person who needs the shoes stretched need to bring them in so their feet can be sized, etc., or can anyone drop off the shoes and say “I need these stretched”?

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