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.

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

    1. 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.

    1. Yes, just send them to our store address, Boyer’s Bootnshoe, 420 N36th St. Quincy, IL. 62301 Please include a note with your name address and phone number and a brief description of how you need the boots stretched.

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

    1. 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.

        1. 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 http://wp.me/p2JhCI-O
          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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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. http://www.thegearcaster.com/2011/02/keen-heat-trapolator-underfoot-insulation.html

        1. 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.

  3. 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”?

  4. Can the tops of Olivers safety boots be ‘softened’? I have a fairly new pair of these steel caps and where the seems meet on top, put pressure on the vein/nerve on the top of my foot. The rest of the sizing is fine.

    1. Your boots can be softened in just one spot without stretching the rest of the boot out of shape. This can be done by using a spot stretcher. Or it can be softened without stretching by using a spot rolling machine that we have.
      For DIY you can try dampening the area with water or Ariat Stretch spray. Next “work” the leather by rubbing and flexing it to get it to soften up. You can also apply pressure inside by using something like a wooden spoon or block of wood. Anything that is smooth and can apply more pressure than your hands. This will help lift up the leather and stretch it and add some more room at the spot plus it will break in the leather in that area.

  5. So I live in Iowa, can I send my boot to you for you to fix? How much would it cost/ how’s it work? It’s only the left one, I’ve had a bunion on my left foot all my life. Super annoying. I just need it to be a little wider so I can wear my new boots without pain. (The right one is fine). Also, how long would this take, and how long would it last, once it is stretched? It would suck if I got them fixed and then they just go back to their original size. Thanks! 🙂

    1. You can Ship them to Boyer’s BootNSHoe 420 N 36th St., Quincy, IL 62301. We can easily stretch your boots and give you the room you need for your bunion. We have Super Fast turn around on all of our repairs 2-3 days tops for most all that we do. Stretching is a one day turnaround. They will stay stretched once we stretch them. They only exception to this is if you don’t wear them at all. It could over a period of months shrink back some. The trick is in knowing how much to stretch them so please include a good detailed instruction in your box. So something like, “please stretch my boots in the bunion area of the left boot. I need a lot of extra room and it is ok that the area looks bulged out to accomidate my bunions.” The best you can describe what you need the better the results. Cost to stretch one boot in the bunion is $6 plus return shipping, usually about $15.
      We guarantee that the stretching is enough or we will re-stretch for free. A great guarantee is you live close but not so good if you have to pay for shipping. So that is why a good description helps us do it right the first time.

      1. Okay. So how would I ship them? Do you give me some sort of label, or would I just put my boot in a box with your address and a note inside of what I want done, and take it to the post office? How do I give you the money for the boot fix?

        1. Yes, just put your boot in a box with your address and a note inside of what you want done, and take it to the post office. We can call you when the repair is done and take a credit card over the phone. Or you can put a check in the box with the boots.

          1. Okay, sounds good. I will put my boot/ boots in a box with a note. I have another question: on the boots, on the outside of the boot, but kind of the inside of the ankle area, the zipper sort of bunches up, it’s annoying and a tad uncomfortable. I was wondering if that is also fixable? Also, thank you, I prefer the option to pay over the phone via credit card.

          2. Is it possible that the top of the boot is tight? That might be what is causing the zipper to bunch in the ankle. If so we can stretch the top a bit to allow the zipper to lay flat.

          3. The top of the boot is not tight, it’s actually the opposite. It seems a little loose at the top. Do you think stretching the top would fix this, so the zipper will lay flat, as you said? Also, will it cost more for that as well as making the left one a tad wider?

          4. If the top is not tight there must be some other reason why that zipper is bunching up. We can look at it to see why when we get the boots. But lets not stretch the top then, that won’t help anything.

  6. I just bought a pair of Chanel lambskin leather espadrilles which are a bit snug, can they be stretch and without being discolored being that they are beige?

    1. Yes. stretching will not change the color. It just takes extra care by a professional not to get the shoes dirty in the process. Plus Lambskin stretches easily.

    1. No, sorry that is too much to stretch. That is actually 4 sizes in length. Even if you could stretch it that far there are other problems. For instance, A shoe is made to bend in the spot your foot bends. So the arch of the shoe is still a 6.5 and would not support your 8.5 arches. Can you say foot pain, ouch!

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