Some time ago, when I was still young, I got a pair of leather shoes I had been eyeing for a while. The shoe was everything I dreamed of, except it was a little too snug in some parts. Not willing to give up on my dream shoe, I searched the internet and learned about the magic of rubbing alcohol.
Apparently, applying a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water on the parts of the shoe that feel tight expands and stretches them. That way, the alcohol expands those specific parts and stretches out the shoe.
Apart from learning to apply alcohol to shoes, I’ll also explain the science of rubbing alcohol stretching shoes, how to make a DIY shoe stretch spray, and what to do if your shoe is not genuine leather or made from other materials.
How to Stretch Your Shoes with Alcohol?
First, you need to know that when I say alcohol, I’m talking about rubbing alcohol. So, to stretch your shoes using alcohol, you must pour some alcohol into a spray can and put on the shoes. To get the best results, do this.
Spray the alcohol all around the shoe until every external surface is covered. Don’t remove your foot until you are certain the alcohol is dried from the surface. The next time you put on a pair of shoes, you will notice a difference in size. If the difference isn’t pronounced enough, repeat the process.
A slightly more uncomfortable way to stretch your shoes using alcohol is to soak a pair of thick socks in alcohol. Put on the alcohol-laden socks before putting on the shoes. Wear the shoes until you are sure the alcohol has evaporated from them. Then, take off the shoes and the socks.
I wouldn’t advise you to use the socks method if your pair of shoes are not genuine leather or suede as excess moisture tends to ruin both materials. The socks method will only work perfectly if the shoe is canvas or trainers.
For a more customized stretch, apply the alcohol on a cotton ball or swab. Rub the cotton swab or ball on the part of your foot where you feel the shoe is tight. Put on the shoe with the alcohol-soaked foot until you feel the shoe begin to feel comfortable around the foot. This method is perfect for you if you are trying to stretch shoes made from natural leather.
How Alcohol Stretches Shoes
Like many science experiments that look unbelievable at first sight, the explanation is usually mundane. In the case of alcohol and leather what happens is that the alcohol acts on the leather fibers.
The alcohol makes the leather fibers looser, which expands the size of the material and gives you a more comfortable fit. Another advantage of rubbing alcohol over other stretching mediums like water is that it doesn’t dry out the leather.
How to Make A DIY Shoe Stretch Spray?
There are generic shoe stretch spray brands available in stores, but it is possible to make your own in the comfort of your home. You must get some rubbing alcohol, an equal measure of water, and a bowl or spray container. Now, all you must do is:
- Put the rubbing alcohol into the bowl or spray container
- Add an equal amount of water to the rubbing alcohol. I recommend adding water to reduce the harsh effect of rubbing alcohol on the shoe’s leather.
- Pour the new solution into a spray container. Using a spray container makes it easy to apply the diluted rubbing alcohol on your shoes.
How to Expand Shoes That Aren’t Leather?
For shoes made from synthetic leather, canvas, or plastic, there are other ways to stretch them. Here are some of them.
Using Shoe Stretchers
Shoe stretchers are devices shaped like feet that you place in your shoes to increase their length. To lengthen or stretch your shoes with a shoe stretcher, get one that is slightly longer than the shoe length.
Place the shoe stretchers in the shoes and lace them as tight as they can. I urge you to be careful when putting the stretchers in your shoes. Because the shoe stretchers are slightly bigger, you might have trouble positioning them in the shoes. What I recommend is using the right amount of pressure and gentle maneuvering until the stretchers are in place.
Leave the shoe stretchers in the shoes whenever you are putting them on. Over time, the shoes start to elongate.
Freezing The Shoes
I raised my eyebrows like you were when I first read about freezing shoes to stretch them. I can, however, assure you that if your shoe is made of original leather, freezing them works.
Get some old newspapers and shove them into the shoes. The next step is to place the shoes into a Ziploc bag and ensure there’s no air before sealing it. Put the sealed bag in the freezer overnight.
As water freezes, it expands. So, putting, freezing the shoes expands them. However, freezing any type of leather shoe will cause the leather to crack.
Heating the Shoes
If you want a fast stretch, I recommend you put on a pair of socks (preferably thick). With your stockinged feet, put on the shoe before setting your hair dryer on medium heat. Apply the heat on each shoe for about thirty seconds.
Make sure you don’t put you move the hair dryer around, so it provides uniform heat to the shoe. The job of the heat is to soften the shoe. Wiggle your toes as you move the heat source around because your moving toes will aid the stretching of the shoes. After heating, don’t remove the shoes until they have completely cooled.
Why don’t you get out those shoes you have put aside because they have made you uncomfortable and try to stretch them using rubbing alcohol? Whether you spray the solution on the shoes, apply it on your feet, or soak them in socks, the result is the same. A stretched shoe that gives you comfort.
You must be careful with the amount of rubbing alcohol you apply to genuine leather because excess quantities might damage them. If your shoes are not genuine leather, take advantage of the other methods I have mentioned to get them stretched.