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How To Stretch Shoes Wider For Bunion Relief

If you suffer from bunions, you know just how uncomfortable they can be. Stretching out your shoes to make them wider can help you gain some much-needed relief. In this article, we’ll cover different ways you can do that.

If you don’t want to spend money on specially designed bunion shoes, then you can use these tips and tricks to make the shoes that you already have comfortable for your feet with bunions.

1. Use a Shoe Stretching Kit

If you’d prefer a less DIY option, then you might consider purchasing a professional shoe stretching kit. You’ll probably pay between $25 and $50, but you’ll have the tools you need to stretch your shoes.

Typically, these kits come with a spray that you use before inserting the shoe stretcher into your shoe. The spray is necessary to loosen up the fibers, which means that when you stretch the shoe, it will be more effective.

After you insert the stretcher and twist the widening handle to stretch and expand your shoe, you’ll want to keep it in for 24 hours before trying on your shoes to see if they are more comfortable.

If you have a lot of shoes that you want to stretch, you might want to consider getting a shoe stretching kit for ease. You’ll also want to double-check that you’re getting a kit that is designed for stretching shoes for bunion relief.

Shoe stretching kits will always expand your shoes, but it might not be in the right areas if you have bunions. Make sure that you get one with bunion plugs so that you can make the top of the toe box where your bunion sits more comfortably.

2. Freeze Overnight

If you have a bag and a freezer, this is an easy way to stretch your shoes. Simply fill a bag that is large enough to fit in your shoe with water. Next, place it inside your shoe and then put your shoe in the freezer overnight.

The water will expand as it freezes, which will stretch out your shoes. When you take your shoes in the morning, remove the bag and then let them dry for around 30 minutes before trying them on.

3. Wear Thick Socks

This might be an uncomfortable option for some, but it’s an easy way to stretch your shoes. Simply wear thick socks with your shoes for an hour at a time. Your shoes will gradually loosen and be more comfortable with your bunions.

4. Spray With Rubbing Alcohol

You’ll want to check this technique on an unseen area first to make sure that you avoid damage and discoloration to your shoes. You might also want to try this on an old pair of shoes first to see your results.

Simply take a mix of 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol and spray (or rub) it on your shoes. Try your shoes on immediately after you’ve sprayed them to see how the fit is. If it’s still too tight, you can repeat the process.

You’ll want to make sure, though, that you go easy on the rubbing alcohol spray, as too much could damage your shoes. If you have shoes with natural fabrics, this is a great option.

5. Use Wet Newspaper (or a Potato!)

Like the freezer option, take a wet newspaper that can fill the inside of your shoes or a large potato (that you’ve peeled) and insert them into your shoes. Simply leave them overnight and try on the shoes in the mornings to see if they are stretched out and more comfortable.

If it’s still a little tight the next morning, allow your shoes to sit with a wet newspaper or potato in them for another day and that should stretch them out enough so that it’s comfortable for you again.

6. Use a Spoon to Soften Fabric

If you want to have shoes stretched like Queen Elizabeth, you should use a spoon to soften the fabric, which you can then stretch. Her personal stylist Stewart Pavin uses a spoon strap and stretches the Queen’s shoes with the back of a spoon.

It’s helpful to have a strap so that you don’t have to grip the spoon so tightly. All you have to do is use the back of the spoon to press furiously in areas that rub your feet. 

It’s important to remember, though, that this method is gradual, so don’t expect immediate results. Just keep working at it!

Other Tips for Bunion Relief From Shoes

If you’ve tried all of these techniques and none have worked, you might be wondering what else you can do. You have two good options.

Change The Lacing on Your Shoes

First, you can try changing the lacing on your shoes. This technique you can also use in conjunction with stretching your shoes for bunion relief if you’d like. 

I’d personally recommend starting with changing the lacing because that might solve your problem. If not, you can always move on to other options, but at least you did the easiest thing first. 

If you want to know how exactly to lace your shoes to ease up on your bunions, you can try the bunion step-over technique. If you need more specific directions if you have a wide foot or narrow foot and a bunion and want to account for that, check out these lacing techniques

Buy New Shoes With a Wide Toe Box

If all else fails, of course another option is to buy new shoes that have a wide toe box. Pick shoes that are known for their roomy toe boxes like Altra. You also might want to look at the stitching on the shoe.

It will be particularly uncomfortable for you to have stitching over a bunion. A shoe with a mesh fabric will be more comfortable because it’s more forgiving. If you have a stretchy and roomy upper, you will stay more comfortable when you walk and run with bunions.

If you’re still having problems finding shoes that are comfortable, you might want to check out a specialty shoe that is more likely to have shoes for people with bunions and you could always purchase men’s athletic shoes if you’re a female with wide feet and bunions.

Finally, don’t forget to shop for shoes later in the day because that’s when your foot swells, and you’ll get the most accurate fit. It will be prime time for you to discover if a particular shoe irritates your bunion.

Final Thoughts

Although it is annoying to deal with bunions, you can make your shoes more comfortable by stretching them out and even lacing them differently. Try one of the techniques that most appeals to you and give it time. Those shoes will get more comfortable!

The Wired Runner