View Full Version : has anyone had their shoes stretched wider?

03-11-2014, 20:09
Have to ask: Has anyone had their shoes stretched so they were wider? I'm not talking about doing from a normal to 4e but just to give a little bit more room. Is the stretch permanent? I have seen videos on youtube, did you have a place do it like an outfitter.

As you can see I have a lot of questions about footwear, GOOD measurements from someone who knows what they are doing.

With someone who has developed funky feet I never new getting wide hiking boots were so hard.

As always any help, or thoughts are greatly appreciated.



kayak karl
03-11-2014, 20:21
cowboy boots, yes. it worked fine.

03-11-2014, 20:31
Yup, after a few hundred miles my shoes are plenty stretched!

Damn Yankee
03-11-2014, 20:37
I have a EEE wide foot and on top of that, I only wear a 7.5 but to get a extra wide shoe in a 7.5 is impossible because most stores only carry whole sizes so I end up wearing an 8. I have found that Keen and Sketcher have up to EEEE. I however can't help with the stretching your boots, other than to say...if they are full leather like some of the old classics than a cobbler should be able to soak and stretch them. The bigger problem if finding a cobbler these days. We had one here in town up until a few years ago when he decided to retire because nobody repairing shoes any more and that most shoes sold today are disposable.

03-11-2014, 20:42
I have for my off trail boots. But it didn't last for my boots. Ended up every other year having to have them stretched.

03-11-2014, 20:51
Yeah, I've had shoe store specialists and booteries tweak the inside dimensions of my hiking shoes for my weird shaped feet. They do it on something that looks like an anvil stretching the shoe slightly and loosening it up in certain areas like toe length(a little bit, like 1/4-1/2 size larger depending on the specific shoe). Usually no charge if you bought the shoes from them. My 2nd and third toes are longer than my so called big toe so it was nice having the toe room lengthened where those 2nd and third toes lay on shoes that otherwise were perfect fitting. I've also had this done slightly in the width because I too have EEEE width feet and large Sesamoids bones(look at the foot pic). I don't do this as often as I once did because I primarily aim to get the shoe fit right with overall better shoe maker and model choices at the start. What I eventually realized with the help of knowledgeable podiatrists, foot people(long time runners, NBA athletes), and seeking out knowledgeable hiking shoe certified shoe salesmen/stores is that I had started developing bone spurs on the rear of my heels and the Sesamoids bones as a result of many yrs of opting for improper(too tight) fitting shoes. I can gratefully say my feet are happy because of the positive changes.


03-11-2014, 23:07
I've had cowboy boots stretched by a boot store.

Rub some sort of hypophobic substance on the boot after. (At least, that's what I did.)

03-12-2014, 08:19
I do it for every pair of shoes/boots I own. I have no other choice as it is impossible for me to buy a shoe except for bespoke ones. The bare footers huararches I've made don't give me any problems. I have a high volume, wide foot with a bit of "bunionage".

For leather shoes I take them to a local shoe repair shop and adjust until they're right.

With other shoes I have tried several different methods. The best method I find is to put them on with a few extra pairs of socks and then use a heat gun (like for paint stripping) and carefully heat up the tight spots until the material relaxes slightly. The socks protect your feet and help to bring out the tight spots.

You have to be carefully do this. I only do it because I have no other choice. The heat gun can undermine the strength of the material by over thinning it, and in some cases making it brittle. The heat can also melt the glue that holds the shoe together. I do several pairs a year and rarely mess them up now.

Good luck,


03-12-2014, 09:47
I had a pair of Vasque low top shoes stretched, but the cobbler could not stretch my Dunham boots because of there design.
Happy Trails

Pedaling Fool
03-12-2014, 10:43
The author of a book I read http://www.amazon.com/The-Unconquered-Search-Amazons-Uncontacted/dp/0307462978 had a pair of boots he had to buy on short notice and they ended up being too tight.

He soon found out during their journey and it was too late to get a new pair. He was told of a trick, by one of the porters, where if you fill up the boots with beans and water the beans would expand as they hydrated, thereby expanding the boots.

Apparently this only made it worse, but luckily he found someone to trade boots with. I've never experimented with various techniques of widening boots; I only do it the old fashioned way.

03-12-2014, 16:03
Thank you all for the replies.

As with an earlier post I'm trying to break my feet into orthopedic insoles. I was told by the DR., who is an outdoors man, that the purpose or these insoles is to realign my feet and reduce the pressure of the flat feet I have and reduce the pressure of this damn Bunion.

So I have size 13 Keen Targhees mid tops. They fit width wise with the insoles and with the socks but they are too big. Size 12 keens are too narrow and rub. Size wise I think they can work. I was told at REI that they can stretch them. I take that with a grain of salt. I do not have much faith in the persons in that department from previous experience. If that could happen it may work.

I looked at New Balance, Dunham, and Prophet, and I'm not crazy about what I have seen. They look like tennis shoes. It may hold on the AT but other trails I use...........

I honestly never thought
1) I would have such a hard time finding a boot my size, that would fit
2) The lack of knowledge, and competency from several reputable outdoor outfitters. I live in NC which is a mecca for hiking so to speak, and as soon as someone hears, and see my big ugly flat feet that say "get the Keens out!"
3) I would be whining about this so much!!!!!! It is really starting to concern me.

Thank you for your patience and for your replies, they are very much appreciated and very welcomed. Please keep any suggestions coming, and that you ALL for your patience. I hope to pay this information forward from what I have learned from personal experience and what I have learned from you.


03-12-2014, 17:21
I go to the foot store and they have all kinds of gizmos to stretch boots. I have haglens deformity which is a marble size bump on the back of my heel so they push out the boot at that spot.

03-12-2014, 18:15
MisterFloyd, I haven't been there in about two yrs but the hiking shoe folks at Diamond Brand Outdoors in Arden NC(one town over from Asheville) had shoe certified salespeople(employees that ONLY specialized in hiking shoes) that have provided me with excellent hiking shoe advice and have demonstrated their committment to what they sell. I've bought more than 10 different prs of hiking shoes here during various visits. I've always had all my questions answered knowledgeably. Frugalpackpacker is next door with some very good steep and cheap prices too.

The REI on Schenks Pkwy had another good(but not quite as knowledgeable last time I was there) shoe Dept with shoe certified staff. I used to visit these stores often as I had family that lived around the block from both these different locations.

"as soon as someone hears, and see my big ugly flat feet that say "get the Keens out!" LOL. I get that too. We must be related coming from the same Sasquatch Clan.

The way I've started looking at Mr Floyd, hey better a 1/2 - 1 size too big than too small! It's always easier and more advisable to remedy a slightly too large hiking shoe(1 SIZE larger) rather than uncomfortably jam our clodhoppers into a shoe too small! Keep at it. It pays to get hiking shoes correct!:o

03-12-2014, 21:24
I'm an old guy with some foot problems that were a result of some time spent in the employ of Uncle Sam. My right foot is worse off then the left. After I retired I got into long distance hiking and almost gave it up because of the tough time I had dealing with finding a boot for my right foot. REI finally hooked me up with an Asolo Fugitive boot that came in a size 14 wide. It was okay but a bunion on the foot still gave me fits after about 10 miles with a pack. I walked into the only shoe repair shop I could and they educated me about shoe stretchers. They'll only work with leather shoes/boots. I saturated the troublesome areas of the boot with isopropyl alcohol inside and out, insert the shoe stretcher and expand it as tight as it will go and allow it to stay in the boot overnight. I did this for several nights. I then soaked the troublesome spot of he boot again, put on three pairs of soaks and went hiking with a 30 pound pack until the boot dried. My troubles were over. There is a great selection of shoe stretchers to be found on the net and they're not overly expensie.

07-07-2017, 01:24
Recently I purchase a best shoe stretcher and There is also a specific shoe 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. You can read the detail: view here (https://www.bestshoesstretchers.com/)

07-07-2017, 01:55
I can't give any advice on stretching shoes; however, I can give advice on shoes in general....

I always had issues with my feet when hiking. My blisters were traumatic... every year - after only 50 miles, even though I always backpacked at least 100 continuously on the A.T.

Someone on White Blaze (sorry, I don't remember whom to thank!) suggested I gettrail runnerss. My beloved daughter-in-law then suggested I go to the place she gets her running shoes from (Gazelle in Holland, MI), so I did. They spent over an hour and a half with me making sure I had the right shoe. OMG, they said that if I was not happy with that shoe after my 200-mile hike, I could return it! The results? WOW! No blisters!

SOOO>>> My suggestion.. go to a running store... one that will spend at least 30 minutes checking out your gait, sizing your shoes, etc...

Ugh: My old blisters! (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzpN2dQrl9UfcE1QU3Rid2JqR3FPeWR0WlNFcWRmMnZZZTNv/view?usp=sharing)

07-08-2017, 13:11
I break in leather boots by soaking a pair of socks, wringing them out and putting them on damp. I then put the boots on over the damp socks and wear them for a few hours. This stretches them out a bit. Don't know if it would work with man-made materials.

07-08-2017, 20:07
I break in leather boots by soaking a pair of socks, wringing them out and putting them on damp. I then put the boots on over the damp socks and wear them for a few hours. This stretches them out a bit. Don't know if it would work with man-made materials.
Wet socks won't help a bit with synthetic. And, actually soaking your boots and then putting them on with dry socks and walking the boots dry works even better. And, a 20% alcohol solution dries faster than straight water.

And, in regards to boot stretchers, why do you need wider boots. If you are fighting a bunion or some other prominent pointy spot on your foot, you are better off taking your boots/shoes to a high end ski boot fitter and having them stretch the exact spot that is the problem, instead of making your shoes extra wide overall. For whatever reason, cobblers and such don't seem to have figured out how to do point-specific fitting like ski boot techs have.