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How to Stretch Leather Shoes

The Tried-and-True Way to Break in a New Pair of Shoes

It's a tale that's far too common: you bought shoes in a smaller size perhaps because they were the only ones left, they were on sale, or you were between sizes and made a big mistake. Even footwear purchases that are true to your size can feel constricting if the material is too stiff.

After struggling with uncomfortable shoes — and buyer's remorse as a result — one too many times, I looked into different hacks for breaking in shoes and ultimately settled on one tried-and-true method that involves socks and . . . a hair dryer? Because it involves heat, however, you might want to skip this method if your shoes are made of plastic.

Look ahead for our breakdown and try it out yourself next time a pair of shoes starts giving you blisters!

  1. Find your thickest winter socks.
  2. Slip on your shoes while wearing the socks.
  3. Grab your hair dryer, switch it onto a warm or hot setting, and pass it over your feet for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pay close attention to the areas of the shoes that were particularly tight and keep the hair dryer concentrated on those spots.
  5. Wiggle your feet around while the hair dryer is applying heat.
  6. Turn off the dryer and walk around as the shoes begin to cool. Slip off the socks, try the shoes back on, and gauge how comfortable they are.
  7. Repeat this process until you've reached the desired comfort level.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Emily Faulstitch
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