How to Stretch Sneakers for Wide Feet?

If you have wide feet, the probability to always struggle to get sneakers that will fit comfortably is high. To make matters worse, most shoe companies use a one-size-fits sizing model, which might end up not being an excellent fit for your wide feet.

So, what do you do to avoid ill-fitting shoes that will do more harm than good to your feet?

Well, you don’t have to miss out on owning the same pair of sneakers as your friends because they are not available in your size. Just follow the methods outlined below to stretch your sneakers.

These tried and tested ideas are meant to help stretch the materials of the sneakers without damaging them so they can blend around your wide feet without hassle.

How Do You Stretch Your Sneakers?

There are different inexpensive methods of stretching sneakers for wide feet, as seen below.

Wear Them at Home

Although we put on sneakers when we need to be on the move, however, putting on tight sneakers will make you feel uncomfortable until you remove them.

The moment you buy a pair of sneakers that are not wide enough for your feet, start wearing them at home. Moving around with them will stretch out the material and tread.

  • Put them on for at least 4-5 hours daily
  • Begin to increase the time you wear them at home
  • Ensure you are walking around in them apart from when sitting down
  • Wait until they are comfortably stretched before wearing them outdoors

The break-in process will take place when sweat and heat from your feet soften the wall of the sneakers, and it begins to conform to the shape of your feet. This works best for sneakers that are not overly tight.

However, if you need to wear sneakers to an event in a day or two, this option might not work because you need 5-7 days before you can see a tangible result if you go with the option described above.

Wear Thick Socks

Simply put on one (for tightly fitted sneakers) or two pairs of thick wool socks on your feet with the sneakers you want to stretch.

Use the socks to make your feet as large as you want by moving your feet back and forth continuously, wiggle your feet from side to side, and walk around in them until you feel it is comfortable for your feet.

Use Hairdryer

This method requires a hairdryer, and if used right, you’ll get stretched-out sneakers in no time. Do the following:

  • Put the sneakers on your feet after putting on thick socks
  • Put the sneakers on your feet after putting on thick socks
  • Use a hairdryer to blow heat unto the external surfaces of the sneakers
  • Switch the hot air from one shoe to the other every 30 seconds
  • Ensure you blow on the heels, sides, and toe cap
  • Try to wiggle your toes and feet as the process is ongoing
  • Make sure you spend at least two minutes on each shoe

Heating your sneakers with a hairdryer will loosen up the fabric, while the flexing of the foot and wiggling of toes will stretch the fabric, making it to mold and comfortably fit your wide feet.

Use Ice

Water expands when it freezes, so it can be used to stretch out sneakers to accommodate your wide feet.

  • Fill 3.8 L sealable bags with water to half level
  • Push in the water-filled bag into the sneakers until the front of the bag reaches the tip of the shoes (be careful, so they don’t leak)
  • Put the sneakers on a flat surface in the freezer and facing upward
  • Leave in the freezer for 8-10 hours or overnight so the water can turn to ice
  • The freezing process with stretch and expand the insides of the sneakers
  • Take them out of the freezer the next day and remove the ice bag from them

Allow the sneakers to warm up for a little time before trying them out; they would have stretched to fit your wide feet perfectly.

If you feel the wideness is not enough, you can repeat the process for more and better fitting.

Use Potatoes

It may sound funny, but yes, it works perfectly!

  • Simply peel a large potato that can fit into the sneaker
  • Put into your sneakers and leave overnight

Well, it will not only stretch your sneakers but also get rid of the unwanted odor that came from the factory.

Use Alcohol Spray

It involves mixing 50% water with 50% alcohol into a spraying bottle and spraying on your sneakers while it is on your feet. The process will stretch them to the size of your feet.

Another way is to spray on the sneaker’s inner, which will not only stretch it but also strengthen the tread on the sneakers.

Try it out after an hour to check out the difference in the fitting.

Use Shoe-stretching Inserts

These are foot-shaped plastic or wooden objects used to apply outward pressure or widen shoes as they are gently pushed into the hollow body of the shoe.

Whenever you are not wearing your sneakers, put the shoe-stretching insert into the shoe, and also press the heel into its place. Doing this will cause the front part of the insert to expand, thus widening the sneakers.

To get the best result, let the inserts stay in for at least three days so the sneakers can accommodate your feet comfortably.

Apart from the manual shoe-stretching inserts, there are some professional shoe stretchers recommended by shoe manufacturers that you can buy from sports shops.

They are a full kit that contains a wedged-shaped plug and specialized spray.

  • Spray the interior of the sneakers thoroughly
  • Fit in the plug into the sneakers
  • You will notice a knob on the top of the plug which you will twist clockwise, thereby expanding the stretcher to your desired level
  • Let the expanded stretcher stay in the sneakers overnight
  • Turn the knob counter-clockwise when ready the next day to withdraw it from the sneakers

Following the instruction will help the sneakers to stretch and fit your wide feet comfortably.

Stuff Your Sneakers

With the flexible nature of sneakers, this method will give you the fast result that you desire so you can flex your sneakers.

  • Get some pairs of thick socks
  • Wad together and stuff into the sneakers until there is no space in it; most importantly, the toe box area
  • Leave in the sneakers for over 10 hours

Because of the light materials used for manufacturing sneakers, it will stretch out to make your wide feet fit in comfortably.

If you are not satisfied with the width, you can repeat the process until you get the right fitting.

Use Shoe Repair Professionals

To save you time and stress, you can take your sneakers to cobblers or shoe repair shops that have tools and machines that can be used to stretch them to your size.

It is not a process that takes time but will cost you money to have it done. You can ask for such shoe professionals in your vicinity to help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can cause tightness in sneakers?

  • When the shape of the sneakers is not in conformity with your feet
  • Narrow toe box
  • The overall length of the sneakers is short

To prevent harming your feet and joints, it is better to use the methods we recommend to make them fit, instead of spending so much time and money to find uncommon readymade wide sneakers.

How do you know your sneakers don’t fit properly?

The moment you put on a pair of sneakers and discover your toes are overlapping one another or do not face forward, rest assured, those sneakers are tight.

On the other hand, your shoes are well-fitting when your toes are straight forward, not turned to either side, and there is space between your toes.

Things to Note When Buying Sneakers for Your Wide Feet

  • Do not be in a hurry; try them out till you get your size if in a physical store
  • If shopping online, go for professional fitting sessions to know your right size. Doing so will prevent wasting time and resources on return orders
  • Buy sneakers that have a wide toe box
  • Buy sneakers that have a wide toe box

Doing this will save you from have foot conditions caused by tight or ill-fitted shoes.


The feel of a comfortable pair of sneakers on the feet is incomparable because of the spring it adds to your steps.

Invariably, wearing an ill-fitting sneaker if you have wide feet is a no-no!

Limiting yourself to a small or narrow sneaker because of limited options is bad for the health of your feet.

You need no longer worry about finding what to do to make your favorite sneakers fit like a second skin if you rely on the methods outlined above.

You can use any or a combination of the methods to get the desired fit for your wide feet.

Note that having these hacks at your fingertips does not replace the fact that you always need to buy the right size of sneakers for your sports, leisure, or other related activities.

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