New shoes are a bit like birthday cake: They never fail to make you smile, no matter how sparkly, shiny, or extra they may be.
That being said, there's nothing more annoying than ordering a pair of shoes online and instantly feeling the pinch of blisters on the back of your heel or side of your baby toe. Although blisters are actually super common—most people will experience at least a couple every year, according to the NHS website—it doesn't stop them being seriously annoying.
The answer? Stretching your shoes, according to... well, moms everywhere. But is there any method in the madness, and can it possibly work? Plus, is it worth risking however much you just spent on your new shoes if you end up stretching them two sizes too big?
We bought you guides to how to wear a bandana, how to wear a beret, how to wear ripped jeans and how to wear a headband: Bext up, we've picked the brains of Victoria Prew, founder and CEO of fashion rental service HURR. She'll explain the logic behind stretching your shoes, plus share all her top tips for stretching safely. Sit tight.
Why would you want to stretch your shoes?
Well, according to Victoria, to protect your poor feet from said blisters.
"Shoe stretching is often done to try and avoid the rubbing and blistering of new shoes. While it's not a standard practice, it is possible to stretch and soften new leather shoes, in particular," she explains.
If they're causing blisters in the first place, it could be that they are too tight or narrow at certain points of the shoe. Stretching them could help by—yep, you guessed it—stretching the shoe a little, and in turn, increasing the room for your foot.
Step-by-step instructions for stretching your shoes
It's totally doable at home, according to Victoria. "You can, of course, get your DIY on and give it a go from the comfort of your living room," she explains. Not feeling so confident? There are tons of video tutorials on YouTube and Instagram, too, if you'd rather watch a visual guide.
There are several different methods, including the below:
Stuff your shoes with newspaper.
- Crumple up newspaper.
- Make sure the newspaper is just slightly wet, but make sure it's not soaking. Water can damage the inner sole, Victoria explains.
- Stuff each shoe with enough paper until it is sufficiently full and slightly stretching.
- Let the paper dry and remove before the next time you wear.
Wear your shoes around the house.
Another way to stretch your shoes, if they're not causing more severe blisters, is to wear them around the house, pre-wearing out. That way, they get a feel for your feet, too.
Is there anything to be careful of when stretching shoes?
If in doubt, it's best to leave it to the professionals, Victoria warns. A simple search of shoe repair shops near you should be able to inform you which professionals are near you, what services they offer, and how much they'll set you back.
"If you've invested in a pair of boots that are a bit too tight, why not try stretch them?" she explains. "A simple stretching solutions could ensure any items you purchase are indeed worn."
If you've given it a go and they're still not quite right, there are other options for your shoe, she goes on. "If after a few tries they're still not right, always be sure to resell the shoes or donate them to charity to make sure they'll have a new home." Waste not, want not.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.