Have ever bought a pair of shoes before that just didn’t quite feel right? They looked so good on your feet, perfect for style and they were comfortable. Plus, they might have felt like they would be great for a specific function, such as supporting your feet throughout a long, hard day at work. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We bought a pair of shoes from the discount store, where you can’t take them back, or got them from a clearance sale online. They just aren’t worth sending back, but you won’t be using them now since they don’t exactly fit very well. What if we told you there was a way to prevent those perfectly good shoes from accumulating dust ahead of your next spring cleaning endeavor? A shoe stretcher can do just that, and today our buying guide is going to look into the ins and outs of these contraptions to give you an understanding of how and why you want one. We’ll also look at the top ten available on the market so that you can get yourself off to a fast, easy start. So, let’s begin!
Top Shoe Stretchers Comparison Chart
|Product||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Eachway Adjustable Shoe Stretcher||Pushes in four directions||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. FootMatters Professional Stretch Spray||Won’t cause fading or staining||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. Cherainti 4-Way Shoe Tree Shoe Stretcher||4-way adjustable expander||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Miserwe Shoe Stretcher Unisex||Great in the toe areas||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. StyledRight Unisex Two-Way Shoe Stretcher||Great for wide feet||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. FootFitter Premium Professional Two-Way Shoe Stretcher||2-Way stretcher||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. Plixio Two Pack Wooden Expander||2-Way stretcher||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. West Light Two Way Cedar Expander||2-Way stretcher||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|9. Ivation 3 Spot Shoe Stretching Plugs||Handy spot stretching plugs||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|10. KevenAnna Two Pack Premium Professional Two Way Wooden Shoe Trees||2-Way stretcher||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Shoe Stretchers Buying Guide
Why A Shoe Stretcher?
A lot of people will be seriously questioning the need for a shoe stretcher to be brought into the home. But unlike what we have said so far, there are actually a number of very good reasons why you would want to have one handy. Not only is it nice to have them on hand to make your shoes just a little bit better fit but they also can help alleviate some issues caused by ill-fitting footwear. In this section, here are some of the problems that a shoe stretcher can tackle.
Some People Have Wide Feet
Like it or not, some of us just have wider feet than others do. This is a natural part of life. We are all different, aren’t we? Some folks have gotten the rotten end of the stick, so to speak, when it comes to their feet. They are able to find just the perfect fit when it comes to length, but their width is totally off. They just can’t get anything wide enough for them and in their style. Sure, you can find shoes that have super wide setups, but those don’t always fit the profile and look you’ll want. If you commonly have this problem, perhaps even down to the brand that you like to purchase from, then a shoe stretcher could be right for you.
If you have an issue with things like corns, bunions, blisters, and other things, too, then widening out your shoes might just be the trick to helping cut down on some of that pain. While it’s not going to just fix it, you’d have to assume it won’t, it can help you a lot by taking some of the pressure off of you and your feet. With a bit more room, you may find that it’s ideal for giving you some breathing space and wiggle room, opposite of what you are used to seeing all too often.
Bang For Your Buck
Sometimes, you’ll find that a shoe stretcher is going to help you stretch, pun intended, your budget just that bit more. Yes, you’ll have to pay money out of your pocket up front in order to purchase one, but that can actually help you save money because you won’t be placing that pair of shoes on the back burner. Dressy, fashionable shoes might be bought and worn for one occasion, only for you to realize you can’t ever wear them again. Instead of donating them or letting them sit in obscurity for ages, you can actually get something to make them work for you.
Not A Fool Proof Method
Let’s just be very honest and introspective here. Shoe stretchers are not going to work for all cases in which shoes do not fit you. Yes, they can do a whale of a job, but they do not have the capability to magically fix your shoes and allow you to wear any pair ever. If the shoes are too long or too small, they will not be much good for you. On top of that, if the shoes are super narrow, there may not be much of a chance for it to do the job for you. The idea of a shoe stretcher is to take the shoes and stretch them by a few millimeters. This is not an exact science, rather it is an art that is very, very gradual. You don’t want to see them overextend by doing it too much. The reason why you don’t want to do this is because it can and will destroy the integrity of the shoes. Some materials are super strong, for sure, but they can only take so much. When you stretch shoes too much, you create a major imbalance. You can lose support and overall comfort, all from trying to do something to help you increase comfort. It’s cruel, yes, but you just can’t overdo it and expect to have great results.
Take Things Incrementally
One of the best ways to make sure your shoes fit well and don’t have the integrity of them destroyed is to go about it in an incremental fashion. Take it slow. Go a little bit at a time, checking to see if they fit better constantly. It doesn’t hurt to ‘sneak up’ on it because you can’t go back once you have made them too wide. By easing into and checking periodically, you’ll be able to get the best possible feel and you will be making double sure that you don’t make a huge error and end up with shoes that still do not fit your well at all!
Planning Ahead of Time
As we have stated before, there isn’t much of a magical element to stretching out your shoes. In fact, it’s a lot more about just doing the right thing and seeing a small, legitimate gains as a result of it. We’ve discussed taking it slowly, but part of the picture also has to include making sure that you plan ahead of time. If you are someone that flies by the seat of your pants and never has plans, then you might be up the creek a bit here. Stretching shoes is not a process that takes place over the course of a few minutes. This is not a piece of machinery by which you also combine tremendous loads of pressure upon to create the stretch in a hurry. It really doesn’t take that long to start seeing results, but you have to make sure to afford yourself enough time to let the machine and the shoes go to work. This can be overnight or in a couple of days, so it’s not a huge deal IF you plan accordingly. Failure to do so will leave you cramped and uncomfortable, or you’ll try something desperate that’s surely not going to work one bit. If you do go with a method that promises to do it in short order, then you’re going to end up ruining those very nice shoes you love and want to wear. Then you’ll never get the best out of them! Patience is a virtue, even with footwear, too.
While there are a number of possible materials that can be stretched out a great deal in order to help you get the best fit out of them, perhaps the most common one that you will see this used with is leather. The reason why is pretty simple. Leather is very luxurious and when you buy it, typically you are doing so at a premium price. You want to make them last and you want them to fit you well so that you get value for the dollars you are spending. You can’t get that by having them sit over in the corner forever. So, that makes leather a special case already. Add in the fact that leather is notorious for being rigid, and you could have a really hard time on your hands. People tend to forget just how strong of a material it is at times. The rigidity isn’t bad, but that strength can be its ultimate weakness if you are trying to get the best possible fit from it. So, long story short, leather and shoe stretchers are very much entwined and could help you find a real solution to your problem.
The types of materials that shoes are made out of make a big impact in a multitude of things related to them. The materials can determine the overall cost of a pair of shoes, how long they last, how comfortable they are, how well they perform at a given task, and also can determine how much they can (or can’t) be stretched. In this section, we’re going to summarize what types of materials are ripe for the picking when it comes to stretching and which ones aren’t so good and should most likely be left alone.
First and foremost, we have talked about leather, so we will leave this short. Because leather can be rigid at times, it’s a good candidate to be stretched. Because of its immense toughness, it’s capable of handling it, to a degree, though you should never overdo it. Suede is another material that is similar to leather that can stretched. It’s not as strong as leather is and it has a different look, but it’s another contender to be ‘opened up’ a bit.
Two types of materials that aren’t so good for being stretched are going to include synthetic leathers and vinyl shoes as well. Synthetics are materials that are made by humans with the goal for them to be as similar to leather shoes as they can. However, this is done in order to drive costs, reduce the impact upon animal populations, and to breed more flexibility and durability in a lot of cases. This all sounds good, but synthetic materials have been shown to have a very hard time when you are attempting to stretch them out. There have been real advancements over the years with them, and they aren’t nearly as inflexible and stuck in one place as they once were, but there are still going to be problems for you if you try to force them open. Doing so can harm the integrity greatly, negating the whole purpose essentially. Vinyl shoes, on the contrary, are going to be tough for a shoe stretcher because they are built to have little to no give to them. You can attempt to use one, but it’s going to be like climbing up an icy hill with socks on. You’re ill equipped for the job, even with the best technology, so it’s very much an uphill battle to be waged.
How Does It Work?
Some of you out there will be more interested in the ‘how’ than you are over the ‘what’ or ‘why,’ so if that sounds like you then here is the section just for you. The reason we began with the above is so that you would know how to take precaution and take it slowly and be prepared, since this is not a race to be won. First, what you will want to do is to apply some relaxing fluid. This fluid is going to help condition the leather, or whatever material you have, to be ready for what’s about to happen. You need a primer to paint on some things, so look at this as a similar concept. Next, you will insert the stretcher. Most of them have a handle or a knob for you to turn to make it stretch more, if needed. You will crank this mechanism until you can see, with your own eyes, that pressure is being applied. You do not want to keep cranking it up, as we have discussed before. Better to sneak up on it than blow it to pieces. Look for the area in question to be tight and then leave it and let it sit for a day or two. You can check in on them if you like and then redo the procedure again as you need. You can always leave the shoe stretcher in and go only to crank up the knob just once more. When you are satisfied, take the stretcher out and then try them on. You can always go back to the well to get more water, but you can only do so if there is still water left to get. So don’t take too much at once!
Other Features and Aspects to Consider
As you can already tell, there is a whole lot more to shoe stretchers than what may meet your eyes. You may have thought it was super simple, but in reality, there is more to it. It’s not hard stuff or too much, it’s just new stuff, basically. In this section, we’re going to look over some of the things you should or might want to be on the look out for. Not all of these are necessary to you, but you may just find that they will be helpful to you and thus should be included with your selection.
One of the biggest things you have to do is to make sure that you shoe stretcher is going to actually be a good fit for your shoes. This is something that is often taken for granted for people and is akin to ordering the wrong size, which most likely got your in this spot of bother to begin with. Most of the time, the companies that make the stretchers are going to have them come in “one size fits all,” but that is not always the case. You might see them run for certain sizes, such as small (6-9) and large (10-13) or some other format. This can be a big disappointment for you if you don’t look carefully at all of the available information.
One of the other things that many will overlook is the purpose that they trying to use their stretchers for. Many people tend to forget that not all shoe stretchers are made with the same goal in mind. Most would fall into the ‘regular’ shoe category, yes, but there are some that specialize in stretching out high heels. Then there is the toe stretcher as well. This kind of stretcher works in the toe area alone, rather than a normal one-way stretcher, which will just work to expand throughout the shoes a bit.
Bunions and Corns
It’s honestly not very fun to type either of those words, as we’re sure they are not very fun to live with. Nonetheless, there are some additional features that some shoe stretchers have that will help wage your war against bunions and corns. Not all of these products have them, but if you are looking for relief from those afflictions and you get a good review or two, then you may just feel it’s worth taking a gamble on them to try and get yourself better taken care of.
Durability and Price
The durability of shoes has been a big topic of discussion here in our review, but the durability of the shoe stretcher itself is also something that has to be thought about. Products that are very cheap are naturally going to have a shorter expected lifespan to them. They may not last nearly as long, so you have to keep that in mind when weighing the pros and cons of a given set. With that said, you may not want to pay a ton of money for a shoe stretcher that won’t be used much, so you may be ‘OK’ with that. The other thing to watch for with durability is over the materials used to make the stretcher. Hardwoods, such as cedar and oak are favorable when compared against others since they are so strong and resilient. Plastic, meanwhile, is going to be cheaper but will not retain its integrity for as long. This is just something you’ll have to consider and decide for yourself on how to approach it all.
The Ten Best Shoe Stretchers of 2019 Reviews
Eachway Adjustable Shoe Stretcher
As the name implies, this stretcher is going to be great for a myriad of options. That’s because it is going to stretch your shoes in four different directions, helping to apply more even pressure and keep your shoes in the shape they are intended to be in. On top of that, they are very inexpensive, and come with eight pressure relief pads for you to use, making you able to pinpoint very specific parts of the foot to help ward off ailments that you just can’t stand to deal with. They are super easy to use and are made out of a strong plastic, and they are just about able to handle any pair of shoes you can think of. The only kind you will not be able to breach are boots, so you might need to look elsewhere for that.
- Very inexpensive choice
- Pushes in four directions
- Works with most shoes
- Not intended for use with boots
FootMatters Professional Stretch Spray
This is a bit of a cheat, admittedly, but you are going to need something to condition the shoes before you can get to the stretching part. And there are very few products out there that will do a better job at that than this spray here. This is awesome for helping get leather ready to be stretched out, making it ideal to use in conjunction with shoes, sandals, and even boots. This spray won’t do it all by itself, but it will go some distance to opening up the ‘pores’ and helping you have an easier time of it. Your leather will not fade or get stained, and you get the use of a very trusted brand. It even works on other materials, too, all with ease, helping you lay a solid foundation on which you can build.
- Great for all shoe types
- Won’t cause fading or staining
- Awesome for leather
- Not technically a stretcher
Cherainti 4-Way Shoe Tree Shoe Stretcher
This is yet another example of a good, relatively cheap four way stretcher, much like the Eachway we saw above. Wooden ones are preferable to many because of their durability but some will see them as being too hard. Instead, these are made from strong plastic to make sure that the weather doesn’t erode the wood over time. It serves to bring the price down a bit and doesn’t hurt the durability as long as you use it properly. They even come with bunion plugs to try and pinpoint that spot and help curtail that from being an issue for you any longer, all while being simple to use. Since it does have the four way stretch, you get to see a whole lot of change rather than just seeing it change in one zone like you would have in the old days. You even get a free boot shaper included, too, so there’s a bonus for you.
- Durable yet light
- Nice bonuses included
- Good, low price
- Not good for boots and/or high tops
Miserwe Shoe Stretcher Unisex
Once again here is a nice, plastic model that utilizes the same mechanics we have seen so far in the four way stretch. This type is going to be great, then, for those looking to expand the entire shoe rather than just one small area. With bunion plugs and two pads included, they will help widen out the toes and ensure you don’t have to deal with that pain much longer. The shaft is made out of steel and the material is from plastic, so it’s light but sturdy and is not going to cost much at all. These will help stretch just about any shoe on the market that does not exceed six inches in height, so be aware of that and adjust to it accordingly to avoid potential disappointment. They even have a one and a half year warranty, which is really great to increase your confidence in them.
- Warranty backs up their quality
- Great in the toe areas
- Stretches all shoes as long as they aren’t above six inches tall
StyledRight Unisex Two-Way Shoe Stretcher
With this choice here, you’ll really love the additional features and attention to detail that they have paid to you. With tough, durable plastic, these are going to work well with any shoes that are pretty flat to the ground. On top of that, they are going to include ten shoe stretcher plugs along with the stretchers and a bag to make storage a pain free experience. The inclusion of so many pieces means you’ll be able to better pick out and fix those areas where you have a problem or two, rather than just having to deal with it. This kind does come in three different sizes, so you will have to look over their chart and make sure you are getting the right size for you so you don’t end up making a double mistake of sorts!
- Pinpoints tight areas
- Awesome bonuses given
- Great for flat shoes
- Sizing can lead to confusion
FootFitter Premium Professional Two-Way Shoe Stretcher
Our second half of our list kicks off here with a more well known brand in FootFitter that brings you a wooden offering. Unlike the others, this one is going to concentrate on a two way stretch, helping to adjust the length and width without all of the frills, which may be deemed unnecessary by some. Because of the use of wood, this is going to be a longer lasting stretcher and won’t be as prone to breaking as others. It’s great to look at, contrary to the others in truth, and it’s going to have 16 holes so that you can customize the fit just right as well as three plugs to help eradicate bunions. This comes with just one stretcher, which works in the left or right shoe, but it does come at quite the cost, so that’s one reason it has dropped to number six.
- Very very durable
- Looks great
- Tons of customization
- Very expensive relatively speaking
Plixio Two Pack Wooden Expander
This offering from Plixio piggybacks off of the FootFitter, but it differs as well. This item has two expanders meant to help widen the feet, doing so with a two way stretch. They have a wooden look to them, but they are not going to be as strong as some others out there thanks to the lack of price that they are compared to other truly wooden products on the market. If you don’t need or want, or even question the usefulness of four way stretching and you want to pay a low price, then this is the way for you to go. They even have the bunion plugs to try and oust that from occurring. Be careful and make sure your feet are large enough, as they don’t have any items that run under a certain size.
- Great price
- Easy two way stretch
- Looks wooden but isn’t
- Sizes don’t cover small shoes
West Light Two Way Cedar Expander
This product is going to cost a little bit more than most we have seen, though the price difference is only negligible at best. These two way stretchers are going to work in unison to help both men and women get the best possible feel in their sizes. One of the best uses of this item is to use them for breaking in your shoes just a bit. Many struggle to get a good feel right out of the box, but these have been shown to reverse some of those ill effects and give you some harmony. They work well with nearly all materials and are made from wood, helping to give you a bit more durability without having to pay too much more. They do not work very well with higher heels and boots, so be aware of that if the shoes have a heel over six inches.
- Good price relative
- Wood brings durability
- Helps breaking in process
- Not for shoes with high heels or boots
Ivation 3 Spot Shoe Stretching Plugs
If you want a nice, easy, and very personalized touch to your shoe stretching, then this is the way in which you should turn. These plugs run in very specific sizes, so you will not have to worry about if the stretcher works well for your size. However, that does mean you have to make sure it’s in your size or it will not work correctly. This two way stretcher comes at a good price and is made out of wood, helping to cut out the unnecessary and to last as long as possible. They even come equipped with plugs should you decide to try and use them to account for those awful bunions and other sores in the feet. It does only come with one stretcher included, that works on both feet, so that does make the price virtually go up in turn or causes you to have to wait longer for both shoes to be ready.
- Specific sizing
- Lasts a long time
- Easy to pinpoint trouble spots
- Expensive relative to others
- Only one in the pack
KevenAnna Two Pack Premium Professional Two Way Wooden Shoe Trees
With three sizes available for you to pick from, these, too, are able to give you a more customizable fit and feel. They are a two way stretcher that comes with 12 holes to help apply pressure in various points without sacrificing the structural integrity of the shoes as a whole. They have been tested over and over again and have shown to be up the task, showing they are durable. The problem comes in that they are not one size fits all. They also require you to be super gentle and patient with them. If you try to overwork or out power them, you can break them or force your shoes to be hurt in the process. Oh, and it should be mentioned that they do a good job with customer service, helping to rectify any issues that may arise.
- Decent price
- Customized fit
- Excellent customer service
- Requires you to be gentle
- Make double sure you have the right size
Conclusion And Final Shoes Strechers Recommendations
Buying shoes has become a super easy proposition in recent years. With the prolific nature of the internet, you can purchase them with the click of a button. This, however, does not come without its own problems. Rarely, if ever, do we got to a store to try shoes on anymore, let alone by them from there. Prices are cheaper online, so we naturally have trended that way. But that’s caused us to have shoes that don’t quite fit right. And with our lives being oh so busy, many of us lack the gumption to send them back. To combat that from happening, and to ensure that your shoes fit you, you can turn toward shoe stretchers. Whether it’s a piece of equipment or a spray that you ultimately turn to, you can and will see a whole lot of improvement in the fit of your shoes, allowing you to put them to work the way you were always intended to do instead of having them take up room in that closet you really need for something else!
FAQ’s About Shoes Strechers
How Do I Take Care of My Shoe Stretcher?
The best thing to do to keep your shoe stretcher in as good condition as possible is to make sure that you store it in the proper place. Putting it in a cool and dry place is the way to go, since the pieces of machinery can rust if you choose to put it somewhere contrary to those settings. You can also put them in a hard case, as that should do the job. You don’t have to do anything crazy here, just simple common sense stuff, really!
Is a Shoe Stretcher a Good Idea for a Diabetic Patient?
While this might seem like a good idea for someone that has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s hard to make a good case for a shoe stretcher. Diabetic patients need shoes that have plenty of room, yes, but it’s hard to imagine that a shoe stretcher would truly provide that to them. If the shoes are that tight already and we are talking about moving millimeters, we have a hard time thinking it will help much. You’re better off getting a better pair of shoes, instead of trying to stretch ones you already have. There are some cases, many cases, where looks are last, and this is one of those.
Can’t I Just Return My Shoes?
This is a very valid question and it’s one that a number of people will be asking, but unfortunately there is no set answer. You can’t give a blanket ‘yes’ or ‘no’ here because all policies are different. Some stores will not take shoes back after just one use, while others will gladly do so just to keep you happy. Online stores also differ greatly on this topic. You might be able to return a pair to ‘store X’ but ‘store Y’ will not take them back. Or it may cost you a lot to do so. Looking at this information would have been nice, but sometimes, times like these, it’s too little too late to be doing it and you just have to move forward.