The shoes looked great in the display window, but they are a bear to wear. They are stiff, they pinch, the leather is unwieldy and the pain of wearing the new shoes for longer than an hour is almost intolerable. Are these shoes destined to languish in the recesses of your closet? No! There are four quirky ways of turning stiff shoes into comfortable footwear.
Let Your Fingers Do Some Work
Leather shoes in particular need to be worn in. New leather is stiff, and there is precious little that you can do about it unless you plan to buy used and worn shoes from hereon out. Solve this problem by spending a bit of time gently flexing the leather. For example, if you plan on watching the news tonight, have a shoe in your lap and knead the heel and toe areas. Tomorrow, grab the other shoe. Do this for a few nights in a row, and you will notice an appreciable difference in the comfort of your new footwear.
Thick Socks to the Rescue
Another method of turning stiff shoes into comfortably daily wear involves the use of very thick socks. Put on the sock, and then put on the shoes. Wear them at home. While it may feel odd to do laundry in your jammies and a pair of stiletto heels, wearing the thick socks actually forces the shoes to expand. When combined with the movement of your gait and the heat generated by the stockinged feet, the leather has no choice but to capitulate.
Molefoam Padding Cushions While You Widen
Forget the moleskin that fashion mavens keep talking about. For really bad cases involving stiff footwear that you nevertheless have to put on soon, reach for Dr. Scholl’s molefoam. A combination of layers featuring cotton and foam padding cushions your feet better than a bit of moleskin ever could. Cut it to fit any shoe.
Shoe Stretchers Beat Ice Packs
There is a rumor going around that putting your shoes into the freezer – with a gallon bag of water inserted – will freeze the water, expand the bag and therefore also expand the shoes. Without getting into the details of stretching shoe materials made brittle by freezing temperatures, mind you that there are some shoes that do not take kindly to coming into contact with moisture. If your footwear is not colorfast, you may be looking at bleeding, pooling or running dyes. Avoid this ugliness with a shoe stretcher from Foot Petals. Leave it in overnight and the stretching takes place while you sleep.
When all else fails, visit a professional. Cobblers have machines that can accomplish in a short period of time what stretchers, daily sock wear and careful kneading cannot do in a week.