Stiff Shoes? Try These Tips on for Size

All feet are not created equal. While some shoes (or their price tag) look great on the rack, they have no flexibility and some areas pinch. You can stretch them, rub them with oils or just tough it out. Here are some tips on making stiff shoes livable.


Easy fixes to make your shoes fit better:

  • Shoe stretchers: You can purchase these from online retailers. They fit inside a shoe and can be customized in the area you want stretched. They range anywhere from $15 to $50.

  • Alternative: In the privacy of your home, put on as many pairs of socks as you can while still getting the shoe on. Relax on the couch and do some menial chores. The socks will add some padding and the heat from your feet will speed up the process. A little painful, but costs nothing but your time.


Oils on leather make them supple and pliable.

  • Traditional home remedies: Baby oil, Vaseline, Shaving cream, and Saddle soap have all been used to cure leathers. They work well and are industrially made with preservative qualities, but can also weigh down materials by getting soaked into the layers beneath. NOT RECOMMENDED: Cooking oil; like vegetable, coconut or olive oil. These will turn rancid.

  • Freezer: Just like the age-old adage about ‘breaking in’ a baseball glove, you can do the same with leather shoes. Put one of the oils above on your leather shoes and throw them in the freezer a few days. When the leather thaws, the natural pores will open, allowing the oils to penetrate deeper into the material. (There is also a new ‘microwave’ method for baseball gloves, but there are metal materials in shoes that would make this an unsafe process.)


If you have no other choice, you can always walk hard.

  • Extra Support: Wear extra layers of socks for cushion and gel strips for bunions and problem areas. Ladies: invest in some footie socks for dress shoes.

  • A Friend in Need: Got a friend whose hoof is a tad bigger than yours? Give them a slim sock and ask them to tough it out for you for a few days as a favor. Not for those squeamish about ‘sharing’.

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