It’s not easy to find a pair of running shoes that look good and perform well and at the right price point. When it comes to running we recommend finding the exact fit for your running needs. An ill-fitting running shoe can disrupt your form, make a negative impact on your stride, and cause muscle strain.
It is advised to purchase shoes a little tight, so they can wear into and expand to your foot’s sizing appropriately. However, waiting for this to happen can be painful. Luckily there are some methods you can use to stretch your shoes to make a better fit.
Stretching Shoes Using Ice
You may already know that a liquids volume expands when it is turned into ice. Using this principle you can stretch out your shoes using your freezer, some water, and two ziplock bags.
First, take a ziplock or grocery bag and fill it halfway with water. You may double-bag to prevent leaking. Place the bag of water in your running shoes and the water will take the shape of the shoes. If your shoes are big, you may use more than one bag of water to ensure that the entire inside of the shoe is stuffed with water.
Next, place the shoes in the freezer. Do not take the shoes out until the water has completely frozen into ice, which may take up to 10 hours. As the water freezes and expands, your shoes will stretch in the process.
You can now remove the bags of ice and try on your newly stretched shoes. If it’s still too small, you can repeat the process until the stretching has been adequate.
Stretching Shoes Using Oatmeal
If you do not have a refrigerator or freezer or do not like the idea of placing shoes next to food, you can always apply the same concept using oatmeal. Fill a bag with dry oatmeal and add water. Place the bag of oatmeal in the shoe and when the oatmeal expands overnight, it will stretch the shoe.
Stretching Shoes Naturally
Shoes also tend to stretch with normal wear and tear. You can wear the shoes around the house to break them in and stretch them to fit your feet before taking them for a run. When you’re not wearing them, place professional shoe-stretching inserts to retain shape and further stretch the shoes.
If you are willing to spend some money, you can always take your running shoes to a professional shoe cobbler. There are special shoe-stretching machines that can apply pressure to specific areas of shoes to stretch them without causing unwanted damage. This is an especially good option if you need your shoes to be stretched in a short period. An experienced cobbler can stretch a pair of running shoes with a 24 hour turnaround time.
Not Recommended Stretching Methods
Be aware not to use heating methods to stretch your shoe. Although heat may expand fabric, it can also cause permanent damage by melting plastic materials that are often used in manufacturing running shoes.
If your feet become painful from wearing the running shoes despite stretching, it may mean that you should stop wearing them. It is important to protect your feet even if it means donating or giving away a pair of running shoes. Your health should come first before trying to salvage your money’s worth, no matter how much you paid for the running shoes.