How To Stretch Shoes Wider For Bunion Relief

Natalie Cecconi
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Anyone suffering from bunions knows just how uncomfortable they are. The bunion pain can be exacerbated by shoes that are too narrow in the toe box. This is a problem, especially with dress shoes, but running shoes can also cause problems. Stretching out your shoes to make them wider can help you gain some much-needed relief. In this article, we’ll cover different ways you can do that.

Use a Shoe Stretching Kit

A shoe stretching kit can be helpful if you have bunions and want to stretch the toe box. They go for between $25 and $50, but you’ll have the tools you need to stretch your shoes without going into DIY.

Shoe Stretching kits come with a spray that you use before inserting the shoe stretcher into your shoe. The spray is necessary to loosen up the fibers. Without that important preparation step, the stretching will be less effective.

After you insert the stretcher, twist the widening handle to stretch and expand your shoe. Keep it in for 24 hours before trying on your shoes to gauge the new fit.

Investing in a stretching kit isn't a bad idea if you have a lot of shoes you want to stretch. Always check for bunions plugs in your shoe stretching kits to expand your shoes in the right area.

Stretching kits will always expand your shoes, but they might not be in the right areas if you have bunions. Expand the shoes at the toe box where your bunion sits so that you wear them more comfortably. A shoe stretching kit is supposed to widen the shoe enough to fit your foot without compromising the shoe’s look. There is always a shoe stretcher made that will help you fit into your favorite shoes.

Freeze Overnight

Let's discuss a DIY solution to widen your shoe's toe box. It is a pretty simple one. You just have to freeze your shoes overnight with a water bag stuffed inside. You should pack the ice inside the shoe, so when you freeze it, the water will expand and expand the shoe in the toe box.

This method will provide you with toe box stretching and bunion relief if you apply it regularly, and it’s also quite practical because it doesn’t require any special tool, just a ziplock water bag, and a freezer!

I recommend that you try this technique regularly to notice a significant improvement.

Wear Thick Socks

Wearing wide shoes for bunions is the best way to stop bunion pain. When you purchase shoes, you should move the shoes around while walking to help stretch them out a little.

To stretch a shoe, wear a pair of thick, padded socks inside the shoe. If the shoes are slip-on style, firmly hold the shoe over the top and hold the front of the shoe against the top of your foot. While doing this, push the side of the shoe firmly down with your hands to stretch out the front of the shoe.

This will stretch out the shoe a few millimeters, and it will be easier to slide your foot into the shoe each time you wear it. Keep doing this every day until the shoes are stretched out wide enough for your bunion to fit comfortably into the shoes.

If you don’t see an improvement, try stretching the innersoles or the top of the shoes for a bigger stretch. You may find that this works better.

Spray With Rubbing Alcohol

If your bunion is causing you pain try this simple intervention of stretching your shoe wide enough to allow you to continue to wear your favorite pair of shoes. Try stretching the shoe by using an alcohol spray.

This easy trick is an inexpensive technique, and it can widen your shoe by up to 1/4 inch, which can keep your pain at bay. Simply mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol, and spray (or rub) it on your shoes. Try your shoes on immediately after you’ve sprayed them to see how the fit is. If it’s still too tight, you can repeat the process.

You’ll want to make sure, though, that you go easy on the rubbing alcohol spray, as too much could damage your shoes. If you have shoes with natural fabrics, this is a great option.

Use Wet Newspaper (or a Potato!)

As anyone who has ever had to deal with bunion pain can tell you, finding comfortable shoes to wear is a challenge.

If you can’t fix your bunions by shrinking them, you can stretch your shoes so you can wear the shoes you want to wear.

The best way to loosen the shoe around the bunion is to use excess moisture. To do this, take a stack of wet newspapers (or maybe a peeled potato) and stuff them inside the toe box against the crowded area overnight.

Now put on the shoes the next morning and wear them around. If it’s still a little tight the next morning, allow your shoes to sit with the wet newspaper or potato in them for another day, and that should stretch them out enough so that it’s comfortable for you again.

Now you have a shoe where that isn’t touching your bunions. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get the shoe to loosen up more.
This is not a long-term solution, but it will work in the short term.

Use a Spoon to Soften Fabric

The first thing you should do to stretch shoes wider for bunion relief is to dampen one spoon with water and rub the inside of the shoes with it. The spoon is functional because of its concave bottom, which helps create a gap inside the shoemaking room for your bunions.

Other Tips for Bunion Relief From Shoes

One of the easiest ways to relieve discomfort caused by bunions is to remove pressure from the afflicted area. If you have a shoe that you love, and you’re able to modify it, it may just do the trick.
Here are some suggestions for how to stretch shoes wider for bunion relief:

Change The Lacing on Your Shoes

One of the most well-known remedies to relieve bunions is to buy wide shoes. However, many of us dislike wide shoes and refuse to discard normal shoes in favor of wider and more comfortable pairs.

With a bit of shoe-tying savvy and some strategic shoelace placement, you can change any pair of shoes to include your bunion area with ease, comfort, and style. By changing the lacing, you might solve your problem.

Buy New Shoes With a Wide Toe Box

If all else fails, of course, another option is to buy new shoes with a wide-toe box. Pick shoes that are known for their roomy toe boxes like Altra. You also might want to look at the stitching on the shoe.

Final Thoughts

Although it is annoying to deal with bunions, you can make your shoes more comfortable by stretching them out and even lacing them differently. Try one of the techniques that most appeals to you and give it time. Those shoes will get more comfortable!