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Shoe Stretchers Efficiency: Tips to Choose and Use These Tools Properly

What will you do with shoes that don’t fit correctly? If they are pretty tight, people tend to wear them and wait for them to naturally stretch. While this solution can bring positive results, there is no reason to suffer to get what you need. We are here to help you discover the functionality of a game-changing tool — a shoe stretcher.

Sufficient for different types and sizes of footwear, shoe stretchers can help adjust a new pair’s fit without difficulty. Unwind maximum footwear potential in real-time with such easy-to-use products. Onwards!  

Do Shoe Stretchers Work?

The long and short answer is yes. If you apply the right technique, it is possible to adjust the fit and make your walking or running experiences in the target footwear closer to perfection. While there are numerous considerations and limitations to be aware of, the general efficiency of the method is to get an extra half a size or a bit more.

Using a shoe stretcher is a safer solution. The list of alternative DIY tactics includes applying ice or a little heat. If you don’t want to damage your favorite or new pairs, it is better to invest in a time-tested tool — even high-rated products can easily come at twenty dollars.

Tip: To make your next shoe selection as successful as possible, use our shoe size table.

Perfect Tools to Stretch Your Shoes Uniformly

When it comes to these practices, choosing the right instrument is half the battle. On the other hand, be careful not to overdo the job — you risk getting a too-loose pair instead of the better fit. Another aspect to bear in mind is that not every shoe stretcher will work for your needs. Our team suggests checking its size and terms of use before making a purchase. In our hands-on experience, the brands below will let you feel more comfortable in the target pair without cracking or damaging them anyhow.

Dasco — Editor’s Choice

Dasco Hardwood Two-Way Shoe Stretcher


  • Universal fit for the right and left shoe
  • Perfect for expanding footwear width and length at the same time
  • Easy care and maintenance instructions


  • A limited stock
  • More expensive than alternative solutions

Made of hardwood, this product is suitable for ladies to make their shoes fit more comfortably and tailored to their needs. We couldn’t wait to try its performance. It didn’t take long to see the tool’s brilliance — it matches several kinds of shoe fabrics. We tested its efficiency with both elastic and non-elastic materials and managed to increase the width and length in each experiment. If you are looking for a nice way to forget about pain from toe-pinching footwear, Dasco is exactly what you need.

The fit to achieve is customizable. Adjust the black plastic modules’ positions to get the desired level of in-shoe room expansion.

How to Use a Shoe Stretcher

Let’s dive into the methodology behind applying the distinguishing tool in practice:

  1. First and foremost, utilize a special spray for the shoes. Such sprays will be especially helpful for shoes made of suede and leather. Don’t skip this stage to get the best outcome.
Angelus Professional Shoe & Boot Stretch Spray
Angelus Professional Shoe & Boot Stretch Spray
  1. Then fit the chosen shoe stretcher into the product. Please ensure it is snug against the toe-box area.
Fit the chosen shoe stretcher into the product
Fit the chosen shoe stretcher into the product
  1. Turn the shoe stretcher’s handle carefully and wait for it to expand the shoe.
Turn the shoe stretcher’s handle carefully
Turn the shoe stretcher’s handle carefully
  1. Fix the stretcher’s position. Leave it be — the timeframe from six to eight hours is usually sufficient to verify the first trial’s progress or failure.
Fix the stretcher’s position
Fix the stretcher’s position

If you still don’t feel comfortable after wearing an upgraded version of your shoes, repeat the process until it works properly.

How Long Does It Take to Stretch Shoes?

Once you know the right approach, it is important not to go beyond and be overly excited — too good isn’t too good, too. Although there is no universal time to consider a shoe-stretching session final, try to check the pairs’ condition in advance. Get to know more about the material your favorite is made of. While nubuck and leather are commonly elastic, denim and synthetics may cause some difficulties for your pinched toe.

It is crucial to perform this activity on an even surface to ensure the end-results consistency. Feel free to try on such shoes between the stretching sessions to see whether you can walk comfortably.

Here are some extra tips that will help you harvest the best results:

  • Consider stretchable parts of your footwear. Work on expanding the fit of the front area and a shoe’s shaft. The size-fixed outsole will prevent you from big adjustments, but even a couple of millimeters can be game-changing.
  • If you hesitate to test a DIY approach in practice, consult with professional cobblers first. This way, you might get a few more suggestions tailored to the specific type of shoe stretcher and the footwear you have.
  • If you have certain foot concerns (such as bunions), please shop for stretchers with corresponding modifications. You can find these products with plugs to attach and provide a little more room in the most challenging area.

Other Offers on the Market


Lanney Shoe Stretcher


  • A well-equipped kit
  • A variety of colors
  • Simple maintenance instructions


  • Made of plastic

Although plastic isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as hardwood, it is another product to appreciate as a wonderful shoe stretcher for sneakers. Made of premium material, all you need to take care of the Lanney model is to wipe it with a dry cloth. Please note that it’s sufficient for men’s footwear in this range of sizes:

  • from 7.5 to 11 in the UK metric system;
  • from 41 to 45 European sizes;
  • from 8 to 11.5 in the US metric system.

It is a multifunctional shoe stretcher since it allows for a four-way fit modification. We find its efficiency in increasing the shoe size and width excellent. Its kit is also worth another praise — with twelve bunion plugs included, providing more room to avoid blisters and other foot conditions in a premium-class manner. However, we expected a bit more from its ability to “level up” the shoe’s vamp or instep.

Overall, you can use it as a show stretcher for sneakers, ankle boots, slippers, loafers, and much more. It is not 10 out of 10 for every possible scenario but is close to it.

Shoe Stretcher for Heels


KevenAnna Shoe Stretcher


  • An excellent shoe stretcher for heels
  • Free shipping and returns possible (with Amazon Prime)
  • Available at a discounted price
  • An advanced kit


  • There might be issues with the long-term model’s durability

You won’t be able to use the same stretcher you prefer for oxfords or loafers. Instead, feel free to order a special design of a shoe stretcher for heels. One of the excellent solutions is created by KevenAnna. It works as described — check the testimonials from the happy owners. Some of the before-and-after pictures are mind-blowing. Here are the sizes it will work for:

  • 25-40 for European sizes;
  • 4.5-9.5 for US women’s sizes;
  • 2.5-7.5 for UK sizes.

The biggest concern is the rotating rod’s construction. Since it is made of plastic, there is a risk of pulling the mechanism too hard and damaging or breaking the element. Given its affordability, it will be a pity but not a huge disappointment. Anyway, its status in the top fifty shoe & boot trees isn’t for nothing.

Shoe Stretcher for Sneakers


Eachway Shoe Stretcher


  • Included in the list of Amazon’s Choice products
  • Thousands of positive testimonials from verified buyers on Amazon
  • An affordable price
  • Available in different sizes and colors for mens and womens footwear


  • It won’t work for boots

Eachway is a reputable brand, producing four-way shoe expanders for ladies and gentlemen. You can choose from yellow, pink, blue, grey, and black models. Make sure to purchase the right product. Don’t take its M or L size indicators for granted — check more details about the range of sizes they truly fit. 

According to the US metric sizes, the upper and bottom ranges for M and L are 10 in men’s sizes. If your feet are more petite, selecting the M model won’t be a problem. Still, we recommend the next size for people suffering from bunions and swelling feet at the end of the day.

Shoe Stretcher for Dress Shoes


Msentuo Shoe Stretcher


  • An excellent shoe stretcher for sneakers
  • Four-way adjustability
  • Available in three sizes
  • A great kit


  • Crafted in China, which might be a negative factor for some buyers

This shoe stretcher for sneakers comes with several pleasant bonuses to get the most out of its effective performance. You can easily store all the kit’s elements in a case — two height pads, eight bunion plugs, and the product itself.

It is simpler to use. Follow the tips in this guide. To achieve the best result, it is a beneficial addition to contribute to the Msentuo kit’s quality with a special shoe-stretching spray.

The manufacturer advertises this tool as a universal solution to address your shoe-fit-related issues. While we agree its bunion relief factor is undeniable, we would rather apply a custom shoe stretcher for heels — it’s better to be safe than sorry. Msentuo also suggests leaving the mechanism in footwear for twenty-four hours. It is better to make testing sessions shorter and double-check the results between these intervals. It is easier to make a mistake and get a way larger fit than needed, so please be careful with such tools.


Tongzaner Shoe Stretcher


  • Made of natural red cedar wood
  • Adjustable and well-thought-out style
  • Available in several sizes


  • Limited functionality

It is a less popular product on Amazon, compared to other shoe expanders. Nonetheless, our team has decided to add it to the list. In our hands-on experience, Tongzaner presents must-have instruments for men who love wearing dress shoes. You are welcome to select from one of the three available sizes:

  • Small — 6.5-8.5 for US men’s sizes;
  • Large — 10.5-11.5 for US men’s sizes;
  • Extra large — 12-14 for US men’s sizes.

We’ve tried it for some exclusive pairs made of premium-class leather — no signs of damage detected. It is a perfect match for adjusting the toe-box fit and allowing for natural toe splay. There are right and left markings engraved on the product to distinguish what tool to place in what shoe. 

Allen Edmonds


  • Made of American cedar wood
  • Hundreds of positive ratings on Amazon
  • Included in the Amazon’s Choice category


  • More expensive than analogous products

With Allen Edmonds, you will know for sure what you will pay for. It won’t be a daunting mission to keep your shoes’ shape while expanding their inner room. There is a special feature that distinguishes this solution from cheaper alternatives. We like that it is designed to serve as an odor eliminator as well.

Although this isn’t a typical shoe stretcher for heels or sneakers, it is an excellent tool for men. If you like dress shoes and don’t want to get rid of exclusive models that don’t fit quite right, this product will solve the problem. What’s more, it is eighteenth in the rating of the best shoe & boot trees on Amazon. It feels sturdy and serves the advertised purposes well — well-tested and verified by our team of footwear experts.


Cyrico Shoe Stetcher


  • Four-way shoe stretcher
  • Available at a discounted price
  • Anti-rust efficiency
  • A multi-component kit


  • A limited selection of colors

At an affordable price, you will get the following from Cyrico:

  • a storage bag, made of polyester;
  • one informative user manual;
  • twelve bunion plugs;
  • a pair of shoe expanders in one of the sizes — suitable for 9.5-13 or 6.5-9 US men’s sizes;
  • three height pads.

We tried to contact the team to see how the situation is behind the scenes. In turn, our team has discovered another niche service provider with excellent terms and conditions for end users. It didn’t take long for the brand’s representatives to reply and provide more detailed information about the model’s sizing. Let your feet enjoy the freedom of movement again with this shoe stretcher for sneakers.


XYH Shoe Stretcher


  • A wooden shoe stretcher for men’s and women’s footwear
  • Coming at a nice price
  • Upgraded functionality


  • A smaller size is available for ladies’ shoes only — no alternative version for gents’ models
  • 2.4 as the maximum back heel height the model can handle

Here are some things we love about this product from the XYH store:

  • Multifunctionality — an excellent shoe stretcher for sneakers, heels, sandals, sports designs, and so on.
  • A well-thought-out design — an easy-to-use L-shaped handle to adjust the height, width, and length of the expander in a shoe.
  • Lifetime efficiency — made of top-notch materials, including natural wood.
  • Upgraded mechanism — an increased metal expansion head, a metal baffle plate, and an additional nut will make the use of the model more convenient for regular fans of the XYH store.

With its relatively small handle, our team even tried this shoe expander for boots. The results were fine, but we don’t recommend repeating this at home.


Fabulas Shoe Stretcher


  • One of the cheapest models on the list
  • Four-way adjustability
  • An excellent fit


  • Hand-wash only

Poor-quality expanders made of wood can be rough and damage the inner textile and structure of shoes. This outcome won’t take place once you explore the beneficial nature of the Fabulas shoe stretcher for heels. With hundreds of reviews and purchases per month, one thing is for sure — cheap doesn’t mean bad.

We appreciate how durable and sturdy the model’s construction is. Its strong plastic provides a nice grip, especially given its ergonomic handle. With anti-rust metal shafts, damaging the mechanism won’t happen even if you put more pressure on the handle than needed. A kit with bunion plugs and height pads won’t seem surprising for those who are still with us, but a shoe horn can be a nice complimentary bonus. Coming in a great bag, you can purchase the kit as a gift for any occasion.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, using a shoe stretcher to improve the fit and get the dream footwear isn’t a myth. With the right tactics in mind, you can be truly unstoppable and forget about fitting issues even if the original walking experience was a total disaster. Don’t wait ages for shoes that are slightly tight to expand their sizes after a long wear — take the matter into your own hands.

Have you ever tried this solution? Let us know about your experience in the comments. With the models listed in this guide, it will be as simple as ABC to be a pro in shoe-stretching practices. No need to throw your shoes with the wrong fit — give them another chance with shoe stretchers.


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