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Does Stretching Shoes With Ice Work?

Does Stretching Shoes With Ice Work?

Have you ever purchased or ordered a pair of shoes online to find that they are slightly too tight to satisfy? There are many cases where you might find yourself with shoes that fit just way too close. It could be that you ordered a pair online, and they didn’t work as you expected, or perhaps, it was the only pair, and you couldn’t afford to leave them.

It’s all normal to come across an adorable pair of shoes that you couldn’t buy because they were downright too small. If the shoes caught your attention at a glance, chances are they can fit. While that does not actually mean a seamless fit, some interesting thrust might do the trick.

However, you don’t want to develop a diabetic foot, hammertoe, or ingrown toenail due to constricted shoes.

So, before you start squeezing your feet inside, you can use ice to make the shoes rather accommodative. Ice can be a fast and accessible technique to stretch the shoes out for wear and allow some bit of breathing space.

Borrowing insertion from high school physics, water expands upon freezing. As such, this method takes the vantage of that fact and applies it to stretch your shoes.

Here is all you need:

  •       A couple of plastic Ziploc bags
  •       Water
  •       Freezer

Start by filling the two freezer bags with water—one bag for each shoe. Be sure to use plastic baggies specially designed for the freezer, so that they don’t break as the water freezes into ice. Based on what part of your shoe you want to stretch, the amount of water you stuff the baggies will differ. The process may involve putting water ¼ way for the toe section, ½ way for the toe and instep section, and ½ – 1/3 for the toe, instep, and ankle area. 

Make sure the baggies are sealed and get rid of any extra air trapped inside the bags. This is how you keep the bag from bursting in the freeze. Also, make sure the water fills out according to the shape of the shoe without leaving any bubble pockets. This, in turn, will make inserting the baggies into the shoes more comfortable.

The next thing is to put the bags in the shoes. You will need to be careful to prevent the freezer bags from opening or ripping while inserting them into the shoes. Ideally, consider placing the bag as close as possible to the toe section of your shoe if that’s the part you want to stretch out.

After successfully inserting the baggies in the shoes, put the shoes in the freezer, and leave them for at least 4-8 hours, to be satisfied that the water in the bags has enough time to freeze into ice.

As the water freezes, it expands, thereby stretching your shoes out. Pull the shoes out of the freezer once the water has completely hardened into ice. Set them at room temperature for 20 minutes before trying to take the bags out. This will allow the ice to thaw and make it easier to remove the bags.

If the bags don’t come out of your shoes rather easily, you may try waiting longer for most ice to melt. Alternatively, you can try breaking the ice and then remove the bags. This is much better than pulling on the bags or ripping them to remove water and ice. Excessive force water could potentially damage your shoes.

Also Read: Can you put leather shoes in the washer?

Other Considerations

Other things worth mentioning about using ice to stretch your shoes is that the sandwich baggies need to be completely dry before you put them in the shoes. The bags also have to be watertight. Even the smallest condensation of water leak could make the bags stick to the shoes’ interior and potentially damage them.

While shoes should not be too loose, too tight shoes aren’t comfortable either. Your shoes should have at least one centimeter of space in front of your longest toe. This will leave some room for your toes to wiggle.

It’s also recommended to shop or try the fitting of the shoe towards the end of the day. This is because the feet get slightly larger in the evening. Consider walking around the store with a new pair on for a minute or so.

You might have to go for other options if the one on hand hurts or press too much. Similarly, if your foot is swimming in the shoe such that walking feels awkward, don’t buy them either.

After buying a pair of shoes, you can try walking in your home for some time to make sure it’s the right fit for your feet. This is especially helpful with athletic footwear. Moreover, wearing two pairs of socks can minimize the chances of irritations, abrasions, and blisters.

Although you might want to expand the most parts of your shoes, the toe box is the primary area affected by wearing shoes that are too tight. For example, painful ingrown toenails are usually caused by wearing shoes that are either too small or too narrow. Pressure against the forefoot can cause the nails to grow into the skin.

Foot conditions like corns and calluses might also form on the toes due to wearing shoes that are too tight. Apart from callusing, more permanent problems like bunions could develop when you regularly wear shoes that are too tight. Despite the fact that bunions are usually hereditary, putting too much pressure against the joints can aggravate the condition.

Bottom Line

Well-fitting shoes are essential for everyday use as well as keeping your feet in good health. This brings about the need to opt for various methods to customize the fit of your footwear. If you happen to buy shoes that are a tad too snug, there are things that you can do at home. Now that you know how to use ice to stretch out your shoes, you don’t have to suffer the next time you come across a nice but slightly too tight.  

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