Best Shoe Stretchers for Men & Women’s Shoes

Show of hands if you have purchased a pair of shoes because the price was unbeatable and they were a smidgen too small? Perhaps they were on clearance and they didn’t have the next size up. On the other hand, maybe you went shoe shopping in the morning fresh out of bed but by the time night falls, your feet have swollen a little bit; you can’t seem to squeeze your foot into those shoes. Whatever the reason for the shoes being too small, there is a way to fix it. There are professional grade shoe stretchers available for you to use. Don’t be intimidated by them, they are simple and work wonders for minimal stretching.

Stretching your shoes is also a great remedy for individuals that suffer from bunions, calluses, corns or other feet issues that cause pressure on the foot when inside of a shoe.  Stretchers work best and most efficiently on shoes that are made from natural material; materials such as leather and suede. That is not to say stretchers won’t work on other types but results might be more cumbersome with those.

Featured Recommendations

KevenAnna Adjustable
  • KevenAnna Adjustable
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Tough Polyurethane Plastic
  • 2-Way Stretch
  • Price: See Here

 

FootFitter Premium 2-Way
  • FootFitter Premium 2-Way
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Beech Wood
  • Spot Relief Additions
  • Price: See Here
MARZ 2-Way Stretcher
  • MARZ 2-Way Stretcher
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Premium Steel Shaft
  • Use for Both Shoes
  • Price: See Here

First, using shoe stretches are a great alternative to buying new shoes, if they aren’t in your budget. Second, with a little time and patience, you can be on your way to a looser fitting shoe. They are safe to use in most styles and types. Our list includes stretchers for different styles of shoes such as boots, flats, dress, and more.

It is best to research the type of material you are trying to stretch before you begin. Moreover, different materials will need different times and approach methods. Furthermore, we recommend using a conditioner made for shoe stretching as you can damage the shoe without it. Remember, to take it slow and stretch a little bit at a time. You would not want to overstretch the shoe and not be able to wear it then.

 

10 Best Shoe Stretchers

 

1. KevenAnna 2-way Adjustable

A notable point of these stretchers is they are sold as a set of two. This pair is made from an industrial grade polyurethane plastic and also has a steel shank. Those features guarantee that they are quality. The sizing these stretchers can accommodate is in US sizes so, make sure to pay attention and translate to your standard sizing counterpart.
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Dual-direction
This product stretches your shoes not only in the width but the length as well. When you have reached your goal you can use these as shoe keepers to maintain the shape and size of the material until it has stabilized. At that point, you can remove them and have no worries about your shoes going back to their original size.

Bunion Plugs
KevenAnna product purchases include 12 bunion and corn plugs with the shoe stretchers. These are a must-have if you suffer from bunions or corns. Plugs allow you to put targeted pressure on the shoe part that affects your foot.

Cost and Value
For our price range in this category, these come right in the middle of it. Especially compared to others. They are our number one pick for quality and durability so you should be confident in your purchase of them.
Pros
  • Heavy-duty plastic
  • 2-way stretch
  • Maintains after stretching
  • Bunion plugs included
Cons
  • Screw strips out
  • Go slow or it breaks

2. FootFitter Premium 2-Way

Made from solid wood construction, these topped our list at number 2. Using Beechwood guarantees stability and functionality. FootFitter has long been known for their production of shoe stretchers. Therefore, they are a household name when you think about this subject. Their reputation is highest in the category. Their products are long-lasting and work as promised. It stretches both directions and comes with a complete instruction guide.
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Universal
Please note, this is sold as a single piece, it is not a pair. However, this stretcher can work for both the left and the right shoe. It is a universal fit.

Spot relief
The packages comes with 3 bunion and corn plugs. As well, the stretcher itself has 14 holes for customizable use, tailored to stretch your shoe in specific areas that will bring you personalized relief.

Cost and Value
While the cost is higher than some of the others in the category, you are receiving a very high-quality product. It is also a downside that it is only one if you are looking for a set. However, the value of these will long outweigh the purchase price.
Pros
  • Beechwood construction
  • 14 bunion holes
  • Plugs included
  • 2-way stretch
  • Exceptionally Durable
Cons
  • Not sold as set

3. Eachway Professional 2-Way

Here you can find a set of ergonomically designed shoe stretchers. That is, they are shaped more like a foot and will fit into the shoes as if a foot is in there. This prevents uneven stretching. As well, they are universal and both can fit into either shoe. They come with easy to follow instructions. These shoe stretchers are highly reviewed for the quality. They can transform a new pair of shoes or help loosen an old pair up.
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Universal
No more having to keep up with which one goes in the left shoe versus the right shoe. You can easily grab one and put it in the shoe without fear of stretching the shoe the incorrect direction. Very simple.

Commercial Grade Plastic
The plastic used to make these is high durability polyurethane plastic. Also, they are reinforced with a premium steel shaft which adds to the ruggedness of the overall design.

Cost and Value
Considering you are getting 2 stretchers for this price, these are a great deal. They are strong and durable. If used properly and not overstressed, these should help you achieve many stretches thanks to its quality design.
Pros
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Universal fit
  • Durable construction
  • Stretches both directions
  • Changeable bunion plugs
Cons
  • Bunion plugs are small
  • Jams easy when twisting

4. MARZ 2-Way Stretcher

4. MARZ 2-Way Stretcher
Marz Products brings this stretcher out with a new improvement. It will not allow you to overturn the dial. That is one reason others have a tendency to break. Not to worry with this model. Furthermore, you get with your purchase bunion and corn relief pods. Place them on the stretcher to put more pressure on the spots of the shoe that cause you issues. Moreover, these not only stretch the shoe, they maintain the shape as a keeper.
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Dual Use
You can use this stretcher in either the left of the right shoe. Be advised it is only one, not a pair, meaning you will have to adjust your shoes one at a times. However, it will fit either shoe and won't let you over adjust causing damage to the unit or the shoe.

Durable build
The special mixture used for this model is a reinforced tough industrial grade polyurethane. Furthermore, it has a steel shaft that supports the plastic. It is a very strong model and can take a lot of pressure.

Cost and Value
Being that these are reinforced plastic as well as having stops on it that prevent user error and overturning, this shoe stretcher will uphold to a lot of use. You can know you are getting a quality product. However, if looking for a set, you will need to purchase two; this comes one per purchase.
Pros
  • Highly-durable plastic
  • Stops Overturning
  • Steel shaft
  • Universal fit
  • Upgraded model
Cons
  • Not Sold in Pairs
  • Less Bunion Holes

5. Shoekeeper Wooden

5. Shoekeeper Wooden
Sold as a single shoe stretcher, this one only stretches the width of a shoe. However, it is a high-quality product that offers additional plugs to help you stretch the pressure points of a shoe. If you have a targeted spot such as a bunion or corn, these plugs can help stretch the shoe by strategically placing them on the shoe stretcher. As a bonus, the company includes a bottle of conditioning spray to help get your shoes primed for optimal stretching.
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Solid Wood
Wood is a highly sought-after material for shoe stretchers. Moreso than plastic in most cases. Wood seems a bit more sturdy under extreme pressure; such as, what is required to stretch a shoe.

Right or Left
Having the ability to be used in the right or left shoe is a major benefit of this shoe stretcher. It makes keeping up with which shoe it works for a breeze.

Cost and Value
This shoe stretcher is a great price for the category. However, keep in mind that this is sold as a single unit and not a pair. If you are looking for a set you will need to purchase two units. That is where the price then goes into the higher range. However, if just needing one, it is a great value for the cost.
Pros
  • Solid wood
  • Durable turning mechanism
  • Steel bunion plugs
  • Many options for adjustability
  • Universal
Cons
  • Sold as single unit

6. Houndsbay Cedar Split Toe

6. Houndsbay Cedar Split Toe
Not only are these stretchers very stylish in their own right, they are made from cedar. Cedar is the highest sought after wood for shoe stretchers. Cedar absorbs lingering odors and moisture that could be in the shoe. Thus, prolonging the life of the shoe. To make it easy to keep straight which shoe is right and left, Houndsbay has engraved "Left" and "Right" on them. These are sold as a set.
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Metal Interior Pieces
Much like the gears of a clock are the interior pieces of these shoe stretchers. They are vital to the success of it, and metal is the strongest material to use for the interior. It gives a stronger force and reinforces the cedar wood offering exceptional durability.

Cedar
Cedar is said and studied to be the best wood to use for all things clothing or shoes. Wood, especially, cedar, absorbs odors left in the shoe after taking them off. It can also wick away moisture in the shoe which can lengthen the life of your favorite shoes.

Cost and Value
For as luxurious as these shoe stretchers look, as well as them being made from cedar wood, they are at an excellent price point, especially compared to others in the category. The wood build is going to be very durable. Also, they have metal interior parts. Therefore, they are reinforced to be strong and durable.
Pros
  • Cedar composition
  • Engraved for shoe side
  • Metal interior parts
  • Split toe design
  • Strong crank arm
Cons
  • Sizing is small

7. FootFitter Premium High Heel

7. FootFitter Premium High Heel
FootFitter is probably the premier name in shoe stretchers. They offer every variety you need. This particular stretcher is designed for high heel shoes. It also only adjusts the width. Solid Beechwood construction lends way to a durable and quality design. The wood will withstand a good amount of pressure while stretching the shoe. As well, it can absorb odors and wetness that is trapped inside.
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Stainless Steel Mechanics
Stainless steel is generally accepted as a strong material. Hence, the reason it was chosen to make the interior pieces of this shoe stretcher. The stainless steel pieces are not only more durable, they help to reinforce the wooden frame.

Bunion Plugs
If you have a specific spot on a shoe that needs stretching as a result of a bunion or corn, you will most definitely appreciate the bunion plugs that are included. Furthermore, this stretcher has many different positions in which to apply the bunion plug. It makes it much more customizable for the adjustments it can make.

Cost and Value
This is in the mid-range of our price range when examined for the overall price. It is for one stretcher though. If you need two, you will need to purchase additional units. The solid Beechwood design is going to make this stretcher very durable. It will last through the pressure. It is a great buy for the price if you only need one stretcher.
Pros
  • Bunion plugs
  • Stainless steel mechanics
  • Beechwood construction
  • Strong shaft crank
Cons
  • Spring working gets stuck
  • Only for high heels

8. FootFitter Sir James

8. FootFitter Sir James
These are a little bit of a different design than usually seen with shoe stretchers. However, they are from a trusted brand, FootFitter. FootFitter has a high reputation for bringing quality goods. These are not going to bring as much stretch to your shoes as other may, as they don't expand as far. However, they are made from high-quality Tennessee Cedar. They will be excellent for absorbing odors and wetness from your shoes.
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Split Toe Design
Split toe stands apart from other designs in that it stretches the entire width of the shoe and not just one portion. It also stretches the toe box which is a high concern that a lot of individuals have trouble with.

Odor Absorbing
Cedar is a high-quality wood that is widely used for its wetness and odor absorbing capabilities. Simply placing them in your shoe when you are stretching, will help draw out nasty lingering odors. This can add to the life of your shoe.

Cost and Value
Considering these are sold as a set and made from Cedar, you are getting a great value with your purchase of these stretchers. They are going to last and will add to the longevity of your shoes being that they are constructed of cedar. It is also important to note, they are a sold as a set. Therefore, you are getting two whereas some of the other products in the category are only sold as one.
Pros
  • Cedar
  • Metal interior parts
  • Hanging loop when not in use
  • Split-toe design
  • Reduces Odor
Cons
  • Smaller Width

9. Cherainti 4-Way Adjustable

9. Cherainti 4-Way Adjustable
Cherainti brings to the category the only one that adjusts four ways. You can stretch the width, length and trouble area per usual. In addition, you can stretch the height of the shoe with this one. Cherainti has built a reputation on their shoe stretchers. Finally, this shoe stretcher also doubles as a shoe preserver when not in use for stretching. Simply place in your shoe to smooth out creases after wearing.
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Varied Stretching Ability
Shoes that this stretcher can stretch are wide-ranging. These fit flats, sports shoes, sandals, peep toes, high heels, canvas, leather, and suede. They make a perfect compliment to all of the shoes in your closet that cause you foot troubles.

Environmentally Friendly
Stretchers that are made from wood are considered by some to not be friendly to the environment. Cutting down trees to use them for shoe stretchers is not something that Cherainti's name is associated with. They use a durable and smooth polyurethane to produce these awesome products.

Cost and value
The set of two shoe stretchers here fall right into the middle of the category when compared to others. Moreover, you are getting a set of two whereas some of the other top contenders are only for one stretcher. That makes it an even better value. Aside from that, these are nicely made and high-quality. Finally, they have the bunion attachments only like a few others in the category. Buyers can know their purchase of these is a good purchase with many varied uses.
Pros
  • Durable plastic
  • 4-way stretch
  • Premium steel shaft
  • Easy glide crank
  • Simple use
Cons
  • Interior pieces get stuck

10. FootFitter Cast Iron Ball & Ring

10. FootFitter Cast Iron Ball & Ring
The only one like it in the category is this one from FootFitter. It is made from cast iron and is considered to be a spot stretcher as opposed to a full shoe stretcher. Again, from the company FootFitter which is widely known for their superior products. Tools like this one will come in extremely handy if you are only looking to target a few problem areas in the shoe and not necessarily the entire shoe.
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Professional Choice
Highly rated and acclaimed by professional shoe stretchers is this cast iron version. It is the chosen tool when they have to stretch only certain spots for a customer.

Cast Iron
Another first in the category is this tool is constructed from cast iron. For centuries cast iron has been known for its durability and dependability. The same can be said for this version of a shoe stretcher. You will not need to worry about this breaking or not being able to withstand the pressure applied to it.

Cost and Value
While it is one of the higher priced in the category, you can know that because it is cast iron, you are getting a superbly made product. Cast iron has definitely withstood the test of time for durability as it has typically been used for thing such as cookware. The initial cost might be higher than some others in the category, but you are getting a great value for your purchase.
Pros
  • Durable cast iron made
  • Better control
  • Smooth application
  • Easy to work with
  • Only does target areas
Cons
  • Won't Target Entire Shoe

You can save yourself money by purchasing a quality set of shoe stretchers and doing this yourself. It beats replacing your favorite pair of shoes just because your feet have expanded a little bit. You won’t be able to go from a size 8 to 10 but you should definitely see improvement if you are looking for a bit of breathing room. We evaluated these from a list of criteria that is important to pay attention to.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Shoe Stretchers

Wood vs. Plastic vs. Metal

Some would argue for one material over the other. There really is not a wrong way to go when choosing a material for your shoe stretcher.

  • Wood –
    The wooden shoe stretchers will inevitably last longer as most wooden things do when compared to plastic items. The wooden ones will have a firmer surface. Therefore, they will be less likely to give under pressure as many have seen happen with plastic. As well, they will be able to put more pressure on the shoe while it is being stretched. Some people simply choose wood because it absorbs odors and moisture from the shoe. However, the wooden stretchers are going to be more cumbersome and bulky than a plastic one.
  • Plastic –
    If you are using a shoe stretcher while you are traveling, it may be a better option to go with plastic. For one, they are not as heavy. Secondly, the plastic won’t snag other clothing in your suitcase and maybe a wooden one would if it has a rough edge. Another great thing about plastic is if a piece goes missing they are typically more affordable and would be less of a burden to replace.
  • Metal –
    Metal stretchers have its benefits and negatives as well. The metal is going to be solid and rigid. It can withstand the pressure being applied to it and the shoe. Negatively though, the metal will be like the wood in weight. If you don’t watch the metal it could potentially rust if exposed to moisture in the shoe. Then, it will transfer the rust to your shoe lining. As well, metal can sometimes have a smell. The lead odor can lead out into your shoes thereby transferring the scent to your expensive shoes.

Holes Vs. No Holes

You may look at a shoe stretcher and wonder what those holes are doing in it. Is that a design flaw? No. Those holes that are strategically placed are for pressure points.  The stretchers that have the holes are made to insert an additional layer before it is placed inside the shoe. It is like a little knob. The knob puts even more strain on that area of your shoe that your foot is bothered at. It will give just a little more pressure to stretch that part of the shoe more. You just have to align the knob and hole up with the part of your foot that has the pressure point hot spot.

The downside to the holes in the shoe stretcher is that it no longer makes the stretcher a solid piece of wood. The stretcher has a hole in it. Therefore, over time, it could weaken it.

Wood Types

The highest quality of wood stretchers is going to be the stretchers made from one solid piece of wood. The wood that is of highest preference would be Cedar. It has been shown to absorb moisture and odors the best when studied. However, there are other woods used in the production as well. Commonly seen woods are Beech, Lime, and Alderwood. They are all great choices if you are looking for a solid material that is going to help absorb odors and moisture from your shoes when not being worn.

Stretch Best Shoe Stretchers

Ways to Stretch

There are two ways in which a shoe can stretch. Interesting to note, the most common way is from side to side. This is the width of a shoe. A bit harder to do, but not impossible, is to stretch the length. You won’t be stretching the actual sole but you can possibly get a tiny amount more room in the length of the upper.

Be warned that sometimes the look of the shoe will change and it may be noticeable that you have in fact stretched the length of the shoe. Moreover, this is apparent by the shoe hanging over the edge of the sole. Consequently, you also run a risk of compromising the integrity of the shoe and doing damage to the sole or shank by attempting to stretch it in length.

Some will work in both directions, stretching length as well as width. Some will only work in one direction. Typically, those are the ones that will increase the width.

Components

When you open the stretcher up there will be two types of parts that comprise the gears and inner workings of it. First, some that are wood have metal parts and others will have plastic parts. The plastic innards may be substandard quality compared to those that have metal pieces.

The stretchers that have metal pieces and a wooden structure are going to be the most durable. They have the strongest backing to stretch your shoes and to withstand the force that is put on the tool. You can most certainly achieve desired results with a plastic stretcher that has plastic parts. However, you just need to use caution with the amount of force you are applying to the stretcher. It is recommended to go slower when using plastic tools than you would if using one of solid wood with metal parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Oldschool Best Shoe Stretchers

Q: What do shoe stretchers do?
A: They are a tool that can potentially stretch the sizing of a shoe to accommodate a bit more room. They are generally used for the width portion of a shoe. They also create more room allowing some relief to pressure points inside a shoe. This can be helpful for people who have bunions, corns, and other feet flaws that agitate the foot inside of a shoe.

Q: Are shoe stretchers effective?
A: They can be an effective and cost friendly option to saving your shoes or having the work done professionally. You will not be able to stretch whole sizes of shoes. However, you should have no problems with following proper guidelines on generating a little more room inside most shoes. This also depends on the material of the shoe and how much time and effort is exerted into the process.

Q: Why should I use shoe stretchers?
A: When you purchased the shoes that fit perfectly in the store and then later that night you notice your feet have swollen as most peoples tend to do, you need to stretch the shoe out some. Another example of when the foot might get larger is during pregnancy, weight gain, and health issues. Also, people that suffer from foot imperfections such as bunions and corns would greatly benefit from stretching their shoes. If properly done you can create more room on those terrible pressure points.

Q: How much stretch an I actually get?
A: You will only be able to stretch a few millimeters before you are sacrificing the integrity of the shoe and the material. You would be putting the shoe at risk of ripping or altering the sole and shaft if you push much further than that. If you cannot achieve the desired amount of room, unfortunately, you will be forced to wear shoes that are too small or you will need to purchase another pair.

Q: Is there a particular stretcher that is the best?
A: The list we have made for you, offers the top 10 choices in this category. Some features will work well for your desires and others not so much. Conversely, what works for others may not work for you. There is not one that will work for every shoe for every person and every time. We evaluated these against many others and are confident that our list offers the best choices available.

Q: What if I overstretch my shoe?
A: To prevent this from happening we recommend that you stretch small amounts at a time. Once a shoe is overstretched there really is not much you can do.

Q: Is there a way to tell if my shoes will stretch at all?
A: There are many materials that are easy to stretch. Usually, the materials that occur naturally in the world are the best candidates. These examples could be leather and suede amongst others.

Q: Where should I store my shoe stretchers when not being used?
A: You should keep them in a cool and dry place. Keep them safe from objects that could damage the mechanical pieces. A hard case is a good idea to keep them out of the way, safe, and dry.

Q: I saw holes in many of the stretchers I’ve been looking at, what are those?
A: Those holes are for an attachment piece that puts a little extra pressure on a spot of the shoe that might cause more pain. Such as typical locations of bunions or corns. It will make your shoes feel more customized and comfortable.

Q: Do I really need to use a fabric spray before stretching my shoes?
A: We highly recommend you use a spray to condition and prime the material before beginning. It will loosen the material up and give more optimal results. It can also help prevent some damage or ripping that may otherwise ruin your shoe.

Sources

  1. Desiree Stimpert, All About Shoe Stretchers, Blog, Apr 03, 2018
  2. Wise Geek, What is a Shoe Stretcher,
  3. Megan Willet, Do I need Shoe Trees?,
  4. Wikihow, How to stretch new shoes,
  5. Jessica Cuel, How to Stretch Shoes,
  6. Courtney Bennett, Shoe Stretchers Vs Shoe Trees,


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