How to Stretch Your High Heels

In the display window, those high heels looked so cute that you just had to try them on. On your feet, they looked so adorable that you just had to have them. But now that you're actually wearing them, those high heels have turned into torture tools.

You don't need to worry. If the toes pinch or the heels scrape, you don't have to banish those cuties to their box. What you need is a few tips on how to stretch your high heels.

Before doing anything else, take them back to the store and ask the staff if they would put the shoes on a stretcher. If they agree, and a good store always does, leave them there for at least 48 hours.

If a store stretcher is not an option, the following tips can help you stretch your high heels at home.

Wear socks

One of the easiest ways to stretch your high heels might be simply putting cotton socks on your feet, then your high heels, and walking around in them. Make the beds, do some vacuuming -- and while you go from here to there, your shoes will stretch.

Try a little water

Wet the shoes on the inside, and put them on your feet. Do not take them off until the shoes are completely dry. By wetting the shoes and wearing them, the leather will conform to your feet.

Peel a potato

To stretch your high heels with a potato, select and peel a potato that roughly fits the size of the toe of the shoe. Once peeled, stuff the potato inside the shoe and leave it there for at least 24 hours.

Heat up some rice

Fill the toe of the shoes with some rice. Insert a piece of cloth on top to prevent the rice from moving and to fill the remainder of the shoe. Pour some hot water on the cloth and the rice. As the rice swells, the leather of the shoes will be forced to expand. Leave the rice inside the shoe for a few hours.

Grab some newspaper

Scrunch a page of newspaper into a ball, and stuff it inside the toe of the shoe. The paper and the ink have a softening effect on leather. Leave the paper overnight.

Stretching the heel

If the heel of your shoes is uncomfortable, you need to get rough with them. Pick up the shoe with the toe facing downward. Take a firm grip on the shoe by holding the heel part between your index fingers and thumbs. Now pull in both directions with all your might. Repeat about 10 times.

Alternately, you can push the heel part downward toward the inside of the shoe. Both actions will cause the leather to grow more supple.

Keep in mind that few new shoes are comfortable right away. Shoes need to be worn to stretch, which -- depending on how often you wear them -- could take a few weeks.

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Always check if new shoes need waterproofing or regular polishing before you wear them. Preparing the material can help prevent damage, as can regular cleanings and proper storage. When storing shoes, stuff them to keep their shape, and store them standing up, never laying on one side.

Balance your selection of men's shoes with a little bit of classical and a little bit of modern style. Wear dress shoes for work or formal affairs and casual shoes for kicking back, and try not to mix the two styles.

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