Last updated: 16/10/2022

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If the shoe doesn’t quite fit and pinches on one side, you can use a shoe stretcher. This ensures that the shoe is stretched in different places. This means that the shoe does not have to be thrown away, but can continue to be used. Some shoe stretchers only keep the shape straight.

We have written a guide that covers the entire topic. We show you what you really have to look out for when buying. We also recommend a few models so that you don’t have to search long for a shoe stretcher.


  • A shoe stretcher is inserted into the shoe. It must be attached to the sides of the shoe so that it is shaped straight. This widens the shoe.
  • Make sure you get the right size shoe stretcher. This is often indicated with the actual shoe size. If you are unsure, always refer to the exact manufacturer’s instructions.
  • After inserting the shoe stretcher, it takes about 24 hours until the shoe is really stretched. The shoe stretcher should be inserted immediately after wearing the shoe.

The Best Shoe Stretcher: Our Picks

There are many different shoe stretchers. From classic wooden shoe stretchers to shoe stretcher sprays, you can find everything on the internet. But here we explain what really suits which shoe. In our big shoe stretcher comparison, we have picked out the best models.

Buying and Evaluation Criteria for Shoe Strechers

In order to find a suitable shoe stretcher, you should consider some buying criteria. So that you don’t have to search for them yourself, we have compiled a list for you here that will do the work for you.

You now have a brief overview of the most important criteria. To help you understand the individual points even better, we have explained them below.


The material for a shoe stretcher differs. Depending on the model, there are shoe stretchers made of plastic or wood. Of course, shoe stretcher sprays are excluded. Shoe stretchers made of plastic are usually made of ABS plastic. This material is cheap to produce.

At the same time, it is easy to shape. Accordingly, many products are made of ABS plastic. It is also worth mentioning that the plastic is not toxic. Wood is often used as a second material. This has the advantage that it is usually a natural production.


The most important purchase criterion is size. Shoe stretchers do not come in one size. You have to pay much more attention to the manufacturer’s size. These are indicated differently in each case. Some models only indicate a size from S – XL. You have to take a look at the exact description to get the actual numbers.

Most of the time, however, only the shoe size is given. Depending on how far you want the shoe stretcher to stretch, you have to choose your shoe size. As always, if you are still unsure, there is a better breakdown in the description.


Duration refers to how long the process takes. This can vary depending on the product. The important thing is that you must have worn the shoe beforehand. This makes the shoe more malleable.

Generally, shoe stretching takes about a whole day. Do not remove the shoe stretcher during this time.

There is a shoe stretcher spray. This can be applied directly. The shoe can be put on again immediately afterwards. However, it depends on the material of the shoe used. For the most part, it has to be leather shoes.


In general, shoe stretchers can be used in two different ways. With the classic shoe stretcher, the product is inserted into the shoe. If necessary, screws and buttons are fixed. In this way, the shoe retains its shape and is stretched.

With a spray, the product is simply sprayed into the shoe from the inside. Afterwards, the shoe can be used again and should have widened.

Guide: Frequently asked Questions about Shoe Stretchers answered in Detail

There are a number of questions about the shoe stretcher. We have written the most important answers and summarised them for you. Among other things, you will learn what a shoe stretcher is and what it is used for.

What is a shoe stretcher?

A shoe stretcher is a device that stretches shoes. The shoe stretcher is used when the shoes are too small and/or pinch in some places. It is also used when shoes are stored for a longer period of time. The shoe stretcher prevents the shoes from losing their shape.


A shoe stretcher is used to stretch shoes that are too small. There are shoe stretcher sprays for leather shoes. (Image source: Greg Rosenke / Unsplash)

Some shoes can become misshapen over time. This is often possible with boots, ankle boots, hiking boots, leather shoes or even sneakers.

How do I use a shoe stretcher?

First of all, we distinguish between the normal shoe stretcher and the shoe stretcher spray. The spray is simply sprayed into the shoe. In most cases, the shoe must be made of leather so that the spray can take effect. After spraying, the shoe can be put on directly.

The conventional shoe stretcher is inserted straight into the shoe. Depending on the model, screws and buttons must then be adjusted. The whole product has to press against the shoe from the inside to keep the shape.

How much does a shoe stretcher cost?

Not all shoe stretchers are the same. There are not only differences in the respective criteria. Depending on the price category, there is a different range of performance. We have listed the three price categories for you.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (8 – 12 €) Partially poor workmanship, only widens length
Medium-priced (13 – 25 €) Better workmanship, for very large sizes
High-priced (from 25 €) Very well made, widens width and length

What types of shoe stretchers are there?

Most shoe stretchers are designed to widen the shoe. The shoe can be widened in length as well as in width. However, not every shoe stretcher can do this. Depending on the product, it may be that only the length can be widened. It is therefore advisable to check this information with the manufacturer.

In addition, there are shoe stretchers that only preserve the shape of the shoe. These are used when the shoe is just standing around for a longer period of time. This is often a high-quality shoe that would otherwise lose its shape.


There are many different shoe stretchers on the market. Each shoe stretcher can have a different function. It makes a difference whether the shoe stretcher is only to preserve the shape of the shoe or whether the shoe is to be enlarged.

Furthermore, the models differ in their material. Some models are made of plastic, most are made of wood. The shoe stretcher is simply inserted into the shoe and removed after about 24 hours. Then you will achieve the ideal result. You also have to pay attention to the size of the shoe stretcher.

(Cover photo: Volodymyr Gerasymov / 123rf)