When you’re free climbing in the Rocky Mountains, you definitely don’t want to worry about slipping in your own shoes, but you also don’t want your feet to turn purple either.
If you love your new hiking shoes but they’re just a bit too tight for your liking, try to stretch them out before you chuck the whole pair.
How to Stretch Shoes at Home
Fluffy Socks and a Hairdryer
Find the biggest, fluffiest pair of socks you’ve got and shove those bad boys deep in your shoe. In fact, shove several pairs in there.
Once your shoe is full of socks, grab a hairdryer and heat the problem areas.
While this method might take some time out of your day, it’s definitely more pleasant than blisters and rashes that come from breaking in new shoes.
Wear Them in the Shower
If you’re one of those people that love to take burning hot showers, you might just be able to use this to your advantage.
As crazy as it sounds, try strapping on your new hiking shoes next time you’re getting ready to take a shower. The hot water from the shower will loosen the tight fibers in the shoe and should allow some room for stretching.
Don’t forget to wear your socks!
Heat just not working for you? Try freezing them.
Get yourself some of those gallon Ziploc bags and fill two of them up with water. Next, stuff them inside your hiking shoes as far as they’ll go and put the whole thing in the freezer.
When the water freezes, it’ll expand inside the shoe, causing the shoe to stretch. You may need to do this a few times before you reach your desired fit.
How Not to Stretch Shoes
You might be thinking you can expedite the heating process by turning on the oven at a low temperature and toasting your shoes.
You wouldn’t be the first person to think that using the oven would work as a fast track. But please, in the name of all that’s good, don’t use the oven to stretch your shoes. It’s just too hot and will melt your brand new shoes.
Let’s not even talk about the nasty mess you’ll have to clean up in the morning.
Now You Know How to Stretch Shoes
If you’re an avid hiker or rock climber, you know nothing’s going to stop you from getting out there and breathing the fresh air. But safety should always be your number one concern before you head out.
Practice these methods and once you find one that works for you, you can teach your friends how to stretch shoes (and how not to stretch shoes!) too.
Shoes not the only thing giving you trouble? Check out this article on what to wear for rock climbing.