How to Stretch Running Shoes for Wide Feet?

Do you have a new pair of running shoes that don’t fit properly because you have wide feet? This guide will teach you 5 inexpensive methods you can use to stretch your shoes so you can start enjoying your early morning runs.

Even when you buy a high-quality pair of running shoes, it will still take time for them to mold to the shape of your feet and feel less stiff. 

But what can you do when you buy the wrong size and can barely move around in your shoes? Of course, the best option would be to return them to the store but if that’s not possible, stretching them is your only choice. 

This issue worsens if you are born with wider-than-average feet. 

While the running shoes may feel good length-wise, the real pain is at the back of your foot. There are special shoes you can buy online for people with wide feet if you don’t consider it worth going through a guide that will help you stretch your footwear step by step. 

Below we will teach you 5 methods you can follow to stretch your running shoes so you don’t get left behind on the track for having wide feet. 

1. Purchase Running Shoes in the Evening

We don’t recommend going shoe shopping in the morning or early afternoon hours. Instead, go in the evening or late afternoon to be safe. Why is it important? By the end of the day, your feet are a bit swollen after a long day of walking.

So, it’s not a good idea to shop for shoes in the morning when your feet are at their smallest before you get out of bed. It’s the worst mistake people make because running shoes that fit you in the morning may start to feel tight by the evening. 

If you only have time to shop in the morning, wear extra thick socks before you try to check if your running shoes fit. 

2. Change the Insoles

Replacing your running shoe’s insole with thinner ones opens up more space on the inside. Some people even go all the way and decide they don’t need insoles at all and still perform the same when running without them.  

With only this simple step, your wide feet now have breathing room and can feel comfortable. 

Taking the insoles out will not damage your running shoes or cause injuries, so this method is safe. The result will be that you can feel comfortable in the shoes you pick despite having wide feet. 

3. Use Your Hair Dryer With Thick Socks

Exposing your running shoes to heat will help loosen up their fiber materials so you can stretch them out and make them more suitable for your wide feet. 

While doing this, you should know what you’re doing, or you could damage your footwear. 

Some people use heat from a stove or a candle, but that’s not a good idea because the flames stain your shoes. 

Instead, you should use a hair dryer. The heat is intense but not to the point where parts of your shoe will melt. Below are the steps you need to take to try this method properly: 

  • Put your running shoes on.
  • Warm up the hair dryer. After 1 to 2 minutes, direct the heat around the back and front of your shoes. 
  • Remember not to keep the hair dryer pointed at one area for longer than a minute. Always keep your hand moving and rotating to the front and back until you feel your shoes start to soften. 
  • Do this for 5 to ten minutes, and the shoes will start to contour much better around your wide feet
  • To improve results, we recommend you wear thick socks while using this method, which will make a big difference. 

4. Put Your Shoes in the Freezer

Some people take extreme routes and dip their shoes in cold water before leaving them in their freezer for 4 to 7 days. We can tell you that it’s unnecessary, and you can get the same results with less effort. 

This method is excellent because it won’t cost you money to try, and you will use a simple element like water to stretch out your running shoes. 

Most people don’t know that water can help extend fibrous materials when it goes from wet to dry. You can take advantage of this scientific fact by using it to make your shoes wider. 

Below are the steps you need to take to help this method work: 

  • Find 4 to 5 ziplock bags.
  • Pour cold water in them all until they are full.
  • Close the ziplock bags and make sure water can’t leak out.
  • Put as many bags as you can in each running shoe.
  • Place both shoes in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours.
  • When you wake up, remove the bags from your shoes and try them on. 
  • Repeat the process until you are satisfied if they are not wide enough. 

5. Buy A Shoe Tree

Shoe trees are the most traditional method for stretching shoes for people with wide feet. Experts use them all the time, and this device never damages shoes if used properly while working 98% of the time. 


The design of a shoe tree is meant to emulate that of an actual shoe. It’s why shoe trees fit easily inside without harming the structure of your footwear. Follow the steps below to use this device correctly: 

  • Make sure the left shoe tree goes into the left shoe, and do the same with the right. 
  • Press on the handle slowly to start expanding the shoe tree from within.
  • Move it around in a circular motion to widen the toe area where your feet are widest.
  • If you think you went a little too far, there is no need to worry. The shoes will return to their original size if that’s what you want.
  • Keep the shoe trees inside your running shoes for 10 to 12 hours before taking them out.

Summing It Up

Each method on this list will help you achieve your goal of stretching your shoes to accommodate your wide feet. We tested each technique to ensure they work and won’t damage your shoes, which you spent hard-earned money on to buy. 

If none of these methods work, it will mean that you need the help of an expert like a cobbler but make sure you find one with significant experience.