Tennis is a competitive sport requiring you to be at your best when competing on the court. So part of being a competitive athlete is acquiring the best equipment to give you an edge over your opponents. And we believe having the best fitting and most comfortable tennis shoes will help you perform better.
But what happens when even the best tennis shoes don’t fit you well because you have wide feet? If you don’t solve this issue and continue to play like this, you could injure your ankles, cause toe deformities, flat feet, and severe inflammation levels that could force you to stop participating in the sport you love.
The good news is this guide will help you avoid getting injured and teach you how to stretch your tennis shoes for wide feet. We have several methods you can try depending on your preferences, but each has a 90% success rate and is easy to implement to get back on the cart quickly.
Method #1 Use a Blowdryer
Blowdryers are great for stretching out fabrics which means they are perfect for your tennis shoes. However, before going through the instructions, we suggest you wear thick socks so that the heat from the blow dryer has a better chance of molding the tennis shoes to your feet.
- Wear one or two pairs of thick wool socks on each foot
- set your blow dryer to medium heat and point it for 30 seconds on each area of your shoe without focusing on one location for too long. If you focus too much on one side, the heat will start to make your tennis shoe crack, and it might also have a burn stain. Continue to do this until your footwear feels soft and you can get your foot in quickly.
We tried this method on a pair of Gamecourt 2 Tennis shoes that felt extra tight. After repeating the technique 3 times, the shoe felt more comfortable and fit my wide foot like a glove. Next, you should go outside and walk around your neighborhood for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure they don’t revert to their original shape. Lastly, if your shoes feel dry, put some moisturizer on them to improve elasticity, so they are ready when you head to tennis practice.
Method #2 Put Your Tennis Shoes In The Freezer
This method will sound odd to most, but putting your shoes in the freezer works and won’t cost any money. The secret behind this method is that when water freezes, it extends and grows inside your tennis shoe.
Grab a ziplock bag or buy one if you don’t have one at home.
The first step is to pour water into the bag until 60% full while making sure there is enough space at the top. Then, seal and inspect it for leaks or small holes because you can damage your shoes if even a few drops get out.
Next, put one bag inside each shoe into the front area where your toes belong. This step is vital because it’s where people experience the highest level of tightness.
Place both shoes into your freezer and leave them overnight for 8 to 10 hours. In the morning, remove your tennis shoes from the freezer and let the water inside the zip lock bags melt. If you must, do this step repeatedly until your shoes are stretched enough to let you play comfortably.
I was skeptical the first time I tried this method on a pair of sneakers, and getting the bag into the toe area of the shoes was not easy. Despite being effective, only use this method if you don’t have a blowdryer since it takes less effort and is better for tennis shoes. Either way, if you go with the freezer technique, your shoes will be stretched enough for your wide feet to avoid future injuries.
Method #3 Use a Shoe Tree
Shoe Trees are old-school devices for stretching your tennis shoes that still work today. They also decrease the chances of damaging your expensive footwear since you are not using water or untested creams that cause stains.
One of the best brands on that market is the Allen Edmonds Cedar shoe tree. It works for both extending your sneakers’ width and length. In addition, different models are available for men and women in various sizes.
Things To Consider Before Buying Shoes That Feel Too Small
The perfect fitting tennis shoes are neither too snug nor do they feel too spacious near the toes. The rule of thumb is that a 1cm gap should be between your longest toe and the front of your shoe, so you have some wiggle room.
Also, when buying tennis shoes, you should do it in the evening because your feet will be bigger towards the end of the day. And you should never purchase a shoe until you can walk around the store for 1 to 3 minutes. Finally, for hygienic purposes, bring your own socks because you don’t know how clean the last person who tried the shoes on was. If you feel any discomfort, you should reconsider buying the shoe unless you know you have wide feet and will have this problem with most brands.
Once you get home with your new tennis shoes, wear them around the house to start breaking them in. It would be better if you had a carpet to walk on so you don’t wear out the bottom of your shoes. I would suggest wearing the thickest pair of socks you have to decrease the possibility of getting blisters and abrasions under your foot. Lastly, if your shoes don’t come with good quality soles, it’s essential to buy some immediately and replace the lower-quality ones that came with your shoes.