Canvas shoes are comfortable, cheap, and versatile. However, they can be narrow in the toes when you first buy them, so breaking them in takes effort and patience. You can stretch canvas shoes with DIY methods such as using heat, stuffing them with newspaper and socks, wearing them around the house, using a stretching device, or taking them to a cobbler. If one method doesn’t work, try another until you find one that makes your shoes fit right.
Microwave canvas shoes for a quick way to stretch them.
Put your shoes in the microwave on high for no longer than 30 seconds. The heat from the microwave will make the fabric more malleable to your feet.
Make sure there are no metal pieces in the shoes before putting them in the microwave. Make sure the eyelets in your shoes aren’t metal, too.
Take the shoes out of the microwave and put them on right away while the material is still warm. Walk around with them on for a minute.
After a minute, they’ll start to cool down, so take them off and put them in the microwave again for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, wear your shoes again, and they should be widened enough.
Use a hair dryer on the shoes while wearing socks.
The heat from the hair dryer will soften the fabric for stretching. While wearing thick socks, put your shoes on and aim a hair dryer at them for 20-30 seconds.
Keep the hair dryer a few inches from your feet so as not to burn yourself.
Try the shoes on without the thick socks to test their fit. They should be looser.
Use steam to soften canvas shoes for stretching.
Steam will relax the shoe fibers and make them more malleable to the shape of your feet. Boil a kettle of water and hold your shoes over the steam for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Try the shoes on and flex your feet around in them until the fabric has been stretched wide enough to accommodate your foot.
Stuff your shoes with bags filled with water and freeze them.
As water turns to ice, it will expand in the tight areas of the shoes and stretch the material. Fill two small zip-lock bags with water and seal them tightly. Place the bags in the shoes all the way to the toe area, and put them in the freezer overnight.
Take the shoes out of the freezer, and try them on to test their fit. Repeat this process if necessary.
Stuff newspapers into the toes of your shoes to widen them.
By wadding up and tightly packing newspapers into the toes of your shoes, you should be able to create some wiggle room for your toes.
Leave the newspaper in your shoes over night to give it time to stretch the material, and then remove it in the morning. Repeat this step if there’s still not enough room.
Stuff a ball of socks in your shoes to widen them.
Similar to the newspaper, socks can also be used to stuff your shoes and widen them overnight.
Pack the ball of socks tightly to ensure the toes of the canvas shoes receive a good stretch overnight.
Wear your canvas shoes around your house if you can.
By wearing new shoes around your house, you can break them in while doing daily tasks and sitting at your desk.
Starting in the morning, wear the shoes with thicker socks and go about your day performing daily tasks such as doing the laundry, cleaning, or watching T.V.
Flex your feet to create more room in the shoes while you wear them around your home.
Use a ball and ring shoe stretcher to widen problem areas.
This should provide immediate results, and this type of stretcher can be left in your shoes overnight.
Decide which area of your shoes needs the most stretching, and place the ball inside the shoe with the ring on the outside.
Put the arms of the stretcher together over the area of the shoes giving you the most problems. You should see progress immediately, but you can leave the stretcher in your shoe overnight to make sure it makes enough room for your feet.
Use a two-way shoe stretcher to stretch the whole shoe at once.
If the entire shoe feels too tight rather than one area, a two-way stretcher widens and lengthens the entire shoe.
Shoe stretchers come with bunion plugs that can be attached to enhance stretching in extra tight areas.
You should spray a stretching liquid on your shoes prior to using this device.
When the solution saturates the fabric, turn the knob of the stretching device one full turn every 8 hours. You may leave the stretcher in overnight.
Go to a cobbler for a professional shoe stretching.
A professional can use a shoe-stretching machine to either widen or lengthen your canvas shoes.
Cobblers charge between $10 to $20 to stretch your shoes. It’s also one of the safest ways if you don’t want to be bothered with a DIY method.