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How to Stretch Out Shoes for Your Child’s Feet

How to Stretch Out Shoes for Your Child’s Feet

a man in a white shirt and blue and pink suspenders
By Babafemi Adebajo
Jovan Mijailović
Edited by Jovan Mijailović

Published October 4, 2023.

How to stretch out shoes: A mother and a daughter tying their shoes.

You know the feeling of watching your child's feet seemingly grow overnight? This can make their once-perfect pair of shoes pinch and squeeze with every step.

While keeping up with your kid's ever-changing shoe sizes can be a real challenge, there's a simple, budget-friendly solution to provide your child with a proper fit.

» Find out how much wiggle room should be in your child's shoes

Understanding the Need for Proper Fit

Children outgrow their shoes at an astonishing rate. Before 18 months, their feet can grow more than half a shoe size every two months. The growth continues at various rates throughout childhood, peaking around puberty.

Why Is a Proper Fit Essential?

Children's feet consist of soft cartilage. Shoes that don't fit properly can have a lasting impact, leading to foot deformities, abnormal foot shapes, and even foot pain. Ensuring the proper fit during these formative years is vital for their overall foot health.

» Learn how to wash different types of kid's shoes

1. The Wet Newspaper Method

Place a damp piece of paper inside the sneaker to absorb moisture content. The shoe will expand as the paper dries.

This method is effective for shoes made from flexible materials like leather and polyester but may not work well with more rigid ones like rubber or synthetics.

2. Using a Shoe Stretcher

You can find stretchers online explicitly designed for kids.

The frequency of use depends on how much room your kid needs, but don't overstretch the shoe because it can affect its quality and fit.

3. Freeze Stretching with Ziplock Bags

You can gently expand the shoe's size by filling ziplock bags with water, placing them in the shoes, and freezing them. However, be cautious not to overfill the bags to prevent overstretching.

Precautions to Take

Stretching kids' shoes can be helpful, but be cautious to ensure safety.

Some of the precautions you can take to maintain shoe quality are:

  • Method-specific Safety Measures: Depending on the method you choose, follow safety guidelines. For example, when using dryers, use medium heat. For leather shoes, apply a moisturiser to prevent cracking.
  • Materials to Avoid: Avoid alcohol or vinegar, which can discolour the shoes. Avoid using boiling water or blunt objects like a hammer to expand them forcefully, as this can damage the material.

» Explore which shoe fabrics are the best for your children's feet

Walking in Comfort: The Best Fit for Your Kid

Ensuring your child's shoes fit correctly is vital for their foot health and overall comfort. Remember to choose the proper stretching method based on the shoe material and prioritise safety and quality.

Explore First Walkers' selection of orthotics-friendly shoes with removable insoles. They feature delightful designs, cushioning, and top-notch support for your child's growing feet.


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