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  • Ally Gavigan:
  • 14 January 2016

How to stretch dance shoes if they are too tight at the toes

Get those tight shoes back out of the closet and give them a new lease of life!

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Are any of these situations familiar?

You have bought new jig shoes or pumps and have already worn them a few times so you are unable to return them to the shop for an exchange but you have now decided that they are too tight. Damn! You think. Now I have a pair of shoes I can’t wear!

Your son or daughter is unable to stretch out shoes or pumps due to their age, the sensitivity of their feet or their general build.

Well, one potential solution is to consider using leather softeners…

One technique is to spray the shoes with softener and stuff the toes with tightly screwed up newspaper in a plastic bag (This is to stop newsprint coming out into the leather and then into your socks) then leave overnight.

Another alternative is to use a product system which combines leather softeners with stretch bars. One such product is made by Robert Dyas called Stretch Genie.

Stretch Genie spray works to relax the fibres of your shoes so that they have a little more “give” in them. Just apply to the inside, leave overnight, and the next day you’ll feel the difference.  It’s like having a brand new pair of tailor-made shoes!

If you need to stretch out your shoes more than this then the Stretch Genie kit also comes with two expanders to help you widen the narrow areas of your shoes. Just place them in the areas that are causing the most discomfort, turn the bar and leave overnight.

For the very best results, use the Stretch Genie spray together with the expanders.

You can view a product demonstration of Stretch Genie here:

Remember to read the instructions of any product you use in full. Some products such as saddlebag softener are not suitable for shoes as they can destroy or weaken the stitching which holds the shoe together!

If you would rather get the professionals involved, then most shoe repair shoes will stretch out the toe area of a shoe with in-house equipment for a small charge. However, please remember if you are doing this with pumps, they are not as thick as outdoor shoes, so it is better to stretch a little at a time to avoid tearing the leather or seams.

Please note you will not be able to return them to the shop you purchased for a refund or exchange if you use any of the above techniques on your shoes. So if the shoes are new, then the best solution is still to send them back and get another size or width. However if you have a pair in the back of your closet you have abandoned then it may be worth giving the above suggestions a go!

'For me this experience was as straightforward and as simple as one could have hoped for. '

Josh - UK
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