There is nothing worse than trying to walk, in a pair of stiff, uncomfortable shoes. I have had my share of women’s dress shoes, over the years which did not yield to the sway of my feet. And my husband once owned a pair of tennis shoes that refused to bend.
My grandmother who grew up in the era of the Great Depression, was always finding home made methods to fix things. She showed me four, easy, expense free ways, to break in a pair of stubborn shoes. Grandma’s idea’s, have served me well, for several decades. I have also listed 4 of my own .
1. Petroleum jelly.
This may not be to everyone’s liking, but it really works. I recommend only using petroleum jelly, on leather or patent leather dress shoes. First, apply a light coating of petroleum jelly to the insides of the offending shoes. Next put a little petroleum jelly on your feet.
Step into the shoes, and walk around for about 10 minutes. Do this at least once a day, until your feet feel the shoes giving, and there is no more pain.
Ball up newspaper and push it into each shoe, until you can feel it at the toe. Make sure there is enough paper to cover entire shoe, and fight tightly. Leave in until the next time you wear the shoes. You should notice that they fit better. Continue using newspaper to help shoes maintain their shape.
3. Bend and stretch
Bend the toe of the shoe towards you, then push it back in the opposite direction, as far as possible. Do this as often as needed, until the shoes fit better. This did not work on my husband’s stubborn tennis shoes. Those shoes responded like a pair of steel toed boots.
Use a cotton ball or cu-tip, to apply rubbing alcohol to the inside of the shoes. Place shoes in a cool location. The alcohol helps the shoes expand.
5. Reduce swelling of your feet
At times, the problem is not the shoe, but your feet. Weather changes, medical issues, or standing on your feet too long are all causes of swelling. To prevent or reduce swelling here is what to do.
A. Soak your feet in warm water.
B. Massage warm oil or lotion on your feet and ankles. Having your spouse give you the massage is even better.
C. Sit with your feet raised, or while lying down keep feet elevated, as often as possible.
Another way to stretch dress shoes, is by walking through your house in them, wearing socks. If you do this often enough, when you wear the shoes with hose, or your naked skin, it will feel as if you are walking on air. You may also make tennis shoes more comfortable by wearing two pair of socks. When you return to one pair, you will notice the difference.
7. Give your feet a rest.
If you feel your feet swelling and the shoes tightening while at work, or church, if possible, kick off your shoes and allow your feet to breath. When you put them back on, you should feel the difference. I know women who wore dress shoes to church, but took the off, and wore footsies if they were serving food, or ushering.
8. Combine the methods
Decades ago, I was in a church where I had many leadership roles. During the time we had two Sunday services, I was one of the leaders who volunteered for both. I knew I would leave home at 7:30 a.m. and might not return until 4:00 p.m. After two services, eating out and visiting relatives, I was done for.
On Saturday evenings I began my ritual of incorporating all 6 of these methods into the nest 24 hours. I found it really helped.