#5–Heavy Socks and Heat
What you need:
- Thick woolen socks
- Hair dryer with a nozzle
- Put the thick woolen socks on your bare feet.
- Blast the inside of your new shoe with a hair dryer for 20 seconds to heat up the material.
- Put the shoes on over the woolen socks while they are still warm.
- Walk around for a few minutes.
- Repeat at least twice.
Benefits: easy, high success rate, free (assuming you have things on hand).
Drawbacks: Depending on how the footwear is manufactured, heat can damage shoes in a variety of ways, which is why most brand name sneaker companies warn against using any type of heat, including the clothes dryer to dry their footwear. Heat can cause the adhesive used in manufacturing the shoe to reactivate causing it to fall apart. Heat can also warp footwear. Another example of a shoe that cannot handle heat is Crocs. The company advises against exposing your Crocs shoes to extreme heat or intense sunlight for extended periods. High temperatures can cause the Croslite material, from which they are made, to cause them to warp or shrink.
Bottom Line: You need to weigh the risk of ruing the shoe against the money you are saving by not using a shoe stretcher or professional.