Do Shoe Trees Stretch Shoes? [Answer Revealed]

For those who don’t know, shoe trees are shoe-shaped plastic or wooden objects that you insert inside your shoes. It is done so that there is little moisture inside and the shoes keep their shape when not worn.

One typical question people may ask is if shoe trees stretch shoes.

Shoe trees do not stretch shoes. It is not its job to do so. Instead, it helps with smoothening the shoe and keeping it in shape. You can use alternatives like shoe stretchers, spray, blow dryer, or alcohol to stretch shoes.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss more shoe trees. Perhaps they may be helpful for you without you realizing it.

Do Shoe Trees Stretch Shoes?

Do Shoe Trees Stretch Shoes

Shoe trees do not stretch shoes. Their primary task is ensuring the shoe is smooth and in shape. It also helps reduce the spread of moisture. That, in turn, prevents bacterial and fungal growth, which may introduce bad odors. 

But if you want to stretch your shoes, then shoe stretchers will help you. These mechanical tools made of plastic or wood help stretch the shoe. There are other methods of stretching shoes too, which we will discuss further in this article.

Can Shoe Tree Damage Your Shoe?

Can Shoe Tree Damage Your Shoe

The wrong shape of shoe trees can damage your shoes. Some shoe trees have a protruding shape by the sides. That may awkwardly protrude from the leather of the shoe and can potentially deform or damage them. 

The material should also be considered when buying a shoe tree. Plastic and synthetic shoe trees are cheap. But they do not have any moisture-absorbing ability. Buy a shoe tree with straight sides to ensure your shoes aren’t damaged. 

Always opt for cedar shoe trees, as they absorb excellent moisture.

Shoe Tree Alternatives

Shoe Tree Alternatives

You can try some of the alternatives of shoe trees if you are worried too much about can shoe trees damage shoes. Whether it’s a cedar shoe tree or other best shoe trees, it’s time to move to alternative options if you are unsatisfied.

1. Spray And Liquids

Shoe stretcher sprays and liquids may seem like a magic potion. You apply them to your shoes, and they stretch. And now you can slip your feet comfortably inside. It’s not any magic. 

These liquids usually contain an alcohol-based solution. When you spray, the shoe absorbs the liquid, which causes it to stretch and expand. A shoe stretcher spray ensures just the right amount of the liquid is sprayed. 

And also, it contains liquid that would not damage your shoes. Some materials, like leather or suede, can get badly deformed by exposure to water. Using it is simple. You spray the insides, slip into the shoe with socks and walk around for a bit. The shoe should mold into your feet’s size and shape.

2. Blow Dryer

Using a blow dryer to heat up and expand a shoe is a commonly known technique. First, you wear the shoes and blow-dry the areas where it feels very tight. You heat that specific area for 20-30 seconds. Do this for the entire shoe, and then walk with the shoes on until it cools down. 

However, you should be cautious about what material your shoes are. For leather, you need to apply this method very carefully. Heating for too long or putting the dryer too close can damage the material structure of the leather. 

As well as that, this method must not be used for sensitive materials like plastic or vinyl. They would respond poorly and deform permanently beyond repair. Also notable to mention that only natural leather can be treated with a blow dryer. 

Suppose you see wrinkling while blow-drying your shoes; stop immediately, as the heat damages the shoe. You should keep this note while blow-drying any shoe. All in all, only blow dry natural leather shoes.

3. Shoe Stretcher

We mentioned a bit about shoe stretchers at the beginning of the article. It’s basically a tool that physically stretches the shoe. It’s contrary to the previous methods where you didn’t physically stretch the upper. 

Using it is pretty simple. You insert the shoe-shaped wedge inside the shoe and turn the knob or lever. This would make the wedge spread out and expand the shoe with it. Keep turning the knob until it becomes too difficult to stretch any further. Keep the shoes with the stretcher overnight. 

After 24-48 hours, the shoe would stretch sufficiently. You will get more effective results if you use this with a shoe spray. The liquid would help stretch the shoe less strenuously.

If you are concerned about shoe trees for sneakers, it’s better to use shoe stretchers.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol loosens the fiber of your shoes, allowing the material to be more flexible. For that, you need to make a 50:50 water rubbing alcohol solution. Then apply the mixture to the outside and inside of the shoes. 

After the shoes dry, wear them with thick socks and walk around. See if that makes wearing them comfortable. If not, repeat the process until your shoes are loose and comfortable enough. 

One thing to note is that since leather is sensitive material, making it too wet may do some damage to it. This method is recommended for outdoor shoes.

5. Repairman

Sometimes you just need to let the professionals deal with this problem. If the methods above do not work, or you are doubtful about doing those yourself, go to a cobbler. 

Over-engineering your shoes can do irreversible damage, and all your money will go down the drain.

Fixing An Extended Shoe

Fixing An Extended Shoe

It looks like you have overdone it. And now your shoes are too big to walk incorrectly. Can anything be done? Luckily, there may be a few fixes.

1. Wearing thick socks

Wearing thick socks can help you get a better grip on your shoes. Alternatively, you can wear multiple layers of socks to get the same effect. But this method is quite uncomfortable in hot weather. 

Your bulked-up feet would sweat more profusely. This can have a secondary effect on moisture being developed inside. That would leave a foul smell inside your shoes.

2. Cushioning the insides 

The problem with extended shoes is that there is too much toe room, or the heel area doesn’t seem to fit. Filling up those empty spaces can help you get a better grip and fit. 

Stuff your shoes with the correct amount of newspapers or cushioning pads in the heel area. That way, the entire length of the shoes is covered, and they won’t slip off.. 

3. Using a dryer

Many people consider machines drying their shoes after they have cleaned them. But this is a problematic method since the shoes can get shrunk by the heat. But in this case, it can be an advantage for us. 

You can try machine drying your pair of shoes. This may help shrink the shoes back into a perfect size. But do not use this method for all types of uppers. Leather and suede materials don’t respond well to heat, and you may further damage your already over-engineered shoes. 

4. Rubber shoe strips and insoles

You can easily find rubber shoe strips in any drugstore. First, try walking in your shoes to determine the excess space inside. Then fill up those extra spaces with rubber shoe strips and try walking in them again. 

Keep adding layers until they fit perfectly. This method can also be used in conjunction with insoles. Removable insoles, while filling up the excess space, can also be useful in giving you comfortable cushioning.

5. Seeking professional help

There’s always this option where you can turn to an experienced cobbler to help you with your shoes. You can potentially do further permanent damage after already over-engineering your shoes and making them too big. 

If you fear that you would do more irreversible damage, stop and go to a cobbler. You should especially consider this if you have bought some expensive pair like Timberlands. You don’t want to drop all your money into the drain, do you?


  • Do shoe trees Increase shoes?

Shoe trees are known to reduce creases on your shoes. When you put shoe trees inside the shoe, it helps hold the shape and structure of the shoe. That way, creases are also said to be eliminated. 

  • How can I stretch my shoe size?

There is a wide range of methods that you can employ to help stretch your shoes. You can use a shoe stretcher to expand your shoe size physically. Less physical yet effective techniques, like shoe stretching sprays, are readily available. 

Rubbing alcohol solution is also known to help stretch and expand the shoe material. But you should use a method only if it is suited for the type of upper your shoes are made of.


Shoe trees can be a useful tool to keep your shoes in size and avoid making them smelly. The most effective ones are those made of wood. You should pick cedar wood shoe trees because they absorb excellent moisture. 

However, they don’t help quite enough to stretch your shoes. In this article, we have examined shoe trees and how they work. And for those wanting to expand their shoes, we have talked extensively about methods of stretching shoes. 

With all this, we hope to have answered your question: do shoe trees stretch shoes?

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