This year we are excited to be out and about again and walking is an easy way to get yourself back outside. Finding a cute pair of walking shoes seems easy enough but finding a pair that fit perfectly once you start to walk in them is another story. Sometimes they are not as comfy as you hoped and can put a damper on your walking experience. We want to help you find your "glass slipper" of walking shoes plus give you some ways to make them more comfortable.
First off, there are some benefits that you can look for in advance to make your life a little easier. Before you start your walking shoe search, it’s helpful to seek out merchants that offer additional assurances for your purchases. This would include having an exceptional return or exchange policy. Some stores even offer a trial period to ensure that your shoes fit just right. Shopping at one of these retailers will ease your mind if the shoes don’t fit.
Once you’ve found the store that fits your return policy requirements, you can start the search for the walking shoe of your dreams! When starting your search we also recommend keeping some shoe features in mind to look for. Breathability is always a great feature in a comfortable walking shoe. Finding a pair of shoes that allow heat to escape will ensure that your feet stay cool and dry. You can also look for a moisture wicking insole feature to absorb sweat. This will ensure that your shoes will dry thoroughly and helps with eliminating odor. Another great feature for a comfortable walking shoe is material that stretches to form to your foot and will allow some give. This can include leather or plastic which are the easiest materials to stretch, but a breathable mesh would work too. Bonus features would be a pair that is machine washable and cute! You want to make sure that the style will fit your aesthetic and be something you feel confident in. A machine washable pair is always good since you could wash them on your own every time they get muddy or stinky. Hopefully these tips will help you make your walking shoes more comfortable.
Doing the research beforehand could still result in you purchasingwalking shoes that still do fit quite right. That’s ok! Everyone’s feet are different and there are other ways to customize your walking shoes to make them uniquely comfortable for your stride. There are several tips that you can use to stretch out your shoes to ensure they fit just right. We rounded up some DIY ways to make your walking shoes more comfortable post purchase:
1. Wear them in the evening- If your shoes are just a little uncomfortable, try wearing them around the house. Sometimes, a few nights of doing this can soften them up to the point where they feel good. Let your feet rest before trying this method, especially if it’s hot outside or you’ve walked a lot that day. New shoes? Try to walk only on rugs or carpeted surfaces, so you can still return the shoes looking new, if needed.2. Thick socks and a blow dryer- If the first method doesn’t work, this one will add a little extra stretch and help the shoes conform to your feet.
- Put on a pair of thick socks and fasten the shoes comfortably.
- Now try applying a hair dryer for 20 to 30 seconds at a time to the tight areas.
- Use only medium heat, and keep the blow dryer in motion so you don’t excessively dry out or burn the material
It’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner or moisturizer to the shoes after you’ve used this method.
3. Frozen zip-close bag -This method works best on non-leather shoes.
- Fill a zip-close bag part of the way with water.
- Place the partially filled bag inside your shoe. Try to arrange it so it’s near the tight spots.
- Now place the shoe and bag in the freezer overnight.
The water will turn into ice and expand, giving you a custom stretch for your shoes.
4. Adjustable shoe trees- Once a specialty item at shoe repair shops, four-way adjustable shoe trees are now available for home use for under $25. Versions are available for both men’s and women’s shoes. For a little more money, deluxe versions in cedar or other types of wood and stainless steel can be found. These devices can help you expand the length and width of a shoe. Specially designed plugs (bunion plugs) can also target problem areas in the top of the toe box. Turn the adjustment handle of the shoe tree every 8 to 12 hours to keep stretching until you get the desired length and width. This method can be combined with shoe stretching spray and liquids. It’s best for leather shoes and sneakers.
5. Shoe stretch sprays and liquids- A variety of liquids and sprays to stretch leather, fabric, and even vinyl are available. Spray them on the tight areas and then walk in your shoes. These products also can be used together with adjustable shoe stretchers to help give your shoes a custom stretch.
Lastly, if the above 5 tricks don’t work and your shoes are still not as cozy as you need them to be, then it’s time to pull out the big guns and seek the help of a shoe professional.
6. Find a shoe repair professional- Most professional shoe repair shops or cobblers provide stretching services. They have machines and training to alter shoes. Not only can a cobbler stretch your shoes, they can repair and refresh the ones you have to make them last longer overall.
Are comfortable walking shoes in your future? Of course they are! Hopefully these tips help make your walking shoes more comfortable and keep you walking all summer long. Let us know in the comments what you look for in comfortable walking shoes. Happy hunting!