22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A little expensive, but does the job AND is made in USA,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Shoekeeper Men's Shoe Stretcher & SprayA few weeks ago, I bought a pair of shoes in haste. I didn't wear them for a couple of weeks afterward. When I did eventually put them on, the right shoe (the one I tried on in the store) was fine. The left, however (the one I skipped trying on because I was in a rush,) was tight across the arch to the point where I couldn't wear it for more than a few minutes without severe discomfort. Size is correct; a manufacturing defect perhaps? Was too late to return them regardless.
So, rather than toss or give away a pair of $80 shoes, I decided to try this gadget. And it works! Took some experimenting, but the left is now as comfortable as the right, with no noticeable deformity in the shoe.
A couple of practical tips I learned along the way:
- Use the included spray liberally, more so than the instructions suggest. Don't soak it, but give the area to be stretched a couple of pumps inside and out until it's damp to the touch. Spray a band across the whole shoe where you want to stretch it, not just the contact areas on either side. Try the spray on a less-visible area first, to make sure the color won't run.
- Positioning of the stretcher is critical. The widest part must be centered on the area you want to stretch - if you just insert it all the way and crank it open, you may not get the results you're looking for. Don't use the metal bunion inserts unless you're trying to accommodate bunion(s); they WILL deform the shoe.
- The stretcher needs to be tightened much more aggressively than the instructions suggest. My first attempt, tightening just a couple of turns past where it was snug in the shoe per the instructions, had no effect whatsoever. I had to crank it a dozen or more turns to see any effect at all, and I went almost twice that on the third round to stretch the shoe to where I could wear it. Note that I was trying to stretch a thick, well-stitched part of a leather walking shoe; different styles/materials may not need to be stretched as aggressively to get results.
The only negative I've found is the price; $30 seems rather steep for what is fundamentally a simple tool. It is, however, solid hardwood and metal; it'll probably last a lifetime, and I'm sure I'll need it again at some point. Also, unlike nearly all of its inferior competitors, it's made in the USA. Ashland, New Hampshire, to be exact. That's worth a few extra bucks, and the star that I would otherwise have taken away for the price. Five stars for quality and effectiveness.