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Stretching Shoes Yourself At Home [VIDEO]

Video Transcription

Hello, everybody. In today's video, I'm going to see if I can stretch a pair of shoes wider with a pair of premium shoe stretchers from this company called Simple Shine. We're going to try it out and we're going to see what happens. Okay, so let's go.

Hello, everybody. It's Robert Powers. Four and a half out of five. My shoe collection. These are made of shell cordovan. Can you tell the difference? Now here they are finished up. I'm not a professional. Look how tight this is, though. Very clearly here I just cut the thread in half. Here it goes. Here they are completely finished up.

So I've got a couple of packages here, a smaller one and this larger one from a company called Simple Shine. Let's go ahead and see what we've got. Here we've got the ... This should be stretching fluid, premium leather stretch. So this company's called Simple Shine. This isn't the part that is exciting is me as much as this one. Oh, keep the blade retracted.

Premium leather suede dye, okay. I wasn't expecting that, suede and leather dye. All right, and look at this. Okay, premium shoe stretcher. I've never actually used one of these things. This is a large size. You'll see it says large there, because my shoes, I wear my Allen Edmonds 65, the last size. It's like 11.5 EEE. okay. Okay, cool. This does have some directions on it. We go over those in a second. What else have we got here? Cool bag to put it in. Everything's backwards on the screen. It's not as easy as you think to put stuff up there.

Wow! This in here, dang! Look at this thing. Oh, this is a plastic, but it's ... Okay. I'm looking at the construction of this thing, I guess. It's not solid, but it's pretty thick. It feels pretty sturdy. It's going to have to be to produce enough force to stretch open the shoe.

Simple Shine Shoe Stretcher

And so, I believe the way this works, I looked at the directions online. This is going to go into the heel of the shoe. Obviously, this goes in the front. I believe the way it works is when you turn this ... Yeah, when you turn this, I believe it lengthens the shoe. I'll have to look at the directions. Then when you do ... There's one for width and one for length, I guess, is the way it works.

No, this is the width adjustment. See, look, when I turn, can you see the gap getting wider? This is the width adjustment, this metal handle. When you turn this, it obviously moves this up and down, and that's for stretching the length. The one I'm going to be concerned with is more of the width. See, when I twist it back down, the thing, the gap completely closes.

So there's a right and there's a left. Now also in the bag, we have these little buttons. If you notice, there are three holes there, there's three there. These, I believe, are for creating areas, stretching a specific area to get away from a toe or a bunion or something like that. So they're like just little buttons.

That's interesting. I'm not sure what that is, but I'm sure if I'll look at the directions, right? It reminds me of Mr. Potato Heads. Anyway, so I'll keep these. I don't know if I'm going to need these or not.

So, first of all, before I actually performed the stretching, I want to talk about a little bit just for a couple of minutes why to stretch shoes. My Brannock Device, shoe size Brannock Device, is the actual machine that you usually use to measure your feet. In the US size, my left foot measures between 11 and 11.5 length and the width measures about an E to EE.

There's a fence on the device. The measurement will vary depending on how much pressure you put on it. My right foot actually measures about 11, about a solid EE. In other words, my right foot is definitely wider and my left foot is a little longer. So what I always have with my feet ... And I'll actually turn the camera around and I'll show you.

So basically what I always find is that my right foot, if I ever have a problem with shoes fitting too tight, it's always on my right foot. So let me show you here. This is fairly crude, but I'm going to get the right side of my foot right up against the fence here. This is with just partial pressure. When I put my foot down, I'm getting right about four and a half inches wide on the widest part of my right foot.

Now if I take the same measurement on my left foot, again, get this side of my foot right up on that fence, and put just some pressure ... In other words, I'm seated doing this alone. I don't know if you can tell, but I have about a ... Riley. It's my dog. So I have about an eighth-inch gap. You may not be able to see it on the video, but I'm getting four and three-eighths inches. What that means is my right foot is a good solid eighth of an inch, if not more, but at least a solid eight of an inch wider than my left foot.

Okay, so here is my two best fitting pairs of shoes. These are two different sets. This is an Oxford, wingtip Oxford. This is an Allen Edmonds McAllister. This is a longwing, a brogue, a derby. This is the Allen Edmonds Macneil. These are both 11.5 EEE. D is a standard width shoe. D is a standard width. So you'd go from D to E, one step wider. In theory, each step is three-sixteenth of an inch. EE, in theory, would be six-sixteenth or three-eighths of an inch. In theory, going from D to E to EE to EEE would be nine-sixteenth of an inch.

I have another video I'll link below. I have two different Allen Edmonds shoes, same style, same lasts, same model. Only difference, one is a D, one is a EEE, and I measured a half-inch difference. As far as Allen Edmonds go, EEE is 11.5. EEE is the size I default to, and it fits very well.

So let me show you the shoe that I actually want to stretch right here. These are a pair of Johnston & Murphy Aristocrafts, made in the USA. The size on these, if you can see, these are a 12 D. So D is the size. B is the width of the heel. B is the width of the heel, okay? And so, this is a standard.

In theory, the 12 D would be wider than an 11.5 D. I've never found an 11.5 D that I can wear, but I can wear sometimes 12 Ds. Now you can't truly compare Johnston & Murphy sizing to Allen Edmonds, but I just want to give you an illustration.

By the way, you see this is a Goodyear welted shoe. So what I'm going to do is measure the outsole width, which is not a true measure of the upper. But if the soles overhang the upper the same, it does give you some gauge. I'm going to put these shoes and try and line up them ball to ball.

When I line up this side ... I'm trying to line them up the best I can and stay on camera. I don't know if you can tell, the Allen Edmonds shoes definitely, right about ... It's really about an eighth of an inch wider. You see here's the Allen Edmonds shoe. The Allen Edmonds shoe is really, when you measure it at the ball, it's about an eighth inch wider.

So that eighth inch difference for me is enough, where in these shoes, the left shoe, believe it or not, is comfortable, the right shoe is not. Now why am I trying to squeeze into shoes that aren't really the right size? That's, I know, one of the first compliments, and especially people who have the means, to be able to get whatever they want. They don't hurt my feet, they're just uncomfortable. The funny thing is they're more uncomfortable on office days. When I walk, they're not as uncomfortable is the funny thing.

I just love the shoe. I got these shoes at a thrift store for $25. Now here's why I love them. First of all, the color, it's kind of like a light to medium. I'd call this like a lighter brown, not a tan or walnut color. I love the color. I love this style. You can't actually get this style of shoe from Allen Edmonds at this point in time.

What do I mean by that? A quarter brogue they do have, the Fifth Avenue, but it doesn't have a medallion. And this color is just gorgeous. I mean I just love these shoes. But like I said, they're just a tad bit uncomfortable. So this is the perfect shoe. What I'm trying to achieve now is about a quarter-inch stretch on the uppers.

So how am I going to gauge the stretch? A couple of ways. First of all, the shoe trees that I have in these shoes are pretty cool. They're a pair of shoe trees that I found at a thrift store. Notice that they're labeled 11 D, but this is adjustable. This is adjustable here. So when I pull these things all the way back and really lock it into place, and then I put it here into these Johnston & Murphys, when I first put them in, they were snugger.

I don't know if you can tell here, I'm pushing on the ball of the foot. There's almost ... I'm trying to wrinkle the leather. Almost no give it. In other words, it takes up almost the entire ... I mean it's almost like a perfect fit for this shoe. So that's one gauge. In other words, what I'm saying is if we've stretched it and there's more slack here after the stretch, we'll know it's truly stretched, and by the fit on my foot.

Once again, here's the tool. Right now it is closed. It's going to go in here. I'll read you the important part of the directions here in a second. This plastic knob here, what they're labeling C, is what you use to adjust the length. There you go. So that's in there.

So what I'm going to do is the directions basically say to adjust the width, insert the shoe stretcher into the shoe with the pointed toe, obviously, and the heel block, E, of the shoe where your heel sits. Rotate the plastic knob C until the stretcher fits snugly. Turn C two to three more times to complete the stretch. I would say that's snug. I would say that right there is snug fit.

So I haven't even covered this yet. I'm supposed to take it back out. That's the first time I've tried to use this. So now that I know where that approximately sits, spray inside the footwear liberally where stretching is desired. Immediately insert shoe stretcher or foot and begin walking until footwear is dry. Always wear socks. So liberally. So that's pretty vague. I'm not sure what this is, but I think it is a mixture of water and alcohol. I'm guessing because it does say, "Warning: contains isopropyl alcohol, flammable."

Now a word of caution when you do this, what I'm attempting to stretch here is a pair of $25 thrift store shoes. If these were to split and I ruined them, would I be upset? Yes. Would it be the end of the world? No. If you notice in my [DD 00:12:36], in the introduction, I always leave in there I'm not a professional, and here's the reason why.

The reason I'm putting up this channel is to give you guys information, to stretch my own boundaries and try to bring you guys value, bring you guys stuff that's valuable. But here's the downside to it. I'm not an expert. This is the first time I'm actually stretching a shoe. So I absolutely would not do this on skins that are old. If you feel these skins, they're very nice and supple. If you haven't handled a lot of leather, you may not have a good feel for what dry leather is.

There's a distinct possibility that if you do this on dry leather that you absolutely could tear the skins. If you stretch too far of it, you could split stitching. I just saw an Allen Edmonds Enthusiasts Facebook Group. I think it was there that somebody had a one year old pair of Allen Edmonds, bottom fit Allen Edmonds, new. They were a little bit tight. I think he said the store actually stretched them for him. Then a year later, he had a split develop down here.

So you've got to use this at your own discretion. I wouldn't try to stretch much more, the small amounts. There is an amazing YouTube channel that I'll link in the description below the video here. The channel name is Bespoke Addict The Brighton Gentleman. Bespoke Addict The Brighton Gentleman. The guy's name is Lee Morrison, and he is a shoe nut, aficionado.

I don't know if it's his business or not, but I've seen one of his YouTube videos where he shows this shoe collection, and it spread out across three different rooms. He restores bespoke shoes and expensive shoes from the 1930s that looked like they were ready for the garbage bin. He stretches stuff. He has a whole series on it. Just remember his videos are all millimeters. There's 25.4 millimeters in an inch. So a 12, let's call it 13 millimeters, is approximately a half-inch. Six millimeters is approximately a quarter inch.

What I'm really going for here, like I said, is that eighth inch. So now I'm going to take the shoe stretcher out, I'm going to liberally coat it. He coats the outside of the shoe. Now I don't know this for a fact, but I believe the reason they're saying to go from the inside is because it will take off the polish. He also strips in his shoe, strips all the polish completely off, which strips off most of the color of the shoe, which means he has to re-dye it. That's going to be way beyond the capabilities of most average people. So what I believe they're doing is they're saying spray it from the inside so it doesn't hurt the finish. That's my opinion, not fact.

He also sprays the soles, which I thought was a great idea to try and get some stretch on the soles. But I have these rubber Goodyear protective half soles on, so I can't really do that, except maybe here a little bit. So we'll start with the inside.

Okay, I'm a little bit nervous. I don't know why. Well, it doesn't spray very much. Yeah, it's alcohol. It's isopropyl alcohol. I'd probably want to hold my breath when I do this. I'll try and do it on camera here.

Simple Shine Premium Leather Stretch

It's very damp inside. I don't know what liberal is. Is that liberal? I think that's very liberal. Flip the camera quick, quick, quick. It's only been about three seconds since the last cut in the last video.

Now listen as well. Listen to the leather. Lee talks about that, the leather creaking. So that's good. I think now I'm snug. It said two to three turns. One, two. I think that's three complete turns. Can you see? Oh, look at this. The mirror shine has actually cracked. The leather has definitely moved. Can you see that? I can see a bulge developing. Now I'm supposed to leave that for 24 hours.

What I'm feeling ... Okay, this is the only downside I'm seeing here. It's not moving it back here. It's moving it up here. I don't like that. It's back here more I need to stretch. Can you see that? I'm going to shorten it. Is that going to come back?

That's actually pretty difficult to turn. Do you see that now? The bulge is back here more, and I already know why that is. There's really not ... It's not stretching much here. Now it's putting the stretch right here. We'll leave it there. Let me pull the other one out.

So what I have to do is let me show you how this thing stretches. I'm turning the handle, what they call D. Do you see how it operates? Just the way the mechanism works, the way this opens, it's opening this way. So if this is too far forward in the shoe, you're going to be putting more stretch at the front than right at the ball.

I guess what that means is you have to pull it back to where you want it because I don't need to stretch length. I need to stretch the width. So that's something I just learned. So beware of that, of where you're stretching. But I think I'm just going to let it do its job and then try it on tomorrow.

So it's been a little over a day. Let me go ahead and remove this and let's see what kind of progress we had this time. I keep forgetting you've got to untie the shoelace. This is more like taking a foot out because shoe trees pivot and this thing doesn't.

Look at this. There is definitely extra room in there. I don't know if you can tell. Let me get the camera a little closer. You can see here I can grab extra material now. I don't know if you can see that, if it shows up well in the video or not. But I can almost pinch it now. I think there's definitely extra material. Let me try them on.

Whoa! There's extra room in these things now. That's interesting. It's not a ton. It actually needs a little more. I don't know now if I'm getting greedy or not, if that makes sense. I think I gained probably approximately one half size. I'm sorry, not half size. I'm one letter width. Now I think they went from feeling like a D to an E. The left one's always been fine.

They're still snug. I don't know if you can tell, especially from this high up. The left foot, you can see part of the welt and the sole overhang. On the right foot, it's almost as if my foot overhangs the sole. It's definitely helped. I think I might want to try one more time, one more level of stretching.

Okay, one more round. Another thing I figured out is you want to hold the shoe upside down when you're spraying. Otherwise, you're trying to spray upside down and the straw gets uncovered. It also helps to open the throat of the shoe way up, which isn't that easy to do with an Oxford. It definitely smells of alcohol when you do that.

This is another thing I'm figuring out, the placement of where the wide part of the stretcher's absolutely critical. Off-camera, I spent a few minutes testing that out and seeing where exactly I wanted the stretch to hit. The geometry of the shoe ... Let me get this ... I guess I'll ...

What I was watching was where is the widest part, because this is the widest part of the instep is about here and the widest part of the outsole was here. You see they're not straight across from each other. The stretcher kind of ... It doesn't go like this. It stretches like that. I'm trying to articulate the geometry. It's difficult.

So what I'm saying is you want to feel and get the pressure. I'm trying to stretch the widest part of the shoe and back. I need a little more here at the widest part and then going back a little bit.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is you need to be really cognizant of where you place this thing, because, at first, I was just shoving it in all the way to the front of the foot like you would a shoe tree, and that's not going to accomplish what I want to accomplish. When I just shoved it up there, it was actually stretching the toe cap and it was putting no stretch back here. So you see now I can feel stretch there. I did not have any problems with the alcohol disturbing the finish. See there you can see it soaking in, so I'm going to do more of that.

That's getting physically difficult to turn. The biggest thing I'm scared of here is ripping the leather, either now or later. There's a very distinct possibility with this. I think I'm going to leave it like that.

Okay, so now let's see. Well, I guess this is actually technically the third, but my second real round of stretching. That's done.

This is interesting. I don't know if this is new or not. It looks like it's a little wrinkled there. You see that? That might be indicative of a result of the stretching. Oops! There's definitely more looseness in the leather through here, which is exactly what I wanted.

It's not a ton. I would say what you're really gaining here is probably about one-letter width. So in other words, I think really what I've done is I've probably, let me try it on, just taken a D with shoe to what would be the equivalent of an E width.

Nice. Previously, when I'd wear these shoes, I felt like on the right shoe, I'd put my foot in and I could feel it kind of compressing the shoe. Here's the interesting thing I've found. It's not immediately painful when I will wear these shoes. It's not that it hurts to put them on, it's just that after I wore them for eight, 10, 12 hours, then it's just like you'd look forward to taking them off.

Like I said earlier, it was more uncomfortable on days that I sat around. Now I feel like I actually have some space around them. They're not compressing my feet at all. Let me see if I can actually compare them to a pair of 11.5 EEEs.

So for comparison, I put the same shoe tree into my Allen Edmonds. These are my Allen Edmonds McAllisters, and these are size 11.5 EEE. These are my most comfortable shoes that I own. I'm going to put this in. If you notice, there is quite a bit of room across the bottom of the vamp here, across the vamp. There's definitely more room. Then if I see here, the ball, the widest foot, there's more room. I could pinch the leather here.

But it has definitely, definitely worked. I would say the shoe stretcher here definitely gave me approximately one, if not maybe a little more than one, letter width. It probably made it the equivalent of like a 12 E. I remember a 12 E is going to be wider than an 11.5 E, because a 12 is bigger than an 11.5. So I guess I'll give you my final thoughts on the Simple Shine shoe stretcher.

Here's my final thoughts on the Simple Shine shoe stretching kit. The full retail price on the website ... By the way, their website is simpleshine.com. If you see there, simpleshine.com. The full retail price listed for this is $21.99, I believe, $22. The leather stretch fluid is, I think, $12. I give it a thumbs up.

Now here's my caveat warnings with this. As you saw, the way the geometry works, this is not as simple. Let me extend it again and watch the way it opens. The back doesn't open. It opens in a V, so the front, it's going to open more here.

I guess my caveat with this is if you're the kind of person that likes to tinker with things, if you're the kind of person that can change your oil, if you're the kind of person that can sharpen your own lawnmower blade, I would say this is probably for you. If you're mechanically inclined, I would say this is probably for you.

If you're not very mechanically inclined, I'd probably steer you away from it. There is some technique to using this. I guess that's the biggest thing I learned from today. I think it definitely does work.

Here's my big, big fear with this, is somebody's taken a pair of $600 shoes that they ordered online that are too tight, cranking these things in, and then getting ripping. Then saying, "Bob, you SOB." Then I get hate mail, a hate email, and I feel bad about myself. I crawl in a hole and I don't produce more videos and you guys don't see me. So this is definitely not something that I would rush into.

These shoes that I did them on, the Johnson & Murphys, are the perfect shoe to do this on. Why? I picked them up for $25 at a thrift store a year ago. Now these shoes, one of the first things people are going to say is, "Well, just buy shoes that fit. You shouldn't need to do this." Well, that's great, but a nice pair of Allen Edmonds, even on sale, is going to be probably $250 to $300. Maybe you get them for $200, more like $250 to $300. The Strands, I've never seen go below about $315. Johnson & Murphy just does not make this quality of shoe anymore.

So what I'm saying is I have these shoes, they have a high level of aesthetic value, emotional value to me, But a low level of monetary value. So if I screw them up, I haven't really lost anything. In other words, I don't want to sell these shoes because they're not worth very much at all, monetarily speaking. But I really love these shoes. They're very beautiful. They just don't fit well. Does that make sense?

So the aesthetic value to me, the emotional value to me of these shoes is high. The monetary value is very low. It's the ideal shoe to try this kind of stuff out on. Like I said, I would definitely not do this for the first time on a pair of shoes that you're not willing to gamble, that you're going to tear them.

Another part to this is what's the long-term effect of this? I don't know. In other words, am I going to see some kind of damage to the shoe down the road? That is yet to be seen. I will update you in the description of this video below as far as if it shrinks back or not. That's my other ... I don't want to say fear, but my other thought in my head. Is it going to shrink back down over time after I wear them a couple of times?

So I hope that helped. Like I said, I haven't tested the length on this thing yet. I suppose I could, but maybe save that for another video. It says that you can stretch the length. That wasn't really the main concern for me.

So I hope that helps. I hope that brought you some value. Feel free to check out my other videos if you'd like. Feel free to subscribe and hit that little bell icon so you know when new videos are released. I try to put out a new video about every other week or so when I have good content.

By the way, FYI, I was not paid. I was not compensated by Simple Shine to do this video. I just wanted, like I said, to do a fair and unbiased, I guess I would say, product test and see what you get out of it. Like I said, I'll update you in the description as well, as far as the comfort of the shoes and whether or not they shrink back down. All right, have a beautiful day. Thank you guys very much for watching. God less.

 

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