September 8, 2008
It took quite some time to realize that I am not always a size 7. When growing up, my mum would always make me buy shoes half (sometimes a full) size larger because, ‘you’ll grow into them.’ I never grew much past the age of 12/13 so I was constantly flopping around in shoes pathetically too big. Instead of learning the value of the the right sized shoe, I regressed into buying shoes that were often too small. Whether it was a pair of astonishingly unique made-in-italy vintage wedges or an amazing bargain in the last size, I would find a way to cram my feet into them and pathologically deny they were not meant to be.
It therefore became a challenge to somehow manage to walk in shoes too small. Over the years I finely tuned the art of moulding a shoe to the exact shape of my feet, and I speak of this now as I am stubbornly stretching out a pair of Isabel Marant derbys. They are a French 37, and I unfortunately am not. But thanks to a little bit of determination, strange techniques and a few tools, my shoes seem now cobbled as if they were made to measure.
Cadillac shoe stretch -Smells like rubbing alcohol and definitely flammable; stick with it and you’ll be quite thankful in the end. I’ve gone through bottles, thoroughly dousing the inside and outside of shoes as well as soaking the thickest sock I can find in it, jamming my foot in and bearing the pain for a half day -or until dry. Waiting until the shoe is dry is key since this will ensure a more lasting stretch. If the discomfort is too great, get some shoe stretchers a bit bigger than your foot to take its place.
A variety of insoles -full, half, front, back, etc.
Wear them in the shower -old school crazy cowboy technique. Breaks them in nice and good.
A broomstick -take the rounded end and massage the damp upper into desired shape. I use tons of force to tenderize the leather.
A moderate pain threshold
I feel like I have legitimately challenged the laws of physics when I have successfully stretched a pair of shoes to fit. So smug and victorious.
Sometimes miracles can’t be performed, however, and one can only take consolation in the fact that someone, hopefully a good friend with more petite feet, can enjoy them.
For the most part I’ve learned that being sensible with sizing is in my favour, but my Marants, once nearly impossible to taken even a short stroll in, are now a strong candidate for long walks in the lowlands. Next up, Louboutins.