The glory of stepping out in a shiny new pair of kicks lasts about as long as it takes for that first miserable blister to form on your poor, unfortunate foot. Maybe your feet swelled throughout the day, and the shoes you originally thought were perfectly snug are now waging a chafing war against your lower extremities. Or maybe your feet are slightly mismatched, and your left foot is just a tad too big to fit comfortably in its shoe.
Whatever the reason you find yourself limping all the way home, determined to toss your to-die-for new shoes into the back of your closet for eternity, you should know that there’s an easy fix for your predicament—and it only requires items you likely already have at home.
You’ll need a hairdryer, one regular pair of socks, and one pair of the thickest socks you can find. (If you don’t own any extra-thick socks, two pairs of regular socks should do the trick). Don your multiple pairs of socks, and then, as Lifehacker says, “shove your feet into those shoes.” If your feet feel almost unbearably squished, you’re doing it right.
After that, turn your hair dryer on its hottest setting and pass it over the tightest parts of your shoes. Once you feel the shoe loosening up, switch off the dryer, walk around while your shoes cool down, and then take them off. Try them on again without the extra socks to see if they’re sufficiently stretched out—if not, repeat the process.
Image consultant and style expert Aaron Marino demonstrates the trick in the YouTube video below, and he also mentions an important bit of advice: The dryer’s heat could melt certain fibers, so don’t try this hack if your shoes are made from plastic or any other synthetic materials.
And, after you’re done tearing up the dance floor in your newly painless pair of boots, kick back with this list of incredible (and possibly painful) shoe styles from history.