Shoe-Saving Tip: How I Succesfully Stretched My Ferragamo Varina

by xin on January 3, 2014

On to the 3rd day  of 2014 , I would like to share with you one of the best tips I have tried of the year 2013 – which is stretching a pair of Ferragamo Varina.

Tips for Stretching Ferragamo Varina

A month ago, I bought the most important pair of flats in my life through Shopbob. It’s a beautiful pair of classic – red patent leather, with gold hardware and bows.

As my first time purchasing Ferragamo flats, I wasn’t familiar with their sizing at all. As far as I knew, their flats tend to run small as it’s cater for narrow feet.  And what I didn’t know was that they carry a few width – AA (narrow), B (medium), C (wide) & D (extra wide).

So, I I headed to local boutique to try out a few sizes without paying attention to the width, US 6 was tight on me, so I opted a US 6.5 when I bought it online, figuring that it’s better to be oversized than under.

Varina Size

As you can see the highlighted picture, the ‘B’ denotes of the width. This was shown on the website, I, however, have forgotten to pay attention to the width when I was at the boutique.  So, confidently I bought a size 6.5 (thankfully really) .

I was over the moon when I received the parcel because they are just so super gorgeous!

It’s hard to tell from the picture but it was super snug! It was narrow and tight – even on the length.

I knew, by hook or by crook, I had to find ways to expand this shoe given to the price.

After a lot and a lot of reading and researching on the internet, there are a few methods that seem to work:

1. Freezing the shoes with water – seems to be one of the most highly-sought method that works. BUT, I strongly suggest not to try this with any expensive shoes, what if the glue is weakened? Can you bear to see your babies falling apart just after a few times?

2. Using the hairdryer – this method is pretty easy, wear your thickest socks and using hair dryer to heat up the shoes, while wiggling your toes in them to help the expansion. I tried this method, it is good as a quick-fix when you need to wear the shoes out and about, however, with this patent leather, they tend to shrink back to the original size when left overnight without wearing.
Not a permanent solution either.

3. Shoe tree from Daiso – I have been seeing this shoe tree thing around for a long time, it’s used to help the shoes stay in shape when not in used.

Daiso Shoe Tree

However, as you can see, the size of the shoe tree is significantly smaller than the shoes, so, technically it won’t do anything to help to expand.

Stretching with Daiso Shoe Tree

After much thoughts, I figured helping the shoe tree to wear 2 layers of thick socks then stuff it back into the shoes might help.

Indeed! They worked!!! However, still not good enough as the shoe tree isn’t very strong to stretch properly.

After using this shoe tree, I could walk a little without killing my feet but it was still undersized in terms of length.

Decided that I would not give up, I succumbed and bought a proper shoe stretcher online.

Daiso Shoe Tree vs Stretcher

As you can see, it’s a damn big piece of a solid wood. It’s much bigger than the Daiso shoe tree on the left.

The feel of wood is smooth so you don’t have to worry about it scratching your shoes.

Shoe Stretcher

However, do note that this shoe stretcher itself is big already, it’s meant for US 35-37. It’s not meant for small & narrow feet. But, you probably won’t need this if you have narrow feet.

Using Shoe Stretcher

This block of wood at the back can be turned and adjusted to fit the size of your shoe, it can help to slightly expand the length too.

Level for Shoe Stretcher

When you slot the stretcher in, you can adjust the width by turning this lever at the back. The operation is very easy.

After using shoe stretcher

Now, you can see how the shoe can be expanded in the stretcher. It’s extremely helpful to expand the toe part.

A few tips when using this:

1. Expand the shoe bit by bit. DO NOT over expand the shoe just in case it becomes too large.

2. You may leave this stretcher overnight, or a few hours, then try on the shoe to check if it can fit you already. If it doesn’t cut anymore, best to wear the shoe out for some breather and let the shape maintain. Taking stretcher out right away and keeping shoe back into the box again might cause the shoe to shrink a little again.

3. I like to try with the wider foot first to test how it goes with this thing.

4. I only left each side to be stretched for 2 nights each on one side. As you can see, I only bought one stretcher hence I will need to take turns to stretch each side.

And….that’s all!

My flats are comfortable enough now to walk long distance 😉 I paid RM70 for this shoe stretcher but it’s worth every cent because it revived my shoes!

If you have any shoe stretching tip that you have tried and worked, do share!



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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

LeGeeque January 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

GILA! Patent leather hardly stretches so, well done! Must go tell Tine about this. And yea, red Varinas with gold hardware is next on my list. But, not before fuschia/pink with gold hardware. 😛


xin January 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm

pink with gold sounds yummm! i hope tine finds a way to stretch it!
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juan January 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

gorgeous pair of shoes!! and thank god for the stretcher eh?
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xin January 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm

absolutely thankful for myself for buying the stretcher. #flickhair
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Jessica January 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Great post! I need this too for i have shoes that are not comfortable to wear but they are my favorite so I guess this is what I need to do with it. Thanks for sharing.
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xin January 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

hope it works for u too!
xin recently posted..Shoe-Saving Tip: How I Succesfully Stretched My Ferragamo VarinaMy Profile


Jenn January 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

What pretty shoes you have!! *drools*

I must get a shoe expander… I have wide feet also and the sides are always cutting into my bunions T_T
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plue January 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

oh! lovely idea!

need go get a shoe stretcher liao, i have quite a few pair of flats which is ok in terms of length, but a bit too small for width.


Shirley January 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

What a great idea!! Do you mind linking to where you purchased the shoe stretcher? I need one for my varina flats too! Thannk 🙂


xin January 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

hi Shirley,

if you are in msia, i got it from lowyat forum, this is the link

the lady might take some time to reply on the thread, best if you pm her 😉
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shidah June 20, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Hi…..i plan to buy a ferragamo carla 55 pump online. But im concern about the width as im wearing size 5D for vara pump and wondering is carla 55 pump in width 5B tight for me.


xin June 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm

i think if you are wearing the size D, B is definitely too narrow. If you were to get a size B, I suggest size up at least 0.5 or even one full size. If it’s slightly big, you can have an in-sole, if it’s too narrow, it’s a goner
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Patty March 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm

I just purchased a pair of 6.5 Varina shoes in the medium width. I wear regular widths normally. I hope these will not be too tight, but if they are, I will do what you did! I was wondering if a 7 narrow would fit a regular width 6.5 foot? I found a pair for a good price in another color and am trying to find out if they would work. Any idea?
Thank you!


xin April 5, 2018 at 8:51 am

hi, sorry for the late reply. If you are just regular width, 7 narrow ‘may’ fit you. but i think the best is to go to their boutique to try out the sizes, instead of regretting the purchase or trying to fix it.


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