According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, 88% of women wear too small shoes and the result is that over half of them have to deal with bunions and other foot problems.

When you’re trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that fit too snuggly, you’re risking more than bunions, since wearing the wrong shoes in the long run can also squeeze the toes into an unnatural position. Find out how to wear too small shoes, how to make them more comfortable and how to avoid the risk of foot problems.

These simple tips can help you feel more comfortable and avoid foot pain caused by tight shoes, whether you’re wearing mostly flats or want to rock stilettos. From using heat and cold temperatures to stretch your shoes to learning how to determine if shoes will be too tight when you buy them, try these simple ways of dealing with too small shoes.

Use a Hair Dryer

One way to get small shoes to fit is to heat them with a hair dryer. Since many shoes have heat sensitive glue, you’ll have to be extra careful. This trick doesn’t work for plastic or PVC shoes and it could ruin vintage shoes. But most leather shoes can be heated a bit on the outside without any issues. If you’re wondering how to wear too small shoes, simply put on a thick pair of socks, stick your feet in the shoes and heat the problem areas. Keep them on as they cool for the best effect.

Freeze Them

Another excellent trick to make sure that you’re comfortable in your shoes involves freezing a plastic bag filled with water inside your shoes. Make sure the bags aren’t leaky before putting the shoes in your freezer. In up to 8 hours, the water should be completely frozen, and your shoes stretched out. However, you might skip this trick for really expensive or vintage shoes.

Stretch Your Shoes with Sock Balls

A less dangerous answer to the question of how to wear too small shoes is using balled up socks. Make sure that you fill both shoes after rolling the socks into balls and fill them up starting at the tip. Leave your shoes overnight and you should notice a significant improvement in the morning, but a bit less noticeable as you’d get by freezing or heating.

How To Break In Shoes

Wear Them Around the House

Sometimes the easiest solution is also the simplest. When you’re dealing with a brand new pair of shoes that don’t fit perfectly, simply wear them around the house for an hour every day until you get them a bit stretched out. Make sure you take them off if they’re hurting your feet, since the point is to make them more comfortable without getting any blisters.

Keep Them Dry

When they’re exposed to humidity, shoes can shrink. That’s why keeping the silica gel packets that come with your shoes is important. They absorb humidity and keep your shoes dry. Instead of wondering how to wear too small shoes, you’re better off stretching them a single time, and then caring for them correctly.

Try the Classic Wooden Shoe Stretcher

A wooden shoe stretcher isn’t very expensive and it can help you get the desired length and width when it comes to footwear that’s too tight. For the best results, you should combine a wooden shoe stretcher with a liquid shoe stretch solution, and then make sure that your shoes aren’t shrinking because of humidity.

How To Stretch Out Shoes

Store Your Shoes Correctly

When you’re dealing with expensive shoes, keeping them in top shape for longer is easier than trying to figure out how to wear too small shoes. Avoid shrinkage and creases by always storing your shoes with the help of a shoe tree. Crumpled up newspapers are better than nothing, but wooden shoe trees are the best solution.

See also: The Secrets to Choosing Comfortable Shoes

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Different Sizes

In order to avoid the time and effort you’ll waste stretching out shoes, make sure that you’re buying the right size. Always try on the same shoe in a bigger and smaller size before deciding which is the most comfortable option.

Buy at the Right Time

The time of day when you try on shoes and buy them can also lead to trouble and force you to wear too small shoes. Avoid mornings and go shoe shopping in the afternoon or evening, when your feet can swell up to 8% compared to the morning.