Technically I’m your standard size 6 in shoes, but show me an end-of-season sale rack and suddenly I’m googling “foot crunches” (I’ll save you some time: not really a thing!) and swearing I can squeeze into a 5 1/2. That’s inevitably led to a closet full of torturous toe-pinchers that would have become very lovely, very expensive paperweights if not for a little trick I discovered about a year ago.
What you should do: First, put on a clean pair of the thickest sweat socks you can find, followed by the offending shoes. Fire up your blow dryer on the highest setting and blast the most uncomfortable spots with hot air. I’ve found it helps to wiggle, bend, and stretch your feet in every direction possible during this process, continuing until you feel the shoes starting to give and stretch a bit. Once you’re comfortable, turn off the dryer and keep your feet in the shoes as they cool.
Still too tight? Add a second—or even a third—pair of socks and repeat the process a couple of times. Then wear them around the house for a few days to make sure they’re dance-floor-debut-worthy.