Bella Vita Wow PumpWhite, dainty, low heeled pointy toe pumps were on my Spring 2013 shopping list and I recently found a pair that fit the bill. I had searched high and low all year, trying everything that tickled my fancy between $50 and $500. I finally settled on Bella Vita’s Wow pump. The toe box looked particularly elegant, the soles were not black, the leather is super soft, and the footbed is extra comfy. It outshone all the white pumps from better-end designer brands like Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade, whose pumps usually work really well for me. Just another reminder to leave no retail stone unturned.

The catch? I found myself between two sizes. Size 6.5 was a dash tight everywhere, although my long toes had plenty of room. The size 7 was too big, even with an added insole. So I remembered something my Mother used to do when she wanted some of her shoes to fit a little looser all over. In fact, this is how she used to break in brand new ballet shoes when she was a dancing teen back in the ’50s. The trick is to wet your feet, put on the shoes and walk around in them for an hour or two. It’s a little squelch-y but you get used to it. Walk around at home, or take them out for a spin. Repeat the process a few times and you’ll find that the leather stretches over time and molds to the shape of your feet. 

I received the pumps last Friday morning. In the afternoon I tried the wet foot trick around the house for a couple of hours. I repeated the exercise on Saturday morning, even taking them out to run errands. Yup. I was walking around with damp feet in brand new shoes. It’s not that bad! The shoes dried by the evening, by which time they were less tight and more comfy.  So I wore them with hose and a skirt to a birthday party on Saturday night. I will repeat the process if they start to feel tight again. But so far, I’m sorted. 

This shoe stretching method does have its drawbacks. First, it is most effective when the leather is really soft. And second, because you need to put the shoes through their paces with wet feet, it eliminates the option of returning them. But if the method does not work, you can still have them professionally stretched at Nordstrom or a cobbler. I could have gone that route in the first place, but decided not to. I had a pair of expensive pumps overstretched and have had to subsequently pop in two insoles so that they stay on my feet. Plus they never looked the same again. 

Anyway, the wet foot trick might be worth a try from time to time when you just need a little more ease in the fit of your shoes.