I tend to buy shoes that look good, regardless of whether or not they are comfortable. This is fine if you're only wearing them a short time and walking a short distance, but that doesn't usually happen. With a fear that bunions and corns might start showing up in my twilight years, I have had to get creative with ways to make the shoes I love work for my feet.
One of the most frustrating things that can happen is finding your dream pair of heels and they don't come in a half size. I can typically wear a size five and a half to a six and a half, but some pairs only come in whole sizes. What to do? Buy a pair that will pinch my feet, or buy a pair that will slip off my heel when I walk?
I err on the side of buying too small, and then have found creative ways of stretching them without paying a cobbler to do it for me. I now bestow these simple tricks on other shoe lovers who have felt my pain.
Fill two ziplock plastic bags 1/4 full with water and place one inside each shoe. Place your shoes in the freezer for several hours until the water freezes. As water freezes it expands, so your shoes should stretch. Take out your shoes once they have frozen, and let them thaw for 20 minutes. Remove the ice packs out of your shoes once they have thawed out enough. Clean off any lingering water and they should be stretched nicely!
Take your blowdryer on medium heat and blast warm air on the part of the shoe you need stretched (focus especially on the inside of the shoe). Let the warm air penetrate the shoe for 10-20 seconds, and then let the shoe cool down for a few seconds before placing it on your foot. Walk around a bit and let the shoe material strech. Repeat this several times if necessary. It really works!