Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn New York a commission. I have wide feet that are slightly different sizes (as most people do, even if they don’t know it). I also don’t wear flats, so the joy of buying shoes has always been tempered by the dread of breaking them in. Until recently, I simply accepted that my first couple of experiences with most footwear would end with blisters, numb toes, pain, and/or, on a few occasions, dirty feet from giving up and going barefoot for the final stretch. Last month, I impulse-ordered some almost comically impractical heels that turned out to be so tight and generally uncomfortable that I decided to return them, only to realize that they were final sale. In an effort to begin what I expected to be a particularly miserable breaking-in process, I wore the shoes to meet a friend for dinner in my neighborhood. When I explained why I was hobbling, she said, “Oh, you just need that stretching stuff.” For those who, like me, were not aware: That stretching stuff is a spray that uses diluted alcohol to soften the stiff fibers in new shoes, allowing you to loosen them up using your ...