We have all been there – finally investing in a new pair of shoes, only to find that they leave our feet covered in blisters and cause a lot of pain. This is especially the case when it comes to new leather shoes. While comfort should be at the top of your priority list for shoes, we understand that for some, this takes longer to come by than others.

If you are tired of not being able to wear new leather shoes without pain and blisters, then this is the guide for you. Today we are going to show you how to break into shoes, so you can look fabulous while also feeling comfortable with a new pair of shoes.

What Does It Mean To Break In Shoes?

When we talk about breaking in new shoes, we are talking about how to stop shoes from hurting your feet when you first wear them. Buying new shoes can be an exciting process, but this feeling will not last long when it comes to wearing them, and you see that they leave you with blisters that make it difficult to walk.

Leather shoes are especially bad for this, as this is a tough and durable material. Leather shoes do become more comfortable over time, once the leather has molded to the shape of your foot with wear. However, you will need to break in the shoes to help this process along.

How Long Does It Take To Break In Shoes?

The time it takes for leather shoe stretching can differ based on the kind of shoes you have, how often you wear them, and the steps you use to break them in. While leather shoes are notorious for people feeling pain when they first get them, leather is a flexible material. This means that over time and with repeated wear, the shoe will mold to the shape of your foot and become more comfortable.

Although it can take some time to get into leather footwear, whether that is hours, days, or even weeks, you should not let this deter you from buying leather shoes again. Leather is a durable and tough material that will last a long time when taken care of properly.

If you choose to get a pair of leather shoes, make sure to look after them properly, and they can last you for years. Once you have taken the time to break them in, shoes made from leather will be the most comfortable ones you own as they mold to the shape of your feet and offer targeted support.

How To Break Shoes In

There are several options when it comes to speeding up the process of breaking in a new shoe. Once you have managed to break in the shoe, you will be able to wear them without issue and look amazing while doing so. To get to the point where you can use the shoe for its intended purpose, you need to help break them in a bit.

You can break in shoes through the following steps:

1) Protect Hot Spots on Your Foot

While the process of breaking in a new shoe can be difficult, painful, and may take longer than you like, it is possible to limit the damage they cause to your feet. If you know where to look, you can protect the hot spots of your foot to help avoid blisters and other damage that can make the break in process even more difficult.

When it comes to painful shoes, heels, the side of your foot, and the tops of your toes are the most common hot spots. If you are not sure which areas of your feet require the most help, try wearing the shoe around the house before venturing outside to identify where the pain is. Once you have identified the hot spots, you can prevent damage to them.

Blisters are caused by friction, so you can use lotion to keep the skin moisturized, antiperspirant, or surgical tape to separate the feet and leather of the shoe. This will cause a barrier between the foot and leather of the shoe, which will, in turn, avoid friction and blisters.

2) Wear Thick Socks For Stretch

If you are having a lot of trouble with your new shoes, then you may need to use some form of stretching to make them more comfortable. As we have mentioned, leather can be a flexible material, but as this process may take a long time, you will have to help it along the way if you want to be able to wear your new shoes.

Wearing thick and chunky socks with your shoe around the house is a great way to stretch the material and make them more comfortable. Not only will the socks protect your feet from friction by creating a comfortable barrier between your foot and the shoe, but they will also encourage the material to stretch to fit properly.

This is a great way to make sure that you can break in new shoes without having to walk around or cause more damage to your feet. Simply sitting at your work desk or on the sofa with thick socks inside the shoes can stretch the material.

You can also stuff the shoes with the same socks when you are not wearing them to help keep the wider shape and make sure they do not rebound back to being tight.

3) Add Heat and Blow Dry

If you are trying to break in a pair of leather shoes and notice that there are specific areas that cause more pain than others, then this is an excellent option for you. It is important to only use this trick on genuine leather shoes, as it can cause damage to synthetic materials.

To stretch out the leather and reduce tightness in certain spots, you can apply direct heat to the area using a blow dryer. Ensure that you are wearing the shoes, with your chunky socks, and apply the blow dryer to the tight spots for around 20 to 30 seconds.

Ensure that you are applying the heat far enough away from the shoe that you are not burning your feet, but are still affecting the material. While the shoes are hot and flexible, walk around the room to get them to mold to the shape and size you need. If you think they have stretched enough, remove the chunky socks to test them out as you would be wearing them outdoors.

4) Ice Bags

If the heat has not had the desired effect with your shoes or you are working with a material other than leather, using an ice bag overnight might do the trick. Fill two plastic freezer bags with water and secure them into the toes of the shoe. Then, place your shoes in the freezer and leave them there overnight.

As the water freezes inside the bags, it should expand the shoe and offer more room in the toe box. There is not a one size fits all process for this step, as you need to be careful you do not overstretch your shoes and make them unwearable. It is recommended that you start small, by using only a quarter filled or smaller freezer bags at first.

Once you have tried this process out once or twice, you may know how much more stretch is required and can add more water accordingly.

5) Dunk In Water

This is an excellent option for those pesky leather sandals that you cannot seem to break in. Force the shoes to mold to the shape of your feet by dunking them, and your feet, into a bucket of water. Ensure to towel off the shoes after dunking them to prevent discoloration to the leather, but it should not cause too much damage.

Once your feet have been dunked in the water, walk around in the shoes for a couple of hours until they have dried off. They should have stretched to your feet as they dry.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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