Many women have been there: waiting in anticipation for the exciting moment a new pair of shoes arrives in the mail. Opening the package with delight. Wanting to wear them immediately and trying them on … but they already start hurting your feet after just a few minutes! Whether you’ve purchased heels, boots, flats or sandals, many pairs of shoes need to be broken in a bit before being worn for a full day. Stiff leather and other materials will become more flexible after a few wears, but when first worn they can cause soreness, cramped toes and painful blisters. New shoes can be broken in pretty quickly though, with just a few tricks. Here’s a guide for breaking in and wearing your new pair of shoes:
Go for professional stretching
Taking your new pair of shoes to a professional shoe repair shop is always an option. Pros can stretch shoes out pretty quickly, leaving them much more comfortable and easy to wear. If you don’t already have a cobbler you use, do a quick search online, and remember to read the reviews. Be sure to ask if they are familiar with stretching shoes, because if done incorrectly, your shoes may become unwearable and ruined for good.
Wear thick socks
If you want to break the shoes in on your own, that’s absolutely possible too. One way to break shoes in over a couple of days is to wear them around the house with thick socks (if you don’t have thick socks, simply wear two pairs). Keep them on while you’re doing housework, watching TV or whatever else you have going on at home. The shoes will stretch a little at a time, and the socks will protect your feet from pain and blisters.
Wear them for short periods at first
Resist the temptation to wear your new pair of shoes all day before they’re completely broken in. Instead, stretch them out a little at a time by wearing them on quick errands and having another pair of shoes in your car or purse that you can switch to if your feet start to hurt.
Heat them up
One way to stretch shoes fast is by using heat to make the material more flexible. Put your shoes on, then blast the tight spots with your blow dryer for a couple of minutes. Walk around in the shoes right after heating them up so they stay stretched as they cool off. Combine this method with a pair of thick socks for even quicker stretching.
Prepare your feet
Even after heels, flats and even boots are broken in, they can still wreak havoc on your heels and toes for the first few wears. When breaking in your shoes, take note of the areas that pinch or hurt the most. Before wearing the shoes for a full day, pad those areas with foam cushions to protect your feet. Some people suggest rubbing petroleum jelly or an anti-chafing cream on your heels before wearing new shoes, and it does work for the short term. Bring some extra cream along with you so you can reapply it in regular intervals throughout the day.