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Various styles of shoes

5 Tips: Breaking in new shoes

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:

Black and white Oxford 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 permanently unwearable and ruined for the long term.

Basic leather slip on shoe in various colors

Stretching shoes with 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.

Dimperial Pump by Aerosoles
Classic Scottish Linton tweed in a low profile on kitten heels exudes a refined elegance.

Wear new shoes for short periods

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 a spare pair of shoes in your car or purse that you can switch to if your feet start to hurt. Don’t ruin a good day with sore feet.

Brown ballet flats

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.

seven different shoe styles

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.

You may apply moleskin to the sensitive area of your feet to prevent blisters. Or, 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.

Check out these tips for breaking in new shoes.

Comments (3)

I’m not one of those readers that comments on articles often, but yours really compelled me. There’s a lot of interesting content in this article that is interesting and bold.

I just bought a pair of redwings and ware them for the first time and for aapproximately for a while My Left foot is starting to hurt the shoe is starting to feel pain in My middle toe I would also like add I have hammer toes and right now both shoes are tight

Hello, thank you for the comment. We hope you can find some shoes to fit your needs here on our website:

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