Taking the time to break in new shoes can be the difference between falling in love with your new footwear and hours of painful, aching heels. New shoes are great – especially when they fit our style. They look amazing, feel comfortable and support our feet. Until they start to rub a little that is. Shoes fresh off the shelf usually need a bit of breaking in – or wearing around the house – so that the material loosens up and ensures a comfortable fit for your feet.
They don’t take long to wear in and breaking in new shoes can help prevent potential blisters and extend the life of your new kicks.
Here’s our top tips for breaking in new shoes.
Get the right size
The best way to prevent rubbing in shoes is to start off with the right fit. Too little or too much space and you’re going to have painful feet.
Ideally, you want a little room to wiggle your toes and less than a finger-width of space between your heel and the edge of the shoe.
Making sure your shoes fit will make the breaking in period much easier. If you’re ordering shoes online, you can refer to our handy size guide. This also includes information on the size of heel across different shoe types so you can better know how to break in your shoes when you get them.
Trial at home
Instead of breaking in shoes when you’re out and about and can’t get immediate relief should you need it, wear your shoes around the house for short periods of time.
If you’re pottering around the house on an evening or weekend, take the opportunity to slip on your new shoes. Walking around for an hour or so, your shoes will gently begin to loosen around the areas where they will most likely pinch. Break your new shoes in by wearing them for a few hours over several days. This will help to loosen up any stiff materials around the edges of the shoe.
Pull up your socks
Your new shoes might feel a little tight the first few times you wear them. A thick pair of socks will help prevent any rubbing while you’re breaking in new shoes.
We know – thick slipper socks aren’t exactly the most stylish accessory for a strappy pair of heels. But they might be exactly what keeps your feet as comfortable as possible while you wear them around the house. The thick, soft material will protect your feet from blisters and will help stretch the shoes to a more comfortable width.
If you’ve invested in a new pair of boots, you can wear them out straight away thanks to the padding of the socks.
Stiff shoes can rub and pinch, which can lead to blistering. Moisturising your feet can reduce friction and keep dry ankles hydrated. Just use a simple skin moisturiser suitable for feet and work a drop or two into your skin before you slip into your new kicks. Focus the moisture on your heels and around the sides of your toes where pinching is more likely to happen.
You can also avoid blisters by wearing blister plasters.
Blister plasters come in all shapes and sizes so you can cover up every little toe without overstuffing your shoes with thick plasters. Find larger, oval shapes to cover your heels and you’ll barely feel your shoes rubbing against them.
If you didn’t manage to fully break in your shoes and do get blisters while you’re out, the plasters will help feet heal and offer protection while you wear your shoes.
While having shoes that are too small can pinch, they’ll be more likely to rub between every step if they’re too big.
You might think to keep things loose when breaking in new shoes, but this is actually the opposite of what you should do. If they have laces or buckles, make sure your shoes are nice and tight. This will help stretch the fabric and speed up the time it takes to break in the shoes.
Don’t wear them every day
If you’ve found a pair of shoes you really love, it’s tempting to wear them out every day so you can show them off.
No matter what foot protection measures you’ve taken, it might take a while until your new shoes are loose enough. Rather than donning your new pair every day, take a rest from breaking them in by mixing up your footwear choices. Your feet will thank you by the end of the week.
If you’ve purchased a new pair of heels or boots for work, start the week strong by wearing them on Monday. On Tuesday, slip on a comfortable pair of flats so you can step back into your new pair again by Wednesday or Thursday.
Follow these expert tips on how to break in new shoes and you should be able to take each step with confidence.
Check out the Shoe Zone blog for more style tips and footwear suggestions for every occasion.