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How to break in new shoes

Buying new shoes is always a cause for celebration - until you put them on and they declare war on your feet, that is. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a way to make the process of breaking in new shoes a little quicker, easier and less painful - more than one way actually. Below, we’ve put together our top 5 tips to help speed up the process.

1- Blow dryer and thick socks

The age-old adage of walking around the house wearing thick socks under your new shoes is one most people are familiar with. It reduces friction and helps the shoe stretch and mould to the shape of your foot. 

 

You can take this a step further with leather shoes though and apply heat evenly using a blowdryer to speed up the process. Put some thick socks on, turn your dryer on low heat, and hold it at a sensible distance over the tight spots. Focus on tighter areas such as the heel and toe. After about 20-30 seconds of heat application, take a few steps in the shoes to loosen them up.  

 

2- Ice

This is a bit of a tricky one because you need to be careful not to overstretch the material. So, proceed with caution - it may require some trial and error. 

 

Fill two freezer bags with enough water that they fit into the toe area of your shoes. Then place the shoes with the water bags in them in the freezer for roughly six hours or overnight. Once ready, take them out and allow them to defrost.  

 

3- Tie your laces tightly

When doing the whole wearing-them-in-with-thick-socks-schtick, make sure to tie your laces up tightly. Your natural urge may be to keep them loose to allow your foot room to move and breathe, but tying your laces up nice and tight allows the material to break in more quickly. 

 

4- Protect the sore spots

The tops of your toes and back of the heel are most likely to rub and blister (ouch!) when breaking in new shoes. Here are three things you can do to reduce the risk of that happening:

-Moisturize: soft, supple and moisturized skin is less likely to rub and less likely to blister. You can also try rubbing petroleum jelly on susceptible areas.

-Moleskin: this pro tip is great for protecting existing blisters and stopping new ones from forming in high-friction areas. A hole is cut out from the centre so that the moleskin doesn’t adhere directly to the blister.

-Keep your feet dry - this is not only important for hygiene purposes but comfort too. Sweating increases the risk of rubbing and of blisters forming. A good antiperspirant foot spray should do the trick.

-Bonus tip: blister balm - used by stylists to help their celebrity clients navigate long nights in painful high heels.    

 

5- Slow and steady wins the race

Podiatrists will tell you that a new shoe will have an impact on the position of the joints in your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. It takes time for your body to adjust to the new shoe and your joints to align properly. It’s recommended that you give yourself at least 3 days to break them in. Start by wearing them for 30 minutes around the house, then 60 minutes at home or out, and then for at least 2 hours on the third day.

 

Also, make sure you’re breaking them in at the end of the day when your feet are swollen to allow the shoe to stretch to the right size.

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