Body & Fitness

How to ‘wear in’ your shoes without the pain

The best at-home remedies to help you rock your new shoes, minus the blisters and pain.

So, you’ve just bought that new pair of shoes you’ve been pining over for weeks. You get them home only to realise that they aren’t instantly wearable because they’re too stiff or they just don’t sit quite right around your foot.

New shoes, as amazing as they may be, can be a real pain – quite literally!

At some stage we’ve all experienced painful blisters from wearing new shoes, and it’s not pleasant.

Although it might mean delaying stepping out in your fabulous new footwear, breaking in your new shoes is essential. Luckily there are a few quick and easy ways to do this that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

We’ve pulled together all the tips and tricks you need to prep your new shoes so you can rock them sans blisters.

Be sure you are buying the correct size shoes

This may seem straightforward, but more often than not, people are buying the wrong size shoe – resulting in pain and damage to their feet.

A study conducted by the Hebrew Senior Life Institute, shows that poorly-fitted shoes can be the cause of bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes and other disabling foot problems.

So, not only can ill-fitting shoes cause you immediate pain, they can also trigger long-term foot-health issues.

When you are next shopping for new shoes bear the following in mind:

  • Comfort should rule your selection of shoe and should take priority over looks.

  • Always try shoes on (where possible) and judge them based on their fit rather than the size on the box/tag – you may have always been an eight, but every shoe has a different fit and sizes can vary between brands.

  • Most people will have one foot that is bigger/longer than the other – make sure you’re fitting them to your larger foot.

  • Try on both shoes and walk a few steps to make sure they are initially comfortable.

  • When the shoes are on, wiggle your toes to ensure that you can move them freely.

Break shoes in using thick socks

If the fit of your new shoe allows, try wearing thick socks with them whenever possible.

This will help them stretch whilst preventing them from rubbing against your bare feet.

Soften the shoe by using heat

An easy at-home trick (provided you own a hair dryer), is to use the hair dryer on a hot setting to soften/loosen the shoe material. Warming up the material will make it more supple and allow you to bend, stretch and twist them – making them adjust to your foot easier.

Note: When using the hair dryer on a hot setting be sure that you are moving it around, rather than leaving it stationary, otherwise you will melt the material (the aim is to soften not melt).

Stretch your shoes with ice

The polar opposite of using heat to break in your shoe, is to use ice. As most people are aware, water expands when it freezes – so you can use this natural occurrence to stretch your shoe and make for more comfortable wearing.

Try filling up freezer bags or snap lock bags with water (making sure there is no air), then place them into your shoes and then in the freezer. Leave them in the freezer until the water has fully frozen, then take them out and let the ice ‘thaw’ enough to slip the bags out of your shoes.

Tape up your toes

New shoes – especially if they are the incorrect size, can often squish our toes and cause us discomfort.

There are countless nerves in our feet and toes, so, when we crush them into a shoe, pain is inevitable. One nerve in particular, between our third and fourth toes, causes a significant amount of pain. To help relieve pressure off this nerve, try taping the two toes together.

Protect the ‘common’ pain spots

If you don’t have time to stretch your shoes and need to wear them straight away, it’s important to protect the spots on your feet that are most prone to rubbing.

By applying plasters, tape or products designed to protect against blisters such as Compeed Blister Plasters, to the areas most at risk before damage occurs can help prevent against blisters or sores on your feet.

Areas to protect are: Heels, ankles, tops of toes and the sides of your feet by your toes.

Use your deodorant

If you have a gel deodorant, try rubbing the deodorant on the points of your feet that endure the most friction from your shoes (top of your toes, heels etc.). When applied and left to dry this creates a barrier against blisters.

It’ll leave your feet smelling great too!

Baby Powder works wonders

Like deodorant, baby powder can act as a barrier to the friction of rubbing shoes. By applying baby powder inside your shoes and directly on your feet, this will help protect your skin when you are wearing your shoes sans socks.

Related stories