How To Break In New Shoes (And Avoid Heel Pain)

Posted by Jesse Flores on

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New shoes are fun. Breaking them in is not. The first week or so with a new pair of shoes can get you a lot of compliments but also a lot of foot and heel pain, (and pain not just in your feet!) and blisters…but it doesn’t have to. 

Here are some tips for breaking in new shoes without breaking your feet. 

Stay In With Them

Before you take them out on the town, have a nice night in. 

Put them on at home and walk around your house for about an hour. This will help you identify areas that are going to be a problem, most often your heel and the tops of your toes, and gives you the freedom to sit down and take them off when they really start to hurt. If you’re out in the world and you feel a blister coming on, you’re stuck. If you’re at home, you can do something about it. 

Here are a few tricks you can try once you notice where blisters are going to try to appear:

  • Add lotion to troublesome spots. Hydrated skin rubs less than dry skin. 
  • Antiperspirant is an unconventional way to prevent rubbing, but it keeps your feet from sweating!
  • Apply surgical tape or band-aids (but surgical tape is better) to the spots where you feel the most rubbing 

Stretch the Shoes

If you still get blisters after you’ve walked around in them in a bit, you might want to try stretching the shoes a bit. While they might be the right size, the whole shoe doesn’t have the exact same measurements and some spots could be tighter than others. Stretching will help you avoid foot and heel pain down the road. 

To stretch your shoes you can try a few things. 

Thick Socks: Throw on your thickest pair of socks and go for another walk. Or just sit around in the thick socks and shoes. Even just sitting, the thickness of the socks will start to stretch the material of the show. 

Shoe Shaper: You can also throw your chunky socks over a shoe shaper and them sit overnight. 

Potato: Yup, you read that right. Don’t have a shoe shaper? Try a potato. Just, make sure to wash the potato before you eat it 

Heat ‘Em Up

For your new leather shoes, you can try busting out the blow dryer. Make sure it’s real leather because this trick could damage synthetic fibers. Grab your chunky socks, put on the shoe and aim the blow dryer at any spot that still feels troublesome or tight. Hold the blow dryer over that spot for about 20-30 seconds (but keep it far enough back that you don’t burn your feet!). Then, walk around the room and loosen the material while it’s flexible. 

Cool ‘Em Down

Fill two plastic bags with water. Place each bag in one shoe and put both shoes in the freezer overnight. The water turns to ice and expands (remember science?), in turn expanding your shoe.

Don’t Forget To Break in Your Insoles

Insoles can be a great way to help your favorite shoes support your feet but don’t forget that you need to break in your new insoles, too. You won’t see the full benefit of a new insole right away so here are a few things you can in the meantime to break in your new Orange Insoles. 

  • Start with small blocks of time. Wear them for an hour here or there, working your way up to a full day
  • Stretch your entire body. Your insoles will help align you even if you’ve been misaligned for years. This can be tough on your body so make sure you’re doing stretches that will help ease your pain
  • Wear the right size shoe. This will also help when it comes to the breaking in of a new shoe

From athletic shoes to dress shoes, insoles can help your shoes but you still need to put a little work in when you bring a new pair of shoes home. Break them in, then add your favorite insole for pain-free walking! 

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience persistent pain, consult your healthcare provider.


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