How to Break in Hard Shoes

Shoe Rack
Shoe Rack (Image: Photo by ritwikdey uploaded to Creative Commons November 26, 2006 titled Shoe_rack, Photo by Uploaded on March 4, 2007 to creative commons by pink hats, read shoes’ titled New Shoes!, Photo by mshades uploaded to creative commons on January 4, 2008 titled I bought shoes)

Breaking in a new pair of dress shoes, work shoes, dance shoes, or work boots can be very painful. Hard shoes can chafe, cause blisters, and make your feet ache. Eventually, if you try to wear them all day, your legs will ache and then your lower back will too. You probably need this pair of shoes either for work, entertaining, or because they are the latest fashion trend. How can you avoid the pain and blisters when you must break in a pair of hard shoes? If you are replacing a well-worn comfortable pair of shoes then you are in luck. You can spread out breaking in the new shoes over several days. In no time at all, they will be as comfortable as your old stand-bys and you will avoid the pain and blisters. If you don’t have another pair and you must wear the new pair all day, it is going to take a little more effort to avoid the aches and pains.

Things You'll Need

  • New shoes
  • Old comfortable shoes
  • Band-Aids
  • Several pair of socks
  • Cushion shoe inserts
  • Skin tape

If you have a well worn pair of shoes that are acceptable to wear for most of the day then begin by wearing the new pair of shoes for just two hours a day.

After wearing the new shoes for two hours, change your socks and put on your old comfortable shoes for the rest of the day.

If there is any chafing on your foot or ankle, cover the affected area with a Band-Aid or skin tape to avoid a blistering.

Repeat steps one through three for several days. Then increase the time you wear the new shoes to three hours.

Add an hour each day until you are wearing the shoes all day without aches and pains. If you experience aching, reduce the wearing time by an hour for several days.

If you have no choice but to wear these new shoes all day then you need to take along a care package including extra socks, band-aids, and cushioned inserts. Choose socks that go at least an inch above the top of the shoe to avoid unnecessary chafing. Place the cushioned inserts into the shoes. Wear the thickest socks possible that still allow the shoe to fit properly. Be sure to lace the shoes tightly so they are not rubbing around.

Lace shoes tightly
Lace shoes tightly

After an hour, examine your foot and ankle for chafing marks. Place band-aids over these areas to avoid blistering.

Every two hours change your socks. Examine your feet and ankles again for chafing. If the band-aids are not offering enough cushion to avoid blistering then use the skin tape to double the band-aid padding. If possible, put your feet up level with your seat for several minutes at least every two hours.

Rest your feet
Rest your feet

Be sure to bring along another pair of comfortable shoes to wear home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase several sizes of band-aids.
  • Purchase the cloth-type skin tape.
  • If you must wear the shoes all day buy the best inserts you can afford.

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