How to Break in High Heels

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Rough up the soles of new heels with sandpaper for extra traction.
Rough up the soles of new heels with sandpaper for extra traction. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Nothing rivals the confident feeling of strutting around a in pair of new high heels – except the pain and misery that sometimes follows. Breaking in shoes is tough, but it’s a necessary process for taming stiff, uncomfortable footwear. Always cover sensitive points, like the back of your heels and your pinkie toes, in bandages before putting on new heels. It won’t transform them instantly, but it does provide some protection and prevents blisters.

Short Strolls

Before wearing your heels for a night on the town, put them on for short periods around the house or office. That way, your shoes will begin to stretch and shape themselves to your feet, but you can take them off if they hurt. If you immediately suspect your shoes need some extra help to be comfy, take them to a shoe repair shop and have them professionally stretched.

Freeze and Go

Put your new high heels in the freezer for several hours before putting them on. Sweat and body heat warms the leather, molding the shoes to your feet for a comfy custom fit. To feel the full benefits, you may have to repeat the freeze-and-wear process a few times, though. If you can’t stand the chill, stretch your heels by wearing them with a pair of thick socks.

Add Some Heat

Give your tight high heels a blast of heat from a hair dryer to break them in. Using the low setting, gently treat tight pinching points on your shoes with warm air for several minutes to soften them up. Be careful if your heels are made from synthetic material, as it may melt or burn if exposed to too much heat. Help the process along by gently stretching and bending your shoes by hand afterward, which helps them loosen up.

Use Moleskin

Moleskin helps stretch high heels while protecting your feet. Cover irritated points on your feet with strips of this soft material in the same way you’d use a bandage. Next, soak your feet in a warm bath, letting the moleskin absorb the water while swelling in size. Put your heels back on and let the engorged material stretch your shoes. Do not use this method with every pair of heels – ones made from suede or covered in embellishments, for instance, should not get wet.

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