How to Break in Dress Shoes


When fabulous dress shoes are sitting in a store window, they may seem like an ideal buy. The appearance of those shoes on your feet may make them even more difficult to resist. But, once it's time to slip on those 4-inch heels and head to a special event, your new favorite dress shoes may make your feet start to ache immediately. But instead of returning them, just break them in.

Things You'll Need

  • Socks
  • Shoe cushions and pads

How to Break in Dress Shoes

Before you wear your dress shoes out, walk around in them in your home as much as possible for short periods of time. For example, walk around in the shoes for 30 minutes twice a day to help stretch and mold them to the shape of your foot. The more you do this, the more comfortable your dress shoes will become. According to, slipping on a pair of socks while doing this can help prevent blisters as well.

While you're practicing walking in your shoes at home, sit down every now and then and move your feet around in them to help stretch them out. The more that you can do to stretch your shoes, especially if they are closed-toe dress shoes, the better they will feel when you want to wear them out to an event.

Practice makes perfect for dress shoes that have an open toe, especially stilettos. Not only will you break them in if you practice walking, dancing or strutting in them around the house, but you also will increase the amount of time that you can walk around in those dress shoes. While at first you may last only 15 minutes, as you continue to walk in them you should be able to keep them on for upwards of 1 hour. This is also a good way to know where and to which events you can wear the shoes. If an event has limited seating and you've been able to wear your shoes only for 30 minutes before they start aching your feet, you'll know not to wear those shoes to that event.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have enough time to break in your dress shoes, purchasing pads and cushions for the shoes is a good idea. Depending on the design of the shoe, cushions and pads for soles and toes can help prevent blisters and ease pains associated with new, tight-fitting shoes. Pay attention to how a particular designer's shoes fit your feet. If you have had success with shoes from a certain designer that fit well and don't cause pain, it is pretty certain that other types of shoes from that designer will have the same result for you.

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