5 Ways to Break in New Shoes and Prevent Blisters

5 min read
5 Ways to Break in New Shoes and Prevent Blisters 5 Ways to Break in New Shoes and Prevent Blisters 5 Ways to Break in New Shoes and Prevent Blisters

Breaking in new shoes is a painful experience for many, even if you are careful about selecting the correct size for yourself. Blisters on the feet as a result of shoes rubbing are very common and top of this, they are incredibly irritating – especially when all you want to do is walk in your new favourite pair of shoes.

Breaking in new shoes isn’t important for comfort alone, it’s also important for the safety of your feet and body as well. Athletes for example can really injure themselves if they perform high-demanding activities in new shoes (think: strained or irritated tendons), but ill-fitting shoes can have negative effects on anyone, including running the risk of infection. There are plenty of suggestions for breaking shoes in before they hurt the very feet they’re meant to protect, but some sacrifice the shoes’ integrity – like microwaving or machine-washing new shoes.

Instead, here are five ways to break in your new shoes and prevent blisters without damaging the shoes!

1. Target hotspots with surgical tape (or COMPEED® products) ahead of time

New shoes are nice, but blisters on the feet aren’t. The places they’re likely to show up are known hotspots, and these tend to be the heels, tops and sides of toes, as well as the sides of the feet where the bones rub against the shoes.

The reason for blisters on feet is the constant friction between the skin and the shoe. Finding out where hotspots are is easy – all it takes is wearing the new shoes around the house for 30-60 minutes, and then where there’s discomfort there will usually be blisters. From there, all it takes is some surgical tape, blister plasters, or even a substance that cuts down the friction on the hotspots to ward off those dreaded blisters on your feet.

High heel wearers, people with dry heels, and athletes usually tend toward blisters on their heels, which can be avoided with dedicated sports heel blister plasters, sports underfoot blister plasters, and high heel blister plasters. These are designed specifically for the type of shoe and movement expected of these wearers.

Similarly, you can consider gel insoles or heel pads in order to alleviate sore feet.

2. Hair dryers

Prevention might not be the solution for everyone. If you’re still getting blisters on the feet, then it might be a good idea to try using a hairdryer to soften your shoes. This trick works best for leather, and shouldn’t be used on synthetic materials as they can warp and ruin the shoe.

Wear a pair of thick socks before putting on the shoes. Use a hairdryer for about 20-30 seconds over wherever the shoes feel tight. While the material is warm and flexible, you can take a walk around the room to make sure that the material is loosened and stretched enough to be comfy. Then just test them out without socks.

3. Ice bags

If you can’t use heat to stretch out your shoes because they’re not leather or heat just isn’t doing the trick for you, try this instead.

Fill two plastic freezer bags with water, seal them, and place them in your shoes. Leave them in your freezer overnight. The water in the bags will freeze and expand, stretching out the toe and any other places that are too tight.

You’ve got to be careful with this one however, as there’s the possibility of overstretching your shoes. Try doing this with a little water first, and play around with amounts of water until you’re happy with the results.

A bonus of this method is that ice-cold shoes out of the freezer feel nice on a hot day!

4. Thick socks

Thick socks are a great way to prevent blisters on the feet in the short as well as long-term, because they prevent friction as well as operate as a means to stretch the shoes out.

One way to use thick socks to stretch out new shoes is to put them over a shoe shaper and leave them in the shoes overnight to stretch the shoes out gently. If you don’t have a shoe shaper, you can even use a potato or similar vegetable.

This method can take a few more nights than others, but it’s gentle and won’t damage your shoes.

Thick socks can also be carried with you and worn at work under your desk if you’re in a pinch, as well as worn with your new shoes in your downtime to slowly stretch the material out and make them more comfortable.

5. Wear the new shoes for short periods of time

And finally, wearing the new shoes around your house for a little bit at a time until they’re broken in and suit your feet will definitely make them more comfortable. This is one of the best things to do for blisters on the feet. Being at home will give you the freedom to change your shoes whenever your feet start to hurt while also stretch them out in exactly the way that your feet need. Because it’s your feet that are stretching the shoes out, and not a potato or ice bag, they will stretch to your feet’s dimensions and ultimately give your feet space to breathe and flex.

Breaking in new shoes can be time-consuming and a bit of a headache, but it’s well worth the trouble to make sure that not only will your feet be safe, but that your relationship with your new shoes starts off on a good note.

Here at Compeed, we care about your feet and realize the importance of footcare. Explore our full range of blister, corn, and callus care and prevention here.