Everyone knows that prom prep starts months before the actual event. But very few remember that there’s more to do after you’ve steamed your dress, practiced your makeup look, or learned how to tie the perfect tie. And one of those important things is breaking in your shoes! Because whether you’re wearing stiletto heels, canvas sneakers, or oxfords, you’re going to want to make sure you’re comfortable. So here is a list of ways to break in your shoes, no matter which ones you choose to wear.
Just note that you want to give yourself as much time as possible to break the shoes in; so you should start as soon as you get them. The goal should be to give yourself about a month of time to break them in, that way you can go in slower increments, and avoid as many blisters and other painful phenomena as you can.
Depending on the quality of the shoe, some tricks may work better than others. And at the end of the day, prevention is key; buy shoes in the correct size, with the correct width, proper proportions for your natural foot arch, and shoes that are simply, comfortable. It also works better to buy shoes at the end of a long day of walking, so you can account for the expansion of your feet when they’re been working all day. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.
One Old Wive’s Tale that I learned long ago is to put two layers of socks on and shove your foot into the shoe. From there, grab a hairdryer, and focus the heat on the shoes for 3-5 minutes each. The heat will cause them to expand, similar to how your feet expand after walking. However, you want to be careful with this method, because higher quality shoes, like leather for example, can be damaged with the heat.
The best recommendation anyone has for breaking in shoes is to adhere bandages to the spots most likely to get blisters, and walk around in the shoes for as long as you can muster every day for a month. At that point, the shoe will begin to mold to your foot and you’ll have reached your goal with minimal pain in your feet. Many people recommend that you wear thick socks that are damp (yes, damp) when you wear them around the house so as to further stretch them out.
Similarly to wet socks, you can also rub some alcohol on the inside of your shoes where they’re pinching with a cotton ball before you put them on. Be careful not to add too much, and be especially careful with leather shoes, but this should keep them from shrinking back to their original size.
Stuffing the shoes with newspaper while you’re not wearing them has also been known to stretch shoes out and help them keep that shape, however better results will come if you do the above techniques first.
There are also endless products and services for purchase such as gel pads, shoe stretching spray, shoe stretching machine services at your local cobbler, and wooden shoe stretchers that are fairly inexpensive, but it works best to use your own feet so that the shoes mold to the correct shape. They’ll be more comfortable that way.
Written by Marisa Fertitta