12 ways to easily break in a pair of shoes

January 11, 2024

12 ways to easily break in a pair of shoes

There's something thrilling about unboxing a fresh pair of shoes. Maybe it’s that new-shoe smell, the immaculate design, or the promise of new adventures. But let's face it, breaking in new shoes can sometimes feel like a long journey with a few too many bumps along the way. 

At Kizik, we craft shoes that blend the excitement of a new purchase with the bliss of a glove-like fit right out of the box. Our philosophy is simple: shoes should be a source of joy, not discomfort. 

Let's dive into the world of new shoes and learn how to make them your comfy companions from day one.

Why does a good pair of shoes matter?

The right pair of shoes will make you feel like you can conquer the world. Good shoes are also the foundation for healthy posture and foot well-being. 

The right pair of shoes can literally lift you up and keep you going, whether it's a busy workday or a leisurely stroll in the park. And let’s not forget, shoes are powerful fashion statements, too. They work to reflect your personality. That's where Kizik steps in. 

Style and comfort should go hand-in-hand. Our shoes are both engineered to help you feel your best and designed to turn heads anywhere you go.

Why is breaking in new shoes important?

Breaking in new shoes is a critical step in ensuring they deliver long-term comfort and support. 

Here's why this process is so important:

  • Molding to your feet: Every foot is unique. New shoes need time to adapt to your specific foot shape. This molding process ensures a snug, custom fit.
  • Preventing foot pain: Unbroken shoes can be stiff. By gradually breaking them in, you reduce the risk of blisters, cuts, and other comfort-related issues. 
  • Enhancing shoe lifespan: Shoes that are well-adjusted to your feet undergo less stress, extending their durability and wearability.
  • Improving foot health: Properly fitted shoes support good foot health. A break-in period allows you to ensure the shoes provide the right support where you need it.
  • Ensuring comfort in every step: The ultimate goal of breaking in shoes is to achieve all-day comfort and make every step enjoyable rather than painful.

How exactly should you break in a pair of new shoes? 

12 ways to break in a pair of new shoes

Even with the most comfortable shoes right out of the box (like Kiziks), there are times you find a pair that needs a little extra help to get that perfect fit. 

Here are 12 simple and effective ways to break in your new shoes and begin to comfortably wear them for longer.

1. Use a shoe stretcher

A shoe stretcher is an excellent tool for gently expanding tight areas of your shoes. Insert it into your shoe and adjust it to the desired width. This method is especially effective for leather or suede shoes, helping them conform to the shape of your feet without causing damage.

2. Apply heat

Gently heating your shoes with a hairdryer can make the material more pliable. Wear a pair of thick socks, put on your shoes, and then apply warm air for a few minutes. Flex your feet as you go. This method allows your shoes to stretch and mold to your feet.

3. Freezer method

The freezer method is surprisingly effective. Fill two sealable bags with water, place them inside your shoes, and then put them in the freezer. As the water freezes and expands, it will gently stretch your shoes. This technique is ideal for small adjustments and can be particularly useful for breaking in snug-fitting sneakers.

4. Moleskin patches

Use moleskin patches for areas that tend to rub, like the heel or sides. Simply stick them inside your shoes where they feel tight. This provides a buffer against blisters and gently stretches the shoe as you wear it.

5. Walk on different surfaces

Walking on various surfaces can help break in shoes more effectively. Alternate between soft carpets and hard floors at home. This variation in pressure and texture helps the shoes to adjust and flex, conforming better to your foot shape.

6. Use a damp cloth

For canvas or fabric shoes, lightly dampen tight areas with a cloth. After dampening, wear the shoes around the house until dry. The moisture will soften the fabric, allowing it to stretch and comfortably mold to your feet.

7. Roll a tennis ball

This is a simple yet effective technique for sneakers and soft leather shoes. Use a tennis ball to gently roll and press over tight spots. This helps to stretch and soften specific areas, creating a more comfortable fit.

8. Conditioner for leather shoes

Leather conditioner keeps your shoes looking great and helps the break-in process. Apply a small amount to stiff areas. As the leather absorbs the conditioner, it becomes softer and more flexible, reducing the time it takes to mold to your feet.

9. Stuff with newspaper

If your shoes feel tight all over, try stuffing them with damp newspaper overnight. As the newspaper dries, it will expand and gently stretch the shoes. This old-school method is particularly good for shoes that don't require targeted stretching.

10. Sandpaper for soles

Use sandpaper if the issue is less about the fit and more about slippery soles. Gently roughen the bottom of your shoes with sandpaper. This can create better traction and make walking in new shoes more comfortable, especially on slick surfaces.

11. Ankle and toe bends

Manually bending your new shoes can help loosen them up. Hold the heel and toe areas and gently bend back and forth. This method works well for breaking in the shoe's sole and making the overall shoe more flexible, especially in the toe box area.

12. Professional stretching services

When DIY methods don't suffice, consider professional stretching services available at shoe repair shops. They have specialized equipment and expertise on how to stretch your shoes without damaging a stubborn shoe’s high-quality materials. 

What not to do when breaking in new shoes

Breaking in new shoes can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield. There are numerous effective methods to achieve a comfortable fit, but there are also pitfalls to avoid. 

Here are some essential don'ts to keep in mind when breaking in footwear:

  • Overstretching too quickly: It’s tempting to want instant comfort, but overstretching your shoes too quickly can damage them. Avoid excessive force or rapid stretching techniques that might compromise the shoe's structure and integrity.
  • Ignoring material constraints: Different materials require different approaches. For example, methods to adjust leather shoes may not work for synthetic materials. Understand the specifics of your shoe's material to avoid unintended damage.
  • Neglecting moisture protection: While methods like the damp cloth technique can be effective, ensure your shoes are adequately dried and protected from prolonged moisture exposure.  Especially for materials like suede, which can be easily damaged by water.
  • Skipping gradual break-in: Jumping straight into wearing new shoes for a whole day can lead to discomfort and blisters. Gradually increase wearing time to allow your feet and your shoes to adjust to each other.
  • Overlooking foot health: Listen to your feet. If you experience significant discomfort or pain, it’s a sign to slow down. Pushing through pain can lead to foot health issues. If this is you, take a step back and reassess your approach.
  • Avoiding socks: Wearing socks, especially during the break-in period, can provide an extra layer of protection and cushioning. It helps reduce friction and prevents blisters.
  • Forgetting shoe maintenance: Regular care and maintenance, like using shoe trees and cleaning, helps retain the shoe's shape, quality, and helps the break-in process.
  • Disregarding post-purchase care: Just because a shoe fits well post-break-in doesn't mean it's maintenance-free. Continue to condition, clean, and store your shoes properly to extend their lifespan and comfort.
  • Overlooking professional help: Sometimes it’s best to seek professional help, especially for high-end or particularly tight shoes. Shoe repair experts can provide safe and effective stretching services.
  • Ignoring personal comfort limits: Everyone’s feet are different. What works for one person might not work for another. Pay attention to what your body tells you and adjust your approach accordingly.
  • Using inappropriate stretching tools: Stick to tools designed for shoe stretching. Improvised tools may cause uneven stretching or damage to the shoe.
  • Rushing the process: Breaking in shoes is a gradual process. Rushing it can lead to poor fit and discomfort. Patience is key.

By steering clear of these common mistakes and focusing on gentle, gradual methods, you’ll ensure a smooth transition to comfortable, well-fitting shoes.

At Kizik, we design our hands-free slip-on shoes to minimize break-in hassles, but a little extra care always goes a long way for lasting comfort and style.

Why Kiziks stand out in the shoe world

In a market flooded with countless shoe options, Kizik stands out. We're not just another shoe brand—we're changing the game of footwear. Our unique approach combines innovation, comfort, and must-have style.

Here's why Kizik should be your go-to choice:

  • Hands-free technology: Our patented HandsFree Labs® technology redefines ease of use. Slip into your Kiziks without bending over. Great for those on-the-go moments or when you simply need a quick step-in and step-out solution.
  • Custom comfort: Every pair of Kiziks is crafted with comfort in mind. From our cushioned insoles to our supportive footbeds, our shoes pamper your feet with every step.
  • Versatile style: Kizik shoes are designed to suit any lifestyle and occasion. Whether you're heading to the office, going for a casual stroll, or dressing up for a night out, there's a Kizik for every moment.

When it comes to breaking in new shoes, Kiziks are unparalleled. Our innovative design minimizes the need for a break-in period, allowing you to enjoy comfort and style right out of the box. 

A Final Word

Breaking in a new pair of shoes is a journey, but it doesn't have to be a struggle. With the right approach and some patience, your new shoes can transform from mere footwear into trusted everyday companions. 

Remember, the process is about ensuring long-term comfort and prolonging the life of your shoes. For those looking for an effortless fit from the start, Kizik offers a solution with its unique blend of hands-free technology, unmatched comfort, and stylish design. 

Step into the world of Kizik for shoes that fit just right on day one. We have easy, convenient, and comfy styles for all.


Why Good Footwear is So Important for Your Health | Community Health Partners

Importance of Wearing Good Shoes | OSF HealthCare 

Foot Health | MedlinePlus 

5 Ways to Avoid Blisters and the Best Way to Treat Them | Cleveland Clinic 

Written By: Chris Fry

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