There’s nothing worse than breaking out a brand-new pair of fall shoes, only to slip them on your feet and—within hours—have one of the most painful blisters of your life. There goes the excitement. But guess what? With a little prudent planning, unbearably painful shoes don’t ever have to be a problem—there are plenty of ways to break in new shoes before you wear them. Here, our top tips and tricks for breaking in three types of shoes—boots, high-heeled stilettos, and flats—before hitting the streets this fall.
1. How To Break In Boots
Chances are, you’d been instructed to buy slightly tight leather boots by a shoe salesman with the expectation that material will stretch. This is true, but stretching them can be a painful process to live through. Luckily, there are tricks so this doesn’t have to turn into a several-week process.
If you have a few weeks to spare before you need to wear a particular pair, we suggest combining rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle, and then spraying the inside of your boots. Immediately after spraying, wear them for about 20 minutes around the house. Repeat a few times, and you’ll find that your boots have stretched.
Another tried and true trick? Fill two zip-lock bags with water, squeezing out the excess air, and then place one in each boot. Then put your boots in the freezer overnight. The water will expand to ice, stretching out your boots for you. Trust us, this actually works.
2. How To Break-In Your High-Heleed Stilettos
Let’s be real: High-heeled stilettos aren’t designed to be comfortable, they’re designed to be hot. This is why, sometimes, it’s best to call in professional reinforcements before wearing them. Take them to a shoe repair shop to have them stretched, which will go a long way to having your shoes fit more comfortably.
Another DIY option is to layer a few pairs of socks over a shoe shaper, and leave them in the shoes for about 24 hours. If you find that your heels are still tight in certain spots, warm them up with a hair dryer on low setting, and then walk around your house wearing the shoes for 15 to 20 minutes. To really amp up this method, slipping your heels on with socks and then blast your feet with a hot hairdryer.
3. How To Break In Your Flats
Wait, aren’t flats supposed to be comfortable? If they’re made from leather, they still can be too stiff, rough, or snug and might need to be stretched out. Double up on socks and wear them around the house for a bit. Also, be prepared that flats often can be rough on your heels or the pack of your ankles creating blisters and scratches, so buy stick-on gel arches, heel protecters, or adhesive moleskin, which combats uncomfortable friction.