As more and more of you share that you’re heading off on warm-weather adventures soon, I thought I’d write a post about the importance of breaking in new shoes because I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse than wearing a pair of new shoes on your first day of vacation only to spend the rest of the trip covered in blisters!
After painful lessons learned, I’ve developed some tried-and-true tips for breaking in your shoes + avoiding the dreaded trip blisters.
How to Break In New Shoes: My Top Tips & Tricks
First, know that oftentimes, your feet just need to get used to the shoes!
Every year when the seasons change and I start wearing different kinds of shoes, I get blisters and spots that rub–even on shoes that are many years old and fully broken in! It just comes with the territory.
Same goes for a new pair of shoes I know will be incredibly comfortable–there are still spots that can rub at first, because my feet simply need time to get used to them!
All of this to say–don’t write off a pair of shoes if at first they give you blisters. If everything else about them feels comfortable and nice, chances are, they’ll be your comfiest pair in no time.
So–what to do in the interim? How to break in those shoes?
For shoes that rub:
Here are my top tips for shoes that rub:
#1: Invest in blister bandaids
My all-time number one tip. If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope it’s this!
The best blister bandaids (for prevention and protecting existing blisters) are “blister cushions“– if you’re in Europe, look for the brand “Compeed”–which they have in every pharmacy. They also sell the brand here as well (but I discovered they’re more expensive here!) Amazon makes some great knockoffs though. They work so well and are waterproof and rub-proof!
I brought a ton of these to Paris with me and was handing them out like candy to all the girls on our trip, haha! They stay on for multiple days and once you put one on, you truly can’t feel your blister anymore! Use them on spots that already hurt or as a preventative–put them on if you know you have a spot that’s going to rub, and you won’t have any blisters!
After a few wears, your feet will get used to the shoes and you won’t need the blister bandages anymore.
#2: Stick these no-rub heel pads on the backs of shoes that rub
For shoes that are comfy otherwise and just rub on your heels, these are amazing! I always use these for trips where I’m logging a ton of miles everyday and know I will have inevitable rubbing spots. These are a nice alternative to the blister band-aids because they go on your shoes (not your feet) and stay put for months and months. (Pictured above on my Huarache sandals).
#3: Use an anti-rub product
Megababe’s Thigh Rescue is an amazing summer essential to prevent chafing anywhere on your body, and turns out, it’s great as an anti-rub for shoes, too! This is a good thing to use on awkward spots on your feet where the above products won’t stay on!
For shoes that are tight or stiff:
Sometimes the size up is too big, but the current size is just a TEENY bit snug. Or you know the leather will break in with wear, but right now, it’s just too stiff. Here’s what to do then:
#1: Spray stiffer leather with shoe stretch
This shoe stretch spray is amazing to make leather softer and allow shoes to best form to your feet. I used this to help break in my Nisolo Huarache sandals and it worked like a charm. Just make sure to test a small spot beforehand to ensure it’s not going to discolor the leather. Spray the shoe thoroughly until saturated and then wear them around (with thick socks if you need them to stretch, or however you’d wear them regularly if you aren’t looking for stretching, just softening!)
#2: Wear shoes around the house with socks
This allows you to break them in a little bit at a time! Also, super thick socks will help your shoes stretch (especially if you spray them thoroughly with shoe stretch spray beforehand or steam them with a steamer). This is how I broke in my Birkenstocks!
And one last tip…
Remember to break in your shoes before you leave for any trip!
You never want to bring new, unworn shoes on a vacation where you plan to do a lot of walking. This will take a bit of planning ahead but is well worth it— trust me!