When you've treated yourself to a new pair of shoes, it's totally natural to want to wear them out and show them off right away! But try not to let impatience get to you - as most shoes are in need of a gentle breaking in period before you can properly strut your stuff.
reaking in your shoes allows the material to soften and gradually adjust to the shape of your feet. It generally takes a little time and patience; in other words, we'd advise against taking your new shoes out for a five-mile hike or girls' night out on the town the first time you pop them on - tempting as it may be.
By taking just a few precautionary measures, you can help to speed up the breaking in process, making it a pain and stress-free experience. Result! Here's how you can stretch your shoes while keeping your feet free of any irritations.
6 essential tips for breaking in new shoes and boots
1.Ensure you have the right size shoes or boots
This may sound painfully obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people are caught out at this stage! Ensuring you have the right fit is the absolute most important thing when it comes to buying new shoes, so don't be tempted to just take a lucky guess.
If the shoe fits, then Cinderella, you're off to the ball! (Or onto step two, at least). If the size isn't right, then taking the time and effort to break them in will be pretty much in vain, as shoes that are too tight or too loose won't ever truly get to where you want them to be.
Use our size guide to make sure you're buying the correct size and width shoe. If you're unsure about your shoe size, the team at your local Clarks store will be happy to help.
2.Break shoes or boots in slowly
Before strutting out for the main event, work your way up to any special occasion by wearing the shoes for short spells first. It's the simplest and easiest way to help with the breaking in process.
Whether it's a casual pair of trainers or some gorgeously glam heels, wearing them around the house with will gradually soften the shoes up, until they comfortably conform to the shape of your feet. By doing this from your own abode, you can pop the footwear off if there's any excessive aching or rubbing - something which isn't quite as acceptable in public. Besides, you don't want to get stuck out in the sticks.
The material of your shoes will naturally stretch and loosen over time, allowing for a more comfortable fit. Before you know it, you'll be able to show them off wherever you fancy!
3.Tie shoes or boots up tightly
When breaking in shoes, it can be super tempting to loosen the laces to allow your feet more room to move and breathe. However, tying them up tightly - just like you would with any other pair of shoes - will help to stretch the fabric and speed up the process. Think of them like an elastic band or a hair bobble; the more they're stretched, the looser they'll become!
4.Protect against blisters
One of the main reasons why many of us want to know how to stop our shoes from rubbing is so that we can prevent blisters. Luckily, you can reduce the risk of blisters or rubs by taking some simple steps!
Did you know that certain parts of your shoe, such as at the back of the heel and the sides of your toes, are stiffer? Naturally, it might take a little longer for those parts to loosen up. It's in these areas you're most likely to encounter a pesky blister, but with a little preparation, this can be avoided.
Our shoes are packed with innovative technologies to keep your feet super comfortable. However, sometimes feet need time to adjust to specific shoe shapes and materials. If friction is the issue, then you can lessen the conflict between your shoes and your feet by moisturising your skin, or by giving your feet a pamper with some petroleum jelly. Not only will your feet feel baby smooth, but if your skin is hydrated, it's also much less likely to end up hurting.
5.Wear thick socks
We all know that chunky socks aren't exactly the height of fashion - especially when paired with some cute strappy heels or some dainty flats - but in the privacy of your own home they can work wonders.
Ignore the confused stares from your other half and the kids and select your biggest, coziest pair of socks to wear while you're breaking in your new shoes. First and foremost, they will create a thick, padded layer between your feet and your footwear, preventing rubbing. Secondly, the bulkiness of your snazzy socks will help stretch out the material of the shoes. It's a win-win situation!
6.Switch up your footwear
Once your shoes feel stretched and ready to strut your stuff in, continue to alternate them with other shoes from your collection until they fit your feet as comfortably as a pair of slippers might.
If the thought of going barefoot makes you cringe, it might also be a good idea to carry a spare pair of well-worn in shoes with you, in case your feet start to feel uncomfortable throughout the day.
How to break in leather boots and shoes
Leather boots and shoes are an absolute wardrobe essential! They're strong, dependable, and made to last - not to mention stylish - and since they're such a popular choice of design and material, needing to break in a leather pair is sure to happen sooner or later.
You can soften leather shoes and boots using the same steps as above. Stiff leather shoes with thick soles could take up to a few weeks to break in, so bare this in mind if you're ordering for a special event!
How to break in trainers
How to break in running trainers
If keeping fit is part of your agenda, you'll already know how important a decent pair of running shoes is. You'll want your trainers to be the perfect fit, with lots of cushioning and bounce in the soles to help power you forward, with minimal impact on your bones and muscles.
Before taking them out on a run, stretch your trainers by wearing them for shorter exercises. Even just around the house while you're cracking on with the chores will do. A bit of rubbing is normal, but if you're coming out with blisters, you might want to check that your shoes fit properly.
How to break in canvas shoes
Shoes made from soft, canvas materials and with rubber soles should take little to no time to wear in, so by following our above steps, you'll be ready to step out in style with canvas shoes ASAP.
How to break in suede boots and shoes
Since suede has one of the best natural stretches, you can easily stretch your suede boots and shoes using our steps above. Once your suede shoes are nicely stretched and comfortable, you might want to think about their upkeep. Use a protection spray that can be used on suede to create a protective barrier against the elements, keeping your shoes looking as good as new.
By following these steps to breaking in shoes, you'll be showing off your new footwear in no time. If you spend hour upon hour on your feet and need shoes that'll break in quickly and easily, explore our guide to comfortable everyday shoes.