Illustration: Sharmaine Khor

How many of us are sick and tired of going through the ritual of blisters and sore feet in the breaking-in phase of wearing new shoes? Your new kicks should usher in pure unadulterated happiness, not pain and disappointment. Use these tricks to flaunt your prized possessions with a literal spring in your step:

1. Use thick socks and a hairdryer

It’s time to put your forgotten winter socks to good use. Pull on those thick socks before wearing your new shoes, then run your hairdryer over the “tight” parts at your toes or at the arch of your feet. Just a word of caution: Your shoes should be of a natural material like leather for this tip to work, as the heat might damage synthetic materials. Once you feel the tight parts loosening up and becoming less uncomfortable, turn off the dryer and stomp around in your shoes for a bit to let them cool, and you’re done!

2. Wear in short spurts

We know, we know: It’s hard to contain your overriding desire to show off your newly purchased babies, but the bad news is, your feet will end up suffering if you wear them for days on end. Take it easy and start small by wearing them for short periods of time. You can wear them when you’re sitting at your desk in office just to let your shoes stretch, for instance, or put them on when you’re going somewhere near your house for brunch. Definitely stay away from heavy-duty walking in the first week – and yes, that means no window-shopping in your new kicks.

Illustration: Sharmaine Khor

3. Freeze them

Yes, this is supposedly one of the most effective hacks when it comes to making your new shoes feel more comfortable. Fill two Ziplock bags half full with water, then seal them tightly, making sure you remove most of the air. Place one bag in each shoe and put both shoes into a sealed plastic bag to protect them from outside moisture. Let your shoes sit in the freezer for three to four hours. The water in your shoe expands and then contracts as it freezes, exerting pressure from within and gently stretching out your shoe according to its contours. Once again, use this method with discretion as there’s moisture involved – you don’t want your shoes to be sodden through.

4. Wear them around the house

Start accumulating some mileage by wearing your new kicks around the house. You can even wear them with thick socks to speed up the breaking-in process. Stand around, sit, climb the stairs, run… break in your new shoes from the comfort of your home before bringing them out for real. This is a great chance to practise walking in heels too, if you’re a beginner.

5. Use a shoe stretcher

The shoe stretcher is your trusty companion when it comes to doing all the legwork. Just shove it in your shoe, adjust the width and length and let it do its thing overnight.  

Illustration: Sharmaine Khor

6. Spray rubbing alcohol and water

Try spraying rubbing alcohol and water on the inside of your leather shoes, and immediately wear them for about 20 minutes. After you repeat this a few times, your shoes should mould to your foot size and you can then confidently strut your stuff with ease.

7. Use shoe cushions

Investing in shoe cushions could just be the way to go when it comes to alleviating pain. These soft inserts ease friction so you can say goodbye to pesky blisters on your heel. But because nothing in this world is perfect, the shoe cushions may actually take up a little too much room and make your shoes too tight. Be sure to choose carefully and pick out the thinner ones.


Want more shoe tips? Read How to wear heels all day in the office without feeling pain! and 5 expert tips to properly clean and maintain your shoes.