How to break in new boots is an age-old struggle, isn’t it? You’ve finally saved up and treated yourself to that new incredible pair, and then – womp womp, their first outing leaves you with blisters or painful arches.
If you want to wear your new babies – we mean, purchases – without picking up any blisters along the way, there are some tips you can follow for breaking in your boots before you properly wear them.
1. Socks will save you
Find a thick pair of socks and wear them inside your boots around the house for a bit. This will gently stretch the leather from any worry areas, moulding them to your feet and making them more comfortable the first time you wear them without your sock armour. Just make sure to take them off the minute they start to feel tight and repeat the process another day.
2. Try adding heat
Using a hairdryer to warm your boots while you’re in your thick socks should loosen the leather a little and give your feet more breathing space. Just don’t hold the hairdryer on the leather for too long, or risk damaging your new boots.
3. Bring some back-ups
Ever had that thing when you internally congratulate yourself for buying such a comfortable pair of shoes only to realise a couple of hours into your day that you’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake? There’s nothing worse than hitting 2pm and realising that walking home in your brand new boots is going to be a challenge – and a painful one at that.
Make sure you’ve got a pair of spare shoes under your desk at work, so that your new boots have time to adjust to your feet and vice versa. Feet swell as the day goes on, so a couple of hours in the new boots is best before those blisters start to make an appearance. After a while, you’ll be able to wear them for longer and longer.
4. Try the freezer trick
If you don’t have the time or patience to slowly stretch out your new boots, there is a hack that could loosen the leather overnight. Fill two ziplock freezer bags with water making sure to remove all of the air from the bag, then double bag them for extra protection and secure tightly. Place them inside each boot, putting them into the freezer overnight. Remove the boots and allow the water to melt so you can take out the bags.
This should relax the leather but also comes with a risk of water damage – so tread carefully (geddit) if you want to try this trick.
5. Wear blister plasters
BEFORE you get any blisters. If you really can’t wait to wear your boots, then just make sure you’re properly protected. Most of us have those problem areas where rubbing is worst, so pre-empt the problem by adding extra padding.
6. Choose quality over quantity
Look, we know it can be tempting to fill your wardrobe with as many pairs of cute boots as your budget will allow. But if you dread wearing them, or always end up wanting to get on the bus barefoot by the end of the night, then what’s the point? Our hard-learned lesson: save up for the nicest-quality pair that you can reasonably afford, and choose a style that you’ll happily wear multiple times a week. Geox, for example, crafts boots from smart leather, and even has breathable, memory foam soles. They offer wide fit styles and varying heel heights, which can make a world of difference in avoiding pinched toes.
7. Take them to a professional
If in any doubt, take your boots to a shoe cobbler and they’ll be able to safely expand your shoes with their boot bending mastery. They can also re-sole them if they got too worn down last winter, or add rubbery grip. Want custom inserts? Many places will do that too. Boom – pain-free tootsies.
Happy boot szn!