So you’ve bought yourself a fabulous new pair of sneakers, great! In order to get optimum comfort, wear and durability out of them, a little ‘breaking in’ period is recommended to allow the new shoes to adapt to the form of your foot. There’s no worse feeling than setting out on a long day in new shoes and ending up with painful blisters, so we recommended breaking in new sneakers and shoes before you wear them. So, what is the best way to break in new sneakers?
How To Break In New Sneakers
- First things first, make sure you have a pair of sneakers in the right size. Never try to squeeze your feet into a pair of shoes which aren’t your size just because they are the last pair in the shop, as tempting as it can be when you really want them. For a comfortable fit, always select shoes in a size which fits your foot, you can check out our helpful size conversion chart for men and women for help with international shoe sizes.
- When it comes to breaking in new sneakers, slow and steady is definitely the route to take. Before embarking on a long, busy day in a brand new pair of shoes, we recommend wearing the new shoes for short periods of time to help soften the sneakers and ‘break them in’. Start by wearing them around the house (clean soles only!), as you can slip them off easily if any pain starts to arise. Be careful to avoid blisters at this stage as they can be painful, and will slow down the breaking in process.
How to avoid blisters with new sneakers
- Some parts of the foot are more susceptible to blisters, such as the back of the foot and side of the toes, this is due to friction and pressure in these places, and also many shoes having thicker materials in these areas. Worry not, however, as there are ways to stop pesky blisters in their tracks. Try and keep your feet well moisturised with a foot cream or petroleum jelly, as hydrated skin is less likely to rub against the shoes. You can also put precautionary plasters in places where you might expect to rub, to give extra protection.
- When you start to wear in your new shoes, do so with a thicker pair of socks. Although these might not be the perfect finishing touch to your outfit, if you are in the privacy of your own home then don the cosy socks! The thicker textile will help create a layer between your foot and the shoes, giving protection against rubbing, and in addition the extra thickness will help to very gently soften the shoe itself.
Switch between new and old shoes
We all know that head-over-heels in love feeling that you can get with a new purchase, and although it can be tempting to wear your newest shoes on repeat, we don’t recommend it. Once you've broken your shoes in, alternate with other pairs of comfortable shoes in your collection so that they have time to dry out completely between wears, which is vital to avoid the materials warping and losing their shape.
Do you have to break in sneakers?
A succinct ‘breaking in’ period is recommended for new shoes, in order to avoid the dreaded feeling of being in the middle of a busy day with sore, rubbing feet. Some sneakers, made from soft textiles, will take very little breaking in, with others made from harder or stiffer materials taking much more effort, so it is entirely personal to you and your sneakers.
Do sneakers stretch?
Good quality sneakers should mould to the shape of your foot, as opposed to stretch. It is vital that the sneakers hold their shape for maximum comfort and longevity, however some areas of the sneakers will, over time, mould to the shape of the foot creating a bespoke fit.
How long do sneakers take to break in?
There is no strict time frame for the process of breaking in new sneakers, and there are many factors which can affect how quickly your new sneakers soften. The construction of the shoe, and the selection and quality of materials used, affects the rate at which the shoes will soften. Shoes crafted from softer textiles will take much less time to break in than shoes crafted from stiff leather, for example, which could take up to a few weeks.
How should I shop for perfect fitting sneakers?
When on the hunt for that perfect fitting pair of sneakers, it can feel as if you're searching for Cinderella’s glass slipper, so we’re here to give you some suggestions on how to find the trainer which really has the perfect fit.
- Buy quality shoes. This one speaks for itself, but if you wear sneakers of poor quality construction and materials, they most likely will not support your feet correctly. Look for quality materials and reliable construction methods when shopping for sneakers, it is important to look after your feet so purchase quality shoes where you can.
- Make sure you try on both feet of the sneakers. A huge sixty percent of us have a difference in size in our feet, so shoe sizes are not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. What could fit your left foot, may feel too tight on your right foot, so it’s essential to try on the sneakers as a pair to check that you are happy with the fit of the full pair.
- Wear the same type of sock as which you will wear when you wear the sneakers. If you plan on wearing your sneakers with thin ankle socks, then try them on with those to ensure an accurate fit. If you try them on with thick, woolen socks, you may find that they fit too largely when trying to wear them with thin socks.
- Don’t be afraid to re-lace the shoes. Often, shoe stores change the lacing of the shoes for display purposes, with some styles of lacing not being able to adjust as easily and as tightly as classic lattice lacing. Don’t be afraid to take the laces out and re-lace them in a style which feels most comfortable to you.
- Check the fit. The fit is the most important element to consider when selecting shoes, as it will determine the level of comfort you experience. When wearing the shoes, you should be able to wiggle your toes within the shoes, and ideally keep around a finger space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoebox. Take the sneakers for a few steps to check they feel comfortable when walking too.
- If using for exercise, change your sneakers regularly to ensure you have full support. Most studies suggest that sneakers should be changed around every 300-500 miles, or after more than 300 hours of exercise, as the cushioning materials and support in a trainer is usually worn down by then and doesn’t perform as it once did.