LIFE HACK: Six simple tricks to help you break in your next pair of shoes.


If you didn’t know, avoiding the blistering and rubbing of new shoes is an actual life skill.

And if you’re in heels? We all know that hell hath no fury like the pain of new high heels. It is the dilemma you’re inevitably faced with when buying new shoes for a special event – they look nice, but how will you last the night?

We’ve all been there before: in a panic, you’ve ordered a fresh pair of pumps online for an occasion three days before you have to wear them, decide you’ll just suck it up when the time comes, and then complain (while sitting down) the whole night and swear you’ll never, ever, do this to yourself again. Repeat.

But wearing new shoes for the first time doesn’t actually have to be a painful process. We’ve put a list together of the tricks of the trade – tried and tested by the Mamamia team – that actually work.

Here are six hacks on how to break in your next pair of shoes, that will stop you from taking them off three hours in and/or ending the night with a bloody toe.

Use a hairdryer

The materials of all shoes are pliable enough to mould to your unique foot shape. This trick can literally be done 20 minutes before you leave the house, and will assure a much comfier night.

If you’re shoes are tight in particular areas, put some thick socks on and turn on a hairdryer on low heat – ensuring to distribute the heat evenly enough to not melt the material. The heat will allow the material to expand, stretching the shoes to the shape of your foot.

Freeze the pain away

Another trick is using ice – this one takes a little longer than the hairdryer hack, but is just as efficient!


Fill two freezer bags with water, put them at the toe-end of each shoe and then place them in the freezer for around six hours (or overnight). Like the hairdryer, the temperature will cause the material to expand. Once they’re ready, bring them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost, take the bags out and there you have it: well-fitting shoes!

(This technique may, however, need a little trial and error because you need to be careful to not overstretch the material).

Protect those dry spots

Dry spots are most prone to rubbing, so, making sure the hot spots are well moisturised is a simple and quick way to lessen the blister-inducing process. Your heels and tops-of-toes are some of the most common areas for blisters to form (not that you needed reminding), so moisturising them before you put on your shoes is a great way to protect the skin.

Another way to shelter the dry spots is using band-aids. This one is quite common, but for good reason – it works!

how to break in shoes
If you don't prepare, you're often left in agonising pain. Image via Getty.


If you have a shoe-shaper handy, place these in your shoes overnight. These tools are specifically designed for flats which are too tight for your feet, and thus promise to safely expand the material. Some also come with a special spray to help with the stretching.

Use alcohol spray

This is a common technique that is also proven to work wonders. Use rubbing alcohol spray on the insides of a leather shoe before walking around in them for about 25 minutes. This will soften the leather to frame your feet.

Be prepared

This one is probably the most self-evident, but it's always good to be reminded.

To avoid the aforementioned scenario of ordering heels in a panic three days before an event, the easiest way to avoid the pure agony of ill-fitting shoes is to buy well in advance. You can practice walking in the shoes (good to do this in thick socks) whilst breaking them in. You can also use the above techniques well before the night so that when the night comes, you have a perfectly moulded, well-fitted shoe!

Do you have any tricks that you use to stretch your shoes? Tell us in the comments section below!