How to Break In New Shoes Quickly

How to Break In New Shoes Quickly

No matter how expensive or high-quality a pair of shoes is, nor how comfortable it will ultimately be, there’s almost no avoiding the break-in period. While there may be a few exceptions in the case of sandals, virtually all shoes, including comfortable shoes for women and men, will be at least a little stiff the first few (or more) times you wear them.

So, how long does it take to break in shoes? To get the most comfort out of a new pair, the orthotic footwear experts at Vionic recommend wearing them for only a few hours the first few times you put them on. This gives your feet time to adjust to the shape and material while also allowing the shoes to conform to your feet. Within one to two weeks, you can usually expect to feel comfortable, supported, and pain-free when you strut around in your new kicks.¹

All this being said, if you’ve recently purchased footwear for a special occasion or a particular pair for work or travel, you might not be able to take your time. Luckily, there are some methods for speeding up the process. Read on to learn how to break in new shoes quickly.

How to Break In Shoes Fast: 4 Easy Hacks

Sometimes, new shoes can be exceptionally uncomfortable and even painful at first and then turn into the comfiest pair you own. You definitely want to try to avoid painful blisters, ingrown toenails, overpronation, unnecessary rubbing, sore feet, and heel pain, which is why slow and steady is usually the way to go.

But when you’re in a pinch, you might feel like you don’t have any other choice but to grin and bear it. If you want to know how to break in shoes fast, Vionic has you covered. Find four helpful hacks below.

1. How to Break In Leather Shoes with a Blow Dryer

Leather shoes are known for being possibly the most comfortable type of footwear. When the material finally softens and molds to the natural shape of your foot, you can say hello to years of footwear bliss. But the first time you pull them out of the box and slip them on, maybe not so much.

Did you know you can break in dress shoes, wedding shoes, patent leather pumps, suede flats, leather boots, and other new leather shoes in just a few minutes with a blow dryer? Leather softens with heat, allowing you to expedite the break-in process and get the job done in the comfort of your own home.²

Here’s how to break in leather shoes with a hairdryer:

  1. Put on your new shoes.
  2. Turn on the blow dryer and aim the hot air at your shoes, holding it about 8 to 10 inches from the leather.
  3. Work your way around the entire uppers of each shoe, focusing on any particularly tight spots around your heels or toes.
  4. Once the leather warms up and softens, stand up and walk around your home for 15 minutes or so.

Your shoes should be less tight and more comfortable overall. You can always repeat the process to break them in a little more before heading out to an event.

2. How to Break In Shoes with Ice

Another option is the ice method. Instead of heat, it relies on the expanding effect of freezing water to break in shoes from the inside.³ Bear in mind that the process may get the material slightly wet, so it’s best for nylon or mesh sneakers, running shoes, waterproof booties, or other water-resistant footwear.

Here’s how to break new shoes with ice:

  1. Fill two resealable plastic bags about halfway with water. Sandwich baggies should be about the right size, though you just want to make sure they’re large enough that they’ll put enough pressure on your shoes when they expand.
  2. Seal the bags, making sure to remove all air from the inside.
  3. Put the baggies inside each of your shoes.
  4. Put your shoes in a larger resealable freezer bag (or each in their own bag if they don’t fit in one). This will help protect them from moisture. Seal the larger bag and place it in your freezer.
  5. After about four hours, the water inside each shoe should be frozen into solid ice. It should have also expanded, which puts pressure on the inside to break them in—like a shoe stretcher.
  6. Remove your shoes from the freezer, and take the baggies out. Once your shoes have thawed out a bit, try them on.

Since the ice expanded into the contours of the shoe cavities, they should take on the right shape and feel comfortably broken in.


3. How to Break In Shoes with Thick Socks

Wearing thick socks or multiple pairs of shoes can also help break in new shoes quickly. If you’d typically wear thin stockings, tights, nylons, or no socks with this pair, thicker socks can give you a head start in molding them to your feet. You can even try this with sandals and other traditionally sockless styles. Wearing them around for a few hours at home can go a long way.

4. How to Break In Heels Using the Potato Method

If you’ve got a fresh pair of high heels you’re pretty sure will hurt your feet until they’re properly broken in, try the potato method.⁴ It might sound odd, but this technique can actually be really effective in how to make shoes not hurt heels.

Here’s how to break in heels with a potato:

  1. You’ll need one large potato. It should be slightly bigger than the cavity of the shoe but not too big, as you don’t want it to warp the toe box.
  2. Peel it and dry it off with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Put the potato inside your shoe and leave it for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Remove the potato and place it in the other shoe, leaving it for the same amount of time.
  5. When you try on your heels, they should be stretched ever so slightly and much more comfortable than they were initially.

Since potatoes vary in shape and size, you’ll want to use the same one for each shoe. For this reason, the potato break-in method takes a couple of days.

The Basics of Breaking In Shoes

The above techniques can be really helpful when you don’t have a lot of time and are trying to figure out how to make shoes more comfortable quickly. However, the best practices for breaking in shoes involve starting at home and going slow.

Start at Home

As we mentioned, wearing thick socks the first few times can be really beneficial. And even if the particular style doesn’t call for socks, you can always start at home. You don’t have to wear socks to break in shoes, either. You can just wear them around your humble abode for a couple of hours a day until they’re comfortable enough to be worn out and about.

Go Slow

We also recommend going slow. For best results, wear a new pair for short periods the first couple of weeks, but wear them often. You might put them on for an hour the first day, then bump it up to two hours the next, and so on. Additionally, if you’re wearing them to work, you can bring another pair to change into halfway through your shift if needed.


The Most Comfortable Shoes for Men and Women

The podiatrist-designed footwear from Vionic features built-in orthotics for unbeatable comfort. Crave-worthy arch support, plush cushioning, incredible contouring, and heel stability are embedded into the soles of each pair. While we still suggest taking your time breaking them in, you’ll feel the difference instantly.

And that’s not all. Unlike many orthotic shoe brands, Vionic is just as committed to fashion as we are to foot health. We believe comfort, support, and style should all be prioritized, which you can see for yourself when you browse our on-trend designs.

Shop our orthotic shoe collections for men and women today!


1. Christine Luff. “How Long Does It Take to Break In Running Shoes?”. Verywell Fit. Updated on Jul 02, 2020,
2. Lauren Eggertsen. “to Break In Your Shoes”. Who What Wear. Dec 15, 2017,
3. Emily McClure. ”
7 Pain-Free Ways To Break In New Shoes”. Bustle. Oct. 29, 2015,
4. Carroll Kelly. “How to Break in a New Pair of Shoes”. Wiki How. April 8, 2021,

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