Shoes definitely are a critical part of your daily requirements, especially when going out. Whether you love shoes decked with colorful, earthy laces or without one, this fashionable necessity is worn for comfort and to keep the feet completely safe.
Every new pair of shoes feel tight around the toes and rub at the heel area, which causes discomfort and painful blisters. However, it doesn’t mean your shoe is tight. Generally, every new pair of shoes has a break-in period. It is the time that a shoe takes to get comfortable and adapt as per your feet.
It is true even if your pair perfectly fits you after being bought straight from the shop. In case you have plans to get a new pair of shoes, you would definitely want them to be flexible without biting into the feet.
So, if you want to speed up this break-in period and soften the back of your new shoes, this article is for you. Here we will tell you different tips and tricks to soften the back of new shoes. Without ado, let’s get started.
Tips to soften the back of new shoes:
Use Insoles & Socks
Insoles help in the creation of a softer fit and footing for the shoes. When you walk around with these comfortable insoles or socks, you will feel a sense of comfort. Additionally, the socks will also give you access to the elevated footing.
For your new shoes, you can also use customized insoles designed to fit your style and size. Further, if you add socks to the ensemble, the combination would make it roomier and offers you a better posture as you try to walk wearing your new shoes.
Since insoles are created from soft materials, they contort to the shape of your feet to provide your feet maximum comfort. Different variants of insoles are designed to work on varying shoe types. While some require thicker insoles such as trainers or sneakers, others require thinner ones like sandals.
Wear Thick Padded Socks
Thick and padded socks will help lessen the pricking or poking effect you feel from a brand-new shoe. These socks also help with the speeding up of the break-in period to bring in comfort. All you have to do is wear them and walk around a lot or within your home.
Thick and padded socks increase the space from different sides as they tend to be thicker than regular socks. After the break-in period, when you wear the shoe without any socks, the shoe would be well-ventilated and spacious.
This tip is ideal for marathon runners and athletes as the thick and padded socks would help save your foot from sores or blisters. Further, these socks would also help alleviate the pain that might be due to strenuous exercising sessions.
Perform Soap Rubbing
Soap isn’t just for washing yourself or other items in your house; it can also be used to soften the back of your new shoes. You can easily soften, stretch, and add more flexibility to the leather shoe with soap.
The process to do this is quite easy; all you have to do is make use of soap on your shoes’ inner back portion. It will ensure that your feet are safe from chaffing or blister issues. After you are done with the rubbing process, roam around wearing these.
You can also stuff a sock roll within the shoe to stretch it out to your desired amount. Repeat this process up until it fits you perfectly.
It is one of the easiest methods to try out when it comes to softening the back of your new shoes. All you need to do is get a big pack of petroleum jelly that needs to be used generously on your shoe’s back portion.
Do this until the jelly gets absorbed completely within the shoe’s material. When you feel that enough jelly has been absorbed into the shoes, remove any excess jelly material from the shoe while using the cloth.
Keep the shoe like this for a couple of hours & then wear it to see whether the stretching is enough. In case you feel that the widening isn’t enough, re-apply this jelly to widen the same more.
Wooden Inserts Inside the Shoes
Another unique way to stretch your shoes is by putting in wooden inserts. It is an ancient and age-old way to widen the shoes. In this process, all you need to do is place the wooden insert within the shoe. This process doesn’t just make your shoes’ heel or back-end roomier along with the toe part as well.
Given the fact that wooden inserts tend to be firm & don’t bend when pressure is applied, they will definitely help keep your shoe stretched for long hours. This way, a new shoe can be broken into faster and at a sped-up rate.
Although wooden inserts could be a tad pricier, they are worth those extra bucks and help keep your shoes in the right shape. It would also help your shoes last for a long time while assuring a customized fit. Apart from ensuring a soft texture for your shoes, they also make the process of polishing easy.
Shoe Stretch Spray
Shoe stretching spray is used particularly for leather-made shoes. You can either bought these sprays from stores or made them at the comfort of your home as a DIY option. Although the leather shoes are prone to stretching-out post excessive usage, opting for a shoe stretch spray could easily speed up this process in the right way.
Leather shoes tend to expand in length and breadth when they tend to be wet. However, wearing shoes when they are wet can come with certain disadvantages such as loss of shine and shape.
Here is where you need to make use of the shoe stretch spray as it makes the shoes’ leather material moist but not a lot. It also packs in a conditioner known to maintain the shine of the shoes. When used single-handedly, this spray can enhance the size of the shoe by ½ inch or so.
Use a 2-Way Shoe Stretching Technique
It is another way to stretch out your shoes and evade those nicks and bruises that happen from new shoes that haven’t passed through their break-in period. There is a proper process of using the 2-way shoe stretcher.
In order to prepare the two-way shoe stretching, use the spray outside and inside to ensure that the shoe material becomes flexible. Concentrate on the areas that seem particularly tight to you.
Place your two-way stretcher inside the shoe. Ensure that the toe’s block area is completely enclosed and it touches the end portion of the toe area till the tip. You can tune the shoe stretcher’s lengthening wheel to ensure that the snug is completely fit.
Leave this stretcher within the shoe for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours & then check the fit. In case you require additional stretching, make sure you put the shoe stretcher back & wait again for a couple of hours.
It might take as little as 8 hours or as long as 2-3 days to provide you with the right & snug fit both length-wise as well as width-wise. Once you have achieved the right stretch, turn your handle clockwise & then pull it out.
Now, this particular method might seem a tad unusual but is very effective when it comes to softening or stretching the back of your shoes. As we all know, heating any object causes the size to increase due to expansion. The very same mechanism is applicable for your shoes as well.
The hairdryer method is used mostly for shoes that are made from leather. The steps for doing this are particularly simple. First, you need to slip on a pair of socks. Next, put on the shoes & stretch out the shoes as required.
After this, use a hairdryer to warm up your shoes from different sides. Now, wait for your leather shoes to completely cool down before removing the shoes.
Now, wear shoes and try to walk around with the same. If it feels comfortable and soft enough, you did it right. If the outcome doesn’t feel comfortable enough, repeat this process until the desired outcome has been achieved.
In order to enhance the outcome of the hairdryer, you must spray some water before you blast it with a hairdryer. You can also make use of thick socks to make things roomier.
In this tip, you make use of the freezing action of water. Frozen water is known to expand, and this particular technique helps increase the overall size of the shoe to ensure a comfortable fit. In order to do this task with ease, all you need to is pack up two bags filled with water.
Now, place each of these bags within the shoe pair and chuck the same into the freezer. After every few hours, check-up and make sure the water freezes up. After the water in the bags freezes up, it will definitely expand and give you the required expansion for optimum comfort.
After a few hours, wear these shoes and check whether the expansion is ideal as per your requirement. In case the expansion isn’t enough, make sure you repeat the process. However, you need to avoid the use of this method in case the bags tend to drip.
Glycerin & Castor Oil
The use of oil for stretching has been eminent for quite some time. Oils don’t just stretch your shoes but also maintain the shoe quality for years to come. The popularly used oils for softening the shoes are castor oil and glycerin.
It is true as they pack in a high quantity of fat, which improves the shoe flexibility. The process of stretching out the shoe with the use of oil is easy. All you need to do is take in some oil & rub the same on your shoes.
As the oil soaks into your leather shoe, the material gets softer, and you might not face issues such as nicks or bruises when wearing the same for long hours. The shoe also becomes comfortable as well as airy with the use of these oils.
Apart from using oil to soften your shoes, these oils can also add a hint of luster to your pair while making them look new even after being used for the long-term.
The rubbing alcohol works on your shoe works similarly to the shoe spray used for stretching. You can make use of regular rubbing alcohol to soften the material. Firstly, put on the socks, wear your shoes, stretch the toes, & spray this rubbing alcohol all over the shoe.
Once the alcohol soaks into the shoes, the pair will increase in size and fit the feet properly. Roam around wearing this shoe till the alcohol evaporates completely. It will also increase the size of the shoe from the inside.
This particular method is ideal for shoes created from canvas & might not be the right fit for formal styles. Also, keep in mind several precautions. The alcohol being used must be a fast-drying kind. Else it would destroy the shoe’s quality while marking the surface.
The bottom line
These methods are among the popular ones being used to soften or stretch-out the shoes. For optimum results, make sure you use these above-explained tips in conjunction with each other. Keep in mind that settling into a new pair of shoes might never be easy. So, try your best to fasten the break-in period to ensure you are comfortable day-in and day-out.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.