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How To Break In New Heels

Posted by Mikayla on 3/30/2016
When women buy new shoes, specifically heels, there is no “just wearing them.”  Nope. You have to properly break in your heels before you wear them for any length of time or you are likely to have blisters or, worse, fall flat on your face! The last thing you want to do is wear brand new heels on stage or you may lose the competition simply because you can’t walk in a fluid manner or you trip and fall! New shoes are stiff and do not want to bend properly, which can put even the most experienced heel walker in a precarious position. Do yourself a huge favor ladies, always break in your heels before a show – or – simply before any long wearing periods. Here’s how:


The material that most heels are made from is stiff until worn in. You want to speed up this process a bit to make it easier on your feet and to avoid any issues while wearing them. Using heat to relax the material is a great way to begin, and to do before any of the other steps. You can take a normal blow-drier and simply heat up the shoe being careful not to burn or melt the shoe (depending on the material). Keep the heat on low, do not get too close to the shoe, and simply warm it up enough to follow with the next step.


Firstly, to remove the stiffness of a new pair of heels you should physically bend, squeeze and twist them. Start by holding the shoe in your hand and bending the toe to the center of the shoe, basically folding it in half. Next, hold the shoe at the heel and “twist” the shoe side to side. Finally, squeeze the area around the heel (if this shoe has one) to make it more pliable. Do these motions slowly and with pressure so that the shoe material softens up a bit.


While you would never, actually, wear SOCKS with your heels, which would be a fashion faux-pas of the highest degree – you CAN wear your heels in the privacy of your home with some socks. Adding the extra layer to your foot size will enable the shoe to stretch slightly as you wear it. You can start with a slimmer sock and work up to an athletic sock if you need more stretch. Make sure that you do not OVER stretch your shoe though, as you will not be wearing socks during your show.


Filling up the actual shoe with something can stretch it gradually and keep the form of the stretching you have already accomplished. There are various methods to this. You can fill it up with newspapers, rolled up socks, potatoes (yes, I said potatoes), or frozen bags of water. The water trick is especially effective for quick stretching. You fill up Ziploc bags with enough water so that when placed in the shoe it fills up the empty space. Then you place it in the freezer long enough to freeze. Water expands when it freezes, so this forces the bag to expand and voila! You have stretched out shoes.


There are commercially available shoe-stretchers which you can place in any type of shoe, adjust and stretch. These can be good for heels that overall fit but need to be slightly longer to not crush the toes. The apparatus fits down into the toe of the shoe, and expands to the heel, and is then adjustable to cause a stretch that can be maintained for a day or night. These devices only really work with shoes with backs, not strappy or sling-back heels.


Every woman knows that the bottom of freshly purchased heels is a slippery situation! Until we actually spend some time walking in our heels, those bottoms are smooth and may cause us to slide around on the floor. You should rough up the bottom of your heel pad to make the grip on surfaces more secure. You can do this by “mashing” and rubbing your shoe on rough concrete (like you are putting out a cigarette under your shoe) or by using some sandpaper. Gently rub the sandpaper against the bottom of the shoes until you feel a bit of texture there.


Finally, once you have your heels stretched to a manner you like, you want to avoid having to do all the work again! If you store them properly, they will maintain the form you have created. First, always keep them filled with something that fits the shape you have created (meaning, do not overstuff them); secondly, keep those little silica packets in the toe of the heel. If you throw those out – DON’T – the silica gel helps absorb moisture and moisture shrinks shoes. Our feet sweat, and so they do get moist so storing with the silica packets in them will help avoid the shrinkage; finally, keep them in a rack or in the box, do not just throw them on the floor! You want to keep the shape intact, so do not risk it by simply throwing them on the floor.