There is nothing worse than wearing a pair of uncomfortable shoes that hurt your feet and make you want to throw them into the back of your cupboards so they are never seen again. It is even worse when they are new shoes that you thought looked great but are making your feet suffer as soon as you bring them home. Learning how to soften shoes that hurt may seem daunting but with our handy tips, we can help you prevent rubbing and blisters.
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Why Do New Shoes Hurt?
The fact is that many new shoes can hurt your feet and need to be broken in. When you are buying shoes you really need to spend time in the shoe store trying on a number of different pairs and really assessing the fit. If you shop in the morning before your feet swell slightly it can be easy to buy shoes that don’t actually fit properly and are too tight.
Plus the material of many new shoes is stiff and inflexible when they are new off the shelf. The shoes are also not moulded to the shape of your feet. This means they may have tight areas, sharp edges and general stiffness that can feel uncomfortable.
If you wear your shoes regularly the shoes will begin to stretch and loosen as well as adapt to your foot shape. The problem is that this wearing in process can be uncomfortable and in many cases create painful blisters.
What’s The Fastest Way to Soften Shoes?
If you want to know how to soften shoes that hurt your feet the quickest way is often to take them to your local cobbler. A cobbler or shoe repair shops will have all the professional equipment that can stretch and soften your shoes for maximum comfort. Depending on your particular problem your shoes can often be repaired on the spot or picked up a day or so later.
The only problem with using shoe repair shops is first of all the cost which can be pricy in comparison to some of our free methods and the fact that their repairs may not be precise enough for your feet. Shoes comfortably fit when they adapt to your particular foot whereas a cobbler does not have an exact mould of your feet to work around. This means that may still have problems even after you have paid their fee.
Our methods can be used by you to suit your particular needs and may give you just as good a result or even better than the professionals.
Use Shoe Stretching Spray
If you have new shoes that hurt or feel tight then a simple and easy thing to do is use shoe stretch sprays to help increase the size of your footwear and lessen pressure points.
Most sprays are relatively simple to use. You just spray the contents evenly into the inside of the shoes. Then you can either start to wear the shoes to create the stretch effect or you can fill the shoes with a tea towel, newspaper or other products that can fill the space. Shoe stretch spray can also be used in conjunction with a shoe stretcher device.
The product is useful for helping to soften the leather and also to stretch the parts that may be stiff. It is worth noting however that you need to use the right shoe stretch spray for the material of your shoes.
Breaking in New Shoes With Thick Socks
If your shoes hurt and feel too tight then a pair of thick socks can also do the trick. All you need to do is wear socks with your new leather shoes around the house for a few days.
The thick socks help to example the shoe material to a slightly larger size over time. This means that when you wear the new shoes with normal tights or socks they should feel roomier and less stiff than they were when they were brand new.
The only problem with this method is that it can take a little time especially if the shoes are uncomfortable. Nobody is going to walk around their home in painful shoes for too long so you may have to take your time to get them to the right size for your feet.
Stretch Shoes With a Hairdryer
If you have a pair of leather shoes that are stiff then the humble hairdryer can make a big difference relatively quickly. The great thing is that most people have one lying around their home so this is usually a zero-cost way of preventing blisters and sore feet.
Learning how to soften shoes that hurt with the hairdryer method can work well with or without using thick socks but if you use both together it can be a great way of speeding up the process for really stiff shoes.
Simply use the hairdryer to blast heat inside and outside the shoes. Then place your feet inside the shoes and start to wear them until they cool down. You can give them a further blast when your feet are in them just make sure they are not too hot to wear. As you walk around and wear the leather shoes they should stretch relatively quickly to your foot shape.
Shoe Stretcher Wooden Inserts
If you want to know how to soften shoes that hurt then think about investing in a shoe stretcher. These are great products where shoes are placed either in wooden inserts or a plastic contraption to make them roomier and stop them pinching.
New leather shoes can be particularly stiff because of the very nature of the material but by stretching shoes with a shoe tree with wooden inserts you can make them considerably more comfortable.
Shoe stretchers tend to come in two main designs. The best is usually a 4-way shoe stretcher as that gives you more options. A 4-way stretcher can help to widen your shoe, increase the length, expand the bunion area and even raise the shoe instep.
All you need to do is turn the knobs to tighten the stretcher and then leave your shoes for 24 hours to see how they now fit. If you still have a problem repeat until they are the perfect fit.
How to Break in The Heel of a Shoe With Castor Oil
Certain oils are also a way to soften leather shoes that hurt. Just be aware that oils are certainly not suitable for suede shoes or other footwear than can be marked.
Castor oil in particular is a great product that can be rubbed into shoes to help soften them. In particular, putting castor oil on a cloth or cotton pad and rubbing it into the shoe heels can really help with blister prevention.
For extra protection especially when you have brand new shoes wear a pair of heel protectors as well.
Using Household Soap To Stop Shoes Hurting
If you want to make a shoe softer with household products then you should see if you have a bar of soap that you can use to put on the heels of your footwear.
Plain soap is incredibly cheap and can be a great product for helping to soften those heels on leather shoes that can be really painful if not broken in. Just rub the soap on the heel area of your shoes and try and manipulate it into the leather to soften the area.
Soap also works in a similar way to anti-friction sticks. When it is on the heel area it enables your shoes to glide over your feet rather than digging into them which can prevent blisters.
Use Rubbing Alcohol To Make Shoes More Comfortable
Rubbing alcohol is another method that can be used on a new pair of shoes or boots to help break them in. The only issue with this method is that the alcohol may dry the natural materials and ruin the look of your shoes so use this particular method with caution.
Just fill a small spray bottle with 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% water and spray on the area that you need to soften. Once again manipulate the leather to help the process and then walk around in the shoes to help break them in. This can help to prevent blisters and pain from stiff shoes.
Wear in Shoes With a Soft Wood Mallet
Our next suggestion isn’t a standard treatment to make shoes softer but one that can work if you have no other products that are around to help. It involves using a soft wooden mallet to hit the heel of the shoes in order to soften them.
If you want leather softer then hitting them with an instrument can do the trick. It doesn’t make sense to use something such as a hammer which could damage shoes too much but a soft wooden mallet may do the job without ruining the footwear.
Remember this method definitely involves some element of risk to your shoes so it doesn’t make sense to use it on expensive footwear.
Kiwi Shoe Conditioning Oil Can Help Soften Leather
Kiwi is a trusted brand that is associated with footwear and their shoe conditioning oil is a great way of adding some moisture to harder leather.
Think of it as a product that can help nourish the leather. It also can act to help waterproof your shoes. Just put a small amount onto a clean cloth and rub it into the stiff spots on your pair of shoes and leave it to dry. Just take care to do a patch test somewhere first as the manufacturers point out it can alter the shade of your shoes.
How to Soften New Shoes With Leather Cream
Good leather cream is also another great way to make your shoes more supple. There are plenty of good leather creams on the market to help with comfortable shoes but one of our favorites is Saphir Medaille d’Or Pommadier Natural Cream Leather Shoe Polish.
This works so well because it contains products such as beeswax and shea butter which not only nourish your shoes but also help to bring them to a great shine.
This particular product comes in a variety of different colors so that you can get an almost exact match to your particular shoes. Just rub it into the shoe and pay particular attention to places such as the heels to help it work its magic. The next time you are wearing your shoes you should find that the extra suppleness helps cushions your feet from painful blisters.
Soften Stiff Leather Shoes With Dubbin
If you haven’t heard of Dubbin before then you are not alone. It is not a particularly well-known product but one which is great for softening and conditioning your shoes.
Dubbin is made from oil, tallow and natural wax and is one of the best methods to help soften leather that feels too stiff.
Simply apply the Dubbin with a cloth or brush and allow it to sit on your shoes for a few hours to do its work. Then buff off any excess product and you should find them noticeably softer.
How to Soften Shoes That Hurt – Use Hand Cream or Face Moisturiser
If you want to know how to soften shoes that hurt it is worth looking at your beauty cabinet to see if you have anything in it that you can use to help.
Hand cream and face moisturizer are both products that can work their magic on uncomfortable shoes as well as your face. What works for your skin can often be equally as useful for softening stiff leather shoes. Just rub the products into the shoes that have the problem and allow the cream to be absorbed. Then buff off any excess product and see if wearing your shoes feels a little easier.
Using Mink Oil to Increase Shoes Suppleness
Mink oil is another product that can help prevent shoes from hurting your feet. This is not however a product that some people want to use as it is a by-product of Mink Pelts. PETA the organisation that promotes looking after animals ethically associates Mink Oil with the fur industry which it is trying to stop.
We mention it only because it is another alternative to helping a new pair of shoes feel softer but as there are many other methods available out there for you to use it really isn’t necessary to use a product that is associated with animal cruelty.
Use Angelus Shoe Stretch Spray
Whilst many of the products that we have talked about are specific to leather shoes we thought it was worth mentioning a product that can help with different types of shoe material.
Angelus Shoe Stretch Spray is a product that can help you wear shoes made from leather and suede but also canvas shoes and ones made from linen or vinyl.
Simply spray the product inside the shoes or on the outside and wear your shoes to expand the material. You should find this method works to stretch the material of the shoes and makes them feel a bit larger and hopefully more comfortable.
How to Break In Shoes Without Wearing Them By Using An Ice Bag
Finally, if you want to know how to soften shoes that hurt then you need a freezer, some sandwich bags and some water.
Fill the two bags with some water and seal the bags. Don’t fill the bags to the very top. Instead, fill them somewhere between a quarter and half full and make sure you remove as much air as you can before closing them. If you are worried about the bags bursting place them inside another sandwich bag.
Now place the bags inside the shoes or shoe that is causing the problem. Make sure you place the bag in the correct area such as near the toes or wherever you are feeling yous shoe needs to fit better.
Now freeze overnight and when you do this the water will expand into ice and expand that area of the shoe. Take the shoes out of the freezer the next day and remove the bags and you should have much more comfortable footwear. Usually, this method can expand your shoes by roughly half a size.
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