After the freedom of summer sandals, or even bare feet, fall and winter means enclosing your feet in shoes and boots. And you know there’s nothing worse than walking around in a new pair of boots that are too tight. You want your beautiful new boots to be comfortable as well as look good and that takes a bit of work. Here’s how to break in your new boots and have happy feet.
1. Wear Your Boots at the Office
If you have a job in an office, wear your boots there. Bring an extra pair of shoes just in case, but wearing them someplace where you don’t have to be on your feet all day is one of several ways to break in new boots. Slowly breaking them in like this is likely to cause less discomfort, and you have the option of switching them out with something more comfortable if they become too painful. The boots will slowly begin stretching and adapting to your feet, and when you can go all day without switching them out and still be comfortable, your boots are ready for more long-term wear.
2. Wear Them around the House
Wear your new boots while you do everyday things, like blow-drying your hair, washing the dishes, or putting on your make up. If you wear a thick pair of socks the boots will stretch out even more quickly. Wearing your boots around the house, like wearing them to the office, allows you to break them in a little at a time and leaves you the option of taking them off or changing them out for more comfortable footwear if the boots become too uncomfortable.
3. Use a Hairdryer
Many people swear by this method of breaking in their boots. The idea here is to warm the leather up so that it’s more likely to stretch. Heat up the inside of the boots with a hair dryer, then put them on over a pair of thick socks. As they cool off, they will mold around your feet. Just be careful not to keep the heat on your boots for too long, because you could damage the leather, you just need to heat them up for a few seconds.
4. Freeze Your Boots
Yes, you read that right. This method involves placing bags of water in your boots and freezing them overnight, which causes the water to expand as its freezing and helps the boots stretch. Fill the plastic bag up halfway with water, and then squeeze out all the excess air. Place these bags inside the areas that need stretching, like the toes or instep, then put the boot sin the freezer overnight. You may need more than one bag for each boot. To protect the leather, consider double bagging the bags of water, and putting the pair of boots inside a garbage bag to protect them from moisture.
5. Buy a Shoe Stretcher
These odd-looking devices fit right inside your shoe much the same way as a foot would. Once inside the boot, you can turn knobs or levers in order to stretch them both in length and width. These shoe stretchers are more effective when used with a special shoe stretcher spray used to soften the leather, however many people simply use a solution of water and rubbing alcohol, which is far cheaper and is nearly as effective.
6. Bring Your Boots to a Professional
Although this is a more expensive option, a cobbler will be able to stretch your boots to the dimension you desire in many cases. Cobblers aren’t as easy to find as they once were, so be sure you find someone you trust, since one an adjustment has been made it can’t be undone. The quality of the leather, the amount of sizing you need done and the location on the boot where sizing occurs can all affect the how well the cobbler can size the boots to your specifications.
7. Use Mole Skin
Moleskin, despite its name, is not actually made of mole’s skins. It is actually a fabric made of heavy cotton with short, soft pile on one side. Moleskin is often applied to feet in areas where there is friction and where feet are likely to get blisters because shoes are too small or not properly fitted. Place moleskin any place where feet are likely to rub up against the leather, at least until the leather stretches to your foot’s dimensions.
Here’s to happy feet in comfy boots. Have you bought your winter boots yet?