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How to Break in Leather Shoes Fast

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Wearing new leather shoes for the first time doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Simply follow these proven ways of how to break in leather shoes fast.

Leather shoes will always look and feel fantastic straight out of the box. However, if you don’t take the right steps at the beginning, you may run into a few problems – such as sore feet or blisters.

The truth is it doesn’t matter what brand you go for; leather shoes will always need to be properly broken in. At the start, they’ll often feel rigid and unforgiving. The key to achieving maximum comfort and softening up the leather is to use certain techniques which help the leather stretch and mould around your feet.

As a starting point, here are some of our favourite top tips on how to break in leather shoes quickly.

How to break in leather shoes fast

Breaking in leather shoes tip #1

Wear them for short periods

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with leather shoes is to wear them for a long stint at the beginning. Before you can experience complete comfort, the shoes need to be worn to be broken in.

Once your new leather shoes arrive, try wearing them while you sit and watch TV over 2-hour periods. This will allow the leather shoes to mould to your feet without adding the extra pressure which occurs when you stand and put weight on your feet.

It’s also worth doing this in the evening too, as your feet will naturally swell as the day goes on.

Breaking in leather shoes tip #2

Protect the hot spots

There will come a time when you need to take your new leather shoes out for a spin in the real world. To ensure they don’t cause you any immediate discomfort, focus on protecting your hot spots – aka your common pain points. These hotspots often involve your heel and toe box.

If you start to feel friction around these areas, apply blister pads. Compeed offers an extensive range for several different parts of the feet.

Breaking in leather shoes tip #3

Wear thick socks

During the initial break-in process, you should wear thicker socks. Once again, this helps minimise hot spots and blisters from forming.

The thick pair of socks will add more cushion and comfort, allowing you to wear your leather shoes for longer and fully break them in.

Scott Nichol has a brilliant range of thick, stylish luxury socks on offer. Otherwise, you can check out our other recommendations in our guide on Gentleman’s Socks.

Breaking in leather shoes tip #4

Apply a leather conditioner or oil

When you first get your leather shoes, apply some quality leather conditioner or oil. These will help soften the leather and make them more forgiving on your feet.

You should apply one of these solutions weekly until your leather shoes are fully broken in. Once they’re comfortable, repeat this process every month as a part of your regular leather care routine.

Breaking in leather shoes tip #5

Get the right fit

It may seem obvious, but sometimes people prioritise style over comfort. In some cases, you can break-in leather shoes and they’ll stretch or expand to suit your shoe size. However, this isn’t always the case.

To get the right fit and minimise discomfort, you need to understand the fit of a shoe. For example, if you have a high arch, you’ll need more room around the lacing area to avoid rubbing.

You can find out more about this in our Shoe Size Guide: Understanding the Fit of a Shoe.

What methods to avoid

While many websites say you should apply heat to manipulate the leather, we highly advise against this.

When you apply heat or water, it dries out the leather or can ruin the shoe altogether. Sure, it may give you a short-term fix to breaking in leather shoes, but it’ll significantly impact the longevity and durability in the long run.

How long does it take to break in leather shoes?

Leather shoe break-in can take anywhere from one to four weeks. It all depends on the leather, the fit, and how they were constructed.

At Percy Stride, our men’s leather Oxford shoes are Goodyear welted and specifically designed to provide complete comfort for all feet shapes, and sizes.

Our soft inner leather ensures they fit like a glove almost instantly. For advice on finding the right size, get in touch with us today.

The next steps

For more tips on leather shoes, check out some of these other guides we put together:

  • How to Fix Scuffed and Scratched Leather Shoes

  • How to Clean Leather Shoes – 5 Best Products

  • Repairing Shoes – 6 Ways to Extend Their Life

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