How To Break In Heels?

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If you’re female, chances are you have at least one pair of killer heels.

And what’s the main problem you face?

How to break in high heels fast!

Luckily, we’re here to help. In today’s brief article, we’ll walk you through a selection of methods you can use to combat breaking in your shoes so you can look a million dollars without blisters and painful toes.

From how to break heels in fast through to making sure your high heels are comfortable long before slipping them on your feet, you’ll have no worries after today about rolling out your Louboutins pain-free.

First thing’s first, how long does it take to break in heels in the first place?

How Long Does It Take To Break In Heels?

The simple answer to this query is that it depends…

It depends on the material and the quality of the shoe alongside whether or not you need to wear them in a hurry and want to speed things up.

If you have cheap, low caliber heels, chances are you’ll never break them

Wearing a decent pair of leather heels from a day to a week should be more than enough but this, again, depends on how much you wear them in the course of that time…

A rough benchmark for how long it takes to break in heels is 10 hours of continuous wear. Since there are so many variables, this could extend to as much as 20 hours which leads many women to seek out ways to speed up this process.

Assuming that you’d prefer to take more direct action than spending days hobbling around the house in preparation for your outing, we’ll look now at how to break high heels in an easy way…

The core part of this article will serve you up with some general tips that sometimes take a little time but repay the efforts. After that, we’ll look at how to break your heels in quickly, how

How To Break In High Heels?

If you have time on your side and you are prepared to try a gently-gently approach first, consider some of these strategies if you need to know how to break in high heels…

  • Prepare Your Legs: Fail to plan, plan to fail. Preparation is everything and it’s no different when you plan to wear heels. Before you pull out your heels, try walking around at home on the balls of your feet. This helps to give your calves and ankles some much-needed strength. As outlined above, it also helps to wear your heels around the house. If they start to give you any pain, you can slip them off immediately rather than worrying about being caught short with miles to walk.
  • Roughen The Soles: Some old-fashioned sandpaper can work wonders by scarifying the soles of your heels to give them some added traction. Use some fairly coarse sandpaper but obviously be careful not to rub too much of the sole away, especially if they’re particularly delicate. You might not fancy scouring away the signature red on a pair of Louboutins so consider some non-slip pads for a quick fix without eliminating part of what you paid for!
  • Wear Your High Heels With Socks: Wearing your high heels around the house with a pair of socks will stretch out the toe section and the sides without anyone needing to catch you in the act of looking rather ridiculous! An extra touch is to very slightly dampen your socks before popping your heels on. The beauty of this approach is that your heels will slowly and gently accustom themselves to the size of your feet while the socks should prevent any blisters from occurring. As well as walking about, it’s a smart move to sit down too so the arch gets stretched into the bargain.
  • Think About Heel Inserts: You can easily buy over-the-counter heel inserts which will cushion the heel area nicely and make your shoes more comfy on an ongoing basis. Gel pads shaped like an oval sit nicely inside, eliminate the friction that can cause blisters and soothe the pain that can shoot up through the balls of your feet. These cheap heel inserts are well worth the modest investment if you want to break in your high heels while wearing them at the same time.
  • Moleskin Bandages: If you have worn your heels with socks and want to start the process of wearing them in bare feet, moleskin could be your secret ally. This way, your feet can get used to wearing heels without the protection of socks while you can continue to avoid painful blisters ruining your day. Available in large sheets, think of moleskin as a giant Band-Aid. One side is ultra-sticky and you should affix the moleskin to your feet rather than your shoes to sidestep leaving a nasty residue on your precious shoes. Cut and pop it on your feet where they hurt and continue the process of stretching out and breaking in your heels.
  • Twist Your High Heels: A bit of restrained force is another way to physically take action against heels that hurt. Gently apply some pressure to your shoes by bending and twisting them. Do this with a very light hand and you won’t damage your shoes but you will give them a bit more pliability and make them more flexible and comfier to wear


The above tactics are slow-burning but how about if you bought some flashy new heels for a looming special event but you try them on and they are agonizing to wear?

You’ll need to take prompt action to avoid another trip to the shoe store so here are 4 pointers if you need to know how to break in high heels fast…

How To Break In High Heels Fast?

When time is of the essence and you need to break in your heels quickly, try one of these methods…

  • Use a Hairdryer: The old classic is a classic for a reason: it works. By using the heat from a hairdryer for perhaps 1 or 2 minutes, you can really enhance the flexibility of your leather heels. Be careful not to go over the top here. Less is more. When you’re done, follow up with some leather conditioner or mink oil for best results. As far as shotgun moves to break in your heels in a hurry go, this tops the last.
  • Use a Bag of Water: Assuming you can wait for at least a few hours, another sound bet is to half-fill a Ziploc bag with some water, place it inside your shoe then put the whole caboodle in the freezer for a while. As the water turns into ice, your shoes will be gently stretched by the expansion taking place. Rinse and repeat as required.
  • Wet The Inside of Your Shoes: A twist on this technique is to dampen the inners of your shoes. This act helps the insides of your heels to mold effectively to the contours of your feet. Simply rub them down with a moist cloth then wear them for a short while afterwards for an added boost. This plan of attack also works if you wear damp socks. Just be certain to thoroughly dry your feet afterward.
  • Visit a Shoe Store For Stretching: Your last port of call should be a shoe shop where you can take advantage of their shoe stretching machine. Most repair shops have one of these contraptions and they will use the same combination of heat and pressure you’d use at home to ensure that you can break your heels in quickly

How To Break In Heels Without Wearing Them?

Most of the above hacks involve wearing your shoes while breaking them in so how about some more passive options if you want to know how to break in heels without wearing them?

  • Invest In a Shoe Stretcher: Spending a few dollars on some dedicated shoe stretching spray along with a heel stretcher can really break in your heels in a hurry. Give the insides of your heels a quick blast with the spray, position the heel stretcher inside then set and forget. Overnight stretching can be surprisingly effective.
  • Stuff The Heels: If you want to maintain the hard work you’ve put in to breaking in your heels, you’ll need to consider keeping the heels stuffed when you’re not wearing them. Shoes that have been stretched can just as easily shrink again. Use the shoe paper that came with your heels, go for some tissue or rags or buy yourself a shoe tree if you fancy. Whichever route you take, make certain the shoes are nicely stuffed if they’re not adorning your feet.
  • Consider Silica Gel: Packets of silica gel are a wonderful way to absorb moisture and put paid to any shrinkage. If you always forget to keep these little packets and throw them in the trash, head to your local shoe store and see if they can oblige you with a few sachets.
  • Use a Peeled Potato: This might not seem an obvious tip, but a pair of bulky peeled potatoes crammed inside your heels are the ideal size and shape to stretch them out beautifully. The fact the potato is peeled helps the moisture to soften up the inners of your shoes like a dream. For superior results, leave them to do their work overnight

To round off, we’ll look very briefly at a couple of more specific types of heels that are a little more resistant to the usual ways of breaking in…

  • Patent Leather Heels
  • Peep Toe Heels

How To Break In Patent Leather Heels?

While the trademark shine of patent leather heels looks a million dollars, the thin coating of plastic overlaying these shoes means these heels are not so flexible and they’re a little tougher to break in.

The truth with these shoes is that prevention is better than cure. By this, we specifically mean you should make absolutely certain you buy shoes that fit in the first place.

Take the time to get your feet measured and try the heels on when you are in the store. Make sure you walk around rather than just sitting down then rushing to the cash register. Time spent here is money saved if you end up with shoes you can cherish not look at enraged since you know they’ll blister and twist your feet up.

The only practical ways to stretch out patent leather heels at all are to use a hair dryer or a shoe stretching kit. The other approaches we outline above should not be pressed into action with patent leather heels.

How To Break In Peep Toe Heels?

If you want to show off your expensive pedicure to the world, there’s little to rival a fine pair of peep toe heels.

Thing is, wearing them can be incredibly uncomfortable. If you don’t want to suffer for your art, follow this simple advice for a snugger fit that won’t blister…

Use some tape, whether it’s medical tape or Scotch tape, anything you have to hand. Cut enough of this tape so it will wrap around the 3rd and 4th toes on each foot…

Tape these toes snugly together as they will not be exposed through the shoes. Not only will this enhance the fit, you’ll also give the bottoms of your feet some valuable support for the double-win!


We very much hope you’ve unearthed some useful nuggets in this quick glance at how to break in high heels.

There are many ways in which you can quickly break in high heels and most of them don’t cost a penny.

Drop us a line if you have any handy hints we’ve missed out here. We always love to hear from our readers and we’re more than happy to help in any way we can.

Now get those heels on without your feet crying out in pain!

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.