How To Break In Shoes Without Getting A Blister?

Getting a new pair of shoes or boots can be the best thing and the worst thing rolled into one…

You find the pair you’ve been hankering after for ages, treat yourself, get the shoes home and then…

Well, you wear them for the first time and come home with your feet savaged by blisters. In the worst scenario, you’ll end up with blood all over the inners of your new sneakers spoiling that box-fresh look on day one.

Today, we’ll show you how to break in shoes without getting a blister so you won’t ever need to undergo this painful experience again.

Check Also: How To Break In Heels?

Get The Right Shoes In The First Place

You can make things easier on yourself by taking the time and trouble to get properly fitting shoes that will be highly unlikely to give you blisters in the first place. Too many people overlook this rudimentary fact and set themselves up for a fall.

Having your feet measured at a shoe store is something you’d be well advised to make the time for. Although sizes can vary slightly, you’ll at least know accurately what size you are to simplify your life considerably. You’ll also be aware if you have one foot slightly larger than the other so you can take suitable precautions.

You should ensure there’s a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe when you try them on. This might not necessarily be your big toe so make sure you have adequate wiggle-room.

Always walk around the store to see how the shoes feel. Avoid any that give you the slightest indication they’ll end up blistering your feet. It’s simply not worth sacrificing comfort for the sake of style.

Remember, too, that your feet can swell by as much as 10% over the course of the day. When you’re trying on shoes, aim for the afternoon when they are at their biggest.

Taking precautions like these before you buy is a surefire way to stave off blisters before they develop.

What Shoes To Avoid If You Are Prone To Blisters

If your shoes are too tight, too loose or in any way squeeze and cramp your feet, you’re much more prone to get blisters.

Unless you have no other option, avoid these shoes if you are the type who gets easily blistered feet…

  • Flip-Flops: As your toes naturally clench to stop the flip-flops falling off, they’ll be unduly pressured which can in turn lead to blisters. Flip-flops might seem like the ideal anti-blister footwear but the opposite is true
  • Narrow High Heels: While heels can be painful at the best of times, if you opt for a pair with very narrow toes, you’re inviting blisters in. With too much pressure exerted on the ball of your foot and an excess of friction generated across the heel, this type of high heel should be given a swerve

Take It Slowly

Once you have appropriate new footwear in place, remember to break the shoes in slowly rather than dashing outside only to pull up with severe blistering.

Wearing your shoes at home for short spells can help you to slowly accustom your feet to the shoes rather than coming unstuck while out hiking. And if it’s hiking boots or any other kind of athletic footwear, the breaking in stage is doubly valuable if you want to lessen the chance of sustaining an injury alongside a simple case of blistering.

Wearing in the shoes is better done in the morning when your feet haven’t expanded quite so much so you can ease in gently.

Wear Thick Socks

Go for some cushioned socks. It’s well worth spending a few dollars if the net result is feet with no blisters. It’s a smart move to go for some hiking socks since these are padded to help you cope with hours on the trail.

If the shoes you have are too tight to comfortably allow for thicker socks when you’re out and about, give them a burst at home for extremely short periods to start stretching them out slightly.

Never Go Barefoot In Sneakers

If you have a new pair of sneakers and you don’t like the look of socks spoiling the lines, shoot for some no-show socks.

Going barefoot is a pretty guaranteed way to invite blisters your way. Beyond this, wearing sneakers with no socks is also the quickest route to making them smell so wear some cut-down no-show socks for the win-win.

Think About Insoles

We have a whole section here at Foot Wind on the best insoles so head over there for some detailed guidance on getting the most fitting insoles for the shoes you have in mind.

Neoprene insoles are among the best when it comes to preventing blisters. You can also pick up some orthopedic soles if you have any problems with your feet beyond a propensity for them to blister.

Don’t underestimate the role of insoles when it comes to heading off blisters.

Hot or Cold Treatment In Advance

In a recent article on how to stretch shoes and make them bigger, we looked in detail at how to use hot or cold treatment to give your feet a bit more leeway inside tight shoes.

Without rehashing what we covered there, you can opt for one of these tried and true methods for making your shoes a bit roomier:

  • Hot: Blast your shoes with a hairdryer for a minute or two
  • Cold: Leave a partially filled bag of water inside your shoe to solidify in the freezer

By adopting either of these strategies, you’ll ensure that your shoes are not so tight that they rub against you causing those pesky blisters that can ruin your day.

Alcohol and Water

Spray a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol inside your shoes before giving them a dry run for 20 minutes or so.

If you want to give this hack a try, we recommend conducting a spot test first so you can sure that the alcohol won’t discolor your shoes becoming a very costly mistake.

Massage: Your Feet and Your Shoes

A massage is incredibly relaxing and also highly effective.

Try using the same principle with eliminating blisters from your life.

Get a foot massage either at home or in the salon. Epsom Salts work very well. If you have the budget to stretch to it, why not think about a foot massage machine or an electric foot spa?

Beyond caring for your feet, carefully massage and scrunch up your shoes. Bend them up and down, from side to side. If you exercise a light touch, this is a fantastic way to help them accommodate your freshly massaged feet better without giving them blisters.

Reduce That Friction: Moisturize and Lubricate

Moisturizing your feet is key.

Friction is one of the leading causes for blisters occurring so take matters into your own hands rather than passively allowing this to happen.

Use plenty of lotion and pop some Vaseline on the parts of your feet that tend to blister most.

Keep Your Shoes Clean

Something which is regularly neglected is how grains of sand and other fine debris can accumulate in your shoes leading, predictably, to blisters.

If you remember, always shake or tap out your shoes when you return home to ditch any offending particles that can increase friction and cut or blister your tender feet.

Alternate Your Shoes: Mix It Up

Having lots of shoes is not something limited to someone with the wealth of Imelda Marcos.

Everyone these days should have a decent selection of shoes and mixing them up is one of the simplest way to stop blisters from forming.

By wearing different shoes each day, your feet won’t suffer from being subjected to pressure and friction in the exact same spot.

Alternate your footwear daily and thank us later.

Blister Cushions

While regular Band-Aid certainly helps out in the fight against sore feet, blister cushions are a cheap, dedicated solution that’s even more effective.

These are not remotely expensive so, if you value your feet and you want to neatly sidestep painful blisters, invest a few bucks in some blister cushions today. You can buy them easily online, in the pharmacy or at the shoe store.

How To Treat Blisters

We took a detailed look at how to get rid of blisters right here so we won’t repeat ourselves at length here.

To summarize, if you have a closed blister, you can take action with a sterilized needle. Pop the blister, apply an antibiotic ointment then cover with a simple Band-Aid so that no further pressure is exerted when the skin is gradually healing.


Hopefully, you have found some actionable tips in today’s look at how to break in shoes without getting a blister.

Slowly and surely is always the best approach with shoes so be the tortoise not the hare and don’t end up with blood running down your heels after chancing it with a stiff, new pair of shoes on a long walk!

Drop us a line any time with your questions and feedback. We’re here to help and we are highly responsive to messages.

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.