Comfort Guide: Breaking In New Trainers

So you’ve bought yourself a fabulous new pair of trainers, great! In order to get optimum comfort, wear, and durability out of them, a little ‘breaking in’ period is recommended to allow the new shoes to adapt to the form of your foot. There’s no worse feeling than setting out on a long day in new shoes and ending up with painful blisters, so we recommend breaking in new trainers and shoes before you wear them. So, what is the best way to break in new trainers?

How to Break In New Trainers

First things first, make sure you have a pair of trainers in the right size. Never try to squeeze your feet into a pair of shoes that aren’t your size just because they are the last pair in the shop, as tempting as it can be when you really want them. For a comfortable fit, always select shoes in a size that fits your foot, you can check out our helpful size conversion chart for men and women for help with international shoe sizes. 

When it comes to breaking in new trainers, slow and steady is definitely the route to take. Before embarking on a long, busy day in a brand new pair of shoes, we recommend wearing the new shoes for short periods of time to help soften the trainers and ‘break them in’. Start by wearing them around the house (clean soles only!), as you can slip them off easily if any pain starts to arise. Be careful to avoid blisters at this stage as they can be painful, and will slow down the breaking-in process.

floral zip trainers

How to Avoid Blisters with New Trainers

Some parts of the foot are more susceptible to blisters, such as the back of the foot and the side of the toes, this is due to friction and pressure in these places, and many shoes have thicker materials in these areas. Worry not, however, as there are ways to stop pesky blisters in their tracks. Try and keep your feet well moisturised with a foot cream or petroleum jelly, as hydrated skin is less likely to rub against the shoes. You can also put precautionary plasters in places where you might expect to rub, to give extra protection.

When you start to wear your new shoes, do so with a thicker pair of socks. Although these might not be the perfect finishing touch to your outfit, if you are in the privacy of your own home then don the cosy socks! The thicker textile will help create a layer between your foot and the shoes, giving protection against rubbing, and in addition, the extra thickness will help to very gently soften the shoe itself.

Switch Between New and Old Shoes

We all know that head-over-heels-in-love feeling that you can get with a new purchase, and although it can be tempting to wear your newest shoes on repeat, we don’t recommend it. Once you've broken your shoes in, alternate with other pairs of comfortable shoes in your collection so that they have time to dry out completely between wears, which is vital to avoid the materials warping and losing their shape.

Do You Have to Break In Trainers?

A succinct ‘breaking in’ period is recommended for new shoes, in order to avoid the dreaded feeling of being in the middle of a busy day with sore, rubbing feet. Some trainers, made from soft textiles, will take very little breaking in, with others made from harder or stiffer materials taking much more effort, so it is entirely personal to you and your trainers.

mens trainers

Do Trainers Stretch?

Good quality trainers should mould to the shape of your foot, as opposed to stretch. It is vital that the trainers hold their shape for maximum comfort and longevity, however, some areas of the trainers will, over time, mould to the shape of the foot creating a bespoke fit.

How Long Do Trainers Take to Break In?

There is no strict time frame for the process of breaking in new trainers, and there are many factors that can affect how quickly your new trainers soften. The construction of the shoe, and the selection and quality of materials used, affect the rate at which the shoes will soften. Shoes crafted from softer textiles will take much less time to break in than shoes crafted from stiff leather, for example, which could take up to a few weeks.

How Should I Shop for Perfect Fitting Trainers?

When on the hunt for that perfect-fitting pair of trainers, it can feel as if you're searching for Cinderella’s glass slipper, so we’re here to give you some suggestions on how to find the trainer that really has the perfect fit.

  1. Buy quality shoes. This one speaks for itself, but if you wear trainers of poor-quality construction and materials, they most likely will not support your feet correctly. Look for quality materials and reliable construction methods when shopping for trainers, it is important to look after your feet so purchase quality shoes where you can.
  2. Make sure you try on both feet of the trainers. A huge sixty percent of us have a difference in size in our feet, so shoe sizes are not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. What could fit your left foot, may feel too tight on your right foot, so it’s essential to try on the trainers as a pair to check that you are happy with the fit of the full pair.
  3. Wear the same type of socks. If you plan on wearing your trainers with thin ankle socks, then try them on with those to ensure an accurate fit. If you try them on with thick, woolen socks, you may find that they fit too largely when trying to wear them with thin socks.
  4. Don’t be afraid to re-lace the shoes. Often, shoe stores change the lacing of the shoes for display purposes, with some styles of lacing not being able to adjust as easily and as tightly as classic lattice lacing. Don’t be afraid to take the laces out and re-lace them in a style that feels most comfortable to you.
  5. Check the fit. The fit is the most important element to consider when selecting shoes, as it will determine the level of comfort you experience. When wearing the shoes, you should be able to wiggle your toes within the shoes, and ideally keep around a finger space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoebox. Take the trainers for a few steps to check they feel comfortable when walking too.
  6. If using for exercise, change your trainers regularly to ensure you have full support. Most studies suggest that trainers should be changed around every 300-500 miles, or after more than 300 hours of exercise, as the cushioning materials and support in a trainer are usually worn down by then and don’t perform as they once did.

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