Blisters 3 min read

How to break in winter boots

How to break in winter boots How to break in winter boots How to break in winter boots

Boots can be stylish, versatile and, unfortunately, painful. If you’ve bought some new winter boots and are struggling with blisters, pain and general discomfort but you don’t want to give up, you’re in luck! We have some handy tips for how to break in winter boots so you can wear them with comfort and ease.

Wear them around the house

You know that feeling when you’re in town and walking down the street and you feel that sharp sting on your ankle? You don’t want to develop blisters when you’re out and about, especially if you’re far from home and have no way of getting back! A simple and effective method of breaking in your winter shoes is to wear them around the house, perhaps with two or three pairs of socks, so that your feet get used to the size and shape of them. Clearly the bonus of doing this at home is that you can take them off when you need! Tackle the stairs a few times, wear them while you’re cooking, maybe even while you’re cleaning, whatever it takes to prepare yourself for the world outside.

Little and often

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New shoes can take up to 80 to 100 hours to break in – but you don’t have to do it all at once! Rather than enduring hours in painful shoes, try wearing them for as little as ten minutes at a time and build up from there. This will help gently break them in without causing you pain. You could take quick walks to the shops, or around the block, as long as you’re not too far away from home. You could also wear a spare pair of comfy shoes, take your new shoes to work and wear them at work knowing that you have a back up. This is a good shout whenever you’re going out in your new shoes – take a backup just in case!

Get measured

Shoes that are too big or too small are more likely to cause you grief – and it might not get better over time, as they’re simply not a good fit. Consider measuring your feet at a shoe shop or buying a tape measure and doing it yourself. While ill-fitting footwear won’t always cause issues, it can lead to blisters, bunions, calluses, and other painful maladies, including ingrown toenails. Poorly fitting shoes can also cause you to walk differently, leading to extra pressure on your knees and ankles – this can result in issues with your joints later in life.

The hair dryer method

Did you know that applying heat to some shoes can help soften them? This simple method involves wearing your shoes with socks and then using a hairdryer (on its highest setting) to blast uncomfortable areas with heat for a couple of minutes. All the while, you should be wiggling your toes.  You need to be mindful not to overheat your shoes, especially if they’re leather. If you feel your feet getting too hot, take a break. However, you shouldn’t remove your shoes until they’ve cooled. It can also be very helpful to walk around in warm shoes to help mold them to your feet. This method should help your shoes feel comfier, but you may need to repeat the process a few times. Clearly, this won’t work with all types of shoes. You need to be mindful of the materials;  plastic and PVC, for example, should definitely not be treated this way.


Admittedly, this method sounds a bit odd, but some people swear by it. To start, you’ll need two sandwich bags, half fill them with water, remove any air and seal them shut. Place one bag in each shoe, then both shoes in a bigger bag (this is to protect them from frosting) before putting them in the freezer for three to four hours. What exactly is the aim? When the water inside the shoe freezes, the bag expands, which puts pressure on the shoe and helps break it in. Remember to make sure the bags inside the shoes are sealed shut and don’t do this with any shoes that may be damaged by water as there is a chance they might get wet!


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Yes. Potatoes. As weird as it sounds, putting potatoes in your shoes can help them stretch. You will need to peel a potato, get some tissue or kitchen towel and stuff it in your shoe, put the potato in the shoe and leave it overnight. When you remove the potato, your shoes should be stretchier and comfier than they were before! Don’t want your shoes to smell of potatoes? Spray some perfume, deodorant or foot deodorant into the shoes.


You can buy shoe stretchers which can make your footwear a little less tight. If you don’t want to buy a stretcher, you can do it manually by holding the shoe at the heel and the tip and then pointing and flexing it using your hands. You can also put the shoes on and point and flex your feet, perhaps while sitting down watching television.

Padded socks

You can buy special anti-blister socks (often used by runners) which come with padding at the toe and heel areas, as well as elastic cuffs and a supported arch to make sure the socks stay on your feet and there’s padding in between you and the areas of the shoe most prone to blisters.

Blister plasters

Last but not least, wearing blister plasters can prevent blisters from developing in the first place and can protect already blistered areas to stop further damage and encourage quick healing. Compeed blister plasters come in a variety of sizes for use on different areas of the foot. Featuring hydrocolloid technology, they provide quick pain relief by cushioning the affected area while offering optimal conditions for healing to take place. They even feature a tapered edge which shapes to the skin’s surface for less friction. Compeed also offers an Anti Blister Stick which can be applied directly to the skin to reduce rubbing and to help prevent blisters from forming.