Breaking in Leather Shoes…the cheats way

I don’t have the highest pain threshold..well that’s not exactly true. I gave birth to twins naturally without drugs. Maybe it’s a combination of being impatient and not having a tolerance for what I think is “useless” pain. You won’t find me in heels more than 2-3 times a year and even that will be a kitten heel when I will be sitting down 99% of the time.

Two years ago, after having massive issues with my feet hurting I decided enough was enough and I needed to actually spend more than $15 on a pair of shoes. So I started buying good quality leather shoes. I have about 20 pairs of beautiful leather flats sitting in my wardrobe now, and yet I always wear my black leather ballet flats. Why? Because they are already broken in and comfy. I hate the breaking in process.

So I found myself online trying to find out ways to break in my shoes quickly and easily. I found a few options…

  1. Stick a peeled potato into it and leave over night…ewwwww
  2. Wet newspaper scrunched up in it and again leave until it dried
  3. Submerge the shoe in water and then wear them until they dried (apparently they would dry moulded to your feet perfectly)
  4. Pop on thick socks, heat shoes with a hair dryer and wear until cooled

The first two really put me off. I just didn’t want anything gross near my pretty shoe collection. The 3rd sounded promising, but then I read a bit more about how water isn’t the best for leather and passed. That left me with number 4. I had the tab open for about 6 weeks before I finally decided to give it a go. As I am slimming up I am enjoying dressing up again and all those shoes were just begging to be worn.

Now a word of warning here – I have no idea what effect this would have on shoes that aren’t leather. I also read a number of warnings about heat and the soles coming off. Most shoes these days have the soles glued on…heat can melt the glue leaving the soles to come away. This hasn’t happened to me, but I take absolutely no responsibility if it happens to you…just so we are clear this is very much a try at your own risk.

I must have had the tab open with the instructions for a month or two until last night I decided to bite the bullet and try and break in my new Kilton Flats from Wittner. I actually don’t own any thick socks so I took out two pairs instead wearing one of the top. As per the instructions I folded the socks down so they didn’t cover my heel as apparently this can stretch the shoe length wise…and they fitted me fine in length (if your shoes are a tiny bit to short you might be able to stretch them half a size if you wear socks over your heels as well). Then I plugged in my trusty hair dryer and went to work INSIDE the shoe. I concentrated on the parts that were really stiff and the front of the shoe which was a bit tight. Once they were heated (about 30 seconds) I popped them straight on my feet. Then I aimed the hairdryer on top at any parts that seemed a bit tight. Then I walked around until they cooled. They were still a touch tight so I repeated this and then took my socks off and couldn’t believe how comfy they were. There was no rubbing, the leather had softened and they were almost as comfy as my well worn black flats.

To make sure it wasn’t a fluke I took out my beautiful Neverland flats (in nude patent leather) also from Wittner that I loved, but I really needed a size up on those. I repeated the above process 3 times and sure enough, they now fit. I would say the process not only softened the leather but stretched the shoes up to 1/2 a size bigger.

So if you are like me and HATE the breaking in process of leather shoes, or maybe you grabbed a pair on sale that are just a smidge too small…this may help.

project:girl

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2 thoughts on “Breaking in Leather Shoes…the cheats way

  1. here’s one more for the list –
    scrunch up damp newspaper and put inside shoes. then put them in the freezer. the newspaper turns to ice, expands, and stretches your shoes.
    I’ve never noticed any negative effects on leather caused by water. my birkis have been through sleet, hail and floods and they’re just fine, 8 years later. I used to wear a pair of blundstone-style leather boots and often trudged through creeks or snow in them – they died when the soles wore out, the leather was still great. think of motorcycle seats and motorcycling outfits – specifically designed to be out in the weather all the time. I think it’s specifically suede that doesn’t like water. Just one decent shower can ruin a pair of fine suede shoes.

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