Everyone knows breaking in new shoes can be a pain in the butt, but it doesn’t have to be a huge problem anymore if you follow a few of these tips. With some kind advice from Steven Beccia, currently the senior director of product development at Cole Haan, you’ll be ready to break in almost any type of shoe in just a couple days.
“Men are impatient,” says Mr. Beccia. “They want to take a pair of shoes out of the box and wear it like it’s a pair of their old best friends right away. But it takes some time.”
Never wear brand-new shoes for a whole day the first time out, Mr. Beccia says. He suggests you try to make it for half a day on that first wear. “I try to get to lunchtime,” he says. “Then I swap them out for some old faithfuls.”
Mr. Beccia then puts the new shoes away for at least 24 hours. “I would never do two days consecutively. You want to give the shoes a day to dry out because your feet sweat all day long,” he says. After airing after airing out for the day he’ll then wear them out for another half day, and repeats that process until he feels comfortable wearing them for a full day. “Go at least two half days,” he strongly suggests.
He’s also coined a pretty trusty rule to live by in terms of shoes. “The more coverage you have, the greater the amount of break in time,” Mr. Beccia says. For instance, “loafers” take less time to break in than boots.
A common practice to aid the break in process is to fold the shoe up and down a few times. This helps to break in the soles and loosen up the stiffer materials of the shoe. Gently rubbing on a layer of leather conditioner or cream, to help soften the leather helps as well. This is important with new shoes, because the leather may be fairly stiff after sitting in a box since the shoes were manufactured, shoes can sit around for four or five months before purchase. Mr. Beccia likes to apply a new layer of conditioner to his shoes every three to four months. “Leather is like skin—if you don’t moisturize it, it will get dry and brittle,” he says.
But the truly most important step to comfortable shoes is to make sure you have the RIGHT FIT. Try to purchase/try on shoes near the end of the day, when your feet tend to swell the most. This will ensure that the shoe you are want will fit well even when your foot is at its largest.
The right socks also help provide a comfortable fit. Try lighter dress socks that aren’t too thick. Preferably made with synthetic fibers. “It helps with moisture transfer, wicking sweat away from the foot,” he says.