How To Break In Shoes That Rub Your Heel [5 Effective Ways]

Written By Mahia

As a footwear enthusiast, I crave to buy new shoes and style them. But many times, I faced blisters and pain, especially in the heel area, after wearing new shoes.

So, I started to look for feasible ways to break into the shoes without causing rubs on the skin.


In the meantime, I got some effective methods and planned to share them with you through this article so that you won’t have to suffer from heel rub.

So, let’s unwrap those tricks!

Why Are New Shoes Rubbing My Heels?

Abrasion, the roughness of materials and tight-fitting shoes are the main three reasons why new shoes rub on your heels.

It requires some time to cope with something new. Shoes are no exception to this. If the new shoe’s lining can’t adjust with your ankle and heel area, it will lead to nasty blisters.

Moreover, the sturdy shoe materials and lack of padding in the line can cause severe pain.

There are some shoes that run slightly small. Those shoes will initially make your feet feel stuck and suffocated, which may also hurt your overall feet. Sometimes ligaments and tendons can also be torn.

You must undergo treatment and care to heal that foot soreness.

So, it’s better to take some initiative so that you can avoid the occurrences that turn into foot pain.

Read more on how to break in Birkenstocks easily.

How To Break In Shoes That Rub Your Heel?

Actually, this act is mainly divided into two phases. At first, you have to follow some strategies to protect your heel and ankle area.

And then, you have to focus on the proper method of break-in.

So, let’s know step by step what these two parts include.

Part 1: Avoiding Heel Friction

Here, 5 easy and worth-mentioning strategies to avoid heel rub will be discussed. Let’s start with the first one!

Method 1: Put On Properly Fitted Thick Socks

Wearing chunky socks will wrap your feet with a safety coating. The thick layer will act as a barrier between the feet and boots. As a result, there won’t be any direct friction on the skin.

You can also wear woolen socks or double socks instead of a thicker ones.

Method 2: Use Cushioned Heel Pad Or Heel Cup

You will get specific heel cups in the market that cover the ankle, heel, and some portions of the upper. This type of cup is also known as a heel protector.

use-cushioned-heel-pad-or-heel-cupRecently, I bought one skin-friendly heel cup for $12 and 4 pairs of heel pads for $10. Both of them are quite advantageous as they defend my feet from the hard material of a stylish shoe.

Additionally, surgeons often recommend using this type of product for patients with plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and fractures because they can relieve the pain of feet ligaments.

Do you know what the big difference between a heel cup and a pad is?

A heel cup should be added inside your shoe. In contrast, the heel pad should be worn on your feet.

Go through our epic guide on how to break in Red Wing boots.

Method 3: Apply Anti-blister Heel Balm

Try to apply anti-blister heel balm before wearing new shoes. Doing this will hinder blebs and cramps, lubricate your feet, as well as keep your feet moisturized.

You will get 0.80 oz balm available on Amazon for only 9 US dollars. This is quite a good option on a low budget, right?

Method 4: Use padded insoles

Many shoes are available in the market that provides a fashionable and gorgeous appearance. But actually, their materials aren’t of high quality. Their thin and poor insoles might rub on your heel. How will you get rid of this problem?

use-padded-insoleWell, you can replace that insole with a high-quality, supportive and padded insole.

Consequently, your feet will find comfort in them, and no blisters will result.

Method 5: Use surgical tape or moleskin

Moleskin is a fabric with a soft texture. And we all are more or less familiar with surgical tape.

So, there is nothing new to say about the surgical tape.

Attach moleskin or surgical tape at the heel zone, then safely walk with your brand-new shoes.

Now you are aware of 5 effective strategies that can make a barrier between the heel and shoe. You can choose any one of them.

use-surgical-tape-or-moleskinAfter completing this part, you have to switch towards the next one, where you will get some useful and quick suggestions to break in the shoes.

So, without any delay, let’s move on to the second stage.

Part 2: Break-in The Shoes

Breaking into new shoes is not difficult. If you follow the right method, this task becomes easier.

The break-in period varies from one shoe to another depending on the type of materials and structure. For instance, Doc Martens boots need almost 3 weeks to break in, but Caterpillar boots don’t demand any time for breaking in.

Go through our separate article if you want to break in your beloved Doc Martens overnight.

However, I have shortlisted the most fruitful techniques to break into the shoes. Just go through them and follow the one which seems more reliable and easier for you.

Here are the 5 methods of breaking in the shoes that rub your heel:

1. Regular Walk With Socks

The most effective way to break in any shoe is to walk wearing the pairs for at least 15 minutes on a regular basis.

Don’t skip socks during this time. Because thick socks can help break in the shoes quickly, which is a great advantage.

2. Use Shoe Stretcher

If you are looking for a rapid method, then using a shoe stretcher is one of the good options for you. This will create some space so that your feet suitably adjust in the shoes.

use-shoe-stretcherBefore using a shoe stretcher, read through its working process properly.

Otherwise, any mishandling can entirely damage your shoes. Go through one of our articles to know more about Shoe Stretcher – what they are and how to use them properly.

3. Shoe-stretching Spray

This ingredient stretches shoes without damaging the material.

Whenever I’m busy and need to break in the shoes quickly, I take the help of shoe-stretching spray.

You will get good-quality sprays for 10 Us dollars. Make sure that the spray is suitable for your shoe materials.

4. Make Use of Ice & Refrigerator

Put the shoes in the refrigerator overnight with a water-filled bag inside. Also, pack the pair of shoes in a bag before storing them in the fridge.

You can use a ziplock plastic bag in this case. When the water turns into ice, its volume will enlarge. Besides, this process will increase the shoe space also.

It is proved that this approach doesn’t hamper materials, whether it is leather, nubuck, canvas or suede.

5. Follow The Potato Method

When I heard about using potatoes to stretch shoes, I thought it was a lame idea. But actually, its result is quite surprising.

Put a piece of dry and peeled potato inside the cavity of the shoes for 12 to 24 hours. Repeating this process for about 3 to 4 days will create some room inside the shoes.

Though this procedure is effective, it’s very slow and very little stretch occurs.

You will find some suggestions that include heating and using damp newspapers to break in the shoes. I’ll recommend not pursuing those weird actions because there is a risk of ruining the shoes’ materials and shapes.

How do you soften the heels of shoes?

Now, you know the ways of protecting your heel and breaking in.

Along with these, you can also make your leather shoe heel softer. Doing this will also help to minimize the rub.

So let’s take a look at how you can soften the shoe heels.

how-do-you-soften-the-heels-of-shoesYou should apply a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water on the areas of your leather shoes that you want to make softer than before.

After pouring this mixture on the shoes, leave it for 30 minutes, then wipe the shoes with a dry cloth.

When you wear these shoes, you will realize the difference.

Follow our guide on how to break-in leather boots.

Takeaway Thoughts

If you are with me still now, you know the methods of ‘how to break in the shoes that rub your heel. Just choose any of these tricks, follow them and style with your favorite shoes.

I want to suggest that you always try to purchase high-quality and comfy shoes that will not rub your heels.

Leave your comments if you have any further queries.

Have a good day!

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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