How To Soften The Back Of New Shoes [Ultimate Guide 2024]

Written By Mahia

No matter how expensive or attractive your new pair of shoes are, once you wear them, your feet are bound to feel the pain of the stiff shoes.

So why do your feet hurt? The main culprit is the back of your shoes that includes a rigid material which initially makes the shoes very hard because they didn’t break in yet, but as you wear them frequently, it loosens up and becomes supple.

But does it mean you have to wear uncomfortable shoes for a few days? No chance! When your shoe expert friend is here so why worry?

After thorough research, I have found the most effortless ways with guaranteed results that will soften the back of your new shoes in minutes.

So let’s jump into the

How To Soften The Back Of New Shoes?

Shoes should always be comfortable; your feet should feel you are literally walking on the cloud. But the opposite happens when you wear new shoes, your heel hurts badly, and sometimes you even end up having blisters.

To minimize your pain and make the shoes comfortable, I have explained a few tips and tricks following which you can seamlessly soften the back of your shoes.

But before that, go through our epic guide how to Clean The Soles of Dance Shoes.

Here are ten techniques by which you can soften the back of your shoes:

Method 1: Wear Insoles and Socks

Insoles and socks are some of the most effective ways to soften new shoes. All you need is a pair of insoles and socks. Put the insoles in your shoes and wear a pair of socks and go for a walk. The more you walk in them, the quicker the shoe will break in.

What the insole does is, it creates a softer footing for your shoes. As insoles are made with cushy material, it gives your feet a comfortable feel, and this additional padding will make your shoes stretch out.

Along with insoles, wearing a pair of socks will give you a raised footing. The combination of insoles and socks reduces the stiffness of new shoes to a greater extent.

You also customize the insoles to your size; this will ensure a more comfortable fit. Remember that there are different types of insoles available in the market, so choose according to your shoes’ style.

Method 2: Use Hair Dryer

Using a hairdryer to soften the shoes sounds peculiar right? But let me tell you, heating can increase the size of an object. So yes, you can soften and stretch out your new shoes with a hairdryer. Mainly this method works great to soften leather shoes.

Wear your new shoes along with socks and blow the hot air to all sides of the shoes. Don’t hold the hair dryer in one place for too long; instead, distribute the heat evenly.

Wait until your shoes cool down, then take off the socks, wear the shoes and walk in around them. If you are not satisfied with the fitting, then you can repeat the same process.

Follow our other guide to know how to Stretch Suede Shoes.

Method 3: Wear Thick Sockswear-thick-socks

Wearing thick socks is a quick and effective hack to minimize the stiffness of the shoes. Slip on thick padded socks and wear the shoes, and go for a long walk.

Thick socks will make your feet not feel the bottom of the shoes. Additionally, thick padded socks create space from all sides of the shoes.

However, if you wear regular or thin socks, you will not get the same result. As well as wearing too thick socks can also make the shoes extremely tight. The thickness of the socks should be moderate, not too thin nor too thick.

Method 4: Use Wooden Insert

Wooden inserts are a wise option to soften the back of shoes, but as the inserts are on the pricier side, you have to invest a handsome amount. However, if you want instant stretching or softening the shoes, skip this method because using wooden inserts to soften the shoes is a bit lengthy.

Simply place the wooden inserts inside the shoes for a few days. The inserts will make the toe area spacious and reduce the hardness of the shoes.

Wooden inserts come in different sizes and can be found in any shoe store. Take help from the experts while choosing the shape and size of wooden inserts.

But before that, you check out how to Remove Shoe Polish From Suede Shoes.

Method 5: Use Shoe Stretch Spray

Shoe stretch spray is particularly beneficial for stretching leather shoes. Buy good quality shoes stretch spray from any shoe store and start the stretching process.

Spray the back, interior, or the places where your shoe tends to be tight. Wear the shoes with a pair of socks and walk in around them.

Shoe stretch spray can stretch shoes up to one-half size up and minimize the hardness of a new shoe by making it soft.

However, a drawback of shoe stretch spray is that excessive use can make your shoes lose their shape and original shine.

Method 6: Freeze the Shoesfreeze-the-boots

Freezing is a fantastic technique to stretch and make the shoes soft. Take two Ziploc bags, fill them with clean water and seal the bag carefully. Now place the water bags in both shoes and keep them in the freezer.

As the water freezes, it will expand, and the shoe size will expand too. Once the water is completely frozen, take the shoes out of the freezer and remove the water bags. Now check the fitting. If the stretching is not enough, then repeat the same process.

But make sure the bags you are using to fill water should not have any holes or drip, or else your entire shoes will be drenched in water.

Method 7: Use Soap

Who said you could only use soap to wash your face and body? Soap has some excellent properties which can also make the shoes soft. Rub the soap on the back of the shoes and wear them along with a sock and go for a walk.

If you want to prevent blisters, then rub the soap inside the back of the shoes. And you are good to go.

Method 8: Use Alcohol

If you don’t have shoe stretch spray, then you can use rubbing alcohol; both work the same.

Slip on a pair of socks, wear your shoes, stretch them a bit, and spray some rubbing alcohol to the places where you feel tight. Alternatively, you can soak the socks in the rubbing alcohol and wear them while wearing the shoes. The alcohol will evaporate and increase the size of the shoes.

Make sure you do a patch test first so that the rubbing alcohol doesn’t deteriorate the quality or color of the shoes.

Method 9: Use Oil

Oil has some excellent characteristics which can stretch the shoes. If you want to make your leather shoes soft, then surely use this method. Additionally, using oils on your shoes will keep the quality and shine intact.

Castor oil and glycerin are the best options for stretching because it has high-fat content. Take a few drops of oil and rub it on the shoes. Focus on the areas where you want your shoes to be flexible and stretched.

Once the leather soaks all the oil, it will stretch out and make the leather very supple.

Method 10: Apply Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly also works excellent in making the shoes flexible. Rub a generous amount of petroleum jelly on the back of your shoes. Once it gets absorbed inside the shoe material, remove the excess jelly with a cloth.

Keep the shoes aside for a few hours, and then you are good to wear a stretched and soft pair of shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you break in the back of your shoes?

The more you wear the shoes, the quicker they will break in. To make the break in process faster, you can wear a thick pair of socks while wearing the shoes and walk in around them.

Does Vaseline soften shoes?

Yes, Vaseline softens shoes. Petroleum jellies like Vaseline can make leather soft and prevent cracking without compromising the shoe’s quality.


Shoes are meant to be comfortable and make your feet relaxed, so why compromise with them. However, it is very common that a new pair of shoes will be rigid at first but now that you know all the solutions of making them supple so without wasting any time, get on to work.

Do let us know in the comment section which method worked for you in making the back of your shoes soft.

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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