I have a new pair of leather shoes, and "wearing them in" promises to be uncomfortable for a little while. In the past, I've tried to solve this problem by wearing my shoes, which isn't preferable because it's uncomfortable.

How can I wear my shoes in faster, or reduce the discomfort, while still getting the benefit of having shoes that have worn to fit the shape of my feet?

  • Wish I found this earlier. I already worn-in my KMMs but man, it was some challenge. Mar 9, 2016 at 10:36

8 Answers 8


I know this sounds crazy but I swear it works:

As long as there is no metal on the shoes (tips of shoelaces, ringlets around lace holes, etc.), put the shoes in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Then take them out and immediately put them on your feet with thick socks on and tie them as tightly as possible. Walk around until the shoes completely cool down.

This should really work them in and you can always repeat the process if you would like. Depending on the type of shoe, you may want to microwave it for longer but I would suggest trying a short length of time first than slowly add more time until it is a good comfort level for you.

This works because the shoes heat up and, by tying them very tightly while they are still warm, they form to the shape of your foot, making them more comfortable.

Source: years of skateboarding and constantly trying to wear in shoes as quickly as possible.

  • 1
    I wonder if the microwave partially melts the glue too, which helps the shoe to stretch out while on your feet. Anyway I'm not sure my size 12 shoes will even fit in the microwave! Jan 27, 2015 at 6:16
  • What kind of power setting would you use on the shoes?
    – einpoklum
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:26
  • 2
    You can also use an oven or toaster oven to accomplish the same thing. This gives you more control over the temperature and lets you get away with some metal if you are careful.
    – Gwen
    Aug 20, 2015 at 22:58
  • I wonder if a hair dryer would work, it sounds less likely to destroy the shoes...
    – Neinstein
    Oct 15, 2017 at 12:52

I speculate that wearing thicker socks will help with both the accelerated "wearing in" by stretching the shoes more and with the reduced discomfort by providing a physical barrier between your skin and the currently ill fitting shoes.

If the shoes are uncomfortable because they are simply too tight (as opposed to "hard" and abrasive around the foot hole), then thicker socks are unlikely to work. You could get somebody else to wear them for you ;)


A few methods to consider:

  • Get them wet and wear them for a few hours. Sounds counter intuitive I know, but most leather shoes/boots are pre-shrunk so wetting and wearing will help to stretch them out and form them to your feet. I've used this method with combat boots and it seems to work well.
  • Spraying the inside of leather shoes/boots with equal parts 1:1 water and alcohol will soften and help to stretch the leather. This is similar to the process used by leather workers to form the leather to begin with so it may be worth a try.
  • I'm not too sure about this one... I haven't tried it personally, but a few sites recommend filling a zip-lock bag half way with water and placing it inside the shoe/boot and putting it in the freezer. The idea is that the water will expand as it freezes and will stretch the leather.

The best hack for this is to use heat because heat makes things expand. All you will need is a hairdryer, a thick pair of socks (or two thinner pairs of socks), and your shoes. Put the socks on and then put the shoes on. Now, put the hairdryer on the highest heat. Blow dry the areas where the shoe needs to form to fit your foot (usually the toe and maybe the sides). Bend and flex your feet while you are blow drying. You usually have to do this for 20-30 minutes per shoe. Make sure to hold the hairdryer at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from the shoe to avoid damage.

This question is being closed as a dupe, and this was my answer on it (slightly modified)


I had some uniform shoes which weren't wide enough, and the shoe-shop lady sold me some wooden shoe stretchers - essentially feet with springs in - and advised me to put wet socks on them and leave them overnight. This helped, but since they still weren't quite wide enough I wrapped paper around the stretchers, a bit more each day, and repeated the process.


There are these things:


I have no clue how they are called in english, but they are called "Schuhspreizer" in German (could translate into "shoe widener"). You put them into your shoes and they will widen them.

  • The holes allow small "bump" parts to be placed in strategic locations for specific "easing."
    – Stan
    Jul 27, 2016 at 19:04
  • In [UK] English they're called "shoe trees" - but don't ask me why ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 8, 2016 at 10:32

I was told about this hack. I have heard about it more than once from different sources; but, I have never tried it myself.

To stretch (break-in) new leather shoes so that they are comfortable to wear, carefully line each shoe with plastic such as a thick sheet of plastic or use a heavy gauge plastic freezer bag.

Push the plastic into each shoe as far and as completely as you can. Lace up and tie the shoelaces securely.

Fill each plastic lined shoe with water up to the brim and freeze it SOLID in a freezer. The ice inside the bag in the shoe will take the shape of the shoe.

The water will freeze, swell, and stretch the leather proportionately as it increases size. When the water has frozen solid, the process is finished and the bag and ice can be removed.

The shoes should fit perfectly. If more stretching is wanted, repeat the process.


Of course most people would just wear them for a little each day (such as after getting home from work) but if you were eccentric you could have a machine do it for you:


  • 1
    Suggesting to use this rare machine is not much of a lifehack... I doubt many people have these around their house Dec 23, 2014 at 16:38

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