Don't Break Your Feet!: A Wedding Guide on How to Break in Heels
by Caroline Young

break in heels
break in heels

Troy Grover Photography

You've found it. Some would describe it as a moment of divine coincidence, that it was fate that you would inevitably run into it at some point in your life... some would even say it was like casting your gaze on the Holy Grail, seeing it propped upon a pedestal in all its glory.

Or you could just say that you found your perfect pair of wedding heels.

But wait! The adage, "The cuter the heel, the more painful it is to wear", definitely rings a little too true for us as we begin to wonder how much these heels are going to kill our feet.

And something that is constantly a pet peeve of mine is when I see girls wobbling around in heels like newborn colts, because it 1) indicates that their heel height is too high and 2) they aren't accustomed to walking in heels that tall, so what are they even doing with them in the first place?!? I get it -- sometimes, a pair of shoes is just too damn cute to resist. But before you wear them out, get blisters all over your feet, and inevitably regret buying  those devilishly cute heels, take the time to follow these tips and break in your heels with tender, loving care. It could take a while, but the fact that you will be able to wear these shoes as a long-term investment should definitely have you jumping for joy.


To know whether or not you can walk in the heels of your dreams comfortably and confidently, you must first learn how to walk in heels in the first place. A lot of ladies might roll their eyes, thinking that they already know how to wear heels -- if you do, kudos to you! If you feel more like a baby giraffe than a lady about to stomp on hearts with her heel, then just follow these guidelines:

  • If you're beginning to wear heels for the first time, ALWAYS start off small first. Start with kitten heels or 1-2 inches, and then slowly work your way up. No reason to trip and fall and break your neck in a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos, no matter how fabulous they might be. Plus, the arch of your feet might not be accustomed to 3 or 4 inches of extra height, so get your feet slowly used to wearing heels.
  • When in doubt for sizes, I find that erring on the side of small is better than going large. When you go small, it's true that you risk getting all sorts of nasty, pinched areas and whatnot. However, that can be rectified by proper breaking in and stretching of the shoe. When you go large, it's a lot harder to shrink your shoes and your feet will end up sliding all over the place.
  • Straighten your back and then walk heel-to-toe. Otherwise, you'll look like a stomping baby dinosaur (why am I using so many animal similes?), and it won't be a fun trip for you OR your heels. Sand the bottom of your heels if you feel like you need some extra grip and don't want to go face-planting on the marble floor.

Good? Feeling like you can nail these down? Good! Moving on to how you can really break in your heels.

Wear Socks with Your Heels

break in heels
break in heels

Finch & Fawn

Thought this trend was just a Clueless throwback? Nope! Socks can actually help you break in heels better because it'll protect your feet from rubbing and developing blisters, allowing you to walk a lot longer. Just be sure to wear socks that aren't too thin (otherwise your shoes won't stretch at all) or too thick (otherwise they might stretch too much!). This is more of a gradual, slower method, so be sure to start early if you want ample time to break in your heels before the big day!

Use A Blow-Dryer

break in heels
break in heels


If you DO happen to have a fabulously thick pair of wool socks (my favorite, yay!), you can stretch out your shoes with the help of these socks and a blow dryer. The heat of the blow dryer will make the leather of your shoes more pliable and stretch to mold and form around your feet. When the material cools down, let your feet sit in the socks and shoes for a little while more. You can also try bending the material while it's still heated to make it less stiff.

Edit: My friend told me that someone broke in her Doc Martens by running them over with a car... hey, what works, works!

Cover Up!

break in heels
break in heels

via Pinterest

This is probably the only time I'll ever tell you to cover up (unless, of course, you're in sub-arctic temperatures and only wearing a dress) -- and by "cover up", I mean cover up your blisters and sensitive areas with band-aids and moleskins. You might want to choose a band-aid/moleskin with stronger adhesive, as I have had past experiences with shoes rubbing off my band-aids over time. The Beauty Department recommends that you wear moleskins and soak your feet in water with them on. Apparently, the moleskin will expand  so when you wear shoes the next day, the moleskin will help stretch out where your feet is being rubbed against the material.

Heels at Home

break in heels
break in heels

Todd Pellowe

I'm sure that as soon as you get your new babies to your home, you're probably going to stick them on in a moment of buyer's euphoria.

Good. Now keep them on. For like, an hour or two. Maybe three if you're feeling up to it.

The great thing about breaking in heels at your home is that you don't actually have to run around doing errands at home. You could just sit at your desk and scroll down Pinterest all day (-wink wink it's not like any of us ever did that wink wink-) while your heels are becoming accustomed to the shape of your feet. Cook in your heels, vacuum in your heels, do anything that requires you to work out your heels in order to get used to walking around in them.

Or Even Better, Walk Around the Supermarket Wearing Your Heels

break in heels
break in heels

Photo by rkd retail/iQ | It's like a maze...

Or, if you really want to get good at walking, take your heels along a trip to the grocery store for some practice! While you're navigating the aisles for your cereals and grains, brace yourself against the cart and use it as a walker to ensure that you have something to hold onto while practicing your walk. Straighten your posture, walk heel first, toe second, and keep your chin up as you walk down the aisle like a runway. Included benefits of an aisle are because it will most likely be empty, you don't have to worry about navigating and swerving willy-nilly, and you get first dibs on the awesome food!

And besides, do you really need an excuse to wear your awesome-blossom heels out in public? WHILE eating food? Not for me you don't!

There are a helluva lot of tips for breaking in your shoes, and they all apply to different sorts of situations so choose accordingly. And remember, heels aren't for everyone! A lot of gals can be just as happy with flats and sandals. Have you ever had one heel of a nightmare? If so, comment below!