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how to break in shoes that rub your heel in 2021 [9 best ways]

Buying a new pair of shoes is exciting, isn’t it? Definitely yes, But breaking into a new pair of shoes is not that exciting because most of the time new shoes hurt heels. If you have new pair of boots you will also love to read about how to break in new boots.

Yes, we agree that you will receive a lot of compliments on your new shoes, but that comes with a lot of foot pain and blisters! When you feel that new shoes are rubbing your back of heel or ankle bone, it can be painful and result in corns or calluses on the feet due to friction.

This is common when you are breaking in a new pair of shoes, or a particular area of your shoes keeps rubbing on your foot. Commonly, this happens at the back of the heel or under your ankle bone.

how to break in shoes that rub your heel

First of all, we will guide you that which things you should consider when going to buy new pair of shoes for yourself. When you look up these things possible that you get pair of shoes that are comfortable and not rubbing your heels.

But if still, you feel any pain in your heel then below we have listed some best methods that will surely give you solutions about how to break in shoes that rub your heel.

So, Let’s check out some tips for picking shoes that will not rub your heel.

Things to remember During the shoe buying stage

Here are some considerations when you’re out hunting for a new pair of shoes; keep that in mind as well:

Try New Shoes With Socks On

If you are not buying shoes from an online marketplace, then it is recommended to try the pair. Try shoes with the socks and ensure that you’re wearing similar socks that you’ll be wearing daily.

Quite often, it is seen that wearers quickly duck into the shoes wearing normal socks rather than the thicker cotton socks. This is because when you wear thick socks, it reduces the available space inside the shoes and tightens the boots from the back of the heel.

Timing Matters

Another thing that will surprise you is that timing matters as well. Always purchase new shoes late in the day to ensure that you get a correct fit. This is because your feet swell by up to half during the day.

In simple words, you will get the right fitment in the morning from your shoes, but they might not fit that well late in the afternoon. Avoid wearing shoes that are too loose as they can also rub against your heel.

Foot’s Shape and Size

Another thing before buying the shoes, you must take into account your foot’s shape and size. The foot of most users is a bit larger than the other foot; hence you should get an accurate measurement before buying the shoes.

If that’s the case with you, ensure your shoes fit seamlessly in your longest foot because this foot will be prone to rubbing your heel’s back.

Also Read About: Can shoes cause knee pain

how to stop shoes from rubbing heel

Do you search for the best way to break in shoes? So, below we will discuss some of the best available methods that will give you a solution regarding breaking in shoes without rubbing heel.

  1. Choose the right pair of socks
  2. Shoe Stretcher Might Work for Your Heels
  3. Use Comfortable insoles​
  4. By using Shoe materials
  5. Reduce the moisture in your shoes
  6. Stretching your shoes Can Solve the Problem
  7. Cobbler Can Stretch Your Shoes
  8. Check for sharp edges
  9. Use an Anti-Friction Balm

Now read the explanation of the above-listed hacks/methods for shoes that rub heel carefully so that you will get what you want

Step 1: Choose the right pair of socks

Blisters and rubbing are mainly caused when your socks don’t provide sufficient padding between your feet and the shoes. Some ‘good-looking socks are simply don’t designed to protect your feet.

In this case, we recommend using shoes with natural padding. Similarly, wear shoes that draw moisture away from your feet, such as merino wool socks. Cotton socks trap moisture between your feet and the sock.

Wearing the socks with sufficient and soft cushioning promotes your overall foot health, increases the comfort level, and prevents rubbing.

Step2: Shoe Stretcher Might Work for Your Heels

If you have tried different shoes but didn’t find the dream match, it would be best and stress-free to use a shoe stretcher. They save your efforts, time and work on your heel from the inside.

Leave the stretcher for at least 8 hours and then wear them to check if the heel area feels comfortable or still rubbing at your heel’s back. If it is still hurting or rubbing, leave the stretcher inside the shoes for a couple of hours more.

Step 3: Use Comfortable insoles​

heel protectors for shoes that rub

Though pre-made insoles that come with the shoes are good, they can sometimes lead to rubbing and hurting your heel. The height, shape, fitment of the insoles also matters.

This can get worse if you have a raised heel or suffer from an Achilles tendon. Such inserts acquire more space than required resulting in a tight fit.

Using comfortable insoles becomes essential if you spend most of your time on your feet or often go on long walks. So, no guesswork when it comes to the insoles. Instead, get the best insoles to prevent rubbing against your heel.

Step 4: Shoe materials

Popular shoe materials such as mesh, coarse fabric, and others can cause friction and heel blisters than the other natural materials. So, it would be best if you pick shoes made up of raw materials and feel comfortable on your feet.

Here are some common shoe materials that you can safely use:

Suede: Suede is made up of animal skin. The most important thing to keep in mind when using the Suede shoes is the right fit. Never sacrifice comfort when wearing the Suede shoes, and try them with your socks on.

Leather: Some types of leather are stiff and inflexible with sharp edges, so wear them for a couple of days around your home before actually wearing them outside or at your workplace. Cleaning and conditioning your leather shoes can make them softer and more flexible and prevent rubbing.

Canvas: Canvas shoes are the softest and the most comfortable out there. They can also rub against your heel, especially when you wear them without socks.

Rubber: Rubber boots are the most durable out there, but they have a greater tendency to trap moisture inside the shoes, and this can be irritating for your skin and vulnerable to skin breaks. Here we will advise you to use Rubber shoes with padded socks that wick away moisture from your feet.

Step 5: Reduce the moisture in your shoes

Wet or damp feet are always prone to rubbing and blister formation. Furthermore, moisture and dampness also soften the skin and damage the outer skin layers.

So, opt for shoes that allow for optimal airflow as they will keep the moisture out and limit sweating. To prevent sweat build up inside the shoes, use an absorbent powder or household talcum powder.

Or you can use socks that wick moisture away from your feet. On the other hand, if you feel too much sweat build up inside your feet, this can be a sign of hyperhidrosis.

Step 6: Stretching your shoes Can Solve the Problem

This is the versatile and evergreen method for how to break in shoes that rub your heel, but it works in some cases. However, we still recommend you start with the right fit to minimize the risks of painful rubbing.

To prevent this, wear your shoes with two reliable and thick pairs of socks at your home. Don’t keep wearing socks and shoes for a long time. And if you feel any pain or cramps in your feet, remove them.

Wearing thick socks is the best way to break in the shoes that rub your heel, and it is the easiest as well. The method is helpful when you quickly want to stretch your shoes.

Plus, this is the method that pro hikers use to break in the new pair of hiking boots. The thick and comfortable socks also prevent blisters and work well with all types of shoes.

Step 7: Cobbler Can Stretch Your Shoes

On the other hand, if you don’t want to wear multiple pairs of socks, just take your shoes to the cobbler, and they will stretch them using professional equipment.

Moreover, you will find many sprays on the market that can help you with shoe stretching. But be extra careful when using these sprays as they can affect the original color of your new shoes.

Step 8: Check for sharp edges

Sometimes, the shoe seams and stitching materials also cause rubbing at the back of the heels. Those rough edges can be uneven or unmatched to your foot’s shape or size.

If you feel that rough edges are digging in, hurting, rubbing, or irritating, we advise you to use a bandage at the back of your heel to prevent that irritation because it may work as heel protectors for shoes that rub. You can also use sewn moleskin pads on the rough areas to counter this issue.

Step 9: Use an Anti-Friction Balm

The last method that we recommend to prevent shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle and heel is the balm method. In this method, you can use balms and sticks to cover your heels that will provide protection against friction.

These products work by forming a buffer between your ankle/heel and shoes. You will find many types of anti-friction balm in the market.

Some balms are more suitable for reducing chafing on your body, while others are exclusively made for your feet. It is also seen that an anti-friction balm made for your feet is much better than the general anti-friction balms.

Another thing that we will recommend you to is to use the balm with protection moleskin. However, don’t apply moleskin to your ankle or heel if you have the balm on.

For your ease, we have explained above methods in the below infographics too. You can easily share it where you want.

hacks for shoes that rub

Remember the Right Approach

It is seen that many users opt for a temporary solution such as pads and bandages to get instant relief from the rubbing and blisters. But that’s not the right approach.

Instead, you should opt for the long-term and permanent solution for how to break in shoes that rub your heel and to stay comfortable and pain-free.

Now you are comfortable about how to break in boots. Lastly, if you’re still having problems regarding your foot health or you are unable to break into your shoes, don’t hesitate to seek an expert’s advice.

FAQ about: how to break in shoes that rub your heel

Does Vaseline stop shoes rubbing?

Yes, applying Vaseline on hotspots can solve this problem. This is because blisters are primarily caused due to friction and when your heel or ankle rub against the shoe material.

A layer of Vaseline will work as a protective lubricant and prevents it from scratching, so less friction.

What are socks/shoe materials best for preventing blisters?

In our opinion, go with the socks that have Merino wool or Coolmax as they can wick moisture and dampness and work effectively to keep your feet dry.

Moisture build-up inside the shoes/feet is also one of the primary causes of rubbing and blisters, and these socks will prevent you from those blisters.

How do you stop new shoes from giving you blisters?

New shoes can hurt heels or cause painful blisters, especially when you wear them for the first time. This happens mainly due to incorrect fitment or when your shoes are not as per your foot’s size.

There can be other reasons, so have patience and remain calm as you break into new shoes. Wear suitable and thick socks that wick away moisture.

Why do new shoes hurt?

Most shoes hurt your feet because they are too tight. But that period is limited, and when you wear them for a couple of days, they will eventually get loose, and you will feel more comfortable.

About A.Zee

Hey, I'm A.Zee. There are two things in life that I'm passionate about, shoes and writing!

Combining both of my passions with my designing degree, I write for Shoe Knowledge to help readers pick the best shoes, have fun!

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