How To Break In Running Shoes - 4 Different Ways You Can Try

How To Break In Running Shoes

Have you purchased a brand new pair of running shoes recently? Picture yourself crossing the finish line of your next half marathon, thanks to your well-broken-in sneakers.

But to get there, your feet need time to adjust. Starting with shorter runs can protect your soles from the chafe of longer distances. Understanding the steps to properly break in new running shoes ensures both comfort and peak performance.

It's not unusual for seasoned runners to rotate different pairs during training. Keep reading to learn how to break in your new pair of running shoes!

1. Wear Thick Socks

When breaking in new running shoes, wearing proper running socks made for running is key. Sometimes you may need a thinner sock if you feel the shoe is too snug. This will give your feet time to break in the shoes comfortably.

Choosing the right pair of running shoes is crucial for your foot strike. Even if you are still wearing them at home, it helps. No one wants a blister from new shoes. Start with just walking around, then do a short run.

Remember, different pairs of running shoes might differ from your old shoes or previous pair. It's normal as each model is unique.

Here's a quick list to help you with the breaking-in process:

  • Wear your running socks with the new shoes at home.
  • Walk before you run to get used to the fit.
  • Do a short run first, not a long one.
  • Pay attention to any spots that rub or discomfort.
  • Swap between different pairs of running shoes.
  • Take the time to let your feet and shoes adjust to each other.

Read related article: Can You Waterproof Mesh Running Shoes?

2. Apply Heat

Another way to break in your brand new pair of shoes is to gently apply heat. Right after you bring them straight from the running store, using a hairdryer can be a surprising but effective method.

With a hairdryer, you can target specific areas that feel tight, especially over the top of your foot. Heating the shoes can help them expand slightly and soften the materials, contributing to a custom fit.

However, make sure that the shoe model you've chosen responds well to heat; some materials can be sensitive.

Here's an easy step-by-step list:

  1. Put on your running socks to protect your feet.
  2. Aim the hairdryer on a medium setting at areas that feel snug.
  3. Flex your feet and wiggle your toes as you apply the heat.
  4. Do not overheat; a couple of minutes should suffice.
  5. Check the fit and repeat if necessary.
  6. Always let the shoes cool on your feet to mold effectively.

Read related article: How To Choose Running Shoes for Beginners - 2024 Shoe Guide

3. Use a Shoe Stretcher

For those who want a more hands-off approach when breaking in their running shoes, using a shoe stretcher is an excellent option. A shoe stretcher is a tool specifically made to help widen or lengthen shoes, giving your toes some extra room. Before you know how to break in your shoes using this method, ensure that your shoe stretcher is the correct type for your running shoes to prevent any damage.

Inserting a shoe stretcher into your shoes will help to gently expand the material without the need to wear them repeatedly. It's an efficient way to achieve a perfect fit, especially if you have areas that feel too tight. The process is pretty straightforward and doesn't require much effort from you making it easy to read.

Your short guide to using a shoe stretcher includes:

  • Make sure your shoe stretcher fits the size and shape of your shoe.
  • Insert the stretcher into your shoe and adjust it until snug.
  • Leave the stretcher in for a few hours to gently expand the material.
  • Remove the stretcher and test the fit, repeating if necessary.
  • Avoid overstretching; a little space goes a long way.

4. Freeze Method

Lastly, to create a perfect running shoe fit, remember that patience is vital as you take the time to break in your new running shoes. A lesser-known technique involves the use of your freezer. That's right—by freezing your running shoes, you allow them to expand subtly and naturally.

It's essential to note it will take at least 12 hours to effectively utilize this method. Simply fill sealable bags with water, place them in your shoes, and freeze them. As the water solidifies and expands, it gently stretches the material of your shoes.

Once you take your shoes out of the freezer after 12 hours, remove the bags. This simple and unique approach could be your secret to comfortable running shoes.

Here's how to do it:

  • Fill two sealable bags with water to three-quarters full.
  • Place the bags inside each shoe, making sure they fit snugly against the problem areas.
  • Put your shoes in the freezer and leave them for at least 12 hours.
  • Afterward, take your shoes out of the freezer and let them thaw for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the bags and check the fit. Repeat the process if needed, but with caution to avoid overstretching.

How Long Does it Take to Break In New Shoes

The break-in period for the best running shoes often varies, but typically it is a process that can take up to four weeks. To prevent injuries and ensure your feet adapt well, it's advisable to gradually increase distances in your new running shoes.

This slow introduction allows the shoes to mold to the contours of your feet and for you to assess the comfort during extended wear. Patience during this period is crucial for both peak performance and foot health.

Tips On How To Break In Shoes Properly

Regardless of the method you choose to break in your new running shoes, always compare them to an old pair to gauge the difference in fit and feel. This comparison can give you a point of reference to work from.

Consult with a running coach or a seasoned runner, who can suggest personalized break-in techniques matching your foot mechanics and the styles of shoes you have picked.

Running Shoes Usually Require Patience

Running shoes usually require a thorough break-in period. Remember that your feet tend to swell during the day and more so during a run. It's advisable to try on new shoes when your feet are slightly swollen to account for this natural change while running.

Look for Trail Running Shoes

If you frequently veer off-road, look for trail running shoes specifically designed for rugged terrains. These types of styles often offer additional features for stability and durability, which might affect how they break in compared to standard running shoes.

Monitor Fit Regularly

Finally, as you alternate between your new running shoes and an older pair, monitor the fit and comfort closely. Your feet will thank you for treading lightly as they adjust to the new pair, and you’ll be back to full running sessions before you know it.

Read related article: How Long Do Running Shoes Last?

Break In New Running Shoes With Ease

With this guide in mind, you're now equipped to break-in your new running shoes with ease. Remember that how you break them in will determine how well they fit and feel as you hit the pavement or trail.

So choose a method that works best for you, and don't forget to give your feet some time to adjust. Once broken in, these running shoes will be your reliable partner for miles to come.

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