Fall is upon us, which means it's time to break in your new boots before you can break them out into the world. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worse than walking around all day in a pair of too-tight shoes, especially after an entire summer of running around practically barefoot. Your feet aren't used to the pain of being so contained! No matter how fabulous they make you look, if your boots give you blisters you'll never want to wear them again. A pair of new boots can make anyone feel ready to take on the world. Now, it's time to get them street ready.
According to fashion expert Avery Matera, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying your boots to make them more comfortable from the start. "By nature, boots stay on your feel more securely than, say, ballet flats, so it's OK to go up a half size so your feet aren't totally squished in the toe box," Matera tells Bustle via email. She advised not to go up too much, though, because if the boot is too big you risk getting blisters from your heels rubbing around in the back of the shoe. She also explained that some leather is naturally stiffer than other, regardless of how expensive it is. "Don't expect miracles," she said. "It's ok to buy a pair of boots that you know needs a little TLC in order to perfectly mold to your feet, but if the style is super uncomfortable, they are probably always going to be."
Haven't bought your boots yet and need a little shoespiration? Check out these stylish fall shoes that are guaranteed to be comfortable, and to keep your feet warm, all season long.
1. Wear Them Around the House
If you have time, it’s worth wearing your new shoes around the house to stretch them out before they make their real world debut. Pop them on while you’re blowdrying your hair, doing chores, or cooking dinner to give them a chance to stretch out and mold to their feet. Wearing thick socks helps speed up the process.
2. Start Them Out At the Office
Keep your new boots under your desk for a few weeks before you take ‘em to the streets. This will give you the chance to slowly break them in, and you’ll have the option of switching out of them the moment they get too painful.
3. Buy An At-Home Shoe Stretcher
Deluxe Wood Shoe Stretcher (Set of 2),$19, Amazon
These contraptions will stretch your boot two ways — length and widthwise. Use them with special “shoe stretch” spray to soften up the leather, or with your own magic solution of rubbing alcohol and water (it works the same way!).
4. Try The Old "Hair Dryer And Thick Socks” Trick
I, personally, swear by this method. Blast the inside of the shoes with hot air, then pop them on over a pair of thick socks. Walk around in them until they cool — they’ll mold to your feet! Just be careful not to keep the dryer on them for long enough to damage the leather; a few seconds on each foot is plenty.
5. Have Them Professionally Stretched
If you have the means, bringing your boots to a cobbler is your best option. Beware, though: A bad stretch job is impossible to undo, so make sure you find someone you trust.
6. Protect Yourself With Mole Skin
Extra Durable Moleskin, $10, Amazon
Don't worry— it's not actually made of mole skin (ew!). As your feet get used to the new shoes, put moleskin on the places that are most prone to blisters, and where your feet rub up against the leather.
7. Freeze 'Em
Yup, that's right: Put your shoes in the freezer, right between the pint of Cherry Garcia and the frozen chicken. If you’re so eager to wear your new boots out that you can’t possibly imagine spending days stretching them, try this fast and foolproof option: Fill two plastic bags halfway with water and close them tightly — squeezing out all of the extra air. Put them inside of your boots and pop them in the freezer overnight. When water turns to ice, it expands, so as the bags freeze they’ll stretch the leather. To protect against water damage, use two bags in each shoe.
No painful shoes, no problems. That's my motto.
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