How to Break in Heels Fast

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If you're still sacrificing comfort for style in heels that pinch, rub and ache, here's a quick word of advice - stop! High heels can take weeks of walking before they break in and conform to the natural shape of your foot. Fortunately, just a few hours of creative heel therapy can speed up the softening and stretching process of your shoes. So grab a few tools you probably already have lying around, and strut pain-free in your broken-in heels.

  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Thick socks
  • Moleskin foot patches
  • Hair dryer

1 Buy well-made heels

Buy well-made heels that fit after a day of walking in your normal shoes. Your feet swell as you walk, so if you try on heels first thing in the morning, you might end up with too-small shoes. Shoes that fit properly when you buy them won't need much breaking in, and supportive high-quality heels help prevent the joint and foot pain associated with shoes that haven't been broken in. Genuine leather will shape to your foot better than synthetic materials.

2 Scuff

Scuff the bottom of your heels to prevent slipping. Rub a piece of medium-grain sandpaper in a side-to-side motion across the bottom of the shoe. The roughness mimics the wear and tear of walking in a fraction of the time.

3 Wet a pair of thick socks

Wet a pair of thick socks, then squeeze them out until they're slightly damp. Slip them on, then put on your heels. Moist socks might feel a little icky, but they'll help soften and stretch out snug heels. Walk around the house for 20 to 30 minutes, then take off the socks and see how they feel.

4 Apply a small piece of moleskin

Apply a small piece of moleskin to your feet wherever your shoes pinch. Wear the shoes with the moleskin pieces on your feet to help break in your heels painlessly. For extra snug shoes, soak your feet for a few minutes in warm water after you apply the moleskin. The moleskin will swell slightly, which will help your heels stretch out even more. Pat your feet dry, then slip on your heels.

5 Use the heat

Use the heat of a hair dryer for a quicker break-in, so to speak. Slip on your heels - over a pair of thick socks if they're a little tight - and blast them with your warm hair dryer for two to three minutes. Wiggle your toes and flex your feet as you concentrate the dryer on the tightest or stiffest part of your shoes. The heat will help soften and break in your heels faster.

  • Break in your heels before you need to wear them for a long time, or you'll risk blisters and foot pain.
  • If the price tag of high-quality heels makes you nervous, consider the cost per wear. A pair of expensive heels that you wear 50 times actually cost less per wear than a pair of cheap, uncomfortable shoes that you wear two or three times before discarding.
  • Use shoe inserts along the balls of your feet or your heels to prevent any discomfort that continues even after you've broken in your shoes.

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.