How to Break in My Shoes That Are Too Stiff Around the Heels

Actress Olivia Wilde sports high heels at a movie premiere in Los Angeles in December 2013.
... Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Whether your new shoes are a tad too small or you simply can't get comfy in your new kicks, don't settle for a fit that causes pain or -- worse -- blisters in your heels. Make comfort your priority by giving your shoes a few test runs before wearing them outside. Learning how they fit and feel will show you exactly what adjustments would be most beneficial.

Wear a pair of thick, damp socks with your stiff shoes. The moisture and the heavy material of the socks helps to stretch shoe leather, making it less stiff around the heels. A wool sock or an athletic sock have just the right amount of bulk to make this trick work.

Place your shoes in the freezer overnight with a water-filled zip-top baggie inside the heel sections of each one. As the water freezes and the bags expand, your shoe will gradually be stretched out, making the heels wider and more comfortable.

Purchase a heel cushion insert or moleskin padding at the drugstore. These adhesive cushions provide a barrier between your feet and the heels of uncomfortable shoes to reduce friction. By applying these inserts yourself, you can strategically place them in the areas where you need the most cushion.

  • For the best fit, buy shoes in your true size. Purchasing shoes that are slightly small just because you like the style or because they are on sale can cause you painful problems later on.

Leigh Shan has been writing about beauty, health, fitness, home and small businesses since 2007. Her work has been published in "The Queens Courier," "Queens Business Today" and "The Real Deal" newspapers, as well as "The World Scholar" magazine. Shan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Fordham University in New York City.