How to Mold Shoes to Your Feet

Saddle soap applied directly to leather softens the material and allows it to mold to your feet.
... Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You've scooped up a brand-new pair of shoes and you can't wait to take them out for a spin. But you're faced with the annoying problem of stiff new shoes that can pinch your feet before they are properly broken in. Do a test run before wearing your new shoes to determine where exactly they could use a little adjusting. With a few simple tweaks, you can shape your new kicks and make them feel like they were made just for you.

Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol on the inside of the shoes. The rubbing alcohol makes shoe leather more pliable. Wear a pair of thick, wool socks with your new shoes. The heavy material of the socks works with the rubbing alcohol to help the shoe take on the natural shape of your foot.

Run a clean cloth under water and wring out the excess moisture. Rub the cloth in a container of saddle soap until a lather develops. Rub the cloth over the surface of the shoe in a circular motion, covering the whole surface, and then put your shoes on your feet. The saddle soap softens the leather so that it can conform to the shape of your feet.

Place moleskin padding on the parts of your feet where you feel like the shoes don't fit well, then soak your feet and the moleskin together in water. The moleskin expands to create a thick barrier between your feet and your shoes. Put the shoes on and wear them around so that the expanded moleskin can gradually mold the shoes to the shape of your feet for a more comfortable fit.

  • Do what you can to break your shoes in by wearing them around the house before attempting to mold them to your feet.
  • Wearing your shoes for an extended period of time without breaking them in can result in painful blisters.
  • It's not really possible to mold the soles of your shoes to your feet, but you can accomplish the same effect with foam insole inserts. Put one inside each of your shoes; the inserts conform to the shape of your foot with each step you take, thanks to the malleable material.
  • Always buy shoes in your proper size to ensure the best fit. Never buy shoes that are a little too big or a little too small just because you like the style or because they are on sale. Breaking in your shoes is always more successful if they are your proper size to begin with.
  • Saddle soap and foam sole inserts can be purchased at a drugstore; moleskin padding is available at drugstores and shoe repair shops.

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.