Do Leather Shoes Need To Be Broken In? (9 Pros & Cons)

Do Leather Shoes Need To Be Broken In

We all know that new shoes are usually tight at first, but do leather shoes really need to be broken in?

The Pros Of Breaking In Leather Shoes The Cons Of Breaking In Leather Shoes
Breaking In Makes The Leather Shoes Comfortable To Wear Breaking In Leather Shoes May Take Time
Breaking In Leather Shoes Prevents Wear And Tear Breaking In Leather Shoes Can Wear It Out
Breaking In Leather Shoes Prevents Creases And Cracks Breaking In Can Be Uncomfortable
Breaking In Leather Shoes Helps The Shoe Fit Better Breaking In Can Cause The Shoe To Lose Its Shape
Allows Your Feet To Form Into The Shape Of The Leather Shoe

Continue reading this article to learn the pros, cons, how to know when to break in your leather shoes and the best methods for breaking in leather shoes in a stress-free method.

The Pros Of Breaking In Leather Shoes

There are a lot of benefits to breaking in leather shoes properly. Below are some of the advantages that come with breaking in leather shoes;

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1. Breaking In Makes The Leather Shoes Comfortable To Wear

One of the main reasons people break in their leather shoes is to make them more comfortable to wear.

When you first put on a new pair of leather shoes, they’re going to be tight and not very forgiving.

This is because leather shoes that are new are very compact and generally firm. Also, stitches and seams in the shoes will rub against your feet and cause blisters if they’re not broken in first.

However, by taking the time to work them in gradually, you’ll allow the materials to stretch and form around your feet, which will result in a much more comfortable fit.

This is especially important if you’re someone who wears shoes all day long, as you’ll want to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.

So if you want your leather shoes to be as comfortable as possible right from the get-go, then you’ll want to break them in.

2. Breaking In Leather Shoes Prevents Wear And Tear

Another benefit of breaking in your leather shoes is that it will prevent them from getting worn down too quickly.

When you first put on a new pair of leather shoes, certain points or parts of the leather shoe will be more prone to wear and tear.

This is because those areas have not been molded yet to your feet, so they’re taking the brunt of all the force.

By carefully breaking in your leather shoes, you’ll allow those areas to stretch and conform to your feet over time, which will help minimize the amount of wear and tear they take.

So if you want to make sure your leather shoes last a long time, then it’s important that you give them the proper breaking-in treatment.

3. Breaking In Leather Shoes Prevents Creases And Cracks

Another reason to break in leather shoes is that it can prevent creases and cracks from appearing.

When you first put on a new pair of leather shoes, the area around your ankles or around the toebox will be prone to creasing and cracking.

This is because those areas are stiffer than other parts of your leather shoes, so they’re more likely to crease or crack as you flex them around.

When you carefully break in your leather shoes, you’ll allow those areas to stretch and form over time, which will help reduce the chances of them creasing or cracking.

So if you want to keep your leather shoes looking good for as long as possible, then make sure you break them in properly.

This will not only help you keep your leather shoes looking nice, but it will also help you get the most use out of them.

4. Breaking In Leather Shoes Helps The Shoe Fit Better

Another benefit of breaking in leather shoes is that it can help the shoe fit better.

When you first put on a new pair of leather shoes, apart from it not being a comfortable fit it will likely not look very good on your feet either.

This is because leather shoes need time to mold to the shape of your feet, and without taking the time to break them in you’re not going to get that desired effect.

However, by gradually breaking in your leather shoes over a period of time, you’ll allow them to stretch and form around your feet – and this will give you the best possible fit and look.

So if you’re looking for a leather shoe that will both look and feel great on your feet, then make sure you break them in first.

This will result will be a much more comfortable and flattering fit, which is definitely something you want to achieve if you’re looking for leather shoes that look good on your feet.

5. Allows Your Feet To Form Into The Shape Of The Leather Shoe

As mentioned before, when you first put on a new pair of leather shoes, they may not be the most comfortable fit.

This is because your feet are still trying to adjust and conform to the shape of the shoe – which takes time.

But it is very important to give your leather shoes time to form around the shape of your feet, as this will help provide a much more comfortable fit.

This will help tremendously when you wear and move in your leather shoes, as your feet will have already formed to the shape of the shoe.

So if you’re looking for a more comfortable and customized fit, then make sure you break in your leather shoes before wearing them out.

The Cons Of Breaking In Leather Shoes

Now that we’ve discussed the many benefits of breaking in your leather shoes, let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks as well.

1. Breaking In Leather Shoes May Take Time

The first and most obvious con is that it takes time to break in leather shoes – so you won’t be able to wear them out right away.

This is because breaking in leather shoes is a gradual process, so it can take anywhere from a few days to even weeks before you get the desired results.

So if you’re looking for new leather shoes that will be ready to wear right away, then breaking them in may not be the best option.

2. Breaking In Leather Shoes Can Wear It Out

One of the main concerns most people have when it comes to breaking in leather shoes is that it will wear out the leather material.

This can be true to an extent, as you’re essentially putting your leather shoe through a lot of stress and pressure – which can result in some tearing or fraying over time.

However, this really depends on how much force you put into breaking them in and the type of method you use to break in your leather shoes.

So if you’re careful and take the necessary precautions, then you can break in your leather shoes without wearing them out.

3. Breaking In Can Be Uncomfortable

If the breaking-in method you’re using entails wearing the leather shoes for a couple of weeks, those first few weeks can be very uncomfortable.

This is because your feet are still trying to adjust to the new shoes, so you’ll likely experience a lot of blisters, pain, and soreness.

However, as long as you’re persistent and continue breaking in the leather shoes even when they’re uncomfortable, it will eventually lead to a much more comfortable fit.

I personally do not like this method as it is not only painful and uncomfortable but it also takes too long.

If I do not have other means of breaking in my leather shoes, I much rather buy a shoe that is comfortable from the get-go even if it means spending extra money or letting go of one of my favorites.

4. Breaking In Leather Shoes Can Cause The Shoe To Lose Its Shape

If you’re not careful, breaking in your leather shoes can also cause them to lose their shape.

This is because the constant bending and stretching of the leather material can cause it to become warped or misshapen over time.

So a lot of care and caution must be taken when breaking in leather shoes, as you don’t want to end up with a shoe that doesn’t look the same as it did before.

How Do You Know If Your Leather Shoes Needs To Be Broken In?

Now that you know the pros and cons of breaking in your leather shoes, it is important to know how to determine if your leather shoes actually need it.

Slide Them On

The first step is to slide your leather shoes on – and this should be a very easy fit. If you feel that there’s very little room or they’re too tight, then it may mean that the leather shoe needs breaking in.

By doing this, you will intuitively know whether or not you need to break in leather shoes.

Wear The Leather Shoe And Walk Around

One important thing a lot of people refuse to do when purchasing a leather shoe is that they only put them on while seated.

Not only is it important to wear a new pair of leather shoes, but it is also important that you walk around in them.

This will give you the chance to understand all of the pressure points and how the shoes feel when you’re walking in them.

If it’s too tight or uncomfortable, then breaking in the leather shoe is necessary.

New vs. Old Leather Shoes

Usually, when the leather shoes are new, you will need to break them in even if they are the perfect size for you.

This is because the leather material has not been used before and it needs to adjust to your feet.

However, if you’re using an old pair of leather shoes that have been broken in, you will not need to do anything as they are already comfortable. All you do is to find something your size and you’re good to go.

If The Leather Shoe Has Less Than Half-Inch In The Toe

When purchasing leather shoes or when deciding why you should make sure to also allow about a half-inch in the toebox of the shoe.

If it is less than half an inch then you would want to break in the leather shoe so that it becomes more comfortable.

What Are The Best Ways To Break In Leather Shoes?

There are a number of ways that people can go about breaking in leather shoes properly so they become comfortable to wear. Below are some examples of how this is done;

The Chunky Socks Method

When you’re breaking in leather shoes, one way to do it is by wearing chunky socks.

What this does is that it will add an extra layer of material so that the shoe can become more flexible over time.

The key to making this work is to make sure that the socks are thick and not thin. This could be slightly uncomfortable but it will make a lot of difference.

The Shoe-Horn Method

The shoe-horn method is where you insert the shoe-horn into the back of the shoe and then slowly ease your foot in.

This is a very popular way to break in leather shoes as it does not put too much stress on the leather shoe material and feet.

Repeating this process a few times a day will help the leather shoes to stretch out gradually.

The Leather Conditioner Method

Another great way to break in leather shoes is by using a good-quality leather conditioner.

What this will do is soften the material so that it becomes more flexible and easier to stretch out.

What you do is apply the conditioner generously on all areas of the leather shoe especially the parts that will be bending and stretching – which is usually the toe, sides, and heel.

After doing this, put on your chunky socks and then wear them for a few minutes in the day. You can repeat this for a few days or until the leather shoes are broken in.

The Wet Shoe Method

The wet shoe method is where you get a damp cloth and wet the leather shoe all over.

You then take a dry cloth and rub it in a circular motion until the water is absorbed.

After doing this, you will want to wear the leather shoe for a few minutes at first and gradually increase the time you wear it.

What this does is that the rubbing motion will soften up the material so that it becomes more flexible. This method works really well with all types of natural leather.

The Ice Bag Method

Fill two plastic freezer bags with water and place them in each shoe’s toe. Freeze your shoes for one night.

The water in the leather shoe will expand when frozen and this will help expand and break in the leather shoe.

The key is to make sure that you do not put the shoes in too long so it damages them. Also, you do not want to put too much water in the freezer bag so that you do not overstretch the leather shoe.

After freezing, let the shoes thaw out for a few hours before trying them on. If they are still too tight, then repeat the process until the leather shoe is comfortable.

Final Thoughts

Leather shoes are definitely a classic and timeless item that can be worn in any occasion.

It is important to take care of them by properly breaking them in so they become more comfortable over time.

There are many ways to do this, but the ones mentioned above are some of the most popular and effective methods. Enjoy the article, and your comfortable leather shoes!

Kwabena

Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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