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How to Break in Running Shoes – Step-by-Step Guide

Every runner, whether a seasoned pro or a beginner, knows the importance of the right footwear. The process of breaking in running shoes is crucial not only for enhancing performance but also for ensuring comfort and reducing the risk of injuries.
In this comprehensive guide, we share the best practices for breaking in your new running shoes, ensuring that they meld perfectly with your feet.

Why Breaking in Running Shoes is Important?

Running shoes, like a good pair of jeans, need some time to mold to your unique foot shape. Breaking them in ensures maximum comfort, reduces the risk of blisters, and enhances shoe longevity. Ever noticed how a shoe feels different after a few runs? That’s the magic of the breaking-in process.

How to Break in Running Shoes?

Start with Short Walks

Before you even think about running, start by wearing your new shoes around the house. This allows your feet to get used to them in a controlled environment. Spend a few days walking in them, doing everyday tasks. This will help in gently stretching the shoes and molding them to the shape of your feet.

Incorporate Short Runs

Once you feel comfortable walking in your new shoes, introduce them to your running routine gradually.
Introduce your new shoes to running by starting with short distances. For the first few runs, limit your distance to 2-3 miles and observe any discomfort.

Alternate with Old Shoes

It’s advisable not to ditch your older running shoes immediately. Instead, rotate between the old and new pairs. This not only gives your new shoes time to break in slowly but also ensures that you aren’t over-stressing your feet while the new shoes adapt.

Monitor for Hot Spots

While breaking in your new shoes, pay attention to any areas of discomfort or “hot spots.” These are areas where the shoe rubs against your foot, potentially leading to blisters. If you identify any such areas, consider using sports tape or blister patches as a preventive measure.

Use Quality Socks

When figuring out how to break in shoes faster, the socks you select are pivotal. Their material and thickness have a direct influence on the shoe’s comfort and fit. To expedite the shoe-break-in process, it’s wise to wear the socks you intend to run or walk in. Not only will this give you a genuine feel for the shoe’s fit, but quality socks can also be a barrier against blisters and unease. Just as you focus on the shoe, prioritizing sock quality is a crucial step in learning how to break in shoes faster.

Shoe Stretch Sprays

One of the best ways to break in new running shoes is to utilize shoe stretch sprays. These sprays have been formulated to relax and soften the shoe material, making it more flexible. Once applied, slipping on the shoes can expedite the molding process to fit your feet snugly.

Warm Them Up

When pondering

warming them up is a practical approach. Utilizing a hairdryer on a low setting, you can gently heat the shoes, paying special attention to snug areas. This technique can considerably reduce the initial stiffness, providing a more comfortable fit sooner. However, it’s vital to exercise caution, ensuring you don’t overheat the shoes, as excessive heat might compromise the shoe’s integrity.

Use Shoe Inserts or Insoles

One of the best ways to break in running shoes is to consider the use of shoe inserts or insoles. These aren’t just ordinary additions to your footwear; specially designed insoles have the potential to subtly modify the shoe’s fit. By doing so, they enhance comfort levels and expedite the breaking-in phase. This method ensures your feet align perfectly with the shoe’s contours.

Listen to Your Feet

While accelerating the breaking-in process, always be attentive to how your feet feel. If there’s any sign of discomfort, it’s crucial to address it immediately.

Tips for Maintaining Your Running Shoes

Once you’ve successfully broken in your shoes, regular maintenance ensures they last longer and continue to offer optimal support:

Alternate Between Pairs

If you run frequently, consider having two pairs of shoes and alternate between them. This gives each pair a chance to air out and return to its natural shape, extending their lifespan.

Clean Them Properly

After a muddy or wet run, remove loose dirt with a brush. For a deeper clean, use a mild detergent and cold water, then let them air dry. Avoid submerging them completely in water or using a washing machine.

Air Dry Only

Never place running shoes in the dryer or directly in sunlight to dry. Instead, remove the insoles and let them air dry separately. You can also stuff them with newspaper to help absorb moisture and maintain their shape.

Store Correctly

Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid leaving them in hot cars, as extreme temperatures can break down the shoe materials.

Use Them for Running Only

Running shoes are designed specifically for running. Using them for other activities or as everyday wear can cause them to wear out faster.

Check for Wear

Regularly inspect your shoes for signs of wear, especially in the sole and midsole. Over time, the cushioning can break down, affecting support and increasing the risk of injury.

Replace Insoles

Over time, the insoles of your shoes might flatten or become less supportive. Consider replacing them with new ones to maintain cushioning and support.

Untie Laces When Removing

Instead of pushing your foot out without untying the laces, always loosen the laces first. This preserves the shoe’s structure and prevents unnecessary strain on the materials.

Avoid Extreme Conditions

If possible, avoid running in extremely wet conditions or through deep puddles. Water can break down glue and other materials, reducing the shoe’s lifespan.

Know When to Replace

Running shoes typically last between 300 to 500 miles. Listen to your body – if you start experiencing discomfort or notice that the shoe’s cushioning has significantly reduced, it’s probably time for a new pair.


When wondering, do you need to break in running shoes? The answer leans heavily towards yes. Properly breaking in your running shoes is an essential step in your running. It ensures comfort, improves performance, and reduces the risk of injuries. By following the steps and tips outlined above, you’re setting yourself up for countless enjoyable runs in your new footwear.
Run Comfortably and Confidently with Broken-in Shoes


How long does it take to break in running shoes?

It typically takes between 50 to 100 miles to fully break in running shoes. During this period, the shoes adjust to your foot shape and running style. It’s crucial to gradually increase mileage and monitor comfort to ensure optimal fit and prevent potential injuries. Each shoe and individual experience can vary, so listening to your body is essential.

Can I use any sock type when breaking in?

Yes, you can use any sock type when breaking in shoes. However, it’s recommended to use socks similar in thickness and material to those you’ll wear regularly with the shoes. This ensures a more accurate fit and comfort level. Using the right socks can prevent blisters and enhance the break-in process, making the shoes feel more tailored to your feet.

How to make new shoes feel comfortable?

To make new shoes feel comfortable. Gradually increase wear time to avoid blisters. Use shoe stretchers for tight spots. Apply moisturizer or rubbing alcohol inside, then wear to stretch. Insert cushioned insoles for added comfort. Wear socks of desired thickness during break-in. Soften stiff areas by massaging with hands. Avoid long walks until fully broken in.

Is there a risk in running a marathon with new shoes?

Yes, running a marathon with new shoes poses risks. New shoes haven’t adapted to your foot shape or running style, which can cause blisters, discomfort, or injuries. Without a proper break-in period, the shoe may lack flexibility or provide uneven support, potentially impacting performance and causing long-term foot issues. It’s advisable to train in shoes before marathon participation.

What are the signs that my shoes are adequately broken in?

Signs that shoes are adequately broken in include: increased comfort with no areas of pinching or rubbing, the shoe materials feeling softer and more flexible, the footwear adapting to your foot’s shape and walking or running style, a reduction or absence of initial stiffness, and no new blisters or hot spots forming during extended wear.