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How to Break In Your New Leather Shoes
27 · 05 · 2020

How to Break In Your New Leather Shoes

Written by Gavin Humphreys

We’ve all suffered from breaking in new shoes at one point or another!

Just out of the box, brand new leather shoes can be like a wild horse, waiting to be tamed. And before you are comfortable in the saddle, you may well have some blood and tears along the way.

There are Blisters.

Foot pain.

Abrasions on the skin.

But at the end of the day, it’s all forgotten about. A good pair of leather shoes, tamed and ready to go at any moment, is always going to be your favorite of the bunch.

Don’t let breaking them in daunt you. Leather shoes can be the most comfortable and best-fitting of all shoes.

Let’s look at why we have to break leather shoes in, how to break them in, and the dos and don’ts when you are taming your shoes.

Why do some new shoes need breaking in?

High-quality leather shoes adjust to the shape of your feet. Over time leather will change its shape to create a shoe molded around your foot.

However, to get there, there’s that week or two where they just don’t feel right - the breaking in period.

First of all, the basic facts. New leather is generally a little tougher than worn-in leather. In shoes, you’ll notice this around the ankles, at the bend above your toes, the leather soles… These spots might cause a little pain.

However, little by little, the shoe becomes more flexible.

The process of breaking in shoes and boots is also about taking a pair of shoes that have been made for the general public - and making them unique to your feet. The leather will start to flex in the places that you need it to.

Not all shoes have the same breaking in period - and there are a lot of factors. With excellent quality shoes like ours, there may not even be any need to break them in.

Remember, while good-quality leather shoes will break in nicely - don’t confuse ‘breaking in’ with suffering badly-fitting shoes, and badly-made shoes. Neither of those problems can be overcome, no matter how much you try to break them in.

How do I know if my shoes fit me properly?

Most people know this by intuition. When you slide on a pair of shoes, they either feel good or they don’t.

There are a few things to look for with leather shoes, though.

Walk around the room and observe how they feel. Make sure they are properly tied, because this affects how they wear.

With brand new leather shoes, they should fit like a glove. In other words, don’t go for too big a size, as they age they will give a little more room.

But not too tight, mind! If you have been walking a lot, your feet expand a little. Bear this in mind when you are trying on new shoes (I’ve heard suggested to shop for shoes at the end of the day, once your feet are puffed up a little!). You should also allow about a half-inch at the toe of the shoe.

Go for shoes that match your foot shape. For example, if you have wide feet find shoes that will give them room. If you have a high instep, it is important that the top of your foot won’t be in pain.

There is often give at the back of the heel: you might feel the foot slides in and out a little. This is fine because the leather shoes and the sole will become more flexy as you break them in.

Dunham Derbies

Shoes should immediately make your feet feel good. Don’t be pressured by a sales assistant.

Finally, don’t be scared to ask an expert. We have a team always on hand to answer any queries - you can talk to them through the contact option above, or on the toll-free number.

Once you have a shoe that you are happy with, consider these dos and don’ts for breaking them in.

Five Dos and Don’ts of breaking in shoes

How do you soften shoes that hurt? Always take into account that full-grain leather is a versatile and hardy - but natural - material. Consider these tips for breaking in high-quality leather shoes:


  • Rotate shoes - allow your shoes, and your feet, to recover after wearing new shoes.

  • Wear comfortable socks - a nice pair of socks will protect your feet well.

  • Pad any spots you know will rub - a band aid usually does the trick.

  • Take a spare pair of comfy shoes with you - pack some sneakers in your satchel, just in case you need an emergency change.

  • Buy good-quality - ask if the shoe has been lasted and make sure it’s good leather.


  • Immediately wear them on a long trip - short walks are best to start with.

  • Continue to wear them if it hurts - little by little is the key.

  • Stick the shoes in the oven or the freezer - you might have heard the advice to warm up the leather, or cool it down, but don’t do it! With fine shoes you want to do everything gently. This is a natural product.

  • Try to soften them in the washing machine - some advice sites suggest getting the leather wet, but again this could irrevocably damage your beautiful shoes!

  • Give up - unless it’s a lost cause.

How long does it take to break in shoes?

That’s a question with a thousand answers.

The short answer is anything between three or four wears to three or four weeks.

Many of our customers say our shoes need no breaking in at all.

It also depends on the type of leather shoe. A boot wrapping tightly around the ankle, such as the Fonseca or the Easton Side-Zip Boots, will possibly need a little more time than a Cohen Loafer, or even an open laced Dowler Boot, for example. That’s neither good nor bad - it’s just a fact.

Do leather soles need more breaking in than rubber? They tend to be fairly comfortable from the start, but they do adjust to your foot the more you wear them, because they will start to soften where your foot bends. Unless you’re planning to run a marathon in your oxfords, I doubt that it’s something you’ll notice.

Gallagher Boots

The Beckett Simonon shoes break in

This is where our shoes excel. Take a quick read through our reviews section and you will find that customer after customer comments that they require little or no breaking in. Why is that?

Firstly, we use great leather:

  • Our shoes and boots are made with beautiful full-grain leather - and not only that, but our artisans cast a very knowledgeable eye over the hides, in order to select the best for the shoes. We line our shoes and boots with Vachetta leather, which is an especially gentle kind of leather.

Secondly, we design our shoes for comfort:

  • The shoes and boots are designed to be comfortable as well as looking great - and with a variety to suit everybody’s footwear needs. Our craftspeople are also at the top of their trade.

Thirdly, amazing leather soles:

  • We even have a team of craftsmen and women who specialize in creating the elegant leather soles. The soles are designed with a thinner waist - the midsection. This means it has the amazing stability of a leather sole but also great flexibility from the start.

Last but not least, because we last the shoes and boots for up to three days:

  • Lasting shoes is an age-old technique to mold the leather into the shape of the foot. The leather is pulled over foot-shaped molds (lasts) and left there to take shape. We have designed our own lasts, unique to Beckett Simonon. These lasts are the magic touch that bestows great comfort to each shoe and means that they are likely to not need much in the way of breaking in.

Taming of the Shoe

At the end of the day, after you’ve broken them in, good leather shoes are going to be the finest and most comfortable shoes in your wardrobe.

As I mentioned, it’s important to find the shoe which suits you, and how you are going to use it. Look through the Beckett Simonon collection, there is something for everybody. You order them, the artisans get to work on making your shoes, then we deliver them to your house - we are confident that you won’t find breaking them in much of a problem!

If you are interested in the process of making our high-quality shoes - find out more in our craftsmanship section.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you.



stenbok Aug 26, 2021

Great share! This post is very useful.

Gavin Oct 29, 2020

Hello Carl, thanks for the question. When you receive new shoes from Beckett Simonon the leather sole has been moisturized and waxed and has a nice shine. Once you start to use them, the leather very soon becomes exposed. For that reason, I suggest you should use sole protector from early on, perhaps even after your first use (just make sure they are nice and dry first).

Carl Harris Oct 29, 2020

When I receive my new shoes, how soon should I use sole protecter?

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