How To Break In Leather Shoes
Fit & Care Tips

How To Break In Leather Shoes


Any new pair of shoes needs time to break in, but that’s especially true with leather shoes. Leather shoes can certainly feel great out of the box, but they really hit their stride after they’ve been broken in properly, and molded to the wearer’s feet. There are many tactics to help speed up the break-in process, but always consult with the manufacturer’s care instructions before trying them. Notably, the break-in period on Samuel Hubbard shoes is short and as painless as possible due to the materials and construction used in each pair.

Do: Wear Them For Short Periods

Shoes are at their most uncomfortable when they’re brand new, which presents a Catch-22: the shoes need to be worn to be broken in, but wearing them may be uncomfortable. When shoes are brand new, wear them for short periods at first to help break them in. Wearing them around the house is great because you can simply take them off after an hour or two of break in.

An added benefit of wearing shoes around the house is that you can do so while sitting down, allowing the shoes to mold to your feet without standing and putting weight on your feet. Over the course of the day, your feet swell, so scheduling a break-in session at the end of the day can help break in the shoes too.

Do: Wear Thick Socks

While many leather shoes (like Hubbards) are designed to be worn without socks, they should be worn with socks during the initial break-in process. Socks will help eliminate hot spots and reduce blisters. Thick socks will add more cushion and comfort, making the break-in process even smoother.

Do: Use Extra Padding

If there are particular spots that cause rubbing or chafing (hot spots) consider using bandaids or blister cushions to provide extra coverage and cushion to sensitive areas while the shoes break in.

Do: Take Care Of Your Feet

Foot care is equally important when breaking in shoes. Keep skin clean and soft will reduce the likelihood of developing blisters. Make sure to generously wash your feet in the shower (feet are often neglected), stay hydrated and use moisturizer or lotion to keep skin soft and smooth.

Don’t: Warm Shoes Up

Some break-in guides may suggest speeding up the break-in process by using a hair dryer or heat gun to warm up the leather and help it mold to the feet. This is generally bad advice, especially in shoes that use fine leathers. Leather contains natural oils that keep it soft and pliable. Applying extra heat starts to dry out the leather which can lead to premature wear in the form of cracking or discoloration. By letting leathers break-in naturally, you ensure that they will take you further for longer.

Don’t: Get Shoes Wet

Other break-in guides suggest using water to wet the shoes to make the leather more pliable. This isn’t recommended either, for the same reasons why heat isn’t a good idea. While leather is naturally water-resistant, soaking leather will effectively start to wash away the natural oils that keep it in tip-top shape. Plus, water can actually shrink leather shoes, which defeats the purpose of breaking them in.

How Long Does It Take To Break-in Leather Shoes?

Leather shoe break-in can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on the leather and construction. Samuel Hubbard shoes use the highest quality materials and construction techniques, resulting in a very short break-in period. Glove leather lining is super soft and supple to prevent blisters and hotspots during the break-in period. Adventure right out of the box.

Shop Samuel Hubbard Leather Shoes

Shop Samuel Hubbard’s collection of leather shoes for men and women, and enjoy comfort out of the box, with minimal break-in needed!