Quick Tip: Breaking in new shoes

Getting new dance shoes is all kinds of awesome: you get to try a new style, and each new pair seems to hold the potential of a million new moves. New shoes make you feel good; they give you confidence and make you feel graceful.

But like most shoes, dance shoes don’t come tailored to your foot (unless you have custom shoes made. But that’s a different story altogether), and will take a bit of time to break in. The upper and the front part of the sole need time to stretch and conform to your foot, and that can take some time.

Here’s what you can do to help that transition along:

  1. Wear your dance shoes around the house. Rather than go dancing in them straight away, break your shoes in gently while by wearing them while doing less strenuous activities. Do a few dance steps, get a feel for where your shoes are holding you back, and gently stretch any part that needs to be stretched.
  2. Accessorize – only if you need to. Some of us wear orthotic insoles in our dance shoes to give our feet some extra support. Others prefer to wear thin insoles for added cushioning/comfort, while some others wear heel cups or extra straps to adapt their shoes to the shape of their feet. If you do typically wear one of these things, make sure your new shoes (1) need them (no sense adding bulk and weight to your feet when you don’t need it) and (2) have room for them. Always break in your shoes the way you would wear them, and that includes any insoles or orthotics.
  3. Bring bandages, toe tape or moleskin with you the first few times you dance in your new shoes. Just like any new shoes, dance shoes are more rigid to start with and soften over time, so the first few times you wear them they might pinch or rub your toes and cause blisters. As soon as you feel your shoes rubbing a specific spot a bit too much, tape or bandage that spot to prevent blisters. If you already have a blister, use moleskin to cushion it and prevent more pain. In time, the offending part of your shoe will stretch and you won’t need to bandage up any more, but always protect your feet when you feel the need.

Do you break in your new shoes? Have a technique to share? Leave it below!


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