Buying new shoes for CNY? Here are painless ways to break into them
Try these simple hacks for comfortable shoes this Chinese New Year
We all love buying new shoes, and Chinese New Year gives us the perfect excuse - until we put them on and remember what a pain it is to break them in.
Here are three problems you will face with any new pair of footwear, and three easy hacks to help you find some relief.
New soles tend to be more slippery because they are so smooth. This is problematic because you have to spend more effort gripping with your toes, which places a lot of strain on your feet.
Solution: Use sandpaper
This technique is easy and inexpensive, but it will break your heart if you had splashed out on that pair of designer shoes.
Filing the soles with sandpaper will soften them and create marks and nooks that are necessary for a better grip, which in turn gives you more traction and reduces the likelihood of sending you tumbling to the ground.
Solution: Spray on a layer of anti-slip coating
If your shoes sport coloured soles (think Christian Louboutin) and you baulk at scuffing that beautiful surface with sandpaper, coat the soles with an invisible adhesive spray. It is not cheap, but it is a great option that does not leave any noticeable trace.
A cheaper alternative to an adhesive spray will be hairspray. It works the same way when you spritz it on your soles. But there is a caveat - it will wear off once there is direct contact with water, so you will have to reapply it.
A SIZE TOO SMALL
We have all done this before - we went ahead with a purchase even though the shoes are not our size, just because we have been wanting them for too long.
This is a method most people swear by. Put on some chunky socks and grab your hairdryer.
Slip into your new shoes and aim the hairdryer (set to warm) at areas that feel particularly tight for about 30 seconds.
While your shoes are still hot and malleable, walk around the room briskly for a minute to loosen them. Continue blowing and walking until you feel they are comfortable enough for an afternoon out.
The heat will loosen the fabric of the shoes, while the socks will stretch it out.
Solution: Freeze overnight
Fill two plastic bags with water and squeeze them inside your shoes until they reach the toe areas but be gentle. You do not want to cause the bags to tear. Stick your shoes in the freezer overnight. The water will freeze and expand, stretching the toe areas in a fuss-free manner.
Remember to fill the bags with water only up to the midway point to give them space for expansion. Fill too much and they might burst. Start small with this method in case you overstretch your shoes.
Solution: Get a shoe stretcher
If you have a new pair of leather shoes (like lambskin, cowhide and suede) and you are afraid of trying out the above two methods for fear of ruining them, seek the right tools.
Buy two shoe stretchers and leave them in your shoes overnight.
You might also need to coat your shoes with a stretching spray, which will penetrate the material and allow the stretchers to work better. Leather is supple, so the stretchers will help expand the material and give more room for your feet.
This works only if you wish to expand your shoes by half a size. Any larger and you will probably need a new pair of kicks.
BLISTERS AND CRAMPS
Sometimes even when a pair is in the perfect size, chafing still occurs because of friction between your feet and the shoes, causing painful blisters or abrasions that make walking an excruciating task.
Solution: Applying petroleum jelly
Before you put on your new pair of shoes, apply some petroleum jelly like Vaseline on potential problem areas (both on your feet and in your shoes), such as your heels, little toes and the edge of the balls of your feet.
The jelly acts as a protective barrier against any potential friction, ensuring your strolls are pain-free. Grab it in a pocket size so that you can keep it handy at all times, in case you need to reapply throughout the day.
Solution : Dip it in a bucket of water
This method works better for dark hues so do not try this with your light-coloured shoes.
Dunk your new shoes into a bucket of water for five minutes before immediately towelling them dry to prevent any chance of discolouration.
Wear them out after that, preferably for at least an hour.
With this method, the water molecules absorbed by your leather footwear would aid in the moulding of the shoes, allowing them to expand faster.
But before attempting this method, give it a test run by dropping a bit of water on a small area to see if the colour runs. Try this on the insides of your shoes so if it happens to stain, it will not be visible.
Solution: Tape your third and fourth toes together
These two toes have more sensitive nerve endings, so taping them together with paper tape will redistribute the pressure.
Shoes that have closed and pointed tips naturally cause the most pain as they squeeze your toes tightly together.
Taping will reduce the stress and at the same time, reduce friction caused by your toes rubbing against each other. It also acts as a barrier against the inner surface of your shoes, thus preventing blisters.
This article first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)