With these tips, we’d walk a mile in any pair.

By Kelsey Mulvey
Updated March 13, 2020
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Imagine: After days (OK, maybe months or years) of browsing, you finally found the perfect pair of shoes. It doesn’t matter if they’re fabulous stilettos to wear to your best friend’s wedding or sensible loafers to serve as your comfortable work shoes: This pair looks good, goes with virtually any outfit, and it might have even been on sale. But as soon as your new shoes arrive at your doorstep—or you spend a considerable amount of time walking in them—you notice one tiny problem: They’re uncomfortable. Like, really uncomfortable.

The downside to great-looking shoes is that something as small as a strangely placed strap or a blister-inducing back can lead to days of aching feet, which will discourage you from wearing them again. Nobody wants their once-covetable kicks to turn into a waste of money and closet space, so we’re sharing tips to make every type of shoe more comfortable. From heels to flip flops and everything in between, these tips will finally teach you how to make shoes more comfortable for good. You’ll be walking a mile in any pair of your shoes before you know it.

How to make shoes more comfortable

1

Whether your heels are too high or the arch of your foot is too severe, it’s safe to say we all know that crippling feeling of wearing a pair of high heels for too long, even if they are comfortable high heels: that cramping sensation that can only be alleviated by an ice bath, foot rub, or taking off your shoes once and for all and tossing them as far from you as possible.

If you want to make those high heels more bearable, try taping your toes together. Trust us, there’s science behind it. Whether you’re rocking stilettoes or a more modest pair, any pair of heels place a lot of pressure at the ball of the foot. According to Footwear News, there’s a string of nerves that end at the ball of your foot that become irritated when you place a lot of pressure on them (as you do when you wear heels). Since the most commonly irritated nerve lies between your third and fourth toes, taping the two together can release some tension.

2

A beautiful pair of riding boots can bridge the gap between comfort and style, but what’s a person to do when the boot starts rubbing against your calf, creating unnecessary chafing and blisters?

If you think those chafed legs are bad enough during a crisp, dry day, just wait until the humidity rises. Healthline reports that chafing can be significantly worse in humid or sweaty environments. While you can wear a pair of tall, moisture-wicking socks with your boots, rubbing petroleum jelly or powder on vulnerable areas can also prevent chafing from occurring in the first place.

3

A pair of uncomfortable sneakers sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? These are the shoes you wear during long walks and big races, so they should mold to your foot with ease. However, it often takes some time to properly break into your gym kicks. So how can you expedite the process? Take out your blow dryer.

An old hack that has withstood the test of time, heat can reportedly loosen up those tighter parts of your shoes. Simply blast those snug areas with hot air, walk around in your shoes until they feel cool, and voilà! You’ll be ready to pound the pavement in a cozy pair of sneakers.

4

Let’s not sugarcoat things: A blister along the heel or ankle is a lot worse than it sounds. (If we’re being totally honest, it can be totally debilitating.) Fortunately, there are plenty of at-home hacks to help you minimize the pain.

Verily suggests filling two freezer bags with water, stuffing them inside your shoes, and placing your shoes in the freezer overnight. As the water freezes, the bag will expend and stretch out your flats, possibly making them your comfortable flats yet. While Verily says this trick only works for non-leather flats, Footwear News says it’s fine to freeze your leather shoes.

Another tip? Keep your feet dry. According to the Cleveland Clinic, blisters are more common on sweaty feet. Sure, you might not be able to control how moist your feet are, but coating them in baby powder or aluminum chloride can keep sweat (and, yes, blisters) at bay.

5

Just because flip flops have the least material doesn’t mean they’re pain-free. Not only do flip flops lack the structure and support of other shoes, but the toe thong can also cause a bad blister. Flip flops are unavoidable once summer rolls around, but there are some preventative measures you can take to keep your feet happy. Prevent that blister from rearing its ugly head by keeping your sandals dry because moisture equals blisters.

Before you embark on your summer getaway, throw another pair of shoes in your beach bag. Since flip flops are notorious for lacking support, they’re not built for long walks or dancing at your favorite seaside restaurant. Trust us, your feet will thank you later.