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How to break in patent leather shoes

Updated February 21, 2017

While many types of new shoes require a "break in" period before they feel comfortable, patent leather shoes more often than not require such a period. This is because patent leather, unlike regular leather, has a glossy finish which is also somewhat stiff. To achieve this glossy finish, shoes makers apply varnish or lacquer during the final steps of tanning. Stiff new shoes can easily cause painful blisters. It is possible, however, to make the break-in process of patent leather shoes swifter and more comfortable without damaging the leather.

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  1. Turn on your hair dryer to high heat and blow the warm air on the inside and outside of the shoes. Concentrate on the heel and toe.

  2. Apply a quarter-sized amount of the face or body cream to the interior of the shoe. Work the cream in thoroughly, again concentrating on the heel and toe.

  3. Put your shoes on immediately and wear them around the house. When they start to hurt, take them off.

  4. Apply another quarter-sized amount of cream to the interior of the shoe. Work it deep into the leather and let it soak in overnight.

  5. Tip

    You can also use petroleum jelly in place of the body or face cream.. You may need to repeat these steps the following day to notice real improvement.


    If you don't take the shoes of when they start to hurt, you could risk getting a blister, which will make the break-in process exponentially harder.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hair dryer
  • Body or face cream

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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