How to Break in New Running Shoes? 4 Simple Steps

How to Break in New Running Shoes

Knowing how to break in new running shoes can help you get past that often-uncomfortable “adjustment” period more quickly so you can get the most out of your brand-new kicks!

If you're a runner, then treating yourself to a new pair of running shoes can be the ultimate indulgence. Unfortunately, unless those new shoes are an absolutely perfect fit, there's a good chance that there will be a bit of a “break-in” period, during which that brand-new pair of expensive running shoes might not be the most comfortable to wear.

The good news? There are some simple steps you can take to expedite the process of breaking in your running shoes while also protecting yourself from common injuries (like those dreaded blisters).

Step 1. Make Sure You Have the Right Fit

Measure your foot
Measure your foot to make sure you have the right fit

Cutting down on the adjustment period with a new pair of running shoes really begins with making sure you have the right fit. The hands-down best way to do this is to actually have your running shoes custom-made for your feet. 

If shelling out money for custom-made running shoes isn't quite in your budget, there are some tips you can follow as you shop for a pair of off-the-rack running shoes to optimize your fit. This includes:

  • measuring your foot to determine your proper size
  • making sure you have a thumb's width of space between your toe and the end of the shoe
  • trying on shoes with the same type of socks you plan to run in
  • trying on shoes at the end of the day (to accommodate for any swelling or size fluctuations)

Step 2. Wear Them Around the House

Even once you've found a running shoe that fits like a glove, it's a good idea to start by wearing them around the house before you take them out on a run. Simply wear them while walking around the house for an hour or two a day. Ideally, you should split this time up so that you're wearing them equally in the morning and later at night, as it is common for feet to swell and change size a bit throughout the day.

While you're wearing your new running shoes around the house, be sure that you're also wearing the same socks that you would wear on an actual run. This will ensure that your shoes are broken in properly.

Step 3. Start Wearing Them Gradually on Runs

How to break-in new running shoes
Gradually switch to your new running shoes so you can ease your feet into the new pair

If you're still feeling comfortable after wearing your new running shoes around the house for a few days, then you may be ready to take them out on your first outdoor run.

Still, it's a good idea to keep your old pair of running shoes in the rotation for a week or two before you completely make the switch to your new shoes. This might mean wearing your new shoes for just one or two runs the first week and working your way up to three or four runs the following week.

By gradually making the switch to your new running shoes, you can ease your feet (and the rest of your body) into the new pair more slowly and reduce your risk of injury as a result.

Step 4. Make Alterations As Needed

After you've put your new shoes to the test a few times, you'll probably have a better idea as to whether additional “breaking in” or alterations are needed.

If you're experiencing blisters on your heels, for example, then it may be time to add a heel cup to your new running shoes. Likewise, if you're noticing arch pain or other aches that you did not experience with your previous shoes, then you may want to look into adding a custom orthotic or other arch support.

The Final Word on How to Break in New Running Shoes

A great pair of running shoes is one that fits your feet like a glove and doesn't cause problems like blisters, ingrown nails, or arch pain. And a lot of times, avoiding these issues starts with simply finding the right fit.

Even with a proper fit, however, these tips can help you break in a new pair of running shoes quickly and comfortably. From there, you can avoid pain and injuries while running, which can help you get the most out of every run!

FAQs About How to Break in New Running Shoes

How long does it take to break in new running shoes?

Ideally, a well-fitting pair of new running shoes won't even need to be “broken in.” However, you can generally expect it to take two to three weeks of regular wear for a new set of running shoes to reach peak comfort and an optimal fit around your foot.

Do you have to break in new running shoes?

If you buy a running shoe that fits you properly—and especially if you splurge for a pair of custom-fit running shoes—there should be no real need to break in a new pair. However, it is generally recommended that you start wearing new running shoes gradually and intermittently to avoid blisters and other injuries. 

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