I don't like it when it hurts to walk.
May 3, 2007 1:28 AM   Subscribe

What can I do to make these shoes less hurty?

I just picked up a new pair of Naot mary-jane-type shoes, and although the Naot insole is everything it's cracked up to be and more, the strap rubs my foot in a really irritating way, and the back is driving my left Achilles tendon nuts. I have little red scabs all over my ankles. In general I tend toward instantly comfy tennis shoes; it's been a long time since I've had to really break in a pair of shoes for everyday wear, and I'm not entirely sure what (if anything) I can do.

Other than not wearing these shoes, what options do I have? I'd like to try DIY methods to either toughen my delicate skin or break in these shoes before I consult a pro.
posted by crinklebat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You want moleskin.
posted by amber_dale at 1:39 AM on May 3, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, but moleskin just makes your feet hurt less, it doesn't really make it so the shoes are better to wear long term. Right? Am I missing something here?
posted by crinklebat at 1:50 AM on May 3, 2007

If the shoes are leather the moleskin will protect your feet until they stretch to fit your foot. If they aren't, there's not really much you can do to break it in as it requires that certain combination of stretching and molding to the contours. If the rubbing is a function of chafing, Body Glide is a good way to minimize that and eventually your feet will toughen up.
posted by hindmost at 2:16 AM on May 3, 2007

I've used Dubbin wax for this purpose before - just take some of the wax on your fingers and rub it into the parts of the leather that are hurting the most, to soften it. It takes a bit of elbow grease as well as the Dubbin, but it works. If the shoes are made of really hard leather, you might need to repeat the waxing daily for a few days.

Otherwise, moleskin and bandaids on the hurty parts!
posted by goo at 2:49 AM on May 3, 2007

Many shoes have a thermoplastic counter insert (the part of the shoe that "grips" your heel) that can be remolded a bit, if you can get it warm enough (above about 180° F, achieveable with a hobby heat gun). But sometimes, the problem is not so much the counter, which seems to be the part hurting your heel (and where blisters may actually occur), as it is the midsole area, under the ball of your foot, not being flexible enough. The standard remedy for this is, is to grab the heel of the shoe in one hand, and the toe in the other, and a flex it a few hundred times in the ball area, to a greater degree than normal walking flexes the shoe.

As for problems with the strap, you need to look at the strap carefully, and make sure nothing sharp is there (a cut edge, a broken sewing needle fragment, or a pricing staple remmant can be common causes of straps that hurt).
posted by paulsc at 3:42 AM on May 3, 2007

Seconding paulsc, and adding that a bad stitch or a tiny knot can really kill you, especially if they're using that fishing-line-esque nylon (?) thread. Don't know what on earth you could do about it, though, sorry.
posted by scratch at 6:47 AM on May 3, 2007

I just bought some sandals that looked like they'd spend a week chewing my feet and then be super-comfy. I went to the drugstore and got moleskin and some "Band-Aid Blister Block Stick."

The shoes are all comfy now, and my feet stayed sweet. The moleskin is a dust collector. Get the stick thingy. There's even a coupon for it.

It's mostly hydrogenated vegetable oil, so presumably any similar grease (though the stick is not particularly greasy, surprisingly) would work. The chuck-in-purse size of the Band-Aid stuff is a real plus, though. I did not expect it to work nearly as well as it did; I can't say enough good things about it.
posted by kmennie at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2007

My strategy for getting used to a new pair of shoes (taught me by my mom, who loves shoes and has hard to fit feet) is to wear them one day, rest you feet for one or two days, then wear the shoes again with band-aids covering the blisters/potential blisters. Repeat as necessary.

I also love moleskin, and will put the double thick kind in shoes to make them fit better and keep my feet from sliding, because sliding=rubbing=hurting.

That said, some shoes never work out. Good luck.
posted by rintj at 8:07 AM on May 3, 2007

Take 'em to the shoe repair place and get them stretched for you. It makes all the difference, takes a day and costs $8-12. As a women's size 11, I know of what I speak.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:22 AM on May 3, 2007

From the looks of it, Body Glide is basically antiperspirant - which is exactly what I use to keep certain shoes from giving me blisters! Blisters are aggravated by sweat - stop the sweat and stop the blisters.
posted by radioamy at 9:12 AM on May 3, 2007

If the shoes are leather, and there's one tight spot that needs to be broken in, you can buy a product called something like Shoe Stretch. As far as I can tell, it's rubbing alcohol. Which is what I use. Drench a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol (although I guess there's no reason vodka wouldn't work?), saturate the area that's hurty, put the shoes on and let them dry on your foot. You may have to repeat this a few times, but it absolutely works.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:38 AM on May 3, 2007

The quick cheap method of what goo said: soap. Dry bar soap. Rub it where it's rubbing you, rub it lots, rub it right into the corners and all should be well. Maybe top it up every day, and then lessen that as they break in.

(I have a similar pair of shoes, and had to break them in for work, and after receiving this piece of advice, they were no trouble to me at all. It was great.)
posted by saturnine at 1:20 PM on May 3, 2007

For a permanent make-this-shoe-more-comfortable fix, try a heel insert. This will stop the back of the shoe from causing blisters. I've used this with Mary Jane type dress shoes in the past to good effect.
posted by Wavelet at 2:46 PM on May 3, 2007

I have found the Foot Petals line of adhesive shoe cushions to make any shoe more comfortable. With these little goodies, you protect your foot without having to think about it each time you put the shoes on.

To cushion the strap, I would go with Strappy Strips.

To cushion the back of the shoe, I would go with Heavenly Heelz

Until your feet are all reparied, I would use Band Aid Advanced Healing patches on them. These little suckers are fabulous and last many showers and many days. Just clean the area with a little alcohol before applying to ensure they stick well.

Happy shoeing!
posted by noodle95 at 6:20 PM on May 12, 2007

« Older The dreaded collection agency   |   If you can speak, you can sing! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.