How To Soften The Back Of New Shoes For The Most Comfortable Fitting

DATE: July 12, 2022

Author: Jimmy Lewis


The experience of buying new shoes is thrilling. But it can soon turn painful (and continue to last in the early days) as you continue walking in them since the comfort has not yet kicked in. 

Walking in new shoes also brings about blisters and bruises in different parts of your feet, especially the back, causing irritation and discomfort there.

Now you need the coolness from the new shoes but this should not come at the cost of irritation in your feet. So what can help you prevent the formation of blisters from brand new shoes and stop all the discomfort? 

Knowing how to soften the back of new shoes. For this, you can use the techniques such as using insoles, inserts, hairdryers, oils and even alcohol. 

This article will teach you how to apply the methods while answering your most pressing questions about making the shoes much more comfortable by softening them than breaking in normally.

How To Soften The Back Of New Shoes?

You can use any of the following useful techniques for softening the back of your shoes:

Insoles and Socks

With insoles, you can make a soft footing for your feet. Since insoles allow you an elevated and soft footing, you can walk around comfortably in these. For this, simply get the right fit by customizing the insoles according to your size. If you want to add socks as well, these two would make the back of your new shoe feel comfier and roomier with a better posture.

Also, remember to walk for some time in these as this will hasten the break-in process. Once the duo is adjusted to your foot and shapes itself accordingly, your shoes will get soft in all the right places.

Wooden Inserts

Wooden inserts are a more conventional way of elevating your shoes and giving you comfort at the back of your foot. Place it inside your shoe near the heels, and the increased room will grant you less pressure from the back of the shoe, making the area more stretched and comfortable.

Also, since wooden inserts don’t bend upon pressure, your shoes remain stretched out as long as you are wearing both the inserts and the shoes, breaking in quicker.

Since these are more durable and high-quality than mass insoles, these are pricier picks and even more so if you customize them. Finally, they not only make the back of your shoes stretched and hence soft but also keep your shoes well-ventilated making them last long

Hair Dryer

This method works the best for leather shoes and any other material-made shoes where heating can expand the material of the shoe. For this, you can take the following steps:

  1. Wear your thickest pair of socks before you attempt the heating process.
  2. Then, wear the shoes that you want to soften. It can be leather or fabric-made shoes that can withstand the heat without damage.
  3. Relax your toes instead of curling them up and let your feet sit wide inside the shoe naturally. 
  4. Now, using a hairdryer, warm up your shoe from every side, focusing on the back.
  5. Once you are done, let the leather cool down. Now you can remove the shoe and then the socks. 
  6. At this point, you will need to walk around in these freshly heated shoes for a bit. If you think these are soft and just about comfortable, you can stop here or repeat step 5.


Oils are a good way to stretch and soften your shoes without costing a fortune. It also keeps your shoes softer for longer. 

This is also a method that fits leather shoes more than other ones. However, if the material of your shoe is other than leather but can still use oils, you can apply this technique. If you don’t have castor oil, you can also use glycerine here.

For this, simply pour oil or glycerin onto your shoes and let it sink in. Once the soaking is done, the leather will turn soft and will stretch to some point. 

If you wear the shoes while applying the oil, the shoes will stretch even better, becoming soft at the back. Besides making the shoes soft, oil can also be used to bring back luster to your old shoes.


If you have worked with shoe stretching sprays, you know exactly how alcohol will work. There are 2 ways in which alcohol or rubbing alcohol can be used to soften and stretch shoes. These are:

  • In the first method, you put on your thickest pair of socks followed by your shoes that you want to soften and relax your feet inside. After that, you need to take the alcohol in a bottle and spray it in every direction. Once the alcohol soaks in, the shoe will soften.
  • Another method to do it is to spray your thickest pair of socks with rubbing alcohol and wear it followed by your shoes. You will then walk with your damp socks and shoes till the rubbing alcohol evaporates. This is best for canvas shoes as it will help the shoes to soften and stretch from the inside. However, make sure that you get fast-drying for this step or you may stain your shoe insides.

How Do I Soften The Heels Of My New Leather Shoes?

You can soften the heels of your leather shoe by using the hairdryer technique. For this, you will need to first put on a pair of thick socks. 

Try to get thicker socks as these will help the stretch be even better. Now grab your shoes and put them on with the socks to cover your feet and then blast on the hairdryer. 

At this point, you should flex your feet, and hold the hairdryer in the places of your shoe where it feels the tightest. This is going to soften the shoes there.

Why Do New Shoes Hurt The Back Of My Feet?

New shoes may hurt your feet even after taking the precautions of the right fit and all if you are wrong with the precautionary steps. 

While getting the inserts or insoles, particularly, you need to be careful of the right shape and height of them, besides the fit of these insoles. This will prevent the balls of your feet from sitting wrongly on the top of the insert on your back, which will prevent rubbing.

How Do I Stop My Shoes From Rubbing The Achilles?

You can use talcum powder or antiperspirant. This will help you to absorb the buildup of sweat on the back of your foot. 

This will further prevent friction on the back of your foot and the back of the shoes, letting you feel more comfortable there. Wearing two thin pairs of socks also helps with Achilles rubbing.

Do Canvas Shoes Get Softer?

Yes. Canvas shoes become softer with time. Since these are not as damaged as other shoes with time, even after getting equally wet, these remain comfortable and soft for long.

How Should You Soften The Back Of Canvas Shoes?

To soften the back of your canvas shoes, all you need is some socks or newspapers. 

Roll them up and fold them in the new canvas, securing them as tightly as you go adding more. Leaving them out will stretch them out. Be sure to remove them the next morning for the best softening and stretching.

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Jimmy Lewis

Travel & Shoe Fashion Enthusiast
This is Jimmy Lewis, a travel enthusiast with professionalism and a hobbyist who goes around the world, leads an enjoyable life with remarkable comfort. I’m one of the men with expertise in traveling, hiking, trekking, and jumping over 5 years of experience in living a remarkable life to be happy! That’s what, about shoes, I built an amazing website named to express my gathering knowledge over decades.

This blog explores the latest shoe trends, offering insights into popular styles, materials, and brands. From sneakers to heels, it covers everything you need to know to stay fashionable and comfortable in your footwear choices. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising & linking to Amazon properties. Simply as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more
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