How To Break In New Running Shoes: Guide, Benefits + 7 Pro Tips

The moment when your fresh box of brand new running shoes arrives is always an exciting one.

It’s likely you’ll be tempted to slip them on immediately and go straight out for a run. Hold your horses, though… if you take the time to break them in first, you’ll thank yourself later.

Breaking in your shoes can help you avoid injuries and ensure that you’re comfortable and confident when out running.

We’ll get into the benefits of the how to break in new running shoes process in a bit more detail later on; but first, let’s quickly run through the main topics we’ll be covering in this article:

  • The importance of good running shoes
  • What makes the perfect running shoes
  • Why you should break in your trainers properly
  • How long it takes to break in running shoes
  • Top tips for the breaking-in process

After today, you’ll have a solid grasp of the best ways to ensure you get used to your new running shoes quickly, without picking up any blisters, sores, or other injuries.

But before we give you some top tips on how to break in new running shoes, let’s explore why picking the right trainer is so crucial.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

Why Are Good Running Shoes So Important?

Let’s talk about that all-important purchase.

Choosing the right running shoes is important, but the process can be stressful due to the endless available options.

You might be tempted to just grab the first decent-looking shoe you see in your price range, but it’s useful to dig a little deeper.

Firstly, you need to pick a pair that fits you properly. You want a thumb’s space between the longest toe and the toe box. Any more room and your toes may move and strike the toe box, which can cause blisters and sores.

Wearing shoes that don’t fit you properly can cause all sorts of problems. One of the main risks is contracting Runner’s Toe, a condition that looks pretty gruesome and can cause a lot of pain.

It’s also important to pick running shoes that match the terrain you’re competing on. For instance, trail marathons have very different underfoot conditions to road marathons.

You should seek advice from trustworthy stores in which the staff are also runners. Stick to reputable sports brands that you know work for you. If there’s a brand or model you’ve found suitable in the past, there’s no need to change to something different.

Sticking to these basic rules should allow you to pick out a good pair of trainers that suits your needs. And while these needs vary depending on the individual, there are a few universal things to look for in a good running shoe.

Let’s take a quick look at what makes the ideal running shoe.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

What Makes The Perfect Running Shoe?

As we just mentioned, you should tailor your trainer choice to your own specific needs and circumstances.

What works for you will depend on the regularity, distance, and terrain of your running.

Here are four things to bear in mind when making a purchase:

#1: Understand Pronation

Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. This movement helps your foot reduce the stress of impact. You want to avoid overpronation (rolling your foot too much to the inside) and underpronation (rolling too much to the outside) by picking a shoe that suits you.

#2: Pick A Shoe That Matches Your Foot Type

There are 3 main types of foot shape: normal arch, high arch, and low arch (you can find out more about different foot types here).

Determine your arch type by performing a wet test, and pick a shoe that matches it. For example, if you have a low arch or flat foot, you’ll want motion control shoes, which give your foot maximum support and offers the most control.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

#3: Identify Your Purpose

Different running shoes work for different things.

If you want something versatile and durable, go for an everyday running shoe. If you’re likely to be running on dirt tracks or rocky paths, look for trail running shoes. Or if you prefer faster workouts or races, a lightweight shoe might suit you better.

#4: Know What You’re Paying For

Usually, a bigger price tag will mean better quality, but that’s not always the case. Good quality running shoes usually range from between £70-200, or $100-250. Make sure you do your research to avoid getting ripped off.

Picking the right type of shoe is crucial because running shoes have to be pretty tough. They’re designed to handle the shock created by the impact of your foot striking the ground, which is approximately 2.5 times your body weight.

At the same time, they’ve got to provide enough cushioning for the stress felt on your feet, legs, and body from repeated landings — so you’ve got to get it right.

For a comprehensive guide to the hottest running shoes on the market, check out our article on 2022’s Best Marathon Running Shoes.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

Why Should i break in my running shoes?

We get it; you’ve just bought a brand new pair of shoes and you can’t wait to test them out. But taking your time to break in your shoes is important — let’s take a look at the reasons why.

Not breaking in your running shoes can lead to a variety of injuries and pains.

These include:

  • Blisters – fluid-filled pockets caused by friction between your skin and shoe material
  • Hot Feet – swelling and burning sensations caused by constant friction between shoes and your feet
  • Corns – hard, painful, raised bumps that appear (usually on your toes) due to excess friction or pressure on a particular spot
  • Calluses – dry, rough patches that tend to appear on the heel and sole, also caused by excess chafing

Don’t let these potential problems worry you though — they’re easy enough to avoid.

Technology has evolved over the years, and these days you don’t have to spend as much time breaking in your shoes. This is because they’re no longer made of stiffer materials like leather.

However, it’s still important that you spend some time getting used to your new trainers, otherwise, those risks become more likely to arise.

Okay, so how long does the breaking-in process actually last?

How To Break In New Running Shoes

How Long Does It Take To Break In New Trainers?

Well-fitting, well-designed running shoes shouldn’t require a substantial break-in period, and they should be relatively comfortable when you first start running in them.

This is particularly true if your new shoes are the same model as the shoes that you’ve been wearing because your feet will already be used to the level of cushioning and stability that they provide, plus they won’t cause changes to your gait.

However, if you get a totally new design, it’s likely to take a little while to break them in.

The length of the breaking-in period depends on several factors, including shoe model, shoe construction, the thickness of the sole, and the stiffness of the fabric.

Certain types of shoes, like motion control or highly cushioned shoes with thick soles, can take several weeks to break in. Generally, though, the break-in period will be around two to three weeks.

This period is just about your body getting used to something new. You shouldn’t expect to be able to take your new running shoes out of the box and straight out of the door.

Instead, try to devote a couple of weeks to make sure you break them in effectively, and without pain or injury.

Let’s go through seven top tips for that process.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

7 Top Tips On How To Break In New Running Shoes

We’ve now been through the importance of using a good quality shoe, how to pick a good pair, and why you should be bothered about breaking them in properly.

Now it’s time for some practical steps for the break-in period.

Let’s go.

#1: Wear your running shoes around the house and while doing everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and washing up.

#2: Try running on a treadmill for 15 minutes to adjust to a slightly higher intensity.

#3: Once you’ve worn them around the house and got used to their fit, take your new shoes on a short run, without pushing yourself too hard or staying out in them for too long.

#4: Try alternating your new shoes with your old pair if they’re still in good nick. Use your new pair for shorter runs, while doing longer runs in your older pair.

How To Break In New Running Shoes

#5: Wear proper running socks. Go for synthetic technical fabrics like polyester when it’s hot, or wool blends during winter. Try to avoid cotton, because when it gets wet and sweaty, it stays that way.

#6: For something a bit more unconventional, try heating your shoes. Wear them for at least 15 minutes, before blasting them with heat from a hairdryer for a few minutes while you’re still wearing them. This can help the shoes become more malleable.

#7: Moisturise. One of the best ways to avoid blisters is to moisturize your feet regularly because the drier your skin is, the more friction there will be between your feet and your shoes.

Follow these simple steps, and breaking in your shoes won’t be a problem at all.

Be Patient And Maximise Your Potential

You should now understand the importance of and how to break in new running shoes. It’s by no means a difficult task, and it has serious benefits.

Follow the simple steps outlined in this article, and you should be able to avoid blisters, sores, calluses, or any other unwanted injuries.

Wear your new shoes around the house, keep hold of your old pair, but most importantly, make sure you pick the right pair of running shoes for you in the first place. Getting that decision right will make the whole process a lot easier.

If you’re wondering when it’s time to change to a new pair of shoes, you might want to check out our article about the 4 signs that you need new running shoes.

How To Break In New Running Shoes
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Fred is a London-based writer who works for several sport, fitness and wellness sites. He's a keen runner and amateur footballer, who also writes regularly for Jobs In Football and follows his side Norwich City home and away.

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