How To Break In New Running Shoes (Without pain & blisters)

woman running

Looking for some of the best ways to break in your running shoes with minimum discomfort?

Then you have come to the right place

Even if you just bought the most expensive pair of running shoes in the market, there’s no avoiding the break-in period. Think of it as a rite of passage (for both your feet and the shoes).

Here’s the good news, though. Breaking your new running shoes doesn’t have to be an agonizing process. In fact, there are many tricks to help break in new shoes without discomfort or pain.

In today’s article, I’ll share some of the steps you need to take before taking your brand-new running shoes for a ride.

How Long Does it Take To Break In Running Shoes?

This answer to this question in one word is: depends.

The duration of the breaking-in period depends on many factors, such as the shoe’s model, the shoe construction, the thickness of the sole as well as the stiffness of the overall fabric.

For example, minimalist running shoes may take little to no time to wear in, whereas motion control or highly cushioned shoes with thick soles could take up to a few weeks.

That’s why you shouldn’t expect to take your new running shoes out of the box and out of the door for a long and/or hard run.

Instead, in most cases, expect to devote about two to three weeks to break in your new running shoes—with some models taking longer.

After a month, they should feel ideal—or else, you’re using the wrong shoes.

Why do You need To Break Your Running Shoes Right?

Breaking in new running shoes may sound tricky, but if you intend to skip this important stage, you’ll definitely set yourself up for trouble.

Let me explain.

Running in proper shoes that fit well is key for your comfort and health—and not just for your feet.

Ill-fitting shoes can cause pain and injury in your legs, knees, hips, all the way to your back. In serious cases, these may also alter your gait, which can lead to serious overuse injuries.

By breaking in your shoes the right way, you can help prevent most of these issues.

For example, let’s talk about blisters, one of the most common issues caused by new running shoes.

Blisters are not only painful but can also become infected, which means time off the training wagon. They also make wearing most types of footwear unbearable.

How To Break in Running Shoes

Now that you know why you need to properly break in your running shoes let’s look at how you can actually do it.

Get The Right Pair

This goes without saying, but the first step toward properly breaking in your shoes is to go for shoes that fit your foot type and training goals.

A common mistake runners make is emphasizing style over comfort. That’s why many end up with the wrong choice, but when it comes down to it, comfort is the golden rule.

The shoe’s comfort—and that includes getting the right size, height, width, and cushioning—can make the difference between comfortable training and injury.

Instead of worrying about how long it takes to break in a certain pair, focus on getting the right shoes. Your new running shoes should feel right—and fit right—right out of the gate—without feeling too snug, tight, or constricting.

Start Walking

Slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to breaking new athletic footwear.

Once you get yourself a pair of proper running shoes, start building up shoe usage by walking in them first. This should give your feet enough time to get used to the style and shape of the shoe while also allowing the shoes to adapt and stretch to the shape of your feet.

Just remember to only use your new shoes for a few hours early on.  You can also use them as cross-trainers at the gym or while at work (if possible).

Go For A Short Run

Take things to the next level once you’ve spent more than a few hours walking in your new shoes

The next step is to take them on shorter runs—anything between 20 to 40 minutes at an easy pace. Make it a rule to stick to shorter, relatively easy runs. Think recovery runs.

As a rule, don’t do any speedwork or long-distance running until you have taken them on a few easy and short runs.

Alternate With Old Shoes

Another step to help you safely break your new shoes is to alternate them with the old ones.

For example, if you log the miles four times a week, use your new running shoes for only one or two runs.

Do this for at least two to three weeks.

In fact, you should keep your old shoes for just a little longer, especially if they still have some lifespan.

I won’t recommend ditching them unless they’re way past the 400-500 miles range, which is the common lifespan of most running shoes.

Shoe rotation may also help with injury prevention, whether the shoes are new or already broken in.

Don’t take my word for it. Research out of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reported that runners who trained in more than one pair of shoes had a roughly 40 percent lower risk of injury compared to those who stick to one pair.

Dodge Blisters

If certain parts of the shoes, such as the sides of the toes or the back of the heel, giving you grief, consider softening those parts.

These parts may be stiffer than the rest of the shoe, thus, likely to take longer to break in.

One thing you can do to mitigate friction between your feet and your shoes is by moisturizing your skin. Dry skin is more likely to rub, therefore, prone to blisters.

This also works great for preventing odors.

You can also invest in blister cushions as well as an anti-blister balm to apply over the troubled areas to prevent rubbing.


Though breaking in new running shoes isn’t always fun, it’s a key stage that cannot be skipped. Take the time needed for your feet to get used to the new footwear—or else, be ready to face the consequence.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.


David D.