When the summer sun is shining, the last thing you want to do is pack your feet into some heavy, sweltering shoes. Lighten your load with a pair of leather sandals. They are a comfortable, fashionable alternative which allow your feet to breathe and help you beat the heat. However, if you’d like to avoid an evening of carefully mincing around, wearing your new sandals and doing your best to ignore the painful blisters developing on your toes, you’ll need to take a few days to soften them up and break them in.
1. Buy sandals in the correct size. Try them on while wearing thin nylon socks and be sure you’re not shopping first thing in the morning, as feet tend to swell a bit as the day wears on. Do not let cute styles or amazing sale prices convince you to purchase sandals that are “almost” your size. Stomping around in footwear that doesn’t fit properly can lead to disfigurement of feet and toes and misalignment of the spine.
2. Wear your new sandals inside the house. Wear socks to protect your feet and walk from one room to another for up to 30 minutes or until you begin to feel any irritation or soreness in your feet. After three days, wear the sandals without socks and gradually begin to increase the amount of time spent walking around in them. Any rough bits of leather that rub against the skin can be filed down with an emery board.
3. Try walking in the sandals on various types of surfaces, such as carpet, linoleum, hardwood and tile. If the soles of the sandals feel slippery, rub them with coarse grit sandpaper to generate traction. If the soles seem to stick, rub them down with cornstarch or talcum powder.
4. Purchase a moisturizer which has been formulated specifically for use on leather. Pour the conditioner onto a soft, clean cloth or a cotton ball, and apply liberally to the straps of your sandals. This can help soften the leather and make the sandal straps less likely to rub. If the leather is still extremely stiff after moisturizer has been applied, repeat the application as many times as necessary, until the straps are soft and flexible.
5. Wear your sandals while they are wet if you need to break them in immediately. Dab a bit of water onto an inconspicuous area of the sandal, to be sure the dye used on the leather is water fast. If the color remains unchanged, strap the sandals to your feet and spray them with liberally with water. Wipe off any excess moisture and walk around, wearing your sandals until they are dry.