Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

by Paris B on · 56 comments

in Discussions,Shoes,Tips

shoes Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

I was wondering about this in the past few days, as I pattered about in my flats. I have a newfound love for a good pair of flats by the way. Finding a good one that I love has been pretty much trial and error but knowing that I have them is a great feeling because they go so well with anything! A little casual of course, but hey, if I can get away with it… icon wink Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

So anyway, I have 2 pairs of flats that have a tendency to bite my feet, especially at the heel. I find flats do that a lot. I usually end up with a blister when the shoe rubs my heel raw, and I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve had to hobble around because my shoes are giving me blisters. Serves me right for attempting to walk a lot in new shoes, but sometimes I do that, as a means of breaking them in. No pain, no gain icon razz Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

I figure, if I wear the shoes around a lot, they’d break in more quickly. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. Do you have a quick fix for breaking in new shoes, or for shoes that bite?

I usually do a pre-emptive measure by taping a plaster (aka band-aid) on my heel before I wear a new pair of shoes. This way, even if the back of the shoe bites my heel, I won’t develop a blister, nor will I end up suffering. The problem with this trick is, sometimes, it’s my toes that get rubbed raw instead and I never know which toe it will be, so I can’t tape up every one of them! icon razz Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

Another trick I was told to try was to rub some candle wax around the back of a new pair of shoes to prevent it from biting your feet. I tried it once or twice. It might have been a coincidence, but it seemed to work. Not for very long however. Once the wax wore off, ouch! icon razz Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

But I suppose you could say I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment. If the shoe bites me the first time, I stop wearing it till the blisters heal. Then, I get back at it again. And again. Until the shoe is broken in and it’s no longer a problem. It can turn out to be a long, painful process though.

I still haven’t been able to break in the Tory Burch Ballet Reva flats properly though. It might be the ruched, elasticated heel area that causes the chafing against my heel. I don’t personally recommend this pair of shoes, no matter the raves. I’ve had them for almost 9 months and it’s only now starting to ease up a little with the blisters. The elastic at the heel is just too tight and the ruched material is rough against your skin. The leather is lovely and soft and I do like the rubber base which has lovely grip, but the sizing is a pain (go up at least half to a full size) because if it fits, its a bit tight (elastic at the heel) and if you go up a size, the elasticated feel will move and rub against your skin more and give you blisters. Better flats out there, in my view.

The Bloch ballet flats on the other hand, I almost wrote off the first few times I wore them. There are nice cushioned bits at the heel area and the shoe is soft and fits well to the feet (size up half a size for better fit), almost as if it is moulded to your feet. Bloch makes pointe ballet shoes – as in actual ballet shoes worn on stage by proper ballerinas – so I think part of the technology has been transferred to their street shoes. I do find that the sole on the ballet flats is a bit thin and it is leather so it can be slippery. The bit at the back is also a bit high, so it bit my feet something awful! I swear I was ready to bid them goodbye after about 5 months.

But this week, I have been wearing them a lot and they seem to have lost their bite. The shoe fits like a glove, I walked quite a distance in them (keeping some plasters handy in my bag while I did so) and deliberately wore them as much as I could. No problems! I think I’ve won icon razz Your Say: Do you have a quick solution for breaking in shoes? How patient are you with a pair of shoes that bite?

But if you have a quicker way of breaking in new shoes, I’m all ears!

Are you patient breaking in your new shoes? Do you have any tips to break shoes in more quickly?

I am quite patient actually. Most of the time, its because I’ve already paid for them and we don’t have a return policy in stores here on worn items so you can’t just return it and say “It bites, sorry!” So I’ve had to work around it. Most of the time, once its properly broken in, its comfortable but it can take a while. Thus far, only the plaster on heel trick works for me. Any other tricks you know of?

Paris B

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[ 56 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Makeup Morsels June 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

So this won’t help with the elastic (I just use apply a product like bandaid friction stick or even deodorant on areas that rub against the shoe) but it should make the toe area a little more comfy. I always use the blowdryer trick hahaha…so basically I put on my fluffiest pair of socks (or you could do two pairs if you can manage it) and squeeze into my shoes. Then I blast them with a blowdryer for a few minutes on each foot and then walk around in them until they cool. Works like a charm!
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hmm that hairdryer trick is new to me. I shall have to try it the next time shoes start to bite! Thanks for the idea!

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Jennifer June 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

I love the Ferragamo and Tory Burch flats that you have, pity the Tory Burch bites! I used to own flats with those elastics but boy, they were a feet nibbler. Since I have large feet, sometimes I am only able to find a snug size 8 which felt, well, snug at the store. But once home or on the street for a casual stroll…my feet were yelping for help. Haha, I have this perception that expensive shoes must be comfortable. Sadly no…I recently got a pair of leather heels and the stockings helped to break in somewhat by reducing the friction and rubbing. But all else, I usually live in pain and blister till my shoes begin to soften :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

Yes! I suppose I wanted to see what the hype was about the Tory Burch shoes and they are comfy, just that that elastic bit at the back is just meh. I did try their shoes without the elastic band at the back and they felt much more comfortable so if you want to try it, go for those, not for the Reva :P As for the Ferragamo, I shouldn’t have put it there coz its amazing! No biting, no pinching, and I could walk for miles in it the first day I wore it! :D Also, you’re absolutely right. Just coz its an expensive shoe doesn’t make it comfortable. In fact, many expensive shoes are freaking hard on your feet!

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Sammy June 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

I always prepare myself with heel paddings from watsons or guardian. They are these gel like paddings that you can stick at the back of your shoes. I’ll superglue them in if it doesn’t stick too well, works every time! You ‘ll have no problems with new shoes. Hope this helps! Sad to hear the Tory Burch flats aren’t too comfortable, was contemplating on getting it.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hmm good idea Sammy. It looks like I’ll have to pick up a pair of heel pads. I tried them once many years ago but I hate how they run all over and mark the back of my shoe with glue! :P As for the Revas, I’d suggest you try them in persons but do be warned that the elastic at the back pushes your feet forward as you walk and if you get them in a size that’s too big, it’ll chafe, and if you get them in a size that’s too small, it’ll chafe too :P

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Tracy June 30, 2013 at 9:21 am

My Tory Burches were the only flats I haven’t had a problem with-but they are a bit big on me. I find with flats I do have to go up a size otherwise I’m in too much pain.
I’m horrible-I get blisters ALL THE TIME no matter what I try. :) So I guess I am no help at all to you hahaha!
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

You’re right Tracy! I do tend to size up with flats too except with the Ferragamo ones. Those were fine being in my regular size! Weird right? :P

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Vivien June 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

Thing of buying shoes extender and bottle of leather conditioner to soften and slightly enlarge leather shoe…

Anyone know where to buy shoe extender gadget ,only saw in lowyat website got ppl selling like rm70
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

Hmm not sure about shoe extenders but I think you’d have to get them from proper shoe accessory shops. I don’t know how well those work to be honest. I had a pair of shoes extended once (professionally done) but it still didn’t cut it and still felt uncomfortable except now it was wider and I couldn’t wear it anymore.

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Tine @ Beautyholics Anonymous
Twitter:
June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

I wear my fluffiest socks (usually the ones I wear to bed) and wear them with the shoes I need to break in. I did that to my Ferragamos. Since I haven’t worn them out of the house yet, the soles are still clean so I wear them in the house with the socks on. Unfortunately I bought a half size or a size too small so even after breaking them in, they still pinched my feet. But I’ve done this to other flats of mine and it works a treat :-)

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

I haven’t tried that socks trick, but thanks for sharing it Tine! My Ferras are the only shoes I’ve never really had to break in. So comfy right off the bat even though it feels a bit small because its patent leather. I tried a pair in soft calf leather and that felt more comfy so I’m going for calf leather next!

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electronicfly
Twitter:
June 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

I use the plaster method too, and I find that Guardian brand’s clear plaster rocks! Doesn’t get unstuck, no pain when removing and leaves no residue =D

Wax doesn’t work for me unfortunately =(

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

Ooh thanks for the tip about Guardian plasters! Cheaper too I bet!

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Esther Neo June 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

I use the oilest body lotion (bodyshop has very oily ones) on my feet n brims of the shoes to reduce fiction n it will stop blister from forming.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:09 am

That’s intriguing, Esther. Does it make your feet slip as you walk though? I’m not so sure about marking my nicer shoes with oily marks but this is an interesting tip!

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Esther Neo July 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Err…it sort of form a barrier so ur feet slipped through and not cause abrasion. My shoes are mostly black so I have no issue with the staining but you are right….you wouldn’t want blotchy marks on ur expensive shoes.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Good point! I might hold off on trying it on a light coloured shoe but black makes sense! ;)

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Cecilia Lukban Wong June 30, 2013 at 11:26 am

Try rubbing good ole vaseline on the parts affected. Works a treat for me.

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SH July 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I wanna say I bought a tub of Vaseline today and tried your tip, works like a charm!
thanks for sharing.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

Hmm… that’s interesting! I’ve got a tub of vaseline around and may try that ;)

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Rin June 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hello Paris~

Nice flats you have there :) I do the plaster trick too. Like you, usually I just endure until the shoes are comfortable. Haven’t tried any other tricks LOL

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi Rin, thanks and boo to shoes that bite us! Some of my shoes still bite me even a year or two later!

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Firn June 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Ooh where do you buy your Bloch flats? I take adult ballet classes so I am currently using the actual ballet shoes. :)

I encountered the same problem with a lot of my flats and one of the worst times was when I was walking around London in a new pair (worst idea ever!). The best and most foolproof solution (which is the cheapest as well) is to buy heel inserts.

These will raise your heel off the base of the shoe and position the tight rubby bit over the heel bone (which is covered with tougher skin) instead of the fleshy Achilles tendon. Lots of these inserts can be reused so you can just swop them out with your different flats. Get a good set (from Scholl) and it’s invisible too. :)
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

Wow you do ballet! :D I did it for a little while as a kid but I wasn’t coordinated/graceful/bothered enough to continue. Never went past the basics! Haha… I got my Bloch flats off Net-a-porter.com They have sales on them occasionally which is why I bought mine and I’m thinking of another pair. Its a bit flat since its based on a ballet shoe after all, but it does feel comfy to walk about in. I like the idea of heel inserts. I might try those!

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Firn June 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Plus I find that a lot of flats out there have insufficient heel cushioning (which is murder on the back) so the insert solves 2 problems.
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

Yes, that’s very true of flats. I’m flat-footed so wearing flats usually plays merry murder with my back!

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Firn July 5, 2013 at 11:16 am

Yea, I’m flat-footed too but I find ballet and walking in heels have strengthened my instep a lot. Ballet is the best workout ever! Even if you aren’t super elegant and graceful, you will sweat like a pig and get toned legs and core! :Db

I also put in arch supports in some of my shoes to relieve some of the ache in my arches.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Can’t honestly imagine me doing ballet to be honest haha! It’ll be like watching an uncoordinated hippo :P Its good to know that it strengthens the instep though. I get terrible cramps in my foot when I try to point it and hold it for too long. But good tip about the arch supports! I’ll get those :D

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LeGeeque June 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

There’s an old wives tale where you bite the shoe (literally) before it bites you. So you take the shoe and bite into it. Never personally tried it before. Try it and tell me what you think? :-P

I would just wear the flats with tights and dresses until they’re broken in. The tights protect my feet and provides a little slip as well so nothing gets chafed.

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Jyoan June 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I always do that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

I’ve come across that old wives tale too! :P I tried it once but maybe I didn’t bite it hard enough because it bit me anyway :P I didn’t quite relish leaving my teeth marks all over the shoe haha! I have found that if I wear tights then the problem is pretty much non existent but since I rarely wear tights or stockings here… darn! Maybe I should :P

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Stephanie/Yukaeshi
Twitter:
June 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Bodyglide! Though I still don’t see it sold in Malaysia so the nearest place you can get it is in Singapore. I swear by it and have a small bottle of it in my bag whenever I am wearing any new shoes. My husband used to bring in some stocks to sell but not anymore- they’re snapped up like hotcakes all the time!

I used to think that shoes with a soft back or made out of generally soft material won’t bite but boy was I wrong! My Sacoor Brothers loafers were butter soft but bit like hell :( And yes, I am also under the mindset that the more you wear it, the less it’ll bite :P Another trick I use it footsie socks- socks that are pretty much like ballerina shoes so they don’t show unlike ankle or normal socks. You can wear them with ballerina flats and loafers.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

Alamak… I should have seen this when I was in Singapore last >.< I’ll keep a look out for it the next time I’m down. And yes, I too thought soft backs will be more comfy but wrong wrong wrong! Good idea about the footsie socks too. I used them once but they kept falling off my feet!

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Carina June 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm

It depends on how much the bite bites! I once had shoes that I had to walk in (we were at a fair) and my feet hurt so badly, one of my TOENAILS fell off D: Sorry, that’s a bit TMI, but suffice to say I never wore those shoes again. I am usually quite patient, though.
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

OUCH!!! Ok, you win Carina! :P

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Jyoan June 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Oh my gosh! You really took all the words out of my mouth! I always get bitten on the heels, and if I use a plaster on my heels, I get bitten on my toes. And yes, I never know which toe. =((( Sometimes, it’s the big toe, sometimes it’s the 4th or 5th one. And it never happens on both sides. Sometimes it’s left, sometimes it’s right. ARGH! GRR.

You know what, I tape plaster to my shoes. I don’t want to waste too many plasters. So I figured if I tape plasters to my shoes, I get a cushioned inside that really lasts! I will buy those transparent Hansaplast brand ones (other brands don’t work), and paste them on tight spots on the inside of my shoes.

I have this Charles and Keith flats that I have worn forever, and about to throw away, but it still bites me like crazy. Especially when the weather gets hot, and the material dries up so much, the shoe shrinks, and it wears like a new shoes all over again.

I think you can ask the shoe shop to help you widen your new shoes. I have seen it before, they have this funny feet shape wooden thing that they can expand by turning some screw. So they put that wooden leg in and expand it on the spot. That will make a new shoes feel as though they have been worn in for months.

I think it works. But I am wary of letting them use that wooden leg thing because I feel that they sometimes overdo the expansion, and that can make the shoe too loose and unfitting. This will in turn make the shoe knock, and still cut my feet.

I have tried all sorts of other things including wearing unsightly little socks to protect my feet while expanding the shoes. I have also used all sorts of moisture cream/balm/etc, even the Monistat Chaffing Cream. But they all don’t work once the cream wears away.

The wax thing completely does not work on me.
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

Oh boy, you totally know what I go through then Jyoan! Sometimes, its not even the sides of the toe, its the top of the toes! I tell you, its mind boggling. Good idea on taping the plaster to the shoe instead of to the feet! Definitely save money haha! I did get a pair of shoes widened once but it was so weird coz after I got it back, it was wide but still pinched! I couldn’t wear it anymore so I’m very wary about widening shoes these days. I’d rather just bear with it or buy one that fits better :P

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lili June 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I just take plasters with me, just in case. When I feel it’s starting to hurt, I use them.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

Good idea! We never know when they might bite and it pays to be prepared!

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Vera Soo June 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Sometimes I wear thick socks (mens socks usually B.U.M) & wear those flats a few times at home just to get them comfty. My dad uses wax & massage pressed all his shoes.

I hv seen some shoe specialist using a small hammer wrapper with cloth and cushion to knock on those hard parts before. They then add extra paddings (sold separately) for the heel & toe parts.

I notice certain shoes eg Lewre hv those inner paddings tht is oh so comfty.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

Good tip on the socks! I shall try that next time. I think it helps to stretch it out a little and make it more comfy. I used to wear a lot of Lewre shoes! But I also realised they fell apart on me more quickly, especially basic pumps that I wear a lot :(

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Meghann June 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I usually put some facial moisturiser all around on the lining of the shoes the night before I am wearing it. The next day the lining will be softened and I have no problem with them.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:39 am

That’s an interesting concept Meghann! I can see how it’d work, thanks for the idea :)

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cchivy June 30, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Literally bite (yes, with teeth!) on your new pairs right before you wear them for the first time. Worked for me many times, but don’t ask me why/how….it’s a myth! :-P

Good luck.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

Haha I’ve read that too! I tried it a few times and it worked once but that was about it.

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Sofia July 2, 2013 at 3:24 am

The plaster method! Apart from that when a shoe really hurts me, I won’t wear it. Mind you, this usually happens with my summer shoes with strappy bits on top. Then each year I’ll wear it for one day, reminding myself why I never wear them…
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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hahaha I know exactly what you mean, Sofia! I’m sure we all have that one pair of shoes that we hardly wear because its so uncomfortable yet we keep in the hope that we can wear it :P I haven’t worn strappy sandals or shoes in a while. Every one feels uncomfortable to me so now I just wear pumps :)

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Shleesy July 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You can try hydro colloid (blister) plaster from local pharmacy.

I apply it on heel area and just go out as usual (i walk a lot) in my new shoes. It works well, with the exception to Ferragamo’s patent leather which I started to wear 2 years ago, it still bite so every time I wear it, I will need to apply the hydro colloid.

Some say rubbing alcohol on such area helps but I have yet to test it out.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Ooh thanks for the tip! I’ll look for that the next time I’m at the pharmacies :)

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Jess July 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

My friend recommended Foot Glide, she read about it from Tyra Banks! And I swear it works!!! Got them from Watson in Singapore at $17.90.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for the heads up Jess! I’ll have to check it the next time I’m in Singapore or look for it here :)

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Janis July 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

I use th band aid method as well. Problem is they always rub off. I found that a cheaper and more effective way would be to use surgical tape instead. It sticks like mad so it basically acts like second skin and unlike plasters it doesnt have that rough gauzy in the middle which I suspect even causes my blisters sometime. Its also pretty easy to remove.

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Paris B
Twitter:
July 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Ooh! Good idea on the surgical tape, Janis! It’ll be much cheaper too because I can buy a whole roll! :P

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Ting July 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Ouch…!! I cannot stand blisters on heels! A few years ago I saw this tutorial on Michelle Phan youtube channel. It’s about expanding your shoes if it’s one size too small. She used those ziplock sandwich bags, filled with water and put one bag in the shoes. THEN you put them in freezer. As water becomes ice, the volume expands therefore expanding your shoes.

I am not sure if this helps, as you are trying to break in the shoes, not expand it… oh well. The hair-dryer trick seems fascinating. At least it’s more hygienic than putting a pair of shoes in freezer. hahaha

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