We’ve all been there: you buy a new pair of loafers, absolutely can’t wait to wear them, and then immediately regret not breaking them in when the blisters and cuts settle in. Luckily, softening the leather can be done quickly and easily.
For five tricks to break in your loafers, read on below:
1. Professionally stretch them. Most cobblers offer a stretching service, which can range from $10 to $20. Even if your shoes are the perfect size, stretching them slightly will soften the edges and make them instantly wearable. A DIY? Fill a plastic baggie with water, insert inside the shoes, and freeze overnight.
2. Wear them in intervals. A rookie mistake is wearing new shoes for a full day. Instead, try wearing them out to lunch or around the office. Eventually—and yes, this tip isn’t for the impatient—the leather will give and become less stiff.
3. Go for calfskin. Knowing your leathers is an integral part of buying shoes, as certain types are easier to break in than others. Calfskin is often the most supple, which means it will be easy to soften. On the other hand, the hardest will be patent, as its synthetic and has plastic coating (we know, we love patent too!).
4. Moisturize your shoes (yes, really). Most shoe stores or cobblers sell some version of a leather moisturizer. You’ll want to gently massage it into the problem areas, either at the heel or toe, and then wipe away any excess oil. You can then repeat the process to make them extra soft.
5. Wear them with socks. Okay, this tip might be a bit of a copout, but socks and loafers were indeed a major styling trend on the fall runways. Wearing a thick sock—double up if you must—can actually soften and stretch the leather. Plus, there’s nothing cozier than a good wool or cashmere, right?
For more standout loafers, click through the gallery below.