Active Clothing

A Podiatrist Says You Should Never Break In Your Boots By Wearing Them—Here’s What To Do Instead

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty/West 61

The only time I have ever fainted was at a club on New Year’s Eve. I know what you’re thinking—but I wasn’t drunk. I’d only had one glass of champagne because the club was crowded, getting to the bar was impossible, and I had been on my feet for over an hour in brand-new heeled boots that I hadn’t broken in. I was in so much pain that I swooned like a woman in a Dickens novel faced with slight emotional discomfort.

Aside from fainting in a club on NYE—which is admittedly a dramatic, unlikely-to-happen example—other ailments that can occur if you wear boots that aren’t broken in. These include minor issues like blisters and ingrown toenails, as well as more serious concerns such as pinched nerves, bunions, and hammertoes,” says Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, and Vionic Innovation Lab Member. Hard pass.

“Most shoes are a bit snug when you first put them on, especially boots. Boots are commonly made with leathers that can be also weather-treated causing them to be a bit tight or stiff at first,” says Dr. Sutera. There’s really no surefire way to tell whether they will require you to break them in or not. “You can get a pretty good idea by trying them on,” says Dr. Sutera.

Putting on your boots and walking around in pain to break them in is not something Dr. Sutera recommends, because of the aforementioned blisters and bunions. “First off, if a shoe is too tight or narrow, strongly consider choosing a different pair to purchase,” she advises. (Said like a person who knows it’s not smart to buy a too-small shoe because they are out of your size, but on sale and you love them.) “To soften and loosen boots try using a shoe leather softening product, specially designed for this. Also shoe trees, or having them professionally stretched by a shoemaker, are great ways to spare your feet,” she says. She notes that materials like patent leather and faux leather are typically harder to break in than natural leather and suede.

Dr. Sutera also advises that you shouldn’t just buy the same style of boots (or shoes in general) over and over again. “Feet love variety,” she says. And on that note, here are seven extremely cute pairs of fall boots to buy that are comfy from the word go.

1. Sincerely, Tommy Mosley Boots, $160

Sincerely, Tommy Fall Boots
Photo: Sincerely, Tommy

I already own approximately 738 pairs of black ankle boots, but none of them have a cool, minimalist rectangle heel like these vegan leather ones so *adds to cart with a flourish*.

Shop Now: Sincerely, Tommy Mosley Boots, $160

2. H&M Boots, $69.99

H&M Fall Boots
Photo: H&M

Low heels are a great way to re-introduce your feet to shoes that aren’t sneakers or slippers.

Shop Now: H&M Boots, $69.99

3. Bared Footwear Condor Flat Boots, $289

Bared Footwear Fall Boots
Photo: Bared Footwear

I was going to describe these shoes as channeling the horse girl energy I had back in the early 2000s, when my best friend and I would spend all our free time at her barn, training our miniature horse how to pull a cart. But then I realized my Hinge profile has a reference to my miniature horse, and anytime someone asks me something interesting about myself I also bring up my mini horse, so I guess I never stopped being horse girl.

Shop Now: Bared Footwear Condor Flat Boots, $289

3. Vici Saint Slouch Boot, $68

Vici Fall Boots
Photo: Vici

Pairing these with the biggest scarf that money can buy and pretending that my biggest worry is whether to get my PSL hot or iced.

Shop Now: Vici Saint Slouch Boot, $68

4. Zou Xou Beia Boot, $325

Zou Xou Fall Boots
Photo: Zou Xou

One unexpected side effect of trying to survive this pandemic while single is that I have watched hundreds of hours of nature documentaries and now have a far too detailed understanding of spider mating rituals. While typically it’s the males of the species who are colorful, in some species of spider the female is brightly colored in order to lure the male in, mate with him, and then most likely eat him afterward because (and I’m paraphrasing/projecting here) men are useless—and if that is not a 2020 mood then I don’t know what is. Enter: these boots.

Shop Now: Zou Xou Beia Boot, $325

5. Vionic Harper Ankle Boot, $179.95

Vionic Fall Boots
Photo: Vionic

Can confirm, these boots are made for celebrating when you accidentally stumble upon Instagram photos of your ex’s recent wedding, and it turns out he got married wearing a pair of khaki shorts (?!) that you bought for him.

Shop Now: Vionic Harper Ankle Boot, $179.95

6. Ugg Sid, $150

Ugg Fall Boots
Photo: Ugg

This year has basically been one giant dystopian YA novel cosplay, so it makes sense that chunky flat boots that look ready to go into battle with oppressive space lords are one of fall’s biggest boot trends.

Shop Now: Ugg Sid, $150

7. Sanctuary Rhythm Ribbed Cuff Boot, $138.95

Sanctuary Fall Boots
Photo: Sanctuary

For when things open back up and you need to hide from all the exes you texted while under emotional duress/ the influence of sauvignon blanc.

Shop Now: Sanctuary Rhythm Ribbed Cuff Boot, $138.95

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