Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DIY: Breaking Shoes In The Easy Way

I am in no way a one-shoe man, and because new shoe loves come into my life quicker than it takes to break in the current pair, I've devised a method of accelerating the process of breaking in. I was inspired by the way old wives in the Philippines help break in hard leather shoes: they let hot candle wax drip on to the tough spots, then rub it in with the candlestick. I was bored and alone in my apartment back in Boston when I devised this, and made do with what I had at hand; so far my technique has served me well.

Here's what you'll need: petroleum jelly, a curling iron, and shoes to break in. I recently acquired a pair of the Made in England Dr. Martens oxfords in dark red and though they were nice and sturdy, they were also impossibly tough.

Spread Vaseline generously all over the tough spots, getting into every corner. Lay it on extra thick on the bumps.

Set the curling iron to high and melt the petroleum jelly into the leather. If it sizzles, you're doing it right. The trick is to use the curling iron to sort of curl the leather outward so it doesn't dig into the foot as you walk. While you're at it, bend the shoe back and forth as if to simulate the bend that occurs when walking. Do it several times, but if you could devote one episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding per shoe, all the better.

Allow to cool, and there you have it: your perfectly broken-in pair of shoes. (Dr. Martens creepers, Florsheim longwing brogues, Dr. Martens oxfords)

For those without a curling iron at home, go ahead and use a butane blowtorch. I could imagine the char marks could look quite charming!

11 comments:

Mat said...

very interesting indeed, it sounds like a good idea if not on super expensive one. is it likely to fry up the leather on the outside at all? i have some new grenson brogues but dunno whether to risk that

Duck said...

Only issue - I hate those worn-in creases across the top of my shoes! Always trying to walk without causing them...and then I get drunk and go dancing in them.

Cillian said...

What would we do without you!?

C.

Izzy said...

mat: it may bust a few stitches (it's happened before, but on lower-quality docs), but nothing you could see from the outside. my made in england docs were very slightly broken-in after minutes of frying, so if you were gentle with your Grensons, you should be fine.

duck: shoe trees can help, to a certain extent, but i say embrace the creases!

c: and what would I do without you?

Katy said...

To be honest I've always found that wearing two pairs of socks & wandering around my house for an hour works & is ever so slightly safer!

Amie said...

"I could imagine the char marks could look quite charming!"
I JUST found you on stumbleupon and I think love this blog already :')

DarellCarey said...

Never, ever would have thought of this... might have to borrow a curling iron and hope the petroleum jelly doesn't leave any effect on the iron....



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Bespoke Custom Suits said...

This is the first time I have ever heard of this, one of these days I will come back to this blog and try it out.

BJ Pascual said...

This is very helpful!!! Especially cause I love wearing footsocks. Salamat! I'll try this

Lina said...

Blogged about this method (with a video demo!) here: http://www.makeuptomakeout.co.uk/2011/11/breaking-in-the-creeper-brogues/

Thank you for the tip!! x

Izzy said...

Lina: thanks for sharing! I'm glad it worked for you.

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