Breaking in new shoes can feel like a losing battle, at least until you learn how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.
There is nothing worse than spending the day walking around in new shoes only to end the day with blisters all over your feet. We've all been there, right?
There are a myriad of ways you can stretch your new shoes without damaging your new kicks or your feet in the process. There is no reason why your new footwear should ruin your day.
Why New Shoes Cause You Pain
Every time you purchase new footgear, you know that the inevitable is about to happen.
You're about to hobble and wobble around for at least a week, all thanks to friction blisters and chafing.
But why do friction blisters and chafing occur? Let's take a quick look.
Friction blisters are blisters that ensue when your skin rubs against another object (such as the material of your new, unfamiliar shoe) repeatedly. Chafing, which is only slightly less annoying than blisters, occurs in areas of thinner skin.
Certain factors, such as heat, excessive sweating, and prolonged physical activity, exacerbate the friction.
But here's the thing: Both blisters and chafing are easy to avoid.
Ready to find out how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle?
How To Stop Shoes From Rubbing The Back Of Your Ankle?
By purchasing a pair that fits you well in the first place!
But how do you select a good pair of shoes? And what is a good fit anyway?
As it turns out, it's all about the toes.
You never want your toes to feel squashed. Ideally, there should be around a half an inch between the longest toe and the fabric of the shoe.
Test the fit by inserting your finger in between the heel of the shoe and the heel of your foot. If your finger slides in easily with extra room to spare, consider going down a half size.
On the other hand, if your finger doesn't fit all that well, or if your shoes keep riding up and down on your heels as you walk, you'd be wise to go up a size.
Toe comfort is important, but don't forget about the ball of your foot either. It should fit into the broadest part of the shoe.
When trying on shoes, don't be afraid to walk around in them to make sure that they fit you snugly. If you're buying sports shoes, you might even want to do a test-sprint in store to ensure that they're comfortable at all times, not just when you're static.
Can't recall the last time you visited a brick and mortar store? That doesn't mean that you should leave shoe fit up to chance.
Order two sizes instead of just one, especially if the company you're shopping with offers a free return service.
Wait Until The Evening
If you apply the tips mentioned above when you go shoe shopping, 9 times out of 10, you won't need to look up how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.
But there's a catch.
Your feet swell up by around half a size throughout the day.
Shoes that fit you perfectly in the morning mightn't necessarily suit you in the evening. Test them at night to see if they're still as comfy as they were the first time you tried them on.
If your feet suddenly feel cramped, consider going up a size.
Rummage Through Your Sock Drawer
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Your new kicks seemed to fit you perfectly in the store, but now they're causing you severe discomfort. You can't help but wonder how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.
The solution is surprisingly simple.
A speedy way to break into your shoes is to wear them around the house with two pairs of thick hiking socks. You can also put your chunkiest socks over two shoe shapers and pop them inside your footwear overnight.
Make Them Tighter
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If your shoes are slightly too big, they'll cause your feet to move around inside of them. This movement will result in friction.
In cases like these, you want to minimize the surface area in contact with the back of your ankle.
By far the simplest way to do that is by lifting your feet with insoles. Insoles provide a tighter fit, thus reducing movement between your skin and the shoe.
You could also try a heel grip. Heel grips are oval-shaped, adhesive cushions that stick to the inside of your shoe.
Visit Your Local Drugstore
Moleskin is an adhesive cotton fabric. Cheap and readily available, it works wonders on aching feet.
To prevent chafing and blisters, cut out a small piece of moleskin, making sure that it's a little larger than the problem area. Then, separate the backing and attach it to the heel of the shoe.
Alternatively, you can stick the moleskin right onto your foot, and then peel it off at the end of the day.
In addition to preventing friction injuries, moleskin can also be used to treat blisters.
To do that, cut a hole in the center of your moleskin piece to stop the fabric from sticking to your blister. The thickness of the material will safeguard the blister from further friction.
Take Care Of The Worst Spots
Learning how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle requires that you learn how to reduce friction.
Since dry skin is much more sensitive than hydrated skin, you need to keep your skin moisturized at all times. Lotions work fine, but you want to be using petroleum jelly on the worst spots.
The back of your ankle might not be the only problem spot causing you pain. Put your shoes on and walk around in them for half an hour or so to figure out other rubbing spots that could do with a dab of Vaseline.
It's About To Get Hot In Here
Pretty much all shoes have areas that rub more than others. Luckily, a quick blast of hot air can fix most of these tight spots.
Set your hairdryer on medium heat and point it at your shoes. As soon as you notice that your kicks are becoming more malleable, put them on, and walk around in them.
The warmed material should mold to the shape of your heel, although you might need to repeat this technique a couple of times for permanent results.
Keep a reasonable distance between the hairdryer and the shoes and be wary of time. Point the hairdryer at your shoes for too long or at too close a range, and you risk melting or even burning them.
Avoid heat if your shoes are made from synthetic fibers.
Instead, fill two small freezer-friendly Ziploc bags with water and stick them inside the toe of each shoe. Then, place your shoes inside the freezer for the night.
As soon as the water freezes, it will expand and consequently, stretch out the shoes.
Skip this technique if your shoes are made out of pleather or plastic.
Get Ready For Some Aqueaking
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If you're a proud owner of gorgeous leather sandals that are unfortunately too painful to wear, this technique is for you.
Dunk your sandal-clad feet inside a bucket full of water. Towel off the sandals, leaving them only slightly damp.
Then, walk around in your damp shoes for at least an hour. Not exactly a pleasant sensation but one that you can probably tolerate knowing that the water will soften the material, stretching and molding the shoes to your feet.
It's not a bad idea to test a spot on your shoes with water before you give this hack a try to prevent discoloration.
Don't Sweat It
The more your feet sweat, the more unpleasant the rubbing and the higher the likelihood of blisters.
The good news?
Your antiperspirant (not to be confused with your deodorant) might help. All you have to do is apply it all over your feet and let it dry before you show off your new kicks.
If your feet sweat all the time, consider investing in moisture-wicking socks.
How To Fix Anything
If all else fails or you're a little short on time, prep your heels with tape.
Both duct tape and paper tape (surgical tape) reduce friction but keep in mind that this method isn't permanent.
If you have blisters forming on the back of your ankle already, skip the duct tape and opt for paper tape instead. Paper tape is less adhesive than duct tape. As such, it won't tear the blisters when you go to remove it.
Seek Professional Help
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If your leather or suede shoes are costly, you probably don't want to risk ruining them by stretching them at home.
Visit your local cobbler who should know all about how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.
Too Little Too Late
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If you have blisters on your feet, you're probably more than a little tempted to burst them. Resist the urge to go down this potentially disastrous route. Only too often open blisters become infected.
Instead, cover your blisters with an adhesive bandage and give them time to harden and disappear.
However, if the blisters are causing you significant discomfort, you can drain the bubbles by puncturing them with a sterile needle.
Blisters are annoying. But now that you know how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle, those frustrating pockets of body fluid should be a thing of the past!
The Key To Happy Feet
In the time that it takes to break in a new pair of shoes, most of us develop chafing and blisters. At best, this leads to limping and painful grimacing. At worst, we end up with popped blisters and severe infections.
But guess what?
If you're smart, you don't have to put up with the pain that accompanies new kicks. You just have to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle.
Do you have a tried-and-trusted method that you use to break in new shoes? Let us know in the comments down below!