How to make men’s dress shoes more comfortable.

A man preparing to use a fabric tape measure to measure his foot.

Do your dress shoes pinch or rub? Uncomfortable shoes can be an unwelcome distraction on what should be enjoyable occasions such as weddings, birthdays and family celebrations.

This is partly because men’s dress shoes are often designed with style in mind, rather than comfort. Although of course, that isn’t the case for some brands of men’s formal shoes, which are more comfortable than others.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to make your dress shoes more comfortable to wear. Read on to find out more.

How to measure men’s shoe size.

Do your shoes fit you properly? This should be the first thing to check, as it could be the size that’s causing you discomfort – not the design or materials.

You might think you know your shoe size, but it’s surprising how many people go through life wearing the wrong size. It could be that you’ve guessed your size based on one pair of shoes that fits you well. Or your feet could have changed over time.

The best way to get an accurate shoe size is to have your feet measured. You can get this done at a shoe shop, but you can also measure your feet yourself. With a tape measure or ruler, you’ll need to measure the distance between your longest toe and the back of your heel. For the greatest accuracy, you’ll need to do this from underneath your foot, so it could be a good idea to have someone to help you.

You can also find this measurement by tracing around the outline of your foot using paper and a pencil. Then, measure the length of the outline from the longest point.

This measurement is your shoe size, as per this UK shoe size chart:

  • Size 6 – 10 inches
  • Size 7 – 10.27 inches
  • Size 8 – 10.5 inches
  • Size 9 – 10.86 inches
  • Size 10 – 11.1 inches
  • Size 11 – 11.41 inches
  • Size 12 – 11.69 inches
  • Size 13 – 11.96 inches

Please note that it is always recommended to check specific brand size guides as these measurements can differ.

You can also measure the width of your feet in a similar way, measuring from the widest points of your foot or outline.

How to break in men’s dress shoes.

If you’re sure you’re wearing the right size, the next step is to break in your new men’s shoes. This essentially means getting your feet and shoes accustomed to each other. It’s about softening the material so that it’s not so stiff and tough to wear.

Over time, high quality leather shoes will adjust to the shape of your feet. But there are ways you can speed this process up. Ideally, you need to start breaking in your dress shoes a few weeks before the occasion or event you plan to wear them to.

Here are a few tips to try:

  • Pop on a pair of thicker socks and wear your shoes around the house for short periods at a time
  • Tie your new shoes up tightly when wearing them - this will help to gently stretch the material
  • Wear your new dress shoes for short spells at first, then longer periods until they fit your feet perfectly

Breaking in new dress shoes is all about patience. You need to take it slowly, gradually stretching the material until it moulds to the shape of your foot.

How to stretch men’s leather dress shoes.

If the steps above haven’t broken in your dress shoes, and they’re still uncomfortable to wear, there’s another technique you can try.

This is to gently stretch your shoes. Although this is only something to try with leather shoes, and very lightly. If your shoes are the wrong size altogether, this method won’t help.

You can take your dress shoes to a cobblers or repair specialist to be stretched. They have machines which can gently stretch out your shoes so that they fit more comfortably.

Other methods you can try at home include stuffing your shoes with newspaper or using an adjustable shoe tree. This is quite a handy thing to have in your wardrobe anyway, as it helps dress shoes to hold their shape. By gradually increasing the size of the tree, you can very slowly start to stretch out your shoes.

You might have heard of other tricks for stretching shoes, such as using a hairdryer or putting your shoes in the freezer. While heat and cold can be effective for stretching out some types of shoes, it’s not recommended for all. You need to be very careful you don’t damage the material or spoil your brand-new shoes.

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