Worrying about breaking in a new pair of basketball shoes is a headache you don’t want, especially with a tournament in a few days.
A lot of factors are to be considered when purchasing a new shoe: type, style, durability, quality, frequency of usage, but most importantly, comfort. Buying new shoes is exhilarating until the shoes leave you with sore feet, painful blisters, and aggressively limping home to take the Devil’s spawn off your feet. Some of the reasons these shoes take a longer time in breaking in are choosing the wrong size, preferring style over comfort, investing in low-tier brands, etc.
As we spend more time at home and less time outside, it does not take away the age-old problem of new shoes ruining our day out because the materials hadn’t softened yet. If anything, the issue has been exacerbated because any new basketball shoes you buy during lockdown has a lesser chance to be worn outside. This means they remain stiff and are not worn into the shape of your foot.
Breaking in shoes may require a lot of time, but don’t try DIY “hacks” like throwing your brand new basketball shoes in the washing machine or the microwave; they go more into the guide of “how to damage your basketball shoe: fast and efficiently.”
Instead, we have researched a list of tricks to speed up the break-in process for you to rock those new shoes without any bruises. It starts from your preparation and attention to a well-constructed plan around the purchase.
1. If you have a tournament approaching, make sure you buy your shoes at least two to three weeks prior to it. This will ensure you have enough time to try them on and break in so that you have not only new but also soft, comfortable, and compatible basketball sneakers on your feet for the big day.
2. It is absolutely incumbent that you buy yourself shoes in the right size.
Nobody other than you know your preferences better when it comes to your footwear. If the shoe does not fit your feet perfectly, the breaking in period will be longer as you will be very uncomfortable in it after the purchase. It might even be unusable for your event.
3. It is better to opt for higher quality stores, if not high-end branded shoe stores, for purchase before an important event, especially if you value durability. Smaller stores often do not have all sizes and styles available, and you might find yourself compromising.
4. Sometimes, shopping at discount stores can also mean not having a professional shoe fitter to help you with the trials. This means you will have to rely on your own knowledge and instinct to find your perfect fit.
5. It is scientifically proven that your feet swells to their largest near the end of the day, therefore, to facilitate yourself that extra room, it is recommended to always try on shoes at the end of the day, not the morning.
6. It might sound freaky, but the size of your two feet is almost never the same. Most people do not take this into account if the size difference is insignificant. But we recommend you buy different-sized shoes for your differently sized feet if the size difference is over half a size. Even if you don’t buy different sizes, definitely make sure you’re trying the shoes on your larger foot to compensate.
Lastly, all the above points have been given to you so that you prioritize having enough room for your foot when making your purchase. A pair of shoes too tight will mean you cannot stretch them comfortably, while you cannot tie the too loose ones tight enough.
Post Purchase Breaking In
Breaking in basketball shoes is a matter involving a commitment of time, effort, and focus. Buying the right style of basketball shoes in the right size is imperative for ensuring holistic comfort and peak of performance, but there are some more steps to take for breaking in before hitting the court with your brand-new basketball shoes!
Assuming you have purchased your shoes two weeks before the main tournament, we are discussing steps to allow your shoes all the care and time to be ready for the event. Try the following techniques to break in your basketball shoes within a two-week time frame to make your feet compatible with the new shoes sooner and avoid blisters:
1. Start off by wearing your shoes for 10 minutes for three days consecutively while doing some light activity, and increase the time by 10 minutes each day. This means you should be keeping the shoes on for 30 minutes of walking or light exercise on the 3rd day. This technique helps not only the shoes to break-in, but also you to get yourself adjusted in them.
Day 1: Wear the shoes for 10 minutes and walk around doing your chores.
Day 2: Wear the shoes for 20 minutes and run other errands in addition to household chores.
Day 3: Wear the shoes for 40 minutes and this time, try pulling some light basketball drills.
It should take you three days at max to break in the basketball sneakers enough to be able to start exercising and practicing and gradually playing in them, irrespective of them being high-top, mid-top, or low-top.
2. After this, you can start doing progressively more vigorous exercise wearing your shoes for about an hour at least for the next four days. You can start with 15 minutes of light jogging and keep increasing day by day so that on the fourth day, you are able to incorporate 30 minutes of jogging in your shoe-wearing routine.
3. Now, we opt for the stretching process. We will continue this for another next 4 days. For this, one of the best ways is to wear the new basketball shoes and keep them on for 2 hours a day at least. You can go to the office, wrap up your household chores, or run your pending errands keeping the sneakers on. This builds your comfort around the shoes. The cardinal idea is to just the shoes on your feet on for at least 2 hours. You can also incorporate into your routine at least 30 minutes of aggressive physical activities like turns, jumps, and pivots etc.
4. For the last 3 days of the two-week time frame, your only assigned task is to wear them as long as you can. After filling the two-hour quota of your shoe-wearing routine and completing few basic physical activities and home basketball drills, you can take them out and attend real team practice wearing the shoes. Try to start practicing and check your comfort level in them on outdoor courts; you can either play with your teammates or your friends. It is suggested to move to the indoor court in case you want to stretch the indoor basketball shoes.
5. Attending the team practice will help you to test compatibility and get acquainted with the unfamiliar feeling in your feet of the pristine shoes. You will learn to balance yourself better before going to the main event.
After two weeks of planning your activities around it and slowly increasing the wearing period in them, the shoes will naturally have molded to the shape of your feet and show no sign of blisters. It will guarantee a comfortable experience and increase your confidence in your performance. This is the best routine that’s scientifically approved to break in new basketball sneakers while keeping them in mint condition.
Tips for Breaking In Faster:
Breaking in brand new basketball shoes can prove to be harsh on your feet, so here are some extra hacks for you to try out. Especially if you do not have the two-week interval to implement the routine above, we got you covered!
1. Always Use Chunky, Thick Socks:
One amazing trick to break in your basketball shoes with minimal collateral damage is to pair them with thick socks. Thick socks work like magic in your breaking-in routine of the basketball shoes. They protect your feet from painful blisters and soreness of feet. Instead of limping from agonizing blisters, you will see your shoe materials getting stretched out with the bulkiness of your socks.
In addition, they also block the shoes from getting too tight and thus, maximize your comfort and ease.
We suggest you pair them with a thick pair of socks whenever you purchase a new pair of shoes, as well as to keep them on when wearing the shoes on your feet for increasing periods of time in order to stretch them and break-in. We guarantee it will surely improve the time interval needed to make the shoes comfortable enough for you to play in them.
You are free to revert to your thinner type of socks when the shoes are soft and safe enough for your feet not to need the extra layer of protection.
2. Protect The Hot Spots from The Hot Boils.
The injuries or blisters from breaking in shoes are usually found in some typical spots. You can identify them and take defensive measures to protect the hotspots. The spots that top our list are your heels obviously, as we all as the sides and tops of your toes.
It is recommended you walk around in your house and try to get household chores done wearing the new shoes for an hour to identify additional spots that look like you’re going to have problems there.
Blisters are a consequence of friction caused by the shoes against your foot. Therefore, we must eliminate friction to prevent blisters; and to lessen friction, the key is moisture. You must moisturize your dry skin with body lotions and use petroleum jelly on the worst spots because hydrated skin shows far lesser damage from friction.
Last Overnight Hack if You’re Out of Time
A DIY overnight hack is to blast the shoes thoroughly with hot air from a hairdryer for about a minute, one by one until it’s warm and soft.
Then you can put the shoes on your feet, pairing them with thick socks. Practice walking around the house till the shoes cool down – in this case, the longer you can keep them on, the better the process’s effectiveness. Ideally, you should repeat this process numerous times to get instantly softer shoes molded to the comfort of your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
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You can check our article, are Jordan 1 good for Basketball?
Although breaking in basketball shoes seems like a small issue but if you have a basketball tournament approaching, always remember it is the most crucial step in your preparation if you do not want your shoes to pinch, squeeze or rub your toes during the game. Best of luck!
If you want to know some additional tricks, watch this video: