Buying cheap shoes is a guilty pleasure we all indulge in every once in a while. When you find a cute pair of sandals for $30 (or less!), your heart starts racing, you consider buying every single colorway (because that's necessary), and you start boasting to all your friends about your latest steal. So yes, there are many upsides to buying cheap shoes, but with every upside comes a few downsides, and unfortunately, cheap shoes have the reputation of not being the most comfortable. Some tear up your feet and leave excruciating blisters, some cause foot cramping due to a lack of support, and the list goes on and on. Does this mean we should just stop spending less than $100 on a pair of shoes? Absolutely not. There has to be a way to break in cheap shoes that won't leave the wearer in pain, and we were determined to find out exactly what those ways are.
With that specific goal in mind, we reached out to a podiatrist to see if he had any insight on how to break in cheap shoes. If there's anyone to turn to for advice on all things feet, it was Bobby Pourziaee, DPM, also known as "The High Heel Doc" of Rodeo Drive Podiatry. He was kind enough to educate us on five ways to avoid blisters while wearing cheaper shoes. Between the preventative steps you can take to ways to numb the pain should a blister have already formed, get ready to hear what this foot doctor has to say on the matter.
"Moisturize your feet very well. Dry skin is more prone to abrasion and blister formation. Having skin that is supple and moist will reduce friction and blister formation."
"Use a blister pad with topical lidocaine to numb sensitive blisters that have formed. Also, if you can help it, don't pop the blisters. They are a natural barrier to infection, and if removed, you are more susceptible to bacteria or fungal infections."
"Use an Epsom salt soak to reduce swelling of your feet, which will reduce excessive pressure points with the shoes. Those pressure points will contribute to blisters. Soaking will also reduce the dead skin cells on the feet, which contribute to blister formation."
"Stretch your shoes—you can buy a shoe stretcher on Amazon. Stretching the shoes will reduce areas of friction within the shoe that contribute to blister formation."
"Always shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are bigger. Never shop for shoes first thing in the morning as your feet will have time to be affected by gravity at the end of the day. This will ensure a proper fit and not have areas of the foot rub on shoes that are too tight."