Many new Converse owners struggle with pain and blisters when wearing their new shoes for the first time, leading to the common query of how to break in Converse?
I have been wearing Converse since I was 12 years old, now nearly 20 years later I’m a super fan and have owned dozens of pairs in various styles. I have loads of tips for breaking in Converse, as I’ve done it personally so many times.
I’ve condensed these tips into 5 concise bits of advice to feature in this article (including photos and a video), to help save you weeks of sore feet. This Converse break in guide is suitable for both high tops and low tops, so rest assured all bases are covered.
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How To Break In Converse
On average Converse take up to 6 weeks of wear to properly break in.
With my tips you can cut this down to a week or two. Seriously, that’s how quick I can break in a new pair of Converse.
Here are my top 5 tips, in detail, to help you break in your Converse super fast…
(If you prefer your info in video form, here is a video of me explaining a brief overview of the tips in this post on the Wearably Weird YouTube channel):
1. With Plastic Bags
One of my favourite methods to break in Converse is to wear plastic bags over your feet, before slipping them on.
This sounds a little odd right? But stick with me and I’ll explain how this helps to speed up the break in process.
Wearing a plastic bag over your socks creates a layer in between your feet and the stiff canvas upper Converse are made with. When you walk around the plastic bag will cause your feet to slip and slide slightly inside the bag (this isn’t dangerous or anything, you’ll just feel some sliding motion).
Here’s how it helps to break in Converse:
- This movement will actually help wiggle the canvas around as you walk, which will help to soften it up much quicker. Think of it as the bag doing all the movement work, instead of the skin on your poor heels.
- The plastic bag will help you prevent blisters as the added motion will reduce friction and rubbing.
I find it best to do this trick around the house for a couple of days before you wear your Converse out for the first time.
Of course, you could wear a plastic bag over your feet and wear your Converse outdoors, but you will see the bag if you are wearing low tops and you might look a little goofy.
With high tops the shoes should cover the bag but there will be a little bit of bunching under the canvas which may make you look as though you have swollen ankles. No big deal, but this might bother some people.
This is a free tip that anyone can try at home. Why not give it a go and see if you like it?
2. Using a Shoe Stretcher Overnight (Or Stuff Them With Old Clothes)
Using a shoe stretcher to break in your Converse is an easy and effective method.
If you don’t own a shoe stretcher ask friends and family if you can borrow one. Or consider investing in your own. My shoe stretchers have helped me break in countless pairs of shoes, not just Converse.
Using shoe stretchers is simple – simply insert them into your Converse and adjust until they are stretching the canvas upper slightly (don’t over do it and damage your Converse). Leave them in for 24 hours and then check your results. Repeat if necessary.
If you are on a budget here’s a free way of stretching out your Converse overnight:
- Grab some old clothes or balled up socks and stuff them tightly into your Converse.
- Tie the laces up as tight as they will go, so the canvas looks like it’s straining.
- Leave your Converse overnight like this and try them on in the morning. If there is no improvement try it for 24hrs.
What will happen is the canvas will feel resistance from the balled up tight material inside the shoe and begin to stretch a little. It shouldn’t damage your Converse if you use common sense and don’t stuff them to a degree where the material may become damaged.
Top tip: always use old balled socks or clothes for this method and NOT newspaper, as the ink from the print may stain the inside of your Converse.
3. Wear Band-Aids And Blister Proof Socks
Another budget way of breaking in your Converse is to wear band-aids on your heels or toes as a preventative measure before wearing out your new shoes.
If you are experiencing rubbing in an area quickly cover it with a breathable waterproof plaster to create a barrier between the area of your foot and the stiff canvas.
I like to use this method alongside wearing blister proof socks, whenever I’m breaking in Converse (or any other new shoes for that matter).
A pair of good quality blister proof socks are a great investment to make, as you can wear them whenever you get new shoes to save yourself any potential blister pain.
Here are my favourite pair of blister proof socks from Balega:
They are awesome in walking boots too. Check out their current price on Amazon here.
Now initially I was a bit reluctant to spend money on blister proof socks, but I found that preventing pain is better than wishing you’d done something after you already have a nasty blister! I use them to break in Converse, Doc Martens, walking boots and more.
4. Buy a Heel Pad (Or Create Your Own)
Heel pads are an excellent way of preventing pain when breaking in shoes, and they work great for Converse too.
I’m going to show you how to make your own from a common sanitary women’s health item, however if you would prefer to purchase proper heel cushioning gel cups that are guaranteed to do the job then I suggest these from Amazon:
Simply slip the gel heel cups over your heels to protect them from rubbing. They create a layer between the canvas and your skin, eliminating blisters (I love them!).
You can take a look at the heel cups I use here.
Now onto the free version!
Make a heel pad by taking a women’s sanitary health item and cutting it to size, as I show in the below photo:
Using the sticky back, press it into the inner heel of your Converse, as below:
This will create a mini heel pad which will help prevent rubbing when walking in your Converse. This is a little trick I like to do when breaking in any new shoes – simply cut the pad to size and stick it in.
It’s ideal for those on a budget who want to fix heel pain with something from around the house.
You may also like: How Long Do Converse Last? FAQs Guide & PHOTOS
5. Choose a ‘Wide Width’ Fit When Purchasing Future Pairs
Something not many people are aware of is Converse do actually offer a ‘wide width’ fit option that you can select when purchasing a pair online.
‘Wide width’ is available on the chucks, which you can view for yourself on converse.com.
This will help you out if you are feeling a pinch in the toe box. It will also help prevent blisters on your pinky toes as you’ll have loads more wiggle room to prevent nasty rubbing.
Making sure you purchase shoes that already fit properly, instead of struggling to break them in for a few weeks will help if you have a wider step.
If you need help measuring your feet against a Converse size chart, I have a full size guide available here to help you.
My Converse Give Me Blisters On My Heels…
Here’s how to prevent blisters on your heels when wearing Converse:
- Wear waterproof band-aids on your heels as a pre-emptive measure to reduce friction from the canvas on your heels.
- Purchase a gel heel cup that covers your heel completely to prevent blisters.
- Try properly breaking your Converse in first around the house, wearing thick socks.
- Wear specialised blister proof socks to help reduce friction further.
- Stretch your Converse with a shoe stretcher when in storage to help soften the canvas upper and stop blisters on your heels.
Making sure to properly waterproof your Converse also will help, as wet canvas will cause rubbing and blisters. Avoid wearing them in the rain altogether if you can.
Here’s a photo of a blister I recently got from a new pair of Converse:
I wore them without preventative measures to test how quickly rubbing and soreness would occur (you can’t say I’m not dedicated!). I got this mini blister and redness after their first hour of wear.
Make sure you follow the above tips to help avoid this for yourself!
You may also like: Are Converse Good For Running? – A 30 Day Test
Do Converse stretch?
Converse do stretch over time with wear. Expect to experience the canvas upper stretching and loosening over the course of 4-6 weeks in a new pair of Converse.
To speed up the stretching process make sure you properly break in in your Converse using the tips provided in the first section of this article.
Thank you for reading this article on ‘How To Break In Converse’ using easy tips you can follow at home. Good luck breaking in your own pair, and feel free to share this post to Pinterest to save it for later!
For more Converse content check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).