Trying on shoes: how to do it properly?

Although majority of us would say that breaking-in a new, stiff pair of welted shoes can be a painful experience, it can also feel rewarding and satisfying.

Author: & Wielki Shoe

Leather slowly softens and begins to patinate, soles adapt to the shape of our feet and uppers begin to wrap them like comfortable and soft slippers. Sounds good?

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It can be so. It can be - because the condition that the process will be carried out in this way is that at we will be starting with good quality shoes that have not been used by anyone before.

Unfortunately, the term "used shoes" in this case should be used not only for those that have been worn for many months, but also those that have been tried on the wrong way too many times already or those that have been just brutally treated by potential buyers. Yes, the way we try on shoes can significantly affect their condition and even destroy them forever!

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So how should you try on shoes so as not to damage them, but be sure of the fit? We asked real shoe renovation experts to comment on this topic - Agata, Mariusz and Tomek from Wielki Shoe.

When we finally find shoes that meet our expectations in terms of style, model and color, there is still one more stage to deal with - choosing the correct size and checking whether the shoe fits well and is comfortable. How to do it in a way that does not leave any marks, so that in the event of not buying this pair, it will remain unharmed?  

First and foremost - always try on shoes on a surface that will not leave scratches on a delicate leather sole. A rug or carpet is perfect for this, because even a clean parquet or tiles are risky and may leave severe marks after a few subsequent fittings.  

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Do not subject the leather to unnecessary tension during fitting - this way you will avoid leaving the creases that usually appeal after first few days of wearing the shoes. Of course, in order to determine whether the shoe is properly fitted to the foot, you need to take about a dozen steps, but do not bend the shoes excessively, in an exaggerated way (squatting, bending the foot). It should be enough to determine if the shoe holds your foot well and does not hurt, sufficient to make a purchase decision. Bending the shoes in the wrong place (when they are too small or too large) de facto breaks them and prevents another person from breaking them in correctly.  

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Remember that the shoe will have to adapt to the foot anyway - this process usually takes some time and happens during the initial wearing phase. Hence the recommendation to wear shoes for short intervals only immediately after purchasing. The leather upper adjusts to our feet with a help of heat and moisture, so even if it doesn't fit perfectly in the time of purchase, it may just need some more time and steps taken.  

However, if this does not help and the shoes still seem too tight, remember that there is a possibility of stretching - this is a service provided by professional cobblers, during which shoes are placed on a special stretching machine. This is a much better solution than the traditional "fight" with new shoes that are too small - it allows even stretch of the leather, avoiding leaving the visible foot shape reflection on the uppers (as is often the case when the shoes are too small in the toe area).  

We hope that your doubts about trying on shoes have at least slightly dispelled. Although practice in it comes with time and habit - after all, welted shoes are usually much stiffer than sports shoes or cheap cemented shoes and you need to know them first - determining whether size is correct should not cause big problems anymore. Or in another words - that it can be done without risking the damage of the shoes.

We wish you only successful size choices and painless breaking in of your shoes!

P.S. We are preparing something together with Wielki Shoe for you. More info soon!

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