How to Break In New Football Boots

break in new football boots

Whether you’re buying for the new season, or have treated yourself to a new pair of boots, it means having to break in a new pair of football boots and that can literally be a pain.

This guide will help you and your football boots perform better, sooner, and help reduce susceptibility to injury.


You know what it’s like. You need a new pair of football boots, but with a new pair of boots, you may have to go through pain to break them in.

New football boots can mean sore feet, that is until the new football boots and your feet get used to each other. Even if you are dusting off last year’s equipment, your feet and football boots may need to readjust to each other again, so there will be another breaking in period.

Fortunately, many modern football boot materials are now softer than they used to be, reducing the time needed for you to ‘break in’ your new football boots. Even so, it’s highly recommended that you follow this guide as injuries can happen and who wants to be sidelined due to a new pair of footy boots?

Wearing new football boots, how to break them in.

Step 1. Check Your Size

Picture of feet being measured for new football boots

Ensure that your new football boots are the correct size for you, considering length and width.

A wrongly sized football boot is a sure fire way to injured feet. Forget rumours of professionals wearing a size too small, specialists confirm that football boots that are too small for the foot can lead to injury.

The best way to measure your feet is in a shoe or sports store, specialists will be able to use a tool as you see in the picture to measure both the length and width.

It can also be done at home and here is a useful tutorial to help you do that.

Step 2. Reduce Friction

Picture of Vaseline on fingertips

Before wearing new football boots, rub Vaseline on all of the contact points on the foot that are susceptible to blistering, such as your toes and heel. This will help reduce friction against your skin and help prevent blisters forming.

Step 3. Ease the Boots In

Football boots on grass

Where possible, try wearing your new football boots to walk around in naturally, without exerting pressure on your feet like you would do in game conditions. Walking around the garden or a local park in your new football boots can help your foot and boot get used to each other and you may spark a new fashion!

Step 4. Train in Boots

Training in football boots to break them in

Gradually introduce new football boots during training sessions. Start by aiming for a maximum of twenty minutes of play in your new football boots. Should you start feeling any pain, then change the football boots immediately.

Continue wearing your football boots in training for progressively longer spells, or until the football boots feel very comfortable.

Step 5. Dampen Your Boots

Sponging football boots to break them in

If you feel like you are struggling to break the football boots in, try dampening the upper slightly before using them, but don’t soak the boot. Also, don’t use very hot water as this can melt the adhesives used on the football boot. Dampening them lightly with a sponge should do the trick.

Step 6. Keep Them Clean

Cleaning football boots with brush


After using the football boots, clean any debris or dirt off of the football boots with a soft brush or sponge.

Step 7. Use a Shoe Tree

Picture of a shoe tree to help break in football bootsStuff the football boots tightly with newspaper after use, or use a shoe stretcher. This will help keep the football boot in good shape and will help dry the moisture out of the football boots.

Step 8. Dry Them Naturally

Drying football boots to break them in

Let the football boots dry naturally after use, so keep the football boots away from heaters and direct sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since we first published this guide to breaking in new football boots, we’ve received lots of comments, questions and tips.

Here are some of the most common frequently asked questions with answers:

Should my football boots be tight?

There’s a common myth that suggests that you should buy football boots that are a size or two smaller than your foot size.

Football boots that are too tight can cause serious, long-term problems. Problems can range from neuromas – painful enlarged benign growths of nerves between the toes that require surgery – and sesamoiditis, which affects two small bones beneath the first metatarsals which can get inflamed or even rupture.

It is best to wear the correct size of football boots for your feet. Your boots should have a snug fit, but should not be too tight.

Can you stretch synthetic football boots?

Synthetic football boot materials do not stretch as much, or as quickly as a leather boot. Also, the type of synthetic material used will dictate how flexible they are.

Cheap football boots tend to have little give in them in general, so bare this in mind.

If you need to gain a bit of room in your synthetic boots, the best way is by wearing them. The boot will mould to your foot with regular use due to your foot stretching the material and moisture and heat from your foot will help make the boot more pliable.

Some people recommend a hair dryer on low heat also helps make the material pliable but use this with caution as you do not want to melt the adhesive that holds the boot together.

How can I help prevent getting blisters when I break in football boots?

Blisters occur when the top layer of skin pulls away and fills with fluid, they are caused when there is friction between your foot and your boot.

Moisture is the main culprit. In your boot moisture could be coming from sweat or from outside sources like a wet pitch.

When wet, the skin is softer and more vulnerable, so your top layer of skin is more likely to part from lower layers and fill with fluid.

You’ll notice many pro’s wear ankle socks, one of the reasons for this is that these socks help wick the moisture away from the foot, reducing friction.

As well as trying to reduce the moisture in your boot, as we mentioned in the article tips, Vaseline can help protect against blisters by lubricating the foot where the friction occurs.

In the comments, @Jase mentions using blister plasters. We’ve used them too and they definitely help. Blister plasters work like adding a second layer of skin to your foot, they can also come with cushioning and a wound healing dressing. You can buy them at the pharmacy or on Amazon.

Does wearing your boots in a bath really help?

This might sound odd, but the answer is yes. Sitting in a hot bath with your boots on can help you break them in.

A few years ago we met up with Theo Walcott and his top tip was that he sits in the bath with new boots before he uses them. The water and heat helps your boots mould around your foot, some people do this two or three times before wearing their boots in a game.

Troy Deeney does something similar, he uses a steamer. At Watford, they have a steamer for boots and he talks briefly about it in this video.

Now you know how to break in your new football boots, take a look at our section on Caring for Football Boots so you look after them and prolong their life.

Do you have any tips to share on how to break in new football boots? If so, please share your advice in the comments section below.

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  1. says: Jase

    The vaseline trick works for me every time.

    The other thing that helps is getting blister plasters. They are really thin and stick to your foot very well. It feels like you have an extra thick layer of skin on your heel.

  2. says: fenway

    My kids wear waterproof football socks even in the summer. When they get their new boots for the season they never have a problem with blisters or sore feet. Something to do with how the fabric takes sweat off the skin so that the foot stays dry.

  3. says: Craig Laver

    I find that a small pair of ‘trainer’ socks worn underneath your football socks can help considerably.

    They can be picked up from supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco for around £2, and are normally so thin that you barely notice the extra layer.

    This all works on the principle that the trainer sock moves with your foot, and the football sock moves with the boot, eliminating friction from being directly applied to the skin of your foot, which is the source of the usual breaking in pain!

    1. says: danny

      av got the powerswerves!!! and under the second from the front stud rippes my skin to bits , i think it ccatcches inbetween he soul and inside of the boot , av tried foam souls , xtra socks , and ideas

  4. says: Splinter09

    No matter what I do my pair of mercurial vapor 4 I can’t break in them, I gave up on them and went back my old pair of Lotto’s.
    For leather football boots, dump some newspapers with alcohol and stuff the boots with it, that helps loosen up the leather.

    1. says: Mitch11

      Hey Splinter09, I thought the same when I got my vapor 4’s, I had huge blisters for around a month. What did it for me was placing band-aids on the spots where I got blisters and then covering the band-aids (often multiple)with athletic or physio tape. I did this for another month and ever since that they have been fine. Honestly you just have to play through the pain for a while, but once they are broke-in it is worth it, at least that has been my experience. All the best with your football this season.

      1. says: mfafc11

        a much easier solution would be to pick up a product called molefoam. it helped me considerably when breaking in my vapor IV’s.
        also I”ve recently purchased a pair of vapor V’s and they gave me absolutely no problems out of the box.

      2. says: Matt

        Hey Mitch 101, u know what, it was wierd when I got my mercurial 4. They didn’t give me blisters at all. A trick is to wear double or triple socks, and then rub Vaseline on the pressure points.

        And I had a problem with my mercs. They are ripping on the soles and stuff, like near my toes and under the balls of my feet. I paid good money for these cleats. Anyone know of a really good adhesive that could glue my cleats back. Super glue doesn’t work. And if u do know of anything, can u make sure I can buy it in Alberta, Canada?
        Please help.

  5. says: Derek

    I have to agree with Snolly G
    Every Predator I’ve owned I’ve been able to wear right out of the box without a blister. Other boots however Besides predators and Copa Mundials that I’ve had to break in I found wearing them in the shower and just having a warm, not hot shower, then stuffing them full of newspaper to dry them has worked wonderfully. Mind you I’ve also tried kicking a ball around in the rain for 20 minutes then stuffing them with newspaper to dry has worked just as well. This works with Leather and K-Leather, I’m not sure how well it would work with synthetics.

  6. says: Matt

    speaking to the two that mentioned the Predators. I was recently in a local boot shop trying on a new pair of powerswerves to find the right size. I tried on both an 11.5 and a 12 (both US sizings) and only felt a nominal difference in the two boots. The twelve was on my dominate foot which is why I suspect that I didn’t feel much difference between the two sizes in length or width. My question is however, in your opinions, which size should I go with taking into consideration the stretching that occurs with K-Leather the 11.5 was a little tighter but depending on how much stretching occurs I don’t know. For a point of reference I have a pair of F30 indoors that are 12’s and are almost a perfect fit, and my tiempo legend 1’s are a size 12 (US) and are roughly a half size to a full size to big

    1. says: Snolly G

      since predators (and make sure you’re not talking about the beckham climacool ones) are k-leather, they’re supposed to stretch a bit. so you should get them slightly smaller. (in your case, maybe the 11.5.)

      however, i have to say, mine don’t seem to have stretched very much. (on the other hand, mine are fairly new, and i also don’t wear them in wet conditions often. if i did, i bet they would stretch more.)

  7. says: GGG

    Nike’s generally are half size smaller for me. And I have heard this from other people too. E.g. I wear 11 adidas, but have to buy 11.5 Nike to get the same fit. Although, it goes to the width only. Since F30s are usually synthetic, and have a more narrow fit, I would say get 11.5 predators, because they are wider generally, and K-leather will stretch.
    As far as the general topic, the best pair of boots so far for me has been the original adiPure. I wore right off the box – no blisters, etc.
    Looking to buy Predators next, and would like to know if anyone has had both, and what is their opinion.

    1. says: fifinho

      i have Predators and adiCores (the next one down from Pures). they are the same size but i have to double sock when wearing the predators however after doing this i could literally wear them straight out of the box.

      i would say that the cores don’t actually “break in” as easily as the preds because they are made from an inferior leather (ULT-K leather, look it up if you want) but they are more comfortable and provide a very tight and secure fit because of their unique collar design thingy. they also have more leather than the preds so it moulds to the shape of your foot much better.

      in the long run i would go for my cores (or Pures even better :D) for comfort and if you wanted to reduce the risk of blisters. i notice though that they seem to have a slightly narrower fit. Hope this helps! 🙂

  8. says: ill-d

    matt: get the 11.5s…if they are k leather. i wear 12s normally as well, and pretty much any k leather boot ive bought i got in 11.5s. they will most definitely be tight at first, but with proper break in they will stretch to create a perfect mold of your foot.

    also, it seems your dominant foot might be a touch longer than your other foot, mine is as well. my right foot is like a 12, and my left is like a 12.25. i would still get the 11.5s, but just consider your dominant foot might take an extra bit of stretching.

    just do all the mentioned above and i think you will be fine…

    FYI the shower trick really works, i have some legend 2s i bought in 11.5 that were VERY stubborn and took a very long time to stretch. they felt really tight for a while…then i wore them in the shower with luke warm water and wore them till they dried. had to do this 3 separate times, but now they fit perfectly. they definitely would have given me blisters if i played in them right out of the box, so i just did a shower trick a few times and just wore them around the apartment and now they are fitting excellently.

  9. says: ram

    thans very much …i just brougth my new MV V (BLACK /YELLOW) I have boots and they did blisters to me in my toe ……now i know how to break them

  10. says: cr7wonka

    awesome advice. thanks and if u have leather boots get them wet and go run like along time to get the leather softer and then once ur done put newspaper in the shoe to get the wetness of the boot out! hope this helps!

  11. says: Thunderbolt

    Try the Nike Ronaldinho R10s. This boot i tried out of the box had no blisters watsoever. Its really comfortable. I also own a pair of Nike Mercurial Talarias i think they are better than Vapors in terms of blisters

  12. says: BD10

    yeh,i had the mercurial iv’s and i wore them to pre season last year. got two massive blisters and ever since i put a plaster on either heel and it has worked. it also gives you blisters if u take a break from football for example two weeks. then you would need to re apply the plasters.:)

  13. says: manolito

    I am getting The Verminator boots, yeah ! They are awesome, predators are the best boots you can get, they are comfortable and they last much more than other boots.

  14. says: George Day

    i currently wear the adipures and my 2nd choice are predators,i play right mid and im tempted to buy the new black and yellow vaopurs. i have worn vapours before and had no trouble with them but they were an older verson and will be diffrent from the new vapours had any had a promblems breaking in to the new vapours?


  15. says: james j.

    well the way i do it to break into dem is by running with them, juggling the ball alot and take shots..dont play 90min tho!

  16. says: John

    Guys, im size 11 in shoes last pair of boots i had were a size 12 but they were never comfortable, used to have to wear 2 pairs of socks. Bought a pair of nike 11s and now theyve reefed the back of my heel and both my big toes are bruised. Are your football boots not supposed to be smaller than the normal size of your runners, or whats going on! Ahhhhh!!!!1

  17. says: SirReal Madrid

    I have a brand new pair of Adidas Predator Absolions. size: 11 1/2. I’m replacing my old Absolions, also 11 1/2. I notice that the new ones are a bit tighter especially on my right foot, (toe especially). I don’t recall how tight my old ones were when first worn and am wondering, how true to size they are making them now. Im not sure if I should send in for a 12 or break them in! Anyone familiar with the Predator line, please inform. Thnx.

  18. says: Ollieeee.

    before i put my boots on, i shake talkin powder on my feet then rub it in. then put vasaline on the ankles, toes and the back of your foot. then i put thin socks on. then i put talkin powder over the top of them and rub it in. and then i put my football socks on and then my boots.

    if you have new boots, just walk round your house for 1 hour doing foot exercises.rubbing your toes in and out…

  19. says: KC Cougar

    At least for me, Nike’s Air Legend II’s have been fantastic – almost like slippers. Extremely comfortable. No blisters, no hotspots, nothing. Unfortunately, they’re now difficult to find.

  20. says: Scott

    hi all – Im an australian rules football player senior player with some experience. One technique Ive heard many ppl swear by is to dampen newspaper and stuff it into the boot and leave overnight. Then take it out and allow to dry before wearing it in as described.

  21. says: Dave3449

    i find putting the boots on and sitting in a luke warm bath for about 20mins does the trick the boots mould to your feet because the temperature is warm and not to hot to melt the adhesive worked for me for the last 4 pairs

  22. says: Ash21

    i just brought pair black superflys i been wearing them for 1 half every game 2 break them in bt rather then get blisters the bottom of my foot starts 2 hurt the more i run any ideas why?

  23. says: v-kon iii user

    I got a Puma v-kon iii (entry level) for a match shoe. Unfortunately, the pair that was bought for me is 2 sizes bigger rather than 1 size. Now,I have to bear with it and think of a way to break it properly while avoiding injuries.

  24. says: big dave

    i’ve generally always gone with predators & never had any issues with them. could wear them straight out of the box.

    my new boots are adipure though, & they gave me bad blisters on the back of my heels – especially my dominant foot – the first time i wore them.

    will try the vaseline trick & see what happens.

  25. says: boost

    @ Big Dave i also wear adipures and the heel is hurting me on my left foot (my dominant foot) so i just wear a thin layer sock under my boots and then lightly soak my football boots after use.

  26. says: Nick

    Huh the instructions with my predator xs told me not to stuff them with newspaper as it can cause cracking in the Taurus leather

  27. says: ernesto

    im interested in the nike superfly 2’s. only problem is i dont know what size to get. i wear sperrys in a size 9 but when i wear socks they kinda hurt for a while until they stretch out but when i wear them barefoot i have alot of room. i was wondering if i should get them in a size 9 or a 9.5. and if i do and i want to break them in do i put my whole foot in the water or will it damage the carbon fiber bottom? thanks

  28. says: Luke

    I just got some of the T90 Laser III’s , red/white. I am a goalkeeper and found when having a pre-season (New Zealand) kickabout with some friends that they felt really sore around the outside edge of my right foot, they are not leather, so do you reccomend that I wear these in the shower or something? The pain was unbearable therefore I had to change boots. This happens alot with my football boots as I have wide feet, but it dyes down after a few uses.

  29. says: Daire

    Even tho I Love all nike boots i have to admit Vapors are without a doubt the hardest boot to break in got blisters everytime! 🙁 Other than that all other nike boots dont need breaking in… ( t90s,Ctrs,Tiempos and nike 5s) I have all these and all of them bar vapors dont need breaking in.. 😛

  30. says: number7

    definitely! ive had vapours since the first ones and the latest superfly 2’s r the most difficult to break in, 1month down the line and am still getting bad blisters! i havnt tried vaseline yet though!

  31. says: Andy

    In response to Dereks comment

    i want to try that shower method, must you leave the inner soles inside or take them out. because i have the Nike CTR 360 and it a really comfortable boot but everytime i train, after training my Big toes are sore and have blisters.Please help anyone

    1. says: Natedawg120396

       you can but it wont do any good, unless its like a polish to make them look nicer.  Like putting a protective wood-stain on plastic siding.

  32. says: Flavio

    Hi, I just bought a pair of Superfly’s, the world cup edition. I’ve only worn them once and I played about a full match with them, which caused painful blisters on both of my heels. I also had sore feet as well from not getting used to the boot. But since the Superfly’s have synthetic and delicate materials, is it still safe to dampen them? 

    1. says: donald

      Yes, the upper is too stiff. Try soaking them in hot water instead. It’s safe for Superfly III. Sorry, 3 years later and replied

    2. says: Ford Trattles

      Go To This Web Site www sportsdirect com/dunlop-perforated-gel-insoles-750581?colcode=75058199 There Real Good I Got Them in my cr7s. football boots are designed to be comfortable for 90 minutes.

  33. says: Bobbylyndhurst

    Always put a leg of your bed into the heel of your boot so that the boot is pointing upwards. Keep it there 24 hours a day for 3-4 days and this will stop any blistering on your heels.

  34. says: Adam_spinola

    with mercurials the hot water trick; are you meant to wet the inside with warm water and wear them straight away while they are wet???!?!

  35. says: Matt

    If you want a pair of boots without blistering, get copa mundials. If you do decide to buy another pair of boots wear them in a warm bath standing up and moving around for 15 mins. For further protection before the game. I wear a pair of ankle socks over my football sock and cover it in Vaseline . Tie your boot tight so there isn’t too much movement for your heel to slide up and down also!

  36. says: CScrivens

    Firstly to answer the question regarding to vasline on the feet:

    Vaseline to prevent blisters? – Put you socks on your feet. Now before putting your boots you generously apply vaseline to the heel area over the top of your sock. Also apply to any other part of the sock where the boots also tend to rub or create soreness. Use plenty of vaseline don’t be shy guys the more there is the less friction there will be!

    I would also like to quickly say that it isn’t just the brand that affects the sizing it can also be the boot type. For example I wear Adidas Predators (size 8.5), Any Nike boots (size 8.5 is too big, 8 is too small), Puma ‘spped’ boots (size 8.5), Adidas Copa Mundial (size 7.5 and I’m currently trying a size 7). Once you find a brand or spcific style you like then stick to it. This will also assist in keeping a comfortable boots and preventing foot injuries.

    Below is a little long winded but it is 100% the best way to break into boots quickly and create the ‘worn in’ comfort…

    My feet are a mess but over the years I have built up a few different techniques that work! I have played in the South Conference football league but now I play locally.

    My tips have only been used on leather boots because my wide feet prevent me from wearing plastic boots with comfort.

    Wear the boots in the bath for as long as you would bath normally. Wear socks! Both for comfort and realistic size. If you have slighter thicker socks then your normal football socks then choose that option too.

    In the bath tighten the laces as much as possible. You will need to repeat a couple of times as the leather begins to stretch.

    When you get out the bath you now have two options, either keep the boots on, or takem off and ABSOLUTELY STUFF your boots with newspaper. Don’t be shy cram it in there! (Personally I only cram the toe area. The rest of the boot I don’t have too many problems with. I tend to try and create height in the toe area as well as width).

    Whichever option you have opted for you now need to cover the boots in petroleum jelly (aka vaseline). This will keep the boots supple and prevent the leather drying out.

    Your feet will undoubtly feel uncomfortable and potentially sore during this process but I feel it’s a small sacrifice for beautiful boots.

    It is very important to keep the leather stretched whilst it dries.

    1. says: Alan -

      No, you shouldn’t use hot water as you may melt the adhesives.

      We’d suggest wetting the boots, waiting for them to dry out a bit, then wear them for training sessions. You’ll find they mould to your foot better.

  37. says: Mo

    Bought myself some Vapors last week for the new season. They are killing me with blisters on my heel. Will try making them damp and the vaseline, will let you know. Cheers, Mo

  38. says: alex

    Try putting the end of your boot in boiling water for approx 3 minstrel then put them on and wrap them in a cold towel this would mould the boots to your feet and should prevent rubbing

  39. says: Roark

    The key is to get the right size. The rumors about pro’s getting boots a size too small comes from sizing down from a normal pair of sneakers. With normal sneakers people usually want a size up from true to size so you have about a thumb width between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe. With soccer boots you want true to size, which means your big toe should either touch the end or be millimeters to touching the end of the boot when you are standing up in them. They break in when you start flexing your foot in them. All the excess material starts to mold and wrap around your foot like a glove. They will probably feel tight in the toes until this happens. If they’re comfortable in the toe area while standing when you first buy them they’re probably a little too big.

  40. says: Kristina Listes

    I am a Head Cheer Coach as my mom was when I was growing up for me! My mother use to fill a Ziploc Freezer Bag wit water & place it tightly in my cheer sneakers & put the whole pair of sneakers in the freezer…as the water freezes, it expands & helps stretch out & widen ur shoes…my son starts football this season & I did it wit his new kleets!

  41. says: Mario

    Hi, I bought a pair of Adidas Predetor LZ, I’ve worn them four times now, three times in training which was about 1 and a half hour long and once in a full 90 minute game but, I’ve still not broken into them! I remember after my training session with them, I got blisters in both of my big toe and on the soles of my feet! Please someone explain why? Thanks!

  42. says: Harry Campbell

    ive broken into my boots fine ( adidas 11Pro Crazylight) but I have noticed after a couple wears the plastic, rubberery tap that connects the actual sole to the leather is wearing away? does anyone know what is actually used to stop this happening?? help!

    1. says: Don

      Superglue will provide a temporary fix but it’s the result of light boots, durability sadly goes downhill to save weight (no rivets, no stitching, thinner materials etc….)

  43. says: Satyam Thapa

    Hey…My name is satyam Thapa….I wanted to tell you that I bought an adidas ace 16 last month and my size is 6 UK so when I tried to wear it …It just trapped my leg like I can’t evn move my toes…It just stops my blood circulation in leg and after 5 min my leg pains…I have a Nike magista too of the same size but it fits perfectly whereas adidas doesn’t fit till now I can play a bit then my heels start paining….Please give me some tips…Thank you…

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