How to Stop Patent Leather Shoes from Rubbing Your Heel

There’s nothing worse than the discomfort of patent leather shoes rubbing against your heel. Not only can it cause pain and irritation, but it can also ruin the overall experience of wearing these stylish shoes. But fear not, there are several techniques and adjustments you can make to prevent this problem and ensure a comfortable fit.

Understanding the Problem

Before we dive into the prevention techniques, it’s important to understand why patent leather shoes tend to rub against the heel. One common reason is that patent leather has less flex and give compared to other materials, which can lead to friction and irritation. Additionally, patent leather shoes often have a stiff structure that can create pressure points on the heel, causing discomfort.

The discomfort caused by patent leather shoes rubbing against the heel

The discomfort caused by patent leather shoes rubbing against the heel can range from mild irritation to painful blisters. When the shoe rubs against the back of the heel with each step, it can create friction and pressure, leading to redness, soreness, and in some cases, even open wounds.

Imagine this scenario: You’re all dressed up for a special occasion, wearing your favorite pair of patent leather shoes. As you walk, you start to feel a slight discomfort in the back of your heel. At first, you brush it off, thinking it’s just a minor annoyance. However, as the evening progresses, the discomfort intensifies. With every step, the shoes relentlessly rub against your heel, causing friction and irritation. By the end of the night, you’re left with a painful blister, making you regret your choice of footwear.

It’s not just the physical discomfort that can be bothersome. The constant rubbing of patent leather shoes against the heel can also affect your overall mood and confidence. Instead of enjoying the event or occasion, you find yourself preoccupied with the discomfort, unable to fully engage and savor the moment.

Common reasons why patent leather shoes rub the heel

There are several common reasons why patent leather shoes tend to rub the heel. One reason is that the shoes may not be the right size or fit for your feet. If the shoes are too tight or too loose, they can create friction and cause rubbing against the heel. Another reason is that the shoes may not be properly broken in, leading to stiffness and discomfort. Additionally, some patent leather shoes may have design features or construction elements that contribute to heel rubbing.

Let’s delve deeper into these reasons:

1. Improper sizing: When it comes to patent leather shoes, getting the right size is crucial. Shoes that are too tight can pinch the back of the heel, causing constant rubbing and irritation. On the other hand, shoes that are too loose can slide up and down as you walk, leading to friction and blisters. It’s important to measure your feet accurately and try on different sizes to find the perfect fit.

2. Lack of proper break-in: Patent leather shoes, like any other type of footwear, need to be broken in before they become comfortable. When you first purchase a pair of patent leather shoes, they may feel stiff and rigid. It’s essential to wear them gradually and allow the leather to mold to the shape of your feet. By properly breaking in your shoes, you can minimize the chances of heel rubbing and discomfort.

3. Design and construction: Some patent leather shoes may have design features or construction elements that contribute to heel rubbing. For example, shoes with a high back or a narrow heel counter can increase the likelihood of friction against the heel. It’s important to consider the shoe’s design and construction when selecting a pair of patent leather shoes to minimize the risk of discomfort.

By understanding the reasons behind patent leather shoes rubbing against the heel, you can take proactive steps to prevent or minimize the discomfort. In the following sections, we will explore various prevention techniques and tips to help you enjoy your patent leather shoes without the pain and irritation.

Prevention Techniques

Now that we understand the problem, let’s explore some prevention techniques that can help stop patent leather shoes from rubbing your heel.

Choosing the right size and fit

The first and most crucial step is to ensure that you’re wearing the right size and fit. Take the time to measure your feet and consult the shoe size chart. It’s important to consider both length and width, as well as any specific foot conditions you may have. Remember, a shoe that doesn’t fit properly is more likely to create rubbing and discomfort.

When trying on patent leather shoes, pay attention to any areas of tightness or looseness. If the shoes feel snug or pinch in certain areas, they may not be the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to try different sizes or styles to find the perfect fit.

Breaking in your patent leather shoes

Another essential step in preventing rubbing is breaking in your patent leather shoes. This process involves wearing the shoes for short periods over several days to allow them to soften and mold to your feet. Start by wearing the shoes around the house for an hour or two each day, gradually increasing the wearing time.

During the breaking-in period, it’s normal to experience some discomfort or rubbing. However, if the rubbing becomes too painful or causes blisters, take a break and allow your feet to heal before continuing the process. Remember, patience is key, and breaking in the shoes properly will make a significant difference in their comfort.

Using heel grips or cushions

If you’re still experiencing rubbing after choosing the right size and breaking in your shoes, consider using heel grips or cushions. These accessories are designed to provide extra padding and support to the heel area, reducing friction and relieving pressure. They can be easily inserted into the back of the shoe to create a more comfortable fit.

Heel grips and cushions come in various materials and designs, so you can choose the option that works best for you. Some are adhesive-backed for a secure fit, while others may need to be attached with Velcro or placed under the insole.

Applying moleskin or gel pads to problem areas

If you’re dealing with specific problem areas where the shoes rub against your heel, consider using moleskin or gel pads. These products are designed to create a protective barrier between your skin and the shoe, preventing friction and reducing discomfort.

Moleskin is a soft, adhesive-backed fabric that can be cut to size and placed on the inside of the shoe where rubbing occurs. Gel pads, on the other hand, are made of a soft, cushioning material that molds to your foot shape, providing extra comfort and protection.

Adjustments and Modifications

In some cases, prevention techniques alone may not solve the rubbing problem. If that’s the case, here are some adjustments and modifications you can make to your patent leather shoes.

Stretching the patent leather shoes

If your shoes feel tight or narrow, you can try stretching them to create more room for your feet. There are several methods to stretch patent leather, including wearing thick socks while heating the shoe with a hairdryer, using a shoe stretcher, or seeking professional stretching services.

Keep in mind that stretching should be done gradually to avoid damaging the shoe’s structure. It’s best to start with short periods of stretching and check the fit regularly until you reach the desired comfort level.

Using a shoe stretcher or professional stretching services

If you’re not comfortable stretching the shoes yourself, consider using a shoe stretcher or seeking professional stretching services. A shoe stretcher is a tool specifically designed to expand the length and width of shoes. It can be adjusted to gradually stretch patent leather without causing damage.

Professional stretching services, offered by some shoe repair shops or cobblers, can provide a more precise and effective solution. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to stretch your shoes properly, ensuring a comfortable fit without compromising their integrity.

Adding padding or inserts to alleviate rubbing

If your shoes still rub against your heel, you can try adding padding or inserts to problem areas. There are various options available, including adhesive-backed foam pads, gel inserts, or custom-made orthotic inserts.

Padding and inserts can help fill any gaps or spaces inside the shoe, providing extra cushioning and support where needed. They can also redistribute pressure and reduce friction, alleviating rubbing and discomfort.

Adjusting the lacing or buckles for a better fit

For patent leather shoes with laces or buckles, adjusting the fastening system can make a difference in the overall fit and comfort. If you’re experiencing rubbing around the heel, try loosening or tightening the laces or buckles to achieve a snug but not overly tight fit.

Experiment with different lacing techniques, such as skipping eyelets or creating a looser or tighter pattern, to find the optimal fit. Remember, the goal is to secure your feet in the shoe without causing unnecessary pressure or rubbing.

Proper Shoe Care

To maintain the comfort and prevent rubbing in your patent leather shoes, proper shoe care is essential. Here are some tips to keep your shoes in great condition and minimize discomfort.

Regular cleaning and conditioning of patent leather shoes

Patent leather requires regular cleaning and conditioning to keep it looking its best. Use a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the shoe. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the patent leather finish.

After cleaning, apply a patent leather conditioner to moisturize and maintain the suppleness of the material. This will help prevent cracking and excessive stiffness, which can contribute to rubbing and discomfort.

Using a leather conditioner to soften the material

In addition to regular cleaning, applying a leather conditioner can help soften the patent leather, making it more flexible and less prone to rubbing. Choose a conditioner specifically formulated for patent leather and follow the instructions provided.

Apply a thin layer of conditioner to the shoe’s surface, spreading it evenly with a soft cloth or brush. Allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather for the recommended time before wiping off any excess. Repeat this process periodically to keep the leather supple and prevent discomfort.

Applying a protective spray to prevent friction

To further minimize rubbing and friction, consider applying a protective spray to your patent leather shoes. These sprays create a thin, invisible barrier on the shoe’s surface, reducing the chances of friction and irritation.

Choose a spray specifically designed for patent leather and follow the instructions carefully. Apply the spray in a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry completely before wearing the shoes. Reapply the protective spray periodically or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Polishing and buffing to maintain the shoe’s smoothness

Lastly, regular polishing and buffing can help maintain the smoothness and shine of your patent leather shoes. Use a high-quality patent leather polish in a color that matches your shoes. Apply a small amount to a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the shoe’s surface in circular motions.

Buff the shoes with a soft, dry cloth to remove any excess polish and achieve a polished, glossy finish. This not only enhances the appearance of your shoes but also helps keep the leather supple, reducing the likelihood of rubbing and discomfort.

By implementing these prevention techniques, adjustments, and proper shoe care practices, you can put an end to the discomfort caused by patent leather shoes rubbing your heel. Remember to be patient, as finding the ideal fit and breaking in the shoes may take some time. With the right approach, you can enjoy the style and elegance of patent leather shoes without sacrificing comfort.