How to Break in New Running Shoes

Breaking in new running shoes hurt. That’s why it’s vital for any athlete on their feet to wear good athletic sneakers, especially for those whose careers and lives depend on them.

Fortunately, numerous studies have shown exactly what type of shoe would benefit each gender for the type of physical activity they participate in. Whether that’s recreational sprinting, trail running, light jogging or training, wearing an insole will benefit each athlete’s foot according to the amount of endurance they wish to perform in.

Thus, using proper cushioning can reduce leg-related injuries, as there are increasingly more children and adults who are participating in physical activities.

Here are a few helpful ways to break in new stiff shoes excluding the cost of painful feet.

New White Running Shoes

Why Breaking in New Runners Shoes Hurt

Studies show that new running shoes contained higher peak pressures than old, worn-in sneakers.

Higher plantar pressure can lead to a higher risk of foot injuries if running shoes are changed frequently.

This is due to the stiff flexibility in new running shoes and as a result, the foot muscles can tighten.

Experts suggest breaking into new running shoes slowly and initially use them for mild physical activity.

Comfortable Ways to Break in Running Shoes

The following list contains the best ways to keep your feet comfortable while breaking in new athletic sneakers for any physical activity. Read further for more information about each type of beneficial support.

  • Feet Orthoses: a forefront cushion (FC) or a metatarsal pad (MP)
  • Maximalist (MAX) or minimalist running shoes with an insole
  • Wearing a trail shoe with a built-in rock plate for thick support
  • Lateral wedge insole and an arch support for protection of the ankle
  • Heel pad insole for long-distance runners

Maximalist running shoes are better than minimalist when breaking into a new athletic shoe. This is because of the maximalist ability to support a runner’s flexibility which is a vital component when either walking or sprinting in a new, stiff running shoe.

Studies show that shoes with lower levels of stiffness can reduce the risk of injury among recreational runners, with annual injury rates of 39% to 85%. The maximalist shoe contains enough padding to aid its support during exertion.

Breaking in new running shoes

Wear Foot Orthoses for Comfort

When buying a new pair of shoes, ease your discomfort and reduce the risk of injury by placing a foot orthotic in the sole of the shoe.

Foot Orthoses are commonly used for runners, athletes, or trainers seeking comfort in the treatment of foot pain due to breaking into a new running shoe.

In the forefoot, the two best cushions for athletes’ feet are called a metatarsal pad (MP) and a forefoot cushion (FC).

Studies show that the forefoot cushioning orthosis significantly reduced peak pressure in a recreational runner’s forefoot.

Insert the forefoot cushion by pushing it to the toe of the running shoe to support your feet comfortably.

A metatarsal pad is majorly prescribed for people with painful foot conditions in general. However, several studies showed that athletes using a metatarsal pad reduced pain by decreasing the plantar pressure in the midsole.

The space between the metatarsal heads can also credit for pain reduction.

To use, place the pad on the upper insole so the pad is facing towards the bottom of the heel.

To learn more, watch this video on how to apply a metatarsal pad.

Amazon carries a unisex metatarsal pad for immediate pain relief and a forefoot cushion with an ergonomic design for optimal comfort.


Last update on 2021-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Picking the Right Athletic Shoe

Trail running-related injuries are common amongst trail runners, where selecting the right shoe can decrease the risk of developing an injury.

A study showed that trail runners wearing minimalist or maximalist trail shoes (MIN or MAX) didn’t have any effect on feet pain during an uphill or downhill slope. However, the fastest runners were observed wearing minimalist running shoes.

Minimalist shoes are light-weight, extremely flexible but lack arch support, cushioning, and motion control support. Unlike minimalist, maximalist running shoes have a highly cushioned midsole.

But perhaps the most beneficial suggestion from this research on trail shoes is wearing a built-in rock plate shoe. Breaking into a new trail shoe can be daunting, especially if you are more prone to feet pain.

Studies show that women runners are more prone to experiencing hip pain through stress fractures. Experts suggest that a lack of padding can add to the stress on hips and knees, so it’s important women wear maximalist running shoes to support the ankle with the addition of insoles.

Men’s running shoes can be selected to fit their preference of fitness performance and support for injury risk. A study showed that young soldiers who wore minimalist opposed to maximalist shoes showed higher physical performance scores, with control of injury risk, by using an insole.

The bottom line is that both genders would benefit from an additional orthotic. Either a forefront cushion or a metatarsal pad, when breaking in new shoes – regardless of the type of athletic shoe.

Last update on 2021-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Shock Absorption Shoes

Wearing shock absorption shoes is one of the best ways for injury-free running for heavier runners. The benefits of wearing shoe-insoles are ankle joint support for fall prevention, shock absorption by the support of lower-resilience materials on the heel, and improving reaction speed.

Shock absorption shoes rely on the support from the energy compression and hardness of the material. This protects the feet from further injuries due to leg movement at high speeds. It is beneficial for heavier runners to wear shoes with shock absorption for this purpose.

A study showed that lighter runners shouldn’t choose an athletic shoe with shock absorption as the hardness of the material can increase injury risk. The lighter runners observed wore cushioning for protection.

Amazon’s JSLEAP Men’s Running Shoes provide hollow carved technology for added support in any physical activity.

Last update on 2021-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Lateral Edge Insole

It’s important to note gait abnormalities can increase with age and are more common among older people. However, breaking in new running shoes without preparation may lead even the healthiest and asymptomatic adults to develop gait impairments over time, which can interfere with walking or exercise ability.

Using an insole in a new running shoe can protect against further injury damage. Particularly for those suffering from a gait condition, or for those worried about the consequences of breaking into running shoes.

Studies showed that wearing a lateral edge insole reduced knee extension pain. Lateral wedge insoles provide enough foot support to knee extension angles in motion. Adding an arch support in addition to the lateral wedge may help with ankle support to minimize exertion injuries.

Amazon’s Lateral Heel Wedge Insole silicone insoles are perfect for being on your feet all day, and ideal for those with flat feet.


Last update on 2021-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Heel-Pad Insole

While some people use foam for cushioning their foot, there are negative effects on a runner when used during a long run.

A better alternative is a heel-pad insole, which is more non-linear, with higher strain energy protection than a foam running shoe insole.

The foam insole was observed to have structural damage after a 750 km run. The fatigue of the foam reduces heel strike cushioning and is seen to be a cause of running injuries.

All long-distance runners breaking into a new running shoe should wear a heel pad insole while getting used to the feel of the shoe.

To place the heel-pad insole in the shoe, simply push it to the very back of the shoe for heel support.

Amazon’s Gel Heel Cups Inserts help relieve flat feet pain while supporting athletes’ feet to perform to their best ability.


Last update on 2021-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Shoes for Marathon Runners

Breaking into new shoes is a major concern for marathon runners.

Shoes for Marathon runner

Studies show that prototype running shoes built with a thick, midsole material performed better than racing running shoes. As a result of this observation, top athletes could run faster with the support of midsole padding.

It’s important that marathon runners jog around the block to get a good grip of the shoe before they dive into a 2-hour marathon when they first buy the shoes.

This will ensure an increase of resilient feet, with the option of adding in a light insole for extra support and protection on long runs.

Amazon carries Light-Weight Orthotic Shoe Insoles for superior comfort and relief for protection against sore feet.

Last update on 2021-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrapping up

With the increase of injury risks among athletes engaging in running or any kind of activity on their feet, wearing the right shoe with a foot orthotic or an insole will provide further protection. While sole inserts help relieve feet pain, wearing maximalists will ensure the proper cushioning support when breaking into a new running shoe.

Minimalist running shoes are good to wear for endurance but can be protected with a heel pad for ankle support. No one wants to develop gait impairments to affect their ability to exercise, so being mindful of these suggestions can drastically improve your athletic performance.

Let us know what you think in the comments and share this article with your fellow athletic peers if you enjoyed it.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.