How to Break in Tennis Shoes? – Quick Tips

Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Fahad Zahid

For playing tennis, the comfort of your tennis shoes matters a lot.

No matter, how good the quality of your tennis shoes is, you have to break them in to make them more comfortable for better play.

However, breaking in tennis shoes is a very puzzling activity.

You can find numerous ideas on the internet for breaking in leather or canvas tennis shoes, but not all of them work.

Sometimes people try random ideas for breaking in their brand new tennis shoes and end up ruining them.

To save you from terrible experiences, we have searched out some reliable solutions for breaking in new tennis shoes.

In this article, we’re going to guide you on how to break in new tennis shoes.

Let’s have a look.

1. How to break in tennis shoes fast by heating?

The heating method works best with leather tennis shoes.

Leather tennis shoes usually offer better quality and are more comfortable than many other types of shoes.

Though they are soft and can easily be molded, they still need to break in.

The reason is that new leather tennis shoes have a little hard leather that might feel bothersome when you slip them on for the first time.

Heating your new tennis shoes with a blow dryer is the fastest way to break them in.

Heating expands the leather and makes it softer.

Follow the following steps for breaking your new tennis shoes by heating:

  • Put on your new tennis shoes for about 10 minutes.
  • Take off the shoes and heat them gently by turning on the blow dryer for 2 to 3 minutes. Heat the entire shoe, especially heels and toes. You can also place your shoes next to the heater or in direct sunlight instead of heating them with a blow dryer.
  • Again wear your shoes to mold them according to your feet and walk for a while.
  • Repeat the procedure at least once.

While heating your leather tennis shoes, keep in mind not to heat them too much. Excessive heat can also damage your shoes, so use a little heat only.

2. How to break in tennis shoes by mink oil?


Mink oil is used to break in only leather tennis shoes.

Don’t try it on canvas or other types of shoes because it will ruin them.

Mink oil is an incredible product that helps in nourishing and waterproofing the leather.

It also makes the leather more flexible and softer.

Applying mink oil is a perfect way to break in leather tennis shoes. Here is the way to apply it to your tennis shoes:

  • Mink oil is a thick waxy material, so melt it until it becomes running liquid.
  • Take a piece of cloth or sponge and daub it in melted mink oil.
  • Hold your tennis shoes and apply the oil over the shoes. Leather soaks the oil, so apply an excessive amount of oil.
  • Leave the shoes for a few hours in direct sunlight. The heat from sunlight opens the pores in the leather and improves the absorption of oil in the shoes.
  • Now remove excessive mink oil by wiping your shoes off by cloth.
  • Repeat the procedure weekly and then monthly. It will not only break in your leather tennis shoes but also help to retain the quality of the leather in the long run.

3. How to break in tennis shoes with ice?

Instead of heating, you can employ the freezing method to break in your new tennis shoes.

Expanding effect of ice also helps to break in new tennis shoes.

However, don’t use it on leather tennis shoes as it can wet the leather and damage it beyond repair.

This method works best for tennis shoes that are made up of waterproof material, like nylon.

Follow the following steps for breaking your shoes in with freezing water:

  • Half fill two large resealable plastic bags with water.
  • Tightly seal the plastic bags. Remove all the air from the bag, so the water could easily expand on freezing.
  • Place one water-filled bag in each tennis shoe.
  • Now take a bigger resealable plastic bag and place both of your shoes in it. You can also place your shoes in separate plastic bags, instead of placing them in a single one. Placing the shoes in a larger bag will protect them from the moisture of the freezer. 
  • Place your tennis shoes in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours. When water-filled bags freeze, they expand and put pressure on your shoes. The pressure breaks in your shoes and makes them more comfortable.
  • Take out your shoes from the freezer and remove the water bags. If the freeze water bag could not slide out easily, leave it to melt for a few minutes.
  • Get your shoes on once they regain room temperature and walk for a few minutes.

4. How to break in tennis shoes with sock balls?

Sock balls can help you break in all types of tennis shoes.

You can also use paper balls instead of sock balls.

It is an easy as well as a reliable method.

However, it is time-taking as compared to other methods in our guide.

Let’s see how it works.

  • Take your tennis shoes and try to bend the shoes slightly. Push the toe back and forth. Don’t force too much to bend the shoes.
  • Take a pair of thick socks or paper and squeeze them into a ball shape.
  • Stuff them in the cavity of your tennis shoes for a couple of hours.
  • Remove the sock ball or paper ball and put the shoes on for a few hours. Wear them with thick socks if possible. Wearing tennis shoes with thick socks enhances the stretching and improves the comfort of the shoes.


How long does it take to break in tennis shoes?

There is not a fixed time for breaking in tennis shoes. The time for break in tennis shoes varies depending upon the manufacturing material of the tennis shoes. It also depends on how often you put on your tennis shoes. However, on average, most of the tennis shoes break in within 2 to 3 weeks.

How to break in tennis shoes fast?

Heating is the fastest method to break in your tennis shoes. Heat your tennis shoes with a blow dryer for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the dryer in motion while heating, so you don’t heat a single area excessively. Heating expands the material, and shoes can easily be molded according to your feet.

Why do you need to break in new tennis shoes?

New tennis shoes are usually stiff and tight. They often give you blisters, foot pain, and sore feet. When you continue to wear them, they start expanding and become comfortable after a couple of days.

Can I use a newspaper ball for stretching tennis shoes?

Yes, you can, but it is better not to use it. Newspaper print can be transferred to your new tennis shoes and ruin them. So, try to avoid using a newspaper ball for stretching tennis shoes.

Is it a good idea to use the freezing method for breaking in new tennis shoes?

The freezing method works perfectly fine with tennis shoes that are manufactured of waterproof materials. But if you try it with other types of tennis shoes, you will end up damaging your new shoes. So, confirm whether your shoes are waterproof or not before applying this method.


For a comfortable experience with your tennis shoes, breaking them in is essential.

Breaking in new tennis shoes might feel annoying, but you can do it easily by applying the above-mentioned methods.

Once you break in your tennis shoes, you can play more comfortably, without tiring your feet.

So, employ one of the above methods for breaking in your tennis shoes and make them softer and more flexible.

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