I tend to get this question emailed to me quite a lot at the very beginning of summer. I recently started getting it even more than usual because I mentioned that I had just replaced my old white Jack Rogers with a brand new pair. It’s been years since I broke in a pair of Jacks and I truly forgot how horrible the process was. I do believe that the pain of breaking them in is worth it though because, in the end, you get a pair of sandals that feel great.
I LOVE my Jack Rogers, but I totally get that the style might not be for everyone. (In which case, this post isn’t going to be for you.) But if you love them too, I do have some tips for breaking them in pretty quickly.
ONE // Admit It’s Going to Hurt
I know it sounds kind of silly, but acknowledging that it’s a bit of a painful process will help you ease into the idea of breaking in the shoes. Do not make the assumption that they’ll be fine, even if they feel okay for ten minutes at home, and bring them as your only shoe option on a vacation. I also find that if I over prepare myself for the pain, it never ends up feeling quite as bad as I had imagined it would.
TWO // Baby Steps First
As I mentioned, you’re not going to want to bring these on vacation right away. Start by wearing the sandals at home for as long as you can handle. The minute you start to get a blister, go barefoot or switch to another shoe/slipper. Don’t push it! Just ease into it and start to get the leather warmed up.
THREE // Protect the Foot
So in my experience, the pain mostly comes from getting blisters while the leather loosens up. Once you’ve started to wear the sandals around the house, you’ll eventually want to take them out, of course. Be prepared for blisters on that first outing. I like to wait for the blister to pop up and then put a band-aid on so that I know exactly where the problem areas are. (I’m not sure if that’s the “best” way to do it, but it works for me!) When I just broke in these Jacks, my left food needed two band-aids, and my right foot needed three, including a band-aid between my big and second toes.
In addition to having band-aids on hand, I also highly recommend coating your foot with a blister stick. They’re essentially just wax and helps prevent friction-induced blisters. (I think blister sticks are just great to have on hand all the time actually! I rub a little on before putting on uncomfortable heels too.)
FOUR // Suffer
I am only half-kidding here 😉 There is a lot of pain and discomfort those first two or three wears, but if you’re committed to breaking them in, it’s worth it!
FIVE // Take them for a Swim
Now from what I’ve read, this is a little more “controversial.” I am pretty firmly in the water-is-okay camp. These are Jack Rogers, not Jimmy Choos. Water seems aggressive, but these are everyday sandals that can be worn everywhere, including the beach. And from my experience of wearing Jack Rogers in Florida, they always feel better after a trip to the beach or a day at the pool, even if I’ve had them for a few months. I used to step into the pool while wearing my Jacks when I lived in Florida to break them in– they end up molding to your foot. The trick then, though, is to keep them on your foot as they dry.
SIX // Peel the Heel
This is more of an addendum here. One thing that might hurt even when they’re fully broken in is the heel. My foot is pretty used to the heel, but I know that the little holes on the heels can hurt. The easiest option is to peel it off. I’ve done this before for a couple of my older pairs and you can’t tell there’s anything missing when you’re wearing the shoe. But you can also opt for one of the other styles like this comfy rubber version or this luxe version.
When I wore my new Jacks for the first day, I actually questioned whether or not I was willing to break them in. Even though I knew it was a mistake, I wore them for a full day of exploring in Charleston. My feet were hurting so much! It was not fun, but wearing them for hours in the sun right from the get-go was kind of, literally, I guess, like ripping off the band-aid. The blisters I got have pretty much healed up, and the sandals are fully broken in.
I’m rereading this post, and it does sound ridiculous, but I think anyone with a pair of Jack Rogers can attest to the process being uncomfortable, but worth it.