How to Break in Soccer Cleats? (The Ultimate Guide)

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Every soccer player gets excited when they get new pairs of soccer cleats. The excitement is sometimes short-lived, however, once they put them on.

New cleats can be uncomfortable because they’re often too tight. To help you wear them comfortably, without any pain, it’s important to know how best to break them in.

Breaking in soccer cleats is an essential process that helps you feel comfortable and helps with your overall performance on the field.

Soccer cleats are mostly made of leather, which needs to be gradually molded to suit and fit your feet. It’s a gradual process that may take weeks. You’ll need patience for this process to be a success.

So, let’s dive in as we look deeper at the easy steps to follow in that crucial breaking-in process.

How to Break in Soccer Cleats

Being comfortable and pain-free in your soccer cleats will make all the difference in how you perform on the field. Without breaking in soccer cleats, you’re likely to suffer from blisters. This makes playing uncomfortable or even impossible.

But what exactly is breaking in, and why does it matter?

Break-in soccer cleats are a method of making them comfortable for your feet. Soccer is about speed, agility, and precision. And you can’t achieve this when wearing uncomfortable shoes or playing through pain. 

The breaking-in technique is about stretching and molding your soccer cleats to the shape of your feet. It aids in making the shoes flexible, comfortable, and much less stiff.

Breaking in soccer cleats is crucial for your optimal performance on the field. It ensures that the cleats fit correctly and are more comfortable. Also, it eliminates the risk of rashes and painful blisters.

Using the right techniques to break in your soccer cleats is important. Otherwise, you will end up destroying them instead of improving them. Depending on your method, the process can take days or weeks.

The following steps will show you how to effectively break in your soccer cleats:

1. Ensure the New Cleats Match Your Expectations

Usually, when buying something new, we forget the important details because of excitement. And soccer cleats are no different.

It’s important to focus on essential things that your cleats should have. This will ensure that what you buy matches your expectations.

Before buying cleats, ask yourself how flexible the cleat’s upper part is, its shape around your toes and forefoot, and if the cut throughout the ankle sits comfortably. Also, don’t overlook the size and the material, especially when buying online.

When it comes to cleats, it’s all about comfort. These questions will help you determine how comfortable your feet will be. You must pay special attention and listen to your feet before a game.

Before making that online purchase, you can visit the stores and try different designs. This allows you to get the right fit, size, and the one that suits the shape of your feet.

Going to the stores physically gives you the advantage of walking around as you try out the cleats. It gives you the benefit of picking the fit that best meets your expectations. Once satisfied, you can make the purchase right there or online with the right specifications.

Also, keep in mind that even if your new cleats match your expectations, patience is important. The breaking-in process isn’t some magic trick that happens in seconds. Your feet need time to adjust.

2. Start Easing Your Cleats into a Training Session

Once your cleats match your expectations, you can wear them to your training sessions. This is about easing into them, feeling them on your feet before the actual match day.

Since this is about easing in, be sure to avoid intense training until you get comfortable. By engaging in mild activities, it smooths the breaking-in process. Also, it helps keep those painful blisters away. 

During the training session, give your feet time to feel right in the shoes. Patience is important. Wear them for short periods at a time in the beginning, then slowly wear them for longer periods. This gradual process allows the material to stretch, making them more comfortable.

Ease into your cleats during training sessions daily for 30-40 minutes at a time for a few weeks. During this period, look out for any faults and note them down. Resolving these faults before play day will help in improving your performance on the field.

In cases where blisters occur during the training sessions, apply Vaseline.

3. Invest in Good Insoles

Insoles are an integral part of your cleats that help quicken the breaking-in process. They help give your cleats a feeling of your foot. They ultimately help your shoes mold into your foot’s shape. And molding your cleats is at the core of the breaking-in process.

It’s therefore important to invest in good insoles. They add support and comfort to your heel and arch. This helps prevent straining and over-collapse, major stresses for new footwear. A good insole will speed up the breaking-in process.

Investing in good insoles also has long-term advantages. They limit excessive movement inside the shoes, help retain their shape, and align the natural shape of your feet. Also, they act as shock absorbers. When playing, they protect your feet from the constant striking.

If you aren’t comfortable with the standard insoles that come with your cleats, you can invest in custom insoles, gel, or orthopedic insoles. Ensure these are prescribed by a medical expert.

4. Place a Shoehorn Inside the Cavity of the Boot

Place a shoehorn inside the boot cavity if you want to feel more comfortable during training. This will help expand the area. Due to the shape of the shoehorn, it will push the upper part and straighten the material around it.

Alternatively, you can use newspapers if you don’t have a shoehorn. Stuff newspaper into the upper part of the cleats. Stuff as much newspaper as you can and with force.

Once filled, leave it for about 8-10 hours. Then, remove the papers and put on your shoes immediately for about 20-25 minutes. This helps in retaining the stretch, making the cleats comfortable.

This method is affordable and doesn’t require any skills or tools. When using newspapers, ensure that you stuff them correctly. Leave no bumps that may interfere with the feeling of the upper material of the shoes.

5. Start with the Laces Loosely Tied

Keep the laces loosely tied when you put on your soccer cleats for the first time. This will allow tight areas to loosen before the shoes fit well and comfortably. After a few days, you can slowly tighten the laces once the shoes are more comfortable.

By loosely tying the laces, you avoid blisters and allow the cleats to gradually adjust to the shape of your feet. It also helps to break down the shoe’s initial stiffness.

The disadvantage of this method is that it keeps your feet from being fully locked in. This results in hindering you from shooting and running properly due to a lack of support.

Also, because your feet don’t fully lock in, your feet move around more. This is in comparison to when you tightly tie up the laces. When your feet move more, it causes friction. This increases the chances of getting blisters. 

6. Wear Your Cleats for Three Consecutive Days

To quickly break in your soccer cleats, try and wear them for three consecutive days before a match. This is a popular and natural way of breaking them in. This helps mold them to the shape of your foot,  eliminating discomfort and blisters.

If you wear your soccer cleats on match day without breaking them in, it will affect your performance. They will be uncomfortable, and you’ll have to endure them throughout the game.

During the three consecutive days, engage in small activities like running and walking to test the flexibility of the cleats.

Don’t run on rough surfaces to avoid destroying the rubber spikes at the bottom. It’s advisable to stick to smooth surfaces or grass.

Also, avoid harsh weather conditions. When it’s very hot, the moisture and the sweat inside will make breaking in harder, which will make you more likely to get blisters. When it’s chilly, the shoes will be more rigid, making the breaking-in process hard. 

You don’t necessarily need to go on training grounds to break in the cleats. You can wear them at home. As you walk around the house, your shoes will stretch to the shape of your feet.

You can wear thick or grip socks with your soccer cleats to make the process faster while at home. It will hurt in the beginning but will get better gradually.

7. Try the Frozen Water Trick for Tight Cleats

If your soccer cleats are tight, try the frozen water method. It works just like the hot water trick but is less damaging. This trick is scientifically proven because when water freezes, it expands. Filling your cleats with water creates a shoehorn illusion and stretches the upper part.

To use this trick:

  1. Fill a freezer bag with cold water
  2. Place the bag inside your shoe. Ensure the water is filled to the ankle hole
  3. Zip the freezer bag and put your shoes in the freezer for about 12 hours
  4. After 12 hours, remove it from the freezer and let it melt
  5. Remove the melted freezer bag
  6. Wear your shoes immediately. Have them on for about 20-30 minutes to maintain the expansion

With this method, the ice does the work of breaking in by stretching the cleats. It’s important that you carefully follow the steps to avoid destroying your soccer cleats.

8. Patiently Wait a few Days

One key virtue you need during the breaking-in process is patience. This process can’t be rushed; otherwise, your foot will suffer the consequences. 

You must wait patiently for a few days when you get a new pair of soccer cleats. Breaking in soccer cleats in a day is possible, but you’re likely to suffer from discomfort, rashes, and blisters. And this will affect your optimal performance on the field.

To avoid all these, patiently wait. And as you wait, you can bring an old pair of cleats to use during practice.


Breaking in soccer cleats is crucial for your overall performance on the field. The process helps stretch and mold the cleats to the shape of your feet.

With these simple and easy steps on how to break into soccer cleats, you can play comfortably. If you carefully follow the steps, you won’t have to worry about blisters, rashes, or playing through pain.

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