Leather shoes come in a variety of styles, including sandals, flats, slides, heels and boots. Leather footwear is durable, provides support and allows the feet to breathe. Whatever the purpose for the leather shoes--work, hiking or a special evening out--they must be broken in. Unlike natural fiber footwear, leather shoes cannot be damped with water and stretched. They must be broken in slowly, over a period of weeks.
Wear the leather shoes for one to two hours a day for the first week. Put them on in the evening while watching television or doing housework. Try to simulate the surfaces and inclines where these shoes will be worn, such as going up and down staircases, on brief walks or to the mailbox.
Check your feet for signs of potential problems before you put the shoes on and after you remove the shoes. Look for redness, pressure points or blisters. Check your toes to determine if they are being squashed together or the nails are cutting into the skin. If you find any of these, reduce the time the shoes are worn and use a leather conditioner over the problem area to soften the leather.
Increase wearing the leather shoes to two to three hours a day the second week. Continue increasing the time wearing the leather shoes by one to two hours a day until the shoes can be worn all day without discomfort.