How Long Do Soccer Cleats Take To Break In: Complete Guide

The excitement of getting a new pair of soccer cleats sometimes urges you to wear them instantly and get into action on the pitch. However, the discomfort you’ll feel will remind you that you need to break in soccer cleats before wearing them comfortably and playing. So, just how long does it take to break in new soccer cleats?

It takes three days to two weeks to break in a pair of soccer cleats. The length of time largely depends on the break-in method and the material used in making the cleat, as materials play a crucial role in feel and comfort. 

In this article, you will discover all you need to know about the time it takes soccer cleats to break in and how these time frames vary across different factors.

Do Soccer Cleats Need To Be Broken In?

Soccer cleats need to be broken in to adapt to your feet and feel comfortable. If you don’t break them in, you expose your feet to injuries and blisters. Manufacturers make cleats with all types of feet in mind. Therefore, you should break yours in to make them more suitable for your feet. 

How Long Do Soccer Cleats Take to Break In?

Soccer Cleats
Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats don’t break in instantly. They require time to adjust and adapt to your feet. However, this time can vary depending on how you approach the problem.

Soccer cleats take a few days to a couple of weeks to break in. The main reason for this gap in time is the difference between synthetic and leather. Leather naturally takes longer to adjust but comes with the benefit of added comfort and durability once it’s broken in.

Some methods can break in your cleats within hours, but you’ll have to practice with them for at least three days before using them on the pitch. 

The practice session ensures your feet and the cleat adapt to the new stretch conditions the break-in has introduced. 

How Do You Break in New Soccer Cleats Fast?

Types Of Soccer Cleats
Types Of Soccer Cleats

Breaking in a new pair of leather soccer cleats is one essential step to ensuring that you enjoy the comfort of using them. 

Heat is the best way to break in new soccer cleats. Heat is a natural cause of expansion and using it on your cleats will speed up the process. Breaking in new soccer cleats fast (especially leather) requires a DIY approach using household materials. 

However, keep in mind that fast is relative. You can’t break in cleats and wear them the same day unless it’s made of synthetic material. In fact, most synthetic cleats don’t need to be broken in. 

Let’s get down to the breaking-in process of new soccer cleats. 

You will need the following materials to start:

Once you have everything you need, follow these steps:

Fill a Bucket with Hot Water

Hot water works wonders on soccer cleats. Heat naturally expands most materials by stimulating molecular movement, and cleats are no different. 

Get a bucket or any other container large enough to contain your cleats and boil enough water to fill the bucket at least to the height of your shoes. 

The water should be warm but not hot enough to cause burns on your hands. 

Soak the Soccer Cleats in the Hot Water

Once you have your water follow these steps:

  1. Wear the soccer cleats and lace them up like you are going to play a match. Don’t forget to wear your socks as well.
  2. Place your feet with the soccer cleats into the hot water and start massaging the sides. While massaging, ensure all the air inside goes out into the water. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes. This step is to prepare the soccer cleats to adjust well on your feet and expand any stiff areas on the interior. 
  3. When you notice that air bubbles are no longer coming from the shoes into the water, that’s your signal to stop. Take your feet out of the water and proceed to the next step.
  4. Apply Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline to the Soccer Cleats 

After taking your feet out of the water, remove the cleats and place them on the ground, covered with a dry towel. 

Get some Vaseline or any petroleum jelly product and apply it inside the shoes, rubbing the Vaseline on every area of the cleat’s interior to avoid blisters when you wear it and practice. 

The Vaseline will soften the leather material used in the production to adapt to your feet.

Stretch the Cleats 

Stretching Soccer Cleats
Stretching Soccer Cleats

Now your cleats are still wet, slippery, and oily due to the Vaseline, but you have to stretch them because you’re not through with the process. 

If you want to use the wet socks that were part of the hot water step, it’s fine, or you can get a fresh, dry pair. 

Now, it’s time to expand your cleats:

  1. Wear the soccer cleats (with socks) and start walking about in them. 
  2. Ensure you’re outdoors, so you don’t soil your environment. Walk around your patio, lawn, or driveway for at least 10 minutes and stop. Then start jogging to stretch it further.
  3. After jogging, you can practice any regular exercises you do with soccer cleat training. You will have to wear the cleats for the better part of the day until they are at least dry. 

It’ll be uncomfortable wearing a pair of shoes that are wet and greasy, but once you’re done with this step, your cleats will be significantly more comfortable.

Dry Your Soccer Cleats 

Take off the cleats and let them dry further when you’re through with walking, jogging, and other exercises. 

Here are a few tips for the drying process:

  • When drying, do not expose the cleats to sunlight for this process. The heat from the sun can cause the leather to weaken and crack.  
  • Get some old newspapers and stuff the cleats with them. Afterward, dry the cleats under room temperature at any corner of your bedroom. You can also air-dry outside, but not while the sun is still up. This drying is best to do overnight so you can wake up the next day to practice. 
  • After drying, start practicing with the cleats. Wear them for 30 minutes every day for at least three days to play soccer, run or jog. But do not engage in high speeds or a full-time match. Just play gently for 30 minutes every day. 

Before the week runs out, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable in the cleats. 

How To Break in Synthetic Soccer Cleats

Synthetic Soccer Cleats
Synthetic Soccer Cleats

You can use the hot water method to break in synthetic cleats, but ensure the water is warmer and doesn’t exceed 5 or 10 minutes after you soak them in the water. A good alternative is to blow dry them using a hair dryer for 30 minutes. 

Blow drying is a good idea because hot water can damage synthetic materials like polyester, glue, and the plastic used in the cleat. 

Here’s how to use the blow dry method:

  1. Wear the soccer cleats with thick socks, then use a hair dryer to blow heat across the surfaces of the cleats. 
  2. Focus on tight areas, especially around your toes and ankles. Ensure the heat from the dryer gets to every part of the cleats. Do this for 30 minutes and stop, then repeat the process three times, ensuring that the heat is at the highest level. 
  3. If it gets too hot on your feet, reduce the heat or maintain a comfortable distance between the dryer and your feet. Generally, give at least a 30 cm (12 inches) distance from the dryer and your cleats. 
  4. When you are through, wear the cleats for a few days to practice and see how it adapts to your feet. 

How Do You Break in Tight Soccer Cleats? 

To break in tight soccer cleats, use the overnight freezing method. This method works better than the hot water approach because it doesn’t require your feet to be in the cleats during the process.

Here are the steps for the freezing method:

  1. Wet a few sheets of an old newspaper and place them inside the shoes. 
  2. Get a freezer bag and place the cleats inside it. Then zip the bag halfway to the end, leaving a small space. 
  3. Force out the remaining air inside through the space left and zip it up completely. 
  4. Place the cleats inside a freezer and leave them there throughout the night. 
  5. Take the cleats out of the freezer and let them dry a little. Wear your cleats for 20 minutes for them to adapt to the new stretch. Now start practicing with the cleats for the rest of the day.  

Is Soaking Cleats in Warm Water To Break Them a Good Idea?

Soaking cleats in warm or hot water is a good method for leather cleats. However, the hot water method is not a good idea for synthetic cleats as the heat and moisture from the hot water can reduce the lifespan. 

The heat can damage synthetic components like polyester and glues. It is, however, safe for strong leather materials. 

How Long Do Nike Cleats Take To Break In?

Nike Soccer Cleats
Nike Soccer Cleats

Hot water will break in Nike cleats in eight hours. However, you will still need to walk in your Nike cleats for at least three days to get comfortable in them. While the heat will soften the material, walking in them is necessary to mold the shape of the cleats and make them comfortable.


Soccer cleats are vital for good performance on the pitch. They provide comfort and support to your feet, but that is only possible when you condition the cleats to match your foot type by breaking them in.

This process involves several methods and can take any time, from three days to two weeks. In the end, your patience will be richly rewarded.

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