Shoes

How to Break in Jack Rogers Sandals

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.

How to break in Jack Rogers

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.

 

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56 Comments

carly

I wore them in the house a couple of times for about 15 minutes and then two days in Charleston!

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Angela

Thank you! This is really helpful for any shoe! Which blister stick do you recommend buying?

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Erin

Getting them wet also helps! I know it sounds counter-intuitive since they’re leather shoes and we know that water can be an enemy of leather, but in the case of Jack Rogers the leather is *so tight* it really is one of the easiest ways to get the leather to loosen a bit and mold to your foot. I noticed this with my pairs– as soon as I wore them each through a rainstorm, they suddenly loosened up and were much more comfortable to wear, but they didn’t *look* damaged at all from the water. So that’s what I do now when breaking them in: I dunk them in a tub, wear them around the house a little while they’re still wet, let dry afterwards and voila!

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Kristina

About to order a new pair of Jacks so this post comes at the right time haha.

I buy mine half a size larger and they still end up being super tight when I first get them. I remember them stretching out super fast tho and once they are broken in then they are so comfy. I’ve actually even worn them walking around Manhattan in the summer (aka walking for miles all day) and they did not bother me at all, even with the cutout circles on the heel. I definitely think it’s worth the brief period of discomfort.

Now the thing that annoys me is how dirty they get and there is no way to clean them properly once they’re dirty 🙁

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carly

If you use baby wipes after EVERY wear it helps, but I don’t mind the sole getting a little dirty actually.

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Christian K

Water should be fine for leather, after all, horses are/were ridden in rain all the time and cows get wet plenty of times. What I’ve found also works well is using oil to soften and protect the leather. With Rainbow sandals I just apply it liberally but with a decorative outer shell, I’d just apply on the inside with a rag and let it absorb. You can find it online or at any store that has horse or livestock supplies, like a tack shop.
I’ve had the same Rainbow sandals for years but the bottoms are completely worn through and now that I’m living in Georgia I think I’m going to switch to Jack Rogers.

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tracy

Here’s my real question: how do you keep them from wearing out? Am I the only person who needs to buy a new pair every summer? I wear them into the ground, not to mention the light leather base gets a disgusting dark foot shaped imprint pretty quickly…

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Patti

I’ve never had Jack Rogers, but this is pretty similar to breaking in Rainbow flip flops. Getting them wet is the best way to mold them to your feet and stretch the leather a little bit.

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Heather C. Watson

Peeling the heel is a really good idea that I think I should try! That’s the one problem spot with Jacks for me!
(Trying HARD to resist the Draper James collection. Certain I won’t succeed.)

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ROSA DIANA

yup, you got everything right! I bought a new pair end of summer last year and I’m wearing the around the house to break the in. It’s truly the easiest way to do it. And I carry bandaids in all my bags at all times! 😉

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Lauren Knippel

I am SO glad I’m not the only one who has experienced the suffering that comes with breaking these in! I’m not going to lie…sometimes my Jack Rogers sit on the shelf, because I’m too scared to wear them! I just stare at how cute they are in my closet! Thanks for the tips.

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Wendy

I probably have 15 pairs and haven’t really had to worry about breaking them in. Maybe I have teflon feet, but find them comfortable right from the start. The capri style is the most comfortable.

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Jana

I’ve stuffed socks in mine before before wearing them to loosen the leather and also put tape on the heel part over the holes to help with how bad the holes hurt until they’re broken in!

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Tanya

Haha! I had the same thought when I bought my first pair. I was actually quite frustrated that they felt so uncomfortable, after all it’s not a cheap shoe.

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Katie McC | Katie's Kronicles

haha the post is sort of comical but any person who love a good pair of sandals or flats would agree! Their not my taste but I can relate. My boyfriend or family would totally disagree and not see the point in buying a shoe that you have to break in but I think it’s worth it in the end if they remain comfy and blister free after the first few wears. The water stuff totally works though, especially beach or pool days!! Although it can cause you to slip and slide until the feet dry. I’ve done it with numerous flip flips and sandals and would gladly do it again. lol about the Jimmy Choos, your right though. Never tried a blister stick before…I’ll need to get right on that!

-Katie
http://www.katieskronicles.org

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Meghan

You’re right. This post sounds so ridiculous, but I actually think you make good points. Jacks are the worst (actually, I think a lot of the trendy, preppier shoes are pretty awful) and your ideas about how to make it better make a lot of sense. Thanks for a funny / logical post.

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Lexi

I agree, the process isn’t fun but it’s so worth it! I also found that rubbing a bar of soap along the leather where I get blisters helps loosen the leather a bit. Walking around in the rain helps a lot too!

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Margo

I can’t say enough about the “take them for a swim” advice. I accidentally did this when filling up a baby pool for my kids last summer, and it ended up molding them to my feet perfectly (and cutting out almost all of the pain associated with breaking them in normally). Get those flops wet!

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Rachael

The first time I bought a pair of classic Jack Rogers sandals, they killed my feet for like two weeks (no blisters just foot pain). Last summer, I bought a new pair of the capri style and had a completely different experience. No pain whatsoever! Maybe the little padding on the heel helps with that style? I cannot wait to break them out next month!

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Emily

These are great tips! I have to say that I brought them to my friend’s pool and gave them a little dunk and wore them for a bit until they dried, and it helped the leather mold to my foot, and now they are as comfortable as ever!

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Rachel

Isn’t the process the worst? I always end up with three circle blisters on the bottom of my heels when I have to break in a new pair. Then, I look like a crazy person limping around for a few days afterwards. Once you get a pair truly broken in though, you realize that they are amazingly comfy.

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Emily

What timing! I am breaking in a new pair as I type. I’m breaking in the silver glitter Navajos and I knew I’d be sitting a lot today so it would be a good day to break them in. I never knew you could take off the heel support because it’s really the worst if you’re standing all day on them. I got a luxe flat pair last year and they weren’t as sturdy as my original Navajos. When I saw my new ones on sale, I couldn’t resist getting them and I figured I’d give the Navajos a shot again.

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Liz

I bought my first pair of Jack Rogers last year and had no idea about the painful breaking in process! Thanks for providing this warning for the lucky ones who may be unaware! 😉

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Rachel

This post is so timely for me! I got a new pair a couple days ago and thought, “Are they making these more narrow than they used to or is my foot getting fat?!” Other pairs of the classic Jacks were uncomfortable to break in, but I definitely don’t remember having to force my foot into them, even ones I got last year…the new ones required some pretty intense maneuvering. Anyone else have that experience recently?

I was contemplating sending them back but the reminders in this post are making me reconsider. I might be dunking them in the lake and hoping for the best! Thanks for writing about the minutiae – it might seem a bit specialized, but it’s much appreciated!

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Ally Stuart

Whenever I’m breaking in leather shoes, my trick is to warm them up with a blowdryer before putting them on. The heat helps to relax the leather (like a lot of wear would) and they form to your feet some as they cool.

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Emily

I never realized that the pain of breaking in Jacks was a problem for everyone! I always thought it was just me and that I was a wuss! I just bought a pair of the Navajo sandals with a sparkly strap. I will definitely be trying the pool trick when I start to break in these new ones. Great post, Carly!

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Sofia

Great recommendations for breaking in any shoe! I’m a huge baby when it comes to new shoes, but it’s really just making it through that breaking in period and then they’re great!

xo, Sofia
http://www.thecozie.co

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Jodi Steele

The easiest time I had breaking in a new pair of Jacks was when I got caught outside in a huge rainstorm in Savannah. They got soaked, but I let them dry out on my feet, and they fit like a dream after that! 🙂

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Mia Raffaele

I can totally relate to this post!! Thanks for the added tips and tricks!!

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Natalie

I totally get the suffe thru mindset. I go with the once my feet swell I know they are st mindset as crazy as that sounds.

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Tatum

That adhesive mole skin stuff also really helps! I lined the inside of the uppers on my Jacks when I first got them and haven’t gotten a single blister.

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Amanda

I also found I had to break in my Jack Rogers sandals if I hadn’t worn them in a really long time (months).

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Ashley Corcoran

This post speaks all sorts of truth! When I bought my first pair of Jacks, no one told me that they would hurt on the first wear so I wore them for a full day of walking around DC.. let’s just say I’ll never do that again!

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Erinn Miles

I use Neosporin on where I know I’ll blister before I put them on to break them in – on the tops of my feet, on my heel, and between by big toe and second toe. Some people have told me the Neosporin may “ruin” the shoe, but like you said, they’re not Jimmy Choo’s! I find this helps a lot – since I started doing this, I have yet to get a blister! Though I only wear them for a half hour or so at a time to break them in. Also agree with the water!

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Camile

You could also just wear Palm Beach Sandals. They are the originals, made of real leather, and uber comfy!

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Jennifer

Thank you for this post! I’ll stick with it in the hopes that I get to the comfy sweet spot in my Jacks soon!! I have gold ones and they match everything and scream summer classic.

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Kim

Would the “take them for a swim” tip also work for the JR Lauren sandal? The Lauren is so adorable but the strap across the toes pinches so bad I rarely get to wear them 😞

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Elizabeth Canfield

Hi there,

I always thought Jack Rogers were the original Jackie O “Navajo” sandal. Come to find out, they are not. Palm Beach Sandals sells the original “Navajo” sandal and are made from 100% leather. Jack Rogers are made from leather and synthetic materials. I think my next pair of Navajos will be purchased from PBS, and hopefully will be easier to break in!

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carrie harmon

do you purchase them in your usual size or size down/up? Do they stretch out? If so, how much?

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M

Do u size up when u buy them? I just bought a pair of west hamptons one and they are so tight across top I’m wondering if I should return.

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MLW

JUST got my first pair of Jack Rogers and so glad to hear that I’m not crazy in thinking they’re uncomfortable. Where I found most of the pain is actually in the sole. Do you ever have that feeling that happens after walking awhile, then you stop for a bit, then you stand back up and it physically hurts for your ball to stand on a surface? It’s not a soreness, it’s a different kind of pain. That’s what it’s like in the Jack Rogers. Am I crazy, or is this normal???? Debating if I need to sell these puppies off or power through!

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