How to Break in Your Hiking Boots

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The first thing to remember when breaking in a new pair of hiking boots (or any kind of boots) is that you need to take it slow. Boots are made to be tough and durable (much tougher than your feet are), so realize that it’s going to take a while for them to soften up enough not so that they don’t hurt your feet.

Secondly, every pair of boots is different and will have a different ‘break in time’ depending on how tough they are (and what they’re made out of) and what kind of boots they are. For example, a pair of lightweight, low-cut hiking boots will be a lot easier to break in than a pair of high-cut mountaineering boots.

What is ‘Breaking In’?
In case you’ve never heard the term (or you refer to it as something else), ‘breaking in’ a new pair of shoes/boots means softening them up and forming them around your feet so that they’re comfortable to wear.

It’s important to break in hiking boots as you’ll typically be walking long distances in them, and if they’re rubbing and hurting your feet they can cause you a lot of pain (and result in some nasty blisters).

How to break in boots

How to Break in Boots

  • - Spend some time wearing your boots around the house (whilst wearing the socks you plan on wearing when you’re out hiking/walking/whatever). Do the boots up exactly as you would when going outside, as the creases you make in the boot’s material in the beginning are likely to remain there for their entire life.
  • - After walking around for a short time, try to feel which parts of the boot feel stiff and which parts rub or are painful. These are the areas that will need softening up.
  • - This is an old trick that my grandmother taught me: Take a metal spoon (the kind you’d eat your breakfast cereal with) and rub it along the boot. This video should help to explain this better:

  • - After you’ve done this and you feel comfortable walking around the house, try wearing you boots outside. Go for a short walk around town to see how comfortable they feel.
  • - It’s important to be careful throughout the entire process and to take things slow. As soon as you notice any pain or discomfort, take your boots off and rest your feet. ‘Pushing through the pain barrier’ (as many people may tell you to) is a bad idea, and will only lead to blisters/unnecessary sore feet.

Remember, there is no one ‘quick fix’ that will instantly break in your boots, so don’t try to take short cuts. Breaking in a new pair of boots does take a little time, but it’s well worth it for the amount of wear you’ll get out of them.

Related posts:

  1. How to Find the Best Hiking Boots For You

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