How To Break In Your Hiking Boots


Buying new hiking boots is almost always followed by anger, pain, and a slight sense of regret because you’ve put your feet under torture. And it will happen to even those that felt so comfortable and nice while you’ve been trying them on in the store. The blisters could occur, your feet could hurt, and it can be quite a painful experience.

The good news is – it will pass. Look at this like the time your boots and your feet need to know each other and learn how they work, how they operate, and how they feel together. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel as comfortable in them as you’ve felt in the old ones.

The bad news is – it may take some time before it starts to feel good. Some, like light hikers, could start to feel great almost immediately or after few days, but if winter is drawing near and you want to get something “heavier” for your feet, you may look into weeks of pure agony, because heavier materials or leather need some time to adapt to your feet. This article will show you how to do it properly, so you, your feet and your boots won’t have to suffer as much as you’ve thought you would. So, if you wonder how to break in boots, feel free to read on!

Breaking In Won’t Always Help

Before you even start breaking in your new shoes, make sure they are the right ones for you. Don’t rush and take your time to get the right pair. If you plan on going for a longer trip, try to google out the reviews and get the few possible options listed.

Then, when you visit your local shoe or sports store, ask the salesman or a footwear specialist to help you with your purchase. If the specialist asks you what do you need them for, ask truthfully, and don’t lie because this won’t do your feet any favor. If you see two types – one that is perfect in all aspects instead of the looks, and the other that looks beautiful, but it doesn’t fit right and you know it won’t serve, chose the first one. Then, when you’ve selected your shoes and are certain they are the right ones, it is time to start the breaking-in process.

Slow And Steady Will Save The Day

If you’re thinking that running in your new shoes will mean faster progress, you’re not right. Don’t act like a rabbit, but try to be more like a turtle, instead. This means – progress slowly, but steady.

Wearing them inside your house will help because it doesn’t require you to be in constant motion during breaking-in, so feel free to put them on, lay on your bed (of course, before you’ve taken them outside), and watch your favorite movie.

Don’t wear just them, of course, but put them on socks you’re planning to wear during the hike. When it is time to tie, take care not to do it too tight, or you could feel discomfort. Before you put your foot in, make sure the boot’s tongues and gussets are straight. If you feel a bit stiff at the beginning, it is alright, they will loosen up in a bit.

Take Them Out For A Walk

If you have a dog, this is a great opportunity to take it out for a long walk around the block. If you start to feel good in them during the “inner-block walks”, make the distance bigger and go to the town in them. Once you spend the entire day in your new shoes without feeling bad or any kind of pain, you’ll know you’re on a right track.

If walking around the block and going around the city passes without any problem, it is time to take a step forward. Pack your backpack with the most essential stuff and go for a day hike on uneven terrain. It may start to feel uncomfortable at first, but this means the real breaking in has begun. Don’t overestimate your abilities, so be realistic when choosing the right distance, but also the weight you’ll carry. Take only the essentials for the first time, and go to a place you already know well and where you won’t need so much gear.

Instructions Are Written To Be Followed

Every serious manufacturer will provide you with some kind of instructions on how to take care of your shoes, and how to properly use them. It may not include the break-in tips and tricks, but once you do that successfully, it won’t be bad to praise the effort by giving your shoes the best possible care and this way helping them last way longer than expected.

Don’t Ignore What Your Feet Say

The small amount of pain is normal and expected because new shoes are still rigid and it will take some time before the material relaxes and takes the shape of your feet. But, if the problem continues and only becomes worse as time goes by, it probably means you’ll need to change your boots. You could also visit your local store and ask for help with boot-stretcher.

The best sign that your feet don’t feel good in those shoes is pain. And if you ignore it, it could quickly go from bad to worse. Act accordingly, if you feel something is not right or some part of your feet hurts more or longer than it should, it is time to react.

Time Essential, There Is No Quick Solution

You’ll sometimes hear lots of proposals on how to break your boots easier and quicker, like soaking your boots and taking them for a long walk while they’re still wet or blow-drying them to help them expand so you could put them on easier and prevent them from touching your skin could prove to be counter-effective. It could not only be bad for your skin, but it won’t have the wanted effect on your boots. On the other hand, there is a great possibility it will destroy the protective layer and damage your boots, making them unusable.

Put The Time And Effort In – Don’t Give Up!


If you’re trying to break your boots, it probably means you’re getting ready for some challenging and complex trip that requires maximum comfort you could afford. This also means that your journey starts with your shoes. As you already know, it may take some time, but the important thing is constant development and progress. While you do it, you’ll also build endurance and improve your distance and your weight along the way, until you reach the needed level of physical preparation followed by the comfort of your shoes. And as probably the most important part of your gear, they do deserve at least that.

Inspect Your Feet Regularly

When you start taking your new shoes out for a walk, don’t force the tempo, take it with ease. Remember, the goal is not to come there fast, but to make your boots feel comfortable on your feet. That’s why it is good to take regular rests and to, when you stop, carefully inspect your feet.

If you see a “hot spot”, act instantly, and don’t let it wait until you get back home. That’s why it is good to have band-aids or gauze with you, but if you don’t have one, regular duct tape or medical tape will do just good.

Remember, while you’re breaking your shoes in, you’ll be feeling lots of friction, which is the main reason behind the formation of the blister. It irritates the skin and causes damage, so the moment you spot the red spot on your feet, act accordingly, and protect it using something from your first aid kit. Take care of every red spot you’ve noticed, because red spots show the places where the friction is above normal. Once done and all of the red spots have been taken care of, it is time to put your shoes back on and continue your hike. But don’t forget to stop and check it every once in a while, just to make sure everything is OK.

Don’t Worry About Everything

If you’ve bought leather shoes, there is a great chance that you’ll feel your feet sweat, and if you do, don’t worry, it is not a red flag. This will improve the chance of your feet accommodating to your shoes by becoming warm.

If you, on the other hand, feel the stiffness in your shoes, that is also a good and wanted aspect, if you plan on going for a longer hike on a wild terrain. It will bring stability and support to your feet, so there won’t be a problem no matter where you go during your hike. Concentrate on survival instead.

Don’t Be Shy, Ask If Curious

While having a thought that you can’t take a shortcut when breaking in your shoes constantly looming in your mind, it is good to have an option to ask someone more experienced about their insight and suggestions on this topic.

Of course, this doesn’t mean everything you hear should automatically do, like beating them using a rubber mallet, but you could learn something new and useful which will help you ease up the process. And you could always look for professional help.

Some Additional Tips

Buy your shoes not less than a month before your trip to have enough time to do breaking in properly, and to be able to fully enjoy your hike, instead of having to worry about potential blisters when the trip starts.

Don’t buy them online, because you’ll have to try them on and make sure they fit nicely before you decide they are the right ones. Whatever you do, don’t throw away the receipt, especially if you do decide to buy your shoes online. But even if they feel great at the beginning, there is always the possibility something will go wrong, or simply the boots won’t show any sign of improving, so you’ll have to return them and get others. That’s why you should also learn about that retailer’s return policy.

Globo Surf Overview

Camping, backpacking, and hiking are fun, they will provide you with some of the most amazing memories you could think of, but there is one condition you’ll have to fulfill well before your trip – to break your shoes. This way you’ll help them become comfortable well before your trip, so once you find yourself deep inside the wilderness, you won’t have to worry about blisters as much as you would otherwise.

This article should help you make the first steps when it comes to breaking in hiking boots, so when the time for adventure finally comes, you could simply pack your bags and take off, without the additional pressure on your feet.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!