Like almost any other footwear, you need to break in your new walking boots. This helps to soften the material and allows the boot to mould to your foot which is essential to avoid blisters and discomfort while traveling long distances.
You do need to make sure you have the right boots in the first place. It isn’t a problem if they feel stiff as they will loosen up as you break in the boots. You don’t want boots that feel tight but they should feel snug, and again, they will loosen up. There should also be no pinching or rubbing either.
A good pair of walking boots can often be rather expensive and trying to find the right pair can seem like a drag. To get the most out of them, follow our tips below to break in your new boots properly.
How to Break in New Walking Boots
Generally, the heavier the boot, the longer it will take to break in which is why it is important that you break in your boots well in advance of any extended hike. Don’t buy a new pair of walking boots today if you are heading out on a hike at the weekend, it won’t end well.
A full grain leather boot will take longer to break in than suede or fabric boots as leather is naturally a lot stiffer. Lightweight fabric boots are a lot quicker to break in so if you don’t have much time, you may opt for a pair of these instead. This is because synthetic walking boots do not mould to your foot as completely as leather boots do.
When choosing your walking boots, they must fit correctly in order for them to be broken in properly. It is recommended that when trying new walking boots on, you do so wearing a pair of socks that you will be wearing on the hike and to break in the boots.
Wear Them Around the House
The first step to break in your new walking boots is to where them around the house. Remember to wear socks that you plan on wearing when you go hiking. Give yourself a good 48 hours of wearing them whilst doing everyday household activities. Only you will know when they are starting to soften up on your feet. If they are pinching or rubbing as you wear them, in most cases they can be returned as long as they haven’t been worn outside.
Heading Out for the First Time
If you felt no discomfort wearing your new walking boots around the house and you are sure that you have the right boots, you can head outside for a short test-drive. This can’t be rushed and should be done gradually over time.
Start with a very short walk, then slowly build up the distance and difficulty each time you go out. Once you start increasing the distance of your walks, gradually start to increase the incline too. This will help to flex the soles and give you wider movement.
If you have no problems and the boots still feel good around your feet, try walking for a mile or two ‘off road’ on some public walking trails with rougher terrain.
If when breaking in your boots you find that the soles are particularly stiff, you should flex the sole with your hands to soften them up. Stiff soles can cause a lot of problems for your feet.