Ultimate Guide On How To Break Into Your Hiking Boots

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Breaking in hiking boots can take somewhere between one to four weeks, depending on the style of boots you have and how rigorous your hike will be. Some of the latest lightweight hiking shoes require very minimal break-in time. 

On the other hand, authentic leather boots take a little longer to break-in. This is the Ultimate Guide On How To Break Into Your Hiking Boots.

Table of Contents

1. Know Your Foot Type

It will help the entire process if you have a decent notion of what your feet are like before you start putting on hiking boots. Pose the following questions to yourself: Do you have particularly broad or small feet? Do you have a high arch (instep)? Do you have flat feet? Do you suffer from bunions? Is there a difference in size between your feet? Have you ever had trouble breaking in your boots? What were they, if so? 

You can get the correct sort of boots for your feet after you have a good concept of what your feet are like. If you have large feet or bunions, buying tiny boots is pointless. And once you know your foot type, it is easy for you to choose the right boots.

2. Make A Wise Purchase

The purchasing procedure is perhaps the most crucial step toward comfortable hiking footwear. Hopefully, you can discover any distinguishing characteristics of your feet since this can assist you in selecting the appropriate footwear. 

When picking boots to try on, keep this information in mind. Knowing how to fit your boots can also help you choose the perfect pair. If you take your time while selecting, fitting, and purchasing your boots, you may not need to break them in at all.

3. Roam Around The House

Simply put your boots on with the socks you’d wear for a stroll and roam around the home. Wear them to dinner, while watching TV, and while doing everyday duties like cleaning and washing the dishes. You’ll push the boot to move like your foot as you move about, and the heat will soften the materials. 

The top will begin to fold behind your toes and around the ankle, and the sole will start to flex where your foot does (beneath the ball of your foot). If you realize you ordered the wrong size at this stage, you may still return the boots because you haven’t worn them outside.

4.  Wear Boots Around Town

It’s time to take your boots outdoors after you’ve spent some time breaking them in at home. Take them out for a stroll around the neighborhood. Take the dog for a walk. Visit the park. Wear these at the grocery store or while running errands. 

After that, start going up steeper slopes and looking at different city characteristics like grassy fields, steel bridges, concrete overpasses, urban playgrounds, or metal sports bleachers. Begin with modest journeys and work your way up to longer ones.

5. Notice Any Discomfort

You’ll need to take action if you start to feel uncomfortable in your boots after wearing them around the house or near your house for a few hours. It’s possible that you may have to return them and try a new boot. 

But first, attempt to pinpoint the source of your discomfort: The ache might be excruciating. The backs of your heels are beginning to rub, your toes are cramping and becoming numb, and the arch of your foot is cramping up. 

There is too much pressure on the tops of your feet with these boots, and you can feel hot areas on the bottoms of your feet. It’s concerning if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended period.

6. Hit Trails

Since you nailed the entire preliminary troubleshoot, it’s time to hit the trails now that you’ve worn your boots about town. Just don’t go too large at first. To finish the process, choose some simple day walks that last no more than 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
As you walk, elements such as dirt, pebbles, roots, and other technical aspects will stretch and deform your shoes. Choose treks that have some elevation rise and, even if you don’t need it, use a backpack to add some weight.
If you are looking for interesting trails to tackle, check out the Best Hiking Trails Around The World recommended by seasoned hikers.


7. Run Errands In Hiking Boots

Your boots will have softened up from moving around the home and in your area, but it’s a different movement pattern than constant walking. So the next stage in breaking in your hiking boots is to wear them while doing errands, like heading to the shops. This is also an excellent opportunity to experiment with different lacing methods. 

Try tight lower laces with loose upper laces and vice versa because the ankle hook between the upper and lower laces will shut off the slack between the two sets. Examine what provides the best balance of comfort, touch, and stability for you. Your boots should have softened and bent to your normal movement pattern after a few hours of walking like way.

8. Go For Longer Walks

You can go for a long walk around town now that your hot places are wrapped up, and you won’t get blisters. Begin climbing hills and through tough terrain, where your movement pattern will be altered. Even if you’re only going for a day trek, it’s still a good idea to tape up your hotspots. The boot will eventually soften and mould around them, and the tape will be unnecessary.
In case you are interested in hiking in tougher terrains, check out our guide on Thru Hiking.

[Also read: Our detailed guide on How To Train For Hiking if you plan to take hiking seriously.]

9.  The Best Way To Break-In

It’s tempting to want to speed up the break-in process for your hiking boots. However, it’s better to avoid quick remedies like soaking them in warm water, freezing them overnight, or heating them up in the dryer that you could find on the internet. These methods seldom work, and even when they do, they might harm your shoes or cause them to wear out quicker. Remember that the best way to break in your hiking boots is to give them some time.

10.  Hot Spots

It’s not only your hiking shoes that need to be broken in; your feet also need to be broken in. Pay particular attention to the locations where your boots make touch with your feet as you begin to wear them more frequently, especially where you feel them rubbing. These are referred to as “hot spots”. 

You’ll probably notice a few aching spots throughout your brief walks, such as your heel, top of your big toes, and outside of your big toe. To prevent friction against your skin, use surgical tape or sports tape. 

The key to developing useful calluses is to wear your boots long enough to feel those hot patches appear, but remove them before they turn into full-blown blisters. Blister prevention begins at home. Make sure the tongue is in the center of your foot, so it doesn’t rub on the side when you lace them up.

Trim your toenails and stretch your feet to maintain them in condition for trekking, as well as take care of your hiking boots and apply the cream to calluses. The healthier your skin is, the less likely it is to develop blisters as a result of chafing.

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Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

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