How To Break in New Work Boots Fast

When you're buying new boots, one of the usual problems is that they need some time to be broken in. It is a most unusual situation if you find that a pair of new boots fits perfectly straight out of their box. Usually at the very least you'll feel a little pinching and aching, particularly at the sides of your toes and around your heels. 

This means that finding a way of breaking them in before you begin to wear them for work or for long periods is vital, otherwise you'll find that you could really suffer from pain and blisters for a few weeks until your boots finally mold to the shape of your feet.

The good news is that it doesn't take too long to break in footwear, so if you want to know how to break in new work boots read on and find out how you can make stiff boots, blisters and pain a thing of the past.

What To Consider When Buying New Work Boots

Whenever you buy new shoes, you often expect them to be instantly comfortable, and when it comes to work boots, we need this to be the case since we wear them all day long, often in a pressurized environment. However, being realistic is key. 

A period for breaking in is almost always necessary since boots are usually stiff at first. However, there are ways to make sure that your new footwear is as comfortable as possible out of the box so that breaking in is a shorter process.

1. Look at the way in which the boots fit your foot. Is it the right shape for your foot or is the toe box too tight or heel too narrow?

2. Do you have sufficient space to wear comfortable socks?

3. Does the lacing system secure your feet properly?

4. Is there a returns policy or guarantee if you are shopping for boots online?

5. When you are buying boots online always make certain that you measure your feet and buy the right size for you. Some manufacturers have different sizes so it's important to check with the manufacturer of your chosen pair to make sure that you have selected the most appropriate size to your foot size.

6. When trying your new boots on for the first time try them on wearing your thickest pair of socks and then try them with a pair of medium weight socks. This will ensure that you have the fit right and there is not excessive room for error in their sizing.

Breaking In Inside The House

The first step when it comes to breaking in your new boots is to wear them inside your house. Rather than rushing to wear them to work on the day that you buy them, satisfy yourself with putting them on a moving around your home while wearing them. Simply carry on doing your everyday tasks and chores - cleaning your kitchen, entertaining your friends or doing the laundry, but make sure that you don't wear them outdoors since you will need to keep them looking nearly new just in case they have to be exchanged or returned.

While your boots are going through the house breaking in stage always wear some socks that are high quality since this will be similar to the fit which you will require when you are at work. Adjust the boot so that it lines up properly to the shape of your foot so that it starts to mold accurately to your individual fit. This stage is vital as the boot will begin to develop a brand new shape that best supports your feet.

Remember that although your new boots may initially feel very stiff this is not unusual and is just part of the normal process. If discomfort is ongoing, however, and there is persistent rubbing or pinching you should consider returning your boots and getting a different pair with a different style that may be better suited to the shape of your foot.

Heading Outdoors

Once your feet feel pretty comfortable walking around your home wearing your new boots it is time to start thinking about heading outdoors. Don't plan on going for a 5 mile hike just yet! Your goal is to ensure your feet remain comfortable on a short walk. 

However, once you've taken them outdoors just around your neighborhood and had no unpleasant pain or rubbing, you can try walking on a range of different terrains and in different conditions, especially if there are conditions which simulate the environment in which you work. For example, if you spend a lot of your working day walking on concrete, you need to spend plenty of time walking on the sidewalk to simulate this scenario and to check that your feet remain comfortable.

Begin by taking a few shorter length walks and even upgrade to a light run depending on the type of footwear which you have bought. Once you feel comfortable wearing your boots on a short walk, it is time to try something a little more challenging. It is time to wear your boots to work!

The Work Test 

Don't immediately progress at this point to wearing your new boots every single day to work as this could be too much too soon, especially if your boots are very stiff and your work role is very demanding on your feet. Just wear them once to work at first, and then if you find that your feet are fine, try wearing them for two days and increase gradually. Eventually, you'll feel fully confident to work in your boots full time.

Speeding Up The Breaking In Process

If you're looking for a few ways to speed up the process of breaking in your new work boots, you can try some of these tried and tested techniques:

1. Stick Treatment - put a mop or broom stick into your new boot, aiming it at the area in which you feel the most tightness or pinching (usually the heel or toe). Firmly and gently, bend your boot over the stick until the leather starts to stretch out of its sole in that area. You will see that the leather begins to discolor outwardly a little, and this means that your boot has been stretched.

2. Hot Water - people in the military often use the hot water treatment method to make their boots fit more comfortably. It is quite a simple technique but you must ensure that you have waterproofed your boots first otherwise you could permanently damage the leather. Simply put your boots into a bucket that has been filled up with warm water then leave them there for half an hour or longer if your boots are made from finished leather. When the boots have been thoroughly saturated, take the boots out of the water, empty out any excess water and then put them on (putting socks on first!) Wear them for around half an hour or an hour.

3. Cold Water - a slightly different treatment to the hot water technique, this treatment involves using a freezer. Simply put some cold water in a Ziploc bag, releasing any excess air before you seal it. Put the bag into your boots, keeping the water angled towards the part of the boots where you are experiencing pinching or rubbing. Put your boots in your freezer and leave them there overnight. The water will turn to ice and will expand, stretching your boots effectively. The next morning, take your boots out of the freezer, allowing the ice to completely melt before you remove the bags from the boots.

4. Oil Treatment - use a leather conditioner or mink out to coat the outside of your boots liberally in the areas where they are pinching. Leave them overnight then wipe off any excess oil the next morning using a soft cloth. The oil will help to soften up the leather where it was most concentrated and this will leave your boots much more comfortable to wear.

It can take as long as three to five weeks for a boot to conform properly to your feet's shape, and so if you wear them full time during that period you are almost certain to develop corns and blisters which will cause you a lot of pain in the short term and could lead to ongoing problems that last for many weeks or even months.

Bonus Tips

Before breaking in your new pair of boots, there are a number of things that you should bear in mind.

1. Never buy a pair of new boots one day before you have to wear them to an important event or occasion. Remember that breaking in will be necessary and this could take at least two weeks so give yourself plenty of time.

2. Always choose a pair of boots that already fit your foot well before you begin the process of breaking them in as that will shorten the amount of time necessary to make them comfortable enough to wear every day.

3. Never attempt to break in a new pair of work boots if you are struggling with a foot problem or condition. If you have an ingrowing toenail, blisters, plantar fasciitis or corns, do not try to break your new boots in until the problem has been resolved otherwise you will end up in even more pain.

4. If your toe nails are very long, make sure that you cut them short first before trying to break in your boots. Long toe nails could lead to rubbing and pain.

5. Break your boots in gradually over an increasing period of time. It is always better to wear them for a short period each day than to wear them for 15 hours straight.

Breaking In Steel Toed Boots

If you have to wear steel toe capped boots to work, you will find that breaking in a new pair could be even more difficult than breaking in a pair of standard work boots. Therefore, here are some top tips to help make the process easier, quicker and less painful in the long run.

1. Wear your steel toe boots for about one hour per day for a couple of weeks before you try to wear them for a full day. This will ensure that the fibers in your boots mold properly to the feet allowing you to become more used to the feel of the steel toecap against your toes.

2. Wear a pair of thick socks while you are trying to break your steel toe boots in as this will give you additional cushioning allowing for the boot's fibers to stretch even more. If you are wearing them in a cold climate, the socks also give your toes additional protection from the steel toe which will feel very cold.

3. Bend the boot's body backwards and forwards a few times before you put the work boots on every day as this will increase the amount of flexibility in the boot's sole.

4. Put a cushioned insole inside your boots as this will add additional comfort if there is a lack of cushioning after you have worn them for a few days. This will help the sole to conform more quickly to the natural shape of your foot while making them more comfortable to wear all day.

5. Put moleskin onto any parts of your foot like the toes or heels which are most likely to rub and chafe on the leather. This will form an effective barrier between the areas which could chafe against the boot's body. Moleskin is very good for this purpose as it is thin and soft and can stick to the skin. You will be able to find it easily in virtually all drug stores.

6. Increase the amount of time that you wear your steel toe boots after the first couple of weeks to 3 or 4 hours each day. Once they have started to feel comfortable with no chafing, pain or rubbing, you can try wearing them at your regular work.

If you follow these helpful tips, you'll find that you can break in your new work boots much more quickly and easily, reducing the long term pain that you experience.

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