How to Break in Hiking Boots

You’ve done your research and you’ve finally bought those pair of hiking boots that you’ve been wanting for a while now. The sun is shining, the forecast is looking promising for the day ahead and you’re excited to lace up your new boots. However, a considered question needs answered. How to break in your hiking boots?

It’s safe to say, you won’t be up and out on the first day as you’re swinging your Trespass bag with a smile on your face as you leave the store. Boots of course, are troublesome when it comes to the first few wears. It’s the same with any shoe but particularly worse with hiking boots as they are sturdy and durable with thick midsoles either in leather or synthetic and may take a while to break in, covering not just your feet but your ankles too, which may lead to uncomfortable blistering.

Breaking in Boots – why is it important?

Breaking in new boots nowadays isn’t as big of an issue as it was back in the day. Breaking in is much easier than it used to be due to improved design and development of materials. Breaking in brand new hiking boots is essentially making them comfortable for future hikes where you are altering them to find the perfect fit. When you first wear your boots, you start to wear down the top layer of the fabric where it gets softer and supple accelerated by the moisture and warmth of your feet. Fundamentally, you’re looking for the fabric to take shape of your feet.

People’s feet come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. Some have neutral, low or high arches with narrow or wide fitting and so forth. These differ from brand to brand so you’ll need to try a few before you buy and become accustomed to your new footwear. If they’re straight out of the box, more than likely, they may require wearing in. So, before you pack your hiking backpack and set forth for your day out exploring – continue reading for some top tips and advice.

How to Break In Boots?

After purchasing your new boots, we would make sure that they really fit. Do the ‘fit walk’ around the house and ensure that your feet are comfortable. Don’t settle on a pair of boots that you’ve seen in the window that look good aesthetically but don’t fit in all the right places – this will result in unsuccessful walks in the near future. We would recommend that you keep your old pair of boots during this first period of break in as you may need longer than you think breaking them in. “As a rule of thumb: the stiffer the boot, the more you’ll need to break it in” states Hanwag Stories.

Ease into your boots slowly

Starting off slowly is key. Don’t go for an 8hr hike as soon as you get them as you’ll give yourself sore blistered feet and you’ll then have to wait until they have healed before you can wear them again.

Wear thick anti-blister socks

When you’re breaking in hiking boots, we would suggest wearing the same socks as you intend to wear on the day of the hike. If you wear different thicknesses of socks, this can impact the overall fit and comfort of the boot. If you are unsure of what socks are most comfortable, we would trial out two pairs to compare them both until you’re happy with which type works best for you. Socks also give you extra protection and protect against blistering.

Lace up correctly

Lacing your boots up correctly is another top tip. Your hiking boots should be laced tight enough to prevent your foot from slipping during movement. We would recommend tying your laces all the way to the top, not missing any eyelets while lacing as you make your way up. If they aren’t laced correctly, you will disrupt natural foot and ankle movement as well as circulation.

Break in at home

Breaking in at home is one of the best ways to find your perfect fit. It allows your feet time to get used to them before you wear them up a mountain. Wear them for a limited time within the house if you’re doing chores, in the garden or even on short walks. We would then try shorter hikes with varied terrain and weather so that you’re able to test them in all conditions. Top Tip – walking in water can help break in hiking boots, especially leather. You may find at this stage that you need to add grips for wet weather conditions.

Use a boot stretcher

Ok so you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be helping to find your custom fit.

We would try all of the above before getting to this stage but boot stretchers can help massively and can be purchased online. Just type into Google ‘boot stretchers’. If they still feel uncomfortable after trying the boot stretchers, we would recommend that you get your feet resized and your boots adjusted if required.

Be patient

Try and be patient as you go through this process. It may take a couple of weeks so stick with it! You’ll be exploring and going further with Trespass in no time.