Breaking In Walking Boots

Breaking-in a newly acquired pair of walking boots takes time, so it’s vital that you allow for a breaking-in period before serious use. Here’s the Webtogs guide to how to Break-in your new pair of boots!

The start point of any breaking-in process of course, is choosing a pair of boots that are the correct size and width for your feet, and are also suitable for your intended pursuit. Check out our Gear Guru page on How To Choose Walking Boots for some advice on selecting the perfect pair for your needs. The important point is that whilst new boots require breaking-in and will feel stiff and unforgiving, they should still offer a comfortable fit, and cause your feet no pain when you first try them on! No amount of breaking-in will rectify the issues that inevitably stem from wearing an ill-fitting or inappropriate pair of boots.

Heavy duty, full grain leather boots will take longer to break-in than a pair of fabric, or fabric and leather mixed boots; so pay special attention to breaking-in your boots if they’re of the full grain variety. Do not attempt to cheat the breaking-in process by soaking your boots before wear, as this will detract from the long-term comfort and performance of your boots.

The Breaking-In Process

An example of an ideal breaking-in process is as follows:

Step 1 – Around the House: Start the breaking in period by wearing your boots around the house for short periods of time – including up and down stairs, if you have them. Wear a good pair of walking socks underneath, as this will allow your boots to shape to shape to the fit you’ll need for future wear in the hills. In addition, good walking socks won’t wrinkle or ride down leading to discomfort, or distortion of the boot lining. When fitting your new boots, ensure that you fold the tongue flat and lace up the boots firmly. These initial creases and folds will remain with the walking boots for their lifetime.

Step 2 – Around Town: After several days of wear around the house, step the breaking-in period up a notch by wearing your boots for short walks around town, or indeed to the pub. Just ensure that you are happy with the comfort level of your boots before going too far.

Step 3 – Into the Hills: When you feel confident that your boots are ready for the hills, try a few walks with little or no weight on your back, again gradually building up the distance and weight over time. You’ll soon reach a level of boot comfort at which you’re ready to take on longer walks with full kit, at which point you’re free to roam the mountains and hills to your heart’s desire.

We’ve had many incidences here at Webtogs where people have ordered full leather boots for walking or mountaineering trips the same week… inevitably their experiences will not have been pleasant ones for their feet. Remember – there’s no short cut to supple, extremely comfortable boots. It takes time and patience to break them in, but the long-term benefits are priceless.