How to Break in a New Pair of Hiking Boots – Without the Blisters

Even the best pair of hiking boots will come out of the box a little stiff, which can easily lead to pain, pinching, and even blisters if you don’t take the time and effort to break them in properly.

While the time it takes to break in a pair of boots can vary depending on the materials, the handy tips below can help you quickly and easily get a perfect, comfortable fit – without the blisters.

Pay Attention to Pinches and Hot Spots

Before you start breaking in your boots, make sure that they are a decent fit out of the box.

While you can expect any brand-new boot to be a little stiff, sharp pinches or hot spots are warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

Hiking Boots After the Sale - conditioning against blisters

In most cases, such pains are not likely to go away even after the boots are broken in, since they stem from a problem with the size or design of the boot itself.

Always take the time to try on boots before you buy them, and if you are shopping online, look for sellers with generous return policies.

Start Slow

Trying to break in boots too quickly, even on a day hike, can lead to calluses, blisters, and swelling.

Instead of wearing your new boots for a long hike or a full shift at work, take things slowly.

Start by wearing the new boots for 10 to 20 minutes a day, and work your way up as they become more comfortable.

Soften the Leather

Leather is animal skin, and just like skin, moisturizers can make it softer and more flexible.

Many manufacturers offer leather conditioners in the form of creams, oils, and sprays, all of which can help you break in your boots much faster.

Hiking Shoes with Walking Poles on top

A good moisturizing product will keep the leather supple, helping the boots mold to the shape of your feet, and it will also protect the boots from drying out or cracking.

Boots broken in — plan a trekking  adventure in India >>>

Invest in Thicker Socks

A thicker pair of socks can make a huge difference when it comes to being comfortable in new boots.

Avoid loose socks, ankle socks, or dress socks, as well as socks that don’t let your feet breathe. Hiking socks are an excellent choice–many of them offer extra cushioning, reinforced heel and toe areas, and arch support, making them perfect for long days spent on your feet.

Use Boot Stretchers

Sometimes a new pair of boots can have a problem area even after being properly broken in.

In these cases, your best option is to invest in a set of boot stretchers. These handy tools allow you stretch out the leather in places that might rub or squeeze your feet.

Using boot stretchers together with moisturizing oil is an excellent way to get rid of stiff leather and make your boots as comfortable as possible.

Avoid Hiking Boot Quick Fixes

There are a number of supposed “quick fix” methods for breaking in boots, ranging from wearing them in the shower to submerging them in salt water or even baking them in the oven, but the simple truth is that breaking in boots the right way requires patience.

These shortcuts are often very damaging to boots in the long term, and saving a bit of time isn’t worth the risk of cracked leather or loose soles.

Hiking Equipment Shoes New

A great pair of boots can last you a lifetime, but it’s crucial that you take the time to properly break them in early on so that they can mold to the shape of your feet.

While it will always be a bit uncomfortable at first, using the tips above will make the process as quick and painless as possible.

Are you planning to break in boots out on the trail? Ensure yourself, just in case, don’t forget trekking poles>>>

Read the Hiking Pole Buyers Guide Here >>>


Hiking boots for women and men can conditioned the same way. Even waterproof boots can go through this process.

If the hiking shoe fits wear it, when it’s a hiking boot, break it in to avoid blisters!

Time to hit the trail…

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