How To Break In New Boots

When you get a nice new pair of boots, your first move is probably to start wearing them as soon and as often as possible. However, it’s not really that simple. 

New boots are typically stiff and tough, especially leather boots. This inflexibility makes it difficult and uncomfortable to walk long distances in new boots. To avoid any pain or blisters, you need to first break your boots in properly.

how to break in boots

But how do you break in new boots, and how long does it take?

Don’t worry – this helpful guide will explain what it means to break in new boots, and what you need to do to break your boots in. It also has some nifty hacks to get the job done more quickly, so you can start wearing your boots as soon as possible.

What Does ‘Breaking In’ Boots Mean?

The term ‘breaking in’ new boots refers to wearing them until the material softens and the boot molds to your feet. Typically, breaking in boots means walking around in them until the boots adjust over time. However, this can take a long time and be uncomfortable in the meantime.

There are several more simple methods to breaking in boots that won’t involve a lot of walking, but they all result in your boots being more comfortable and mobile. 

Why Do I Need to Break In My New Boots?

As mentioned before, new boots are often quite stiff and inflexible. Until the material softens and starts to move with your foot, it is going to rub on the back of your ankle. This frequently results in pain and even blisters, which feel all the more painful when the boots are rubbing. Breaking in your boots reduces the risk of blisters and generally makes your boots more comfortable. It is makes walking easier over long distances, even over rougher terrain.

New boots also have smooth and flat soles. Without being worn down by walking, these soles are prone to sliding. By breaking your boots in, the rubber in the soles will wear down. This gives your feet more grip on the ground, while worn down soles mold to your feet, leaving them in a more comfortable position.

Breaking in your new boots is important, as it improves your comfort and your mobility. Wearing broken-in shoes makes walking easier, and improves your stability on the ground.

how to break in boots

How Do I Break In A New Pair of Boots?

There are multiple different ways to break new boots in. Some of these are simple and can be done mostly by wearing them in the intended fashion. Meanwhile, there are also some easy hacks you can do to break your boots in more quickly.

Natural Methods

The most basic method of breaking new boots in is also the intended way – by walking in them. Walking around in your boots will make them start to mold to your feet. You’ll also wear the soles down, especially if you’re walking on rougher ground.

However, this process takes time and can be uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a few tricks to reduce the risk of pain and blisters.

Avoid wearing your boots all day. At most, wear them for a couple of hours a day, and bring another pair of shoes (or already-broken in boots) with you if you’re going to be walking a long distance or for a long time. This reduces how long you’re wearing the boots but still gives them a chance to soften up.

You can also scuff the soles to wear them in. When your boots are new, they still have smooth soles that are prone to slipping. Scuffing your boots wears down the sole and gives your feet more friction. Not only that, but scuffed soles also adapt to how you walk, reducing the risk of blisters. You can easily scuff your boots by walking on rougher ground like wood trails or gravel paths. Alternatively, use some sandpaper to scuff the rubber on the inside of your heel.

If the material is taking a long time to soften up and become flexible, consider adding some extra padding to your feet. Thick socks will protect your feet from blisters, while also making the still-stiff boots more comfortable. If you don’t want your feet getting too warm, you can also put a band-aid or blister patch on the backs of your ankles to protect them from blisters.


There are some occasions where you need your boots broken in quickly. Luckily, these simple hacks will get your boots wearable in no time! While these aren’t as good for your boots as breaking them in naturally, they are an easy way to get your boots wearable quickly.

One method can start breaking in your shoes overnight. Simply fill two ziplock bags with water, and place one in each boot. Then put your boots in your freezer and leave them overnight. As the water in the bags freezes, it will expand in the boot and stretch it out. This accelerates the breaking-in process, and your boots will be more wearable as soon as they warm up a bit.

You can also use a shoe stretcher. This will stretch out the material of your boot in a similar way to the ice, but without having to leave your boots in the freezer overnight. This is a great way to break your boots in without having to wait.

If your boots are made of leather, you can use leather conditioner to soften them. Just apply a leather conditioner or oil to your boots for the first week or so to make them more flexible and easier to wear. 

how to break in boots

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to break in your new boots, the only thing left for you to do is get to wearing them! So whether you have a pair of work boots for your job, some hiking boots for exploring nature, or even just a nice new pair of boots for a night out, you’ll be able to walk with comfort and confidence in no time. Enjoy!

Eric Willis
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