For any kind of hiking, choosing the right footwear is very essential. Heading straight to the mountains wearing brand new boots is not how you should break in hike boots.
Though it can be very tempting to rock up with a shiny pair of boots, your feet will curse you for it. In fact, the best that can happen to you with this is feet with blisters, and let’s not talk about the worst that you may end up with.
How to Break in Hiking Boots: a Step-by-Step Process
Even the best-fitting boots need to be in sync with your feet. Knowing how to break in hiking boots can effectively reduce discomfort when you wear newly bought boots in your maiden adventure.
Step 1: Choosing the right pair of hiking boots
Be loyal to the boot that fits you. Experts suggest that you should go for leather boots. Even though they are difficult to start with, but with time, they take the shape of the feet and retain it for longer.
Luckily, we have a dedicated guide on how to choose mountaineering boots.
Step 2: Wear your hiking boots at your house
Wear your hiking boots with socks that you have thought to hike in and simply move around your house. Keep them for regular chores so that you can force the boots to move according to your feet.
The sole will start flexing where your feet do, and the upper will begin creasing behind the toes and ankle. If you see that the boot is uncomfortable or that you have chosen the wrong size, you can still return and exchange since you have not used them outside.
Step 3: Work the shoe leather
Leather takes time to soften and full-grain leather, which is typically used for mountaineering boots, takes even leather. But all kinds of leather will require some level of manipulation and was for faster softening.
You just need to use your fingers to work the wax to the flexion points on the ankle as well as behind the toes. Now, take the boots and flex them with both your hands. This will soften up and rule out inflexibility, which can lift your heel while hiking.
Step 4: Go for shorter strolling
When you move around the house, the leather of the boots softens up for sure. But walking on continuously is a different ball game altogether.
So, the next step of breaking in hiking boots is to wear them outside for walks, running errands, or fitness training. This will give you the opportunity to test various lacing styles.
The ankle hook lying between lower and upper laces will start locking off the slack. So it would be best if you tried with tight upper laces with loose lower ones, and the contrary as well. Learn more about how to lace hiking boots.
With this, you can make out what gives the desired level of comfort and stability. After spending hours cumulatively, your boots will soften up and become flexed with your natural feet movement.
Step 5: Look for the hotspots
When you break in hike boots, you will surely come across several points that get sore more than the others, including your heel, outer side, the top of the big toes, and others.
It would be best to tape up those areas using surgical or sports tape to minimize friction against the skin.
Step 6: Get ready for a longer walking
With the hotspots well protected, you are now ready to go for long walks around without forming blisters. Don’t shy away from going around in rough terrains and hilly regions where you will have to use different movement patterns.
When you go for a day hiking, you will still need to tape up the hotspots around your feet. Over time, your hiking boots will soften up and mold around your feet.
A word of caution
You may come across thousands of hacks on how to break in hiking boots fast, but you must avoid a quick fix by all means.
Some may ask you to soak the hiking boots and walk longer distances, but they are a downright bad idea. Giving in time is a must for breaking in hiking boots properly.
Final Thoughts on How to Break in Hiking Boots
When you have to break in your new boots, you should take your time and build the leather up steadily.
If needed, you may have to try new pairs of socks to get the right fit. This will also help your feet to acclimatize.
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