Wearing a pair of the perfect new boots can make you walk with confidence and hit the street with your unique style. Most new boots aren’t that, they may make you experience blisters on your feet because they haven’t broken in. This is a common thing with leather boots that tend to have hard material.
Breaking in a boot means softening them so that you can wear them comfortably. The process is done by stretching them and slowly crushing the boot to make the leather fiber loosen up. Naturally, the process takes some time once you have bought a new boot.
If you have invested in your boot, it is good to ensure you break in correctly before you begin wearing them. If you can’t, you will experience a nightmare when you use them. You won’t enjoy your style because your feet will be uncomfortable.
Reasons to why you need to break in your boots
Getting a new pair of boots is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can also be a very painful one. By definition, work boots need to be tough. And this can lead to a pretty uncomfortable when you first start wearing them.
While some boots are good to go the day you get them, most, can feel like your walking in bricks for the first few days. If you’re dealing with the latter, you have two choices; deal with the pain, or get creative.
To make them comfortable- Most boots are made of leather that is rough to make them comfortable, therefore, you must break in to wear them. The material used has undergone several processes, making them stiff, and thus breaking in will loosen them and be comfortable.
For feet protection- Using boots that haven’t been broken in may lead to chafing and blisters. It may also lead to soreness in the arch and heel area that might lead to worse problems. To avoid this and protect your boot, you need to break in your shoes.
For longevity- Boots that are well-taken care of last longer. They are also comfortable, and you will always like to wear them. Breaking in is one way of taking care of boots hence boosting their longevity.
How to Break in Leather Boots
The various techniques that soften the boot-up should also be able to protect it and not damage it. Breaking in a new boot does not involve damaging it, so you need to be patient with the various techniques and not be too hard. The techniques include
Wearing the boots in two weeks
If you are patient, you can wear your boots within two weeks to break them naturally. The natural wearing of the boot does not damage it at all. During the morning hours, the weather is fantastic, and your boot is at its proper size. So, wear the boot at that time and try to have a walk if you feel comfortable. Wear it with some thick socks, and the boot won’t hurt you.
During the afternoon hours, the feet tend to be bulkier and more prominent due to sweat and warm weather. Do not try to wear your boot at this time because it might harm you. Instead, you can try to skew, twist, wring, or bend them gently, and this can’t damage the boot.
Use of freezer
If you want to speed up the break-in process, you can use this method. In this process, place up two zipped plastic bags into the boots and fill them with water. Use some good amount of water that can create a bulge in the boot. Place the boot on the freezer and let it there overnight.
When the water in the bags freezes, they will expand and make the leather loosen too. Please do not pull out the frozen bags abruptly because it might damage your boot; instead do it gently and slowly. You can repeat the process up to when your shoes are comfortable. Use double zipped bags if you are worried about leakages.
This is my personal favorite.
- Get two zip lock freezer bags, any bag that can lock will do.
- Put one bag into each boot with the zip facing up.
- Pour water into the bag while taking care not to spill any in the boot. Continue adding water until the bag is bulging.
- Close the bags carefully.
- Tie the laces on the boots like you would if you were wearing them.
- Put both boots into the freezer. Keep the boots facing upwards to avoid any possibility of leaking.
- Leave the boots overnight. As the water turns to ice, it will expand, causing your boots to stretch and loosen.
- In the morning, remove the boots and leave at room temperature until the ice melts.
- Remove the bags and enjoy your newly broken in boots. For particularly tough boots, you might need to do this a second time.
Use of alcohol
Alcohol is one of the top qualities and professional solutions that one can use to break in their boots. Alcohol helps to soften the leather fibers in the boot quickly, although it is a bit harsh. You can dilute it with some water. Make a solution of about 40 percent alcohol and the rest water.
Put the solution in a spray bottle, and spray a few puffs into the boot, and leave them overnight. Do not spray the outer or upper part of the boot, and it might affect the boot color. Once sprayed inside, it will quickly soften up the boot and loosen it. Repeat the process up when the shoes become comfortable.
Put your new boots on and walk around your house until your feet begin to hurt. The purpose of this step is to identify exactly where your boots need to be loosened.
Once you know where the tightness is, sit down, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and cover that part of the boots. Keep your boots on while doing this and within a couple of minutes, you should notice the leather begin to loosen up.
Now stand up and walk around again. Keep walking until the alcohol has completely evaporated. If you still feel tightness, you might need to do this two or three times. Eventually your boots will be completely broken in.
Use of a professional boot stretcher
The use of a shoe stretcher is one of the professional methods you can apply to break in your boots easily. The shoe stretcher is a piece of the wooden foot that you can insert into your feet and leave there for some days. If it stays there, it will soften the boot and make it easy to wear.
You can keep increasing the width of the stretcher depending on your foot size or the mechanism you are using. The use of a well-designed boot stretcher is the best method. There are various boot stretchers available in the market you can buy or go to a cobbler to do for you.
The use of mink oil
Mink oil is another top oil that you can use to break in your leather boots easily. You need to find a pack of mink oil, heat it to make a pate solution. Using a piece of clean and soft cloth, dab the oil and apply it to the whole leather area of the boot.
Ensure that you have covered the leather area with a thick layer of oil. Using a dryer, melt this mink oil on the leather to perfectly seep into the pores of the leather. Leave the boot with the oil overnight. The oil will soften the leather and make it easy to wear.
Using this method, it is not necessary to repeat it to loosen up the boot leather. However, you can do it again after one week. Mink oil sometimes might discolor your boot. However, it is good to apply it in a small area to see its impact before using it on the whole boot.
Use of leather conditioner
The use of a leather conditioner can excellently break in your boots. Once you have bought your boot, apply the leather conditioner on the boot. The leather conditioner helps to soften the leather material on the boot, and it doesn’t have any damaging effect, which is experienced with heat or water.
You can apply the conditioner every week until it breaks in quickly. The good thing with the leather conditioner is that it not only breaks in your boot but also makes it last longer.
Tricks of breaking in your boots
Cover your feet well- When you are wearing the boot, use double socks to prevent the stiff leather when it comes into contact with your feet. Use thick cotton socks, then follow it with a synthetic pair. This will make it easy to quickly slip the feet into the boot and prevent moisture from reaching the feet.
Wrap thick band-aids on your feet- Such bands are made to protect the foot against new boots. They are made so that they can be wrapped on the toes, ankle, and heel area. Seek clarification from your chemist if you are not sure.
Consult a professional cobbler- Professional cobbler can help you in loosening and softening your boots. You might need to incur some costs, but this is worth it since they will help you from experiencing painful blisters when wearing your boot.
What to avoid
- You will find out that some people are telling you to fill up your boots with water. Please avoid this and don’t even listen to them. Water solution damages your leather, and this may make them tear or crack easily. It will also make them develop an odor smell.
- When using mink oil, try first to use it on a small area to know its impact on the leather before applying it to the whole boot. This is because the oil has some discolor effect on the boots.
- When you wear and test your boot at home, do it in the morning and not in the afternoon. As we mentioned in the afternoon, the feet tend to expand, and therefore you might experience some pain if you wear it.
- When applying leather conditioner, please do not use too much of it because it may make the boot look sticky. Just apply a small layer and wait for some time before you wear the boot.
It is good to break in your boot before wearing it, no matter how excited you are. Breaking in your boot not only makes it comfortable to wear the boot but also keeps the feet safe from blisters that are painful and makes the feet breathe comfortably.
Not breaking in the boot might damage the leather, and you will experience cracks. The use of the wrong method to break in the boot can also cost you. You need to know which techniques are good and which are not. From our review, you can agree that the techniques we have elaborated on are safe and ideal. Use one, and you won’t regret it.
Note: Don’t mistake boots that need to be broken in for boots that don’t fit. If you are experiencing significant foot pain or any kind of pinching, chances are, you’ve purchased boots are too small.
No amount of alcohol or ice can solve this problem so do your feet a favor and return them. If you plan on getting your money back, do this before attempting either of the above techniques.