How to Break in Work Boots

How to Break in Work Boots? 6 Steps to Make Your Boot More Comfortable

Buying a new pair of work boots does not necessarily mean that you’ll instantly enjoy it. In fact, there is a great chance that it won’t fit perfectly right away. It is because you still need to break it in.

During the first few initial uses or break-in period, expect a few pinches and aches, especially in your heels and toes. Blisters are also common. With that in mind, you have to be fully aware how to break in work boots successfully, so you can speed up the process and start enjoying the pair.

What Do You Need to Follow this Tutorial?

  • Hot or cold water
  • Pair of socks
  • Ziploc bag
  • Mop stick or broom
  • Mink oil or leather conditioner
  • Cloth
  • Thick sock
  • Boot stretcher
  • Boot stretch spray
  • Water and alcohol mixture

Step 1 – The Hot Water or Cold Water Technique

You can use either hot or cold water to break in your new work boots. The hot water break in technique is ideal if you have waterproofed boots as there is a great possibility for them to get damaged if not. Such method is commonly used in the military, so they can make their footwear more comfortable.

What you have to do is to prepare warm water and soak your waterproof work boots there for around thirty minutes. Throw away the water then wear a pair of socks then your boots. Continue wearing it for around thirty minutes to one hour – this should work in breaking it in.

Just like the hot water method, you also need to use cold water in manipulating the footwear. Fill an airtight and properly sealed Ziploc bag with water. Put the bag inside your boots, ensuring that you position the water in such a way that it angles to the specific area where the footwear pinches.

Once done, you can put the boots in your freezer. Allow it to stay there overnight. Once the water freezes, it aids in expanding and stretching the boots. Remove the bag from the freezer then wait for the ice to melt completely before getting it out of the boots.

Step 2 – The Stick Technique

In this how to break in work boots technique, you need a mop stick or a broom. What you have to do is to insert it into your work boots. Make sure to target it to the specific area where it is tight or it pinches.

Bend the boot gently yet firmly over the inserted stick. Such is a huge help in letting the leather material stretch out of the sole. You will know that your work boot has stretched if the leather material shows a slight discoloration outwards.

Step 3 – Use Mink Oil

Alternatively, you may also use a leather conditioner for this technique. What you have to do is to apply mink oil or the conditioner into the outer parts of the boots, especially on the area where they pinch. Leave it overnight.

Afterward, use a cloth to wipe off any excess. What the oil or conditioner does is soften the material on the targeted area, so expect your work boot to become more comfortable once you wear it.

Step 4 - Wear Thick Socks or Stuff your Work Boots

Another thing that you can do to break in your new work boots is to wear a pair of thick socks. Your socks should be thick enough that they can help in expanding the footwear until it perfectly fits you. If you do not have a thick sock, then you can just wear multiple pairs at the same time.

Stuffing your work boots is also the key to breaking it in. Each time you do not wear it, use cloth or any other material to stuff its insides. Leave your boots stuffed overnight. Such is a huge help in creating enough space while retaining its shape.

Step 5 – Use a Boot Stretcher

You can also take advantage of boot stretchers that you can adjust based on your desired size and fit. Boot stretchers are actually those that you can slip into your footwear to recondition its fit. Leave them overnight, and you will notice a great improvement in the fit of your work boots in the morning.

Alternatively, you can also seek the aid of a boot stretch spray, which you can buy from a shoe shop. Make sure to read the instructions that you can find on the product’s label to ensure that you’re applying it correctly.

Also, ensure that the components/ingredients of the spray are safe for the material mainly used in constructing your boots. The good thing about this boot spray is that it aids in softening the boot material, particularly leather. Such is a huge help in creating more space.

Step 6 – Try the Water and Alcohol Solution

Mix equal parts of water and alcohol. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle then spray the solution directly inside your work boots. Wear the boots right away for at least 20 minutes.

This solution is effective as the alcohol works in softening the leather material while drying off. Such is effective in stimulating the footwear to follow the natural shape of your feet.


Learning how to break in work boots is crucial in making you feel comfortable when wearing the pair for work. The good thing about the techniques mentioned in this article is that they also aid in darkening your shoes and keeping their good condition.

Aside from that, they are effective in making the boots more comfortable to wear by ensuring that they conform to your feet’s natural shape.

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