Certain aspects of hiking we would all prefer did not exist, such as setting up your tent in the rain, dealing with mosquitoes, or breaking in a brand-new pair of hiking boots. However, these aspects are unavoidable.
With a fresh pair of boots, heading straight for the hills will only lead to trouble. They must be broken in. “Breaking in a boot” refers to softening the fabric and sole and getting them to conform to the shape of your foot.
Sometimes we just don’t have the time to properly break them in, or we forget to break them in, and now we have a long hike coming up right around the corner. Both of these scenarios are frustrating. How long does it take to break in hiking boots, and is it possible to do it quickly?
Let’s explore more on how to break in hiking boots.
Breaking in hiking boots typically takes between two and four weeks. The length of time it takes will vary depending on a few different factors.
Both how well a brand-new pair of hiking boots fit your feet and the materials the boots are manufactured from will determine how long it will take to break in the boots.
If you already have lightweight shoes, have a low cut, or are trail runners, you probably won’t need to spend too much time breaking in your new boots. On the other hand, if you have purchased a pair of heavy-duty mountaineering boots, it may take quite some time for them to become broken in.
Below is the step-by-step break in the process of your hiking boots and footwear running shoes.
Begin breaking with your brand new hiking boots at home. Put on your hiking boots if you’re in the kitchen or performing chores around the house. Make use of the stairs.
Make sure you lace them up nice and tight and check that the tongue is positioned correctly. If possible, wear the moisture-wicking socks and insoles you intend to use when hiking on the trails.
Essentially, you want to wear the boots inside until your feet are comfortable and you are confident you won’t get blisters when you are out on the trail.
After you’ve worn your boots around the house for a while to get them broken in, it’s time to take them for short walks locally.
Put them to use for strolls around the neighborhood. Wear them when you walk the dog. You can wear them while you’re doing errands or when you go to the grocery store.
If short walks feel good, you can progress to taking longer walks on green fields, steel and concrete bridges, and metal sports bleachers to feel your feet in your hiking shoes when you wear them for longer distances and on harder surfaces.
Choose some day hikes that are not too difficult and are no more than one and a half to two hours to test your hiking boots in actual hiking conditions.
As you walk, the elements, such as dirt, pebbles, roots, and uneven terrain features, will continue to stretch and shape your shoes. To get the most out of your hiking experience, look for trails that offer elevation gains and always have a backpack with you, even if you don’t think you’ll need the extra weight.
Most boot uppers are made of leather, which is durable and can shape itself to your foot over time.
However, the use of synthetic materials is increasing, and some boots include no leather or other materials derived from animals.
Compared to leather, these synthetic materials each have advantages and disadvantages, but unlike leather, they do not contour themselves to the shape of your feet.
This typically indicates that you will simply need to break in the insole, which might help the process go more quickly than with leather alternatives.
The friction that results from your feet rubbing against your hiking socks or boots might lead to blisters. But how can you prevent blisters? Since blisters form considerably more rapidly in damp conditions and the presence of germs, wearing hiking socks that wick away moisture and prevent microbes’ growth is helpful.
Blisters are less likely to occur when new hiking boots are broken in because the inner padding gradually conforms to the shape of the wearer’s feet. This reduces the overall friction in areas where the shoe may be too tight, lowering the risk of blisters.
If your feet aren’t used to hiking and carrying things heavier than your body weight, like your backpack. Blisters may also occur due to wearing too tight socks or socks that are too small for your feet.
Remember to keep the following advice in mind during the whole process of breaking in your hiking boots to give your new shoes longer life.
When you first put on your boots at home, you should take precautions to prevent blisters. Fasten the laces as tight as possible, and position your foot so that the tongue rests in the middle of the shoe, preventing it from rubbing on the side of your foot.
Once you have your laces pulled tight, you should double verify that the knot is fastened correctly so that it does not become undone and cause chafing.
Trying to speed up the process of breaking in your hiking boots can be tempting, especially if you are in a hurry. However, it is strongly recommended that you steer clear of any quick cures you could find on the internet, such as putting them in warm water for a while, putting them in the freezer for the night, or heating them in the dryer.
These techniques rarely work, and even when they do, they almost permanently damage your shoes in some way or cause them to wear out more quickly.
Always read the directions provided by the manufacturer and get familiar with how to care for your outdoor gear properly. Also, remember that the ideal way to break in your hiking boots is to give them some time.
It’s not just your hiking boots that need to be broken in; your feet do as well. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time. When you start to wear your boots more frequently, you should pay close attention to the areas where they touch your feet, particularly any spots where you feel like they are rubbing. These locations are referred to as “hot spots.”
Wearing your boots long enough to feel those hot areas emerge but removing them before you develop full-blown blisters is the key to successfully developing calluses, which can be helpful in various situations.