How to Break in Hiking Boots

If you are suffering from achy feet after a day of hiking, then you can benefit from knowing how to break in hiking boots. The problem may not be the hiking itself but your boots. If you’re just back from a shopping spree, it’s important that you break in hiking boots at home before you take them out for a spin in the woods. Otherwise, you risk turning a potentially great day into a walk of pain.

  1. Wear the boots around the house first. Use them for short periods of time (30 minutes to an hour) and make sure you wear them with the same type of socks you would use on the trails. Lace the boots up tight, especially if you’re trying to break in hiking boots that are high over the shin.
  2. Pay attention to any corners or areas that are causing you pain or rubbing so hard that your skin is peeling. This can be especially pronounced on the top of your feet or your heels. While tightness is normal when trying to break in hiking boots, pain is not, and it might be reason enough to return the boots or exchange them for a bigger size.
  3. Walk outside once the boots feel comfortable enough that you can wear for a couple of hours without pain. Outdoor walking is important because you’re exposed to a variety of terrains, which is what you would encounter when hiking.
  4. Add a full backpack to your weight when trying to break in hiking boots. If you feel self-conscious about walking around the city streets on hiking gear, just do it around the house. Boots will feel different when you’re carrying a heavy load on your back, so experiment with the options.
  5. Buy a stretching device at a sport or outdoor shop if there’s a single corner or area that remains tight after you break in hiking boots. This will stretch the boots just enough to take of the problem area without affecting how they feel overall.
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