Easy Techniques To Break In Hiking Boots

Break In Hiking Boots

Getting the perfect pair of hiking boots can make your next outdoor adventure comfortable and more enjoyable. But before you can get that comfort and support, you must break them in properly.

Breaking in your boots properly before taking them on longer hikes or treks can help prevent blisters by reducing friction between the boot and your feet as you walk. If a boot isn’t broken in or fit correctly, then it will cause more friction with each step leading to areas of increased pressure on your skin that could ultimately lead to soreness and blisters.

Making a new pair of hiking boots feel as comfortable and supportive as an old favorite doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. In this blog post, we’ll provide insider tips on breaking in your hiking boots so that you can enjoy the outdoors with confidence and ease!

When to Break In Your Hiking Boots

The timeframe for breaking in new hiking boots depends on the type of boot you have and how strenuous your hike will be. Generally, it can take anywhere from one to four weeks to break in hiking boots. If you’re embarking on an extended, challenging trek (such as a multi-day hike), be sure to give your shoes ample time to break in prior to the start of your excursion.

Preparing for the Break-In Process

How to choose the right socks for hiking

Choosing the right Hiking Socks
Photo: Sasha Werner

The first thing to consider when choosing hiking socks is the material. Wool is a popular choice for hikers due to its natural moisture-wicking abilities and ability to regulate temperature. Synthetic materials such as polyester are also popular due to their lightweight breathability and durability. Compression socks can be beneficial for those who suffer from swelling or soreness in their feet or ankles while on the trail.

When choosing a sock, it’s essential to consider its thickness. Thicker socks offer an additional layer of cushioning that helps you stay comfortable on longer hikes, while thinner ones are ideal for summer jaunts because they prevent your feet from getting too hot and sweaty.

Finally, look for features like reinforced heels and toes that provide extra durability in high wear areas, as well as arch support that helps keep your feet comfortable all day long. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the perfect pair of hiking socks for your next adventure!

Tips for adjusting the fit of your hiking boots

Hiking boots are an essential part of any outdoor adventure. An enjoyable and comfortable journey begins with the perfect fit for your feet! It’s important to to find a pair of shoes that will give you long-lasting comfort on any trail. Here are some tips for adjusting the fit of your hiking boots:

  • Stand upright and have someone check how much room you have behind your heel. In a properly fitting boot, they should be able to get roughly one finger’s width between your heel and the back of the boot.
  • Make sure there is enough space in the toe box to accommodate for foot swelling and to prevent toes from hitting the front of the boot during descents.
  • When selecting your next pair of hiking boots, try them on at the end of the day when your feet are likely to be swollen due to physical activity or heat.
  • If possible, try on boots at a specialized hiking store or REI where you can get professional advice on finding a good fit for your feet.
  • Once you find a pair that fits well, adjust them with lacing techniques such as “heel lock” or “lace lock” to ensure that they don’t move around while walking or running.

Techniques for Breaking In Hiking Boots

Wearing your boots around the house

Wearing Hiking Boots around the hosue

If you want to make sure your hiking boots are comfortable during a long trek, the best way is to break them in by wearing them around the house. This will help you get used to the feel of your new shoes and also allow them to form to your feet. Make sure to wear the same pair of socks and insoles that you plan to use during your trek. Doing so will help provide an accurate prediction of how they might fit while out in nature.

Gradually increasing the distance and duration of wear

Once you’ve worn your boots around the house for a while, it’s time to take them out for a test drive. Start by taking short walks around your neighborhood or local park. Gradually increase your distance each day until you’re comfortable with how they feel and fit. This will help ensure that any potential blisters or hotspots are taken care of before heading out on longer hikes.

Deliberately Tread Uneven Terrain

Trading uneven terrain in new hiking boots

When breaking in your hiking boots, it’s important to deliberately tread across uneven terrain such as rocks or roots. This will help stretch and soften up any stiff areas in the boot, making them more comfortable when out on the trail. It’s also important to wear different types of socks during this process, as this will help determine which type works best with your particular boot model and foot shape.

Go Slow and Steady

Breaking in hiking boots takes time, so don’t rush it! Take things slow and steady so that you don’t end up with any blisters or hotspots that could ruin an otherwise great hike. With patience and dedication, you can have a pair of perfectly broken-in hiking boots that will last for years to come!

How To Stretch Hiking Boots

If the discomfort persists after a while, it may be necessary to take action such as stretching your boots. Caution is important here however – if done incorrectly or excessively, this can cause permanent damage to your boots!

Using rubbing alcohol to stretch the boots

Rubbing alcohol is a great way to stretch hiking boots and make them more comfortable. For this, you’ll need a spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, and some paper towels. Start by spraying the inside of the boot with rubbing alcohol until it is damp but not soaked. Then put on a pair of thick socks and wear the boots around the house for about an hour. This will help to stretch out the leather. 

If your boots still feel too tight after this process, you can repeat it again until they fit comfortably. Just make sure not to overdo it as too much rubbing alcohol can damage the leather of your boots.

Applying heat to the boots

Applying heat is another great way to break in your hiking boots and make them more comfortable. This method will help the leather to conform better to your feet, which can significantly reduce painful blisters or hotspots.

To start, you’ll need a hair dryer and some thick socks. Use the hair dryer to heat up the inside of the boots for about thirty seconds on each side. Make sure not to overheat them.

Once your boots are warm, don them with a pair of thick socks and wander around for an hour. As you walk around in them, you’ll notice that the leather is starting to stretch out and conform more closely to your feet.

As an alternative to walking around in the boots, you can stuff it with either a shoe form or some rolled-up socks to hold the shape. Exercise caution when using this method, particularly with the hot air directed towards the leather, since it can be damaged if exposed to too much heat or intensity.


Troubleshooting your hiking boots can be a bit tricky and may require some patience. When wearing in a new pair of boots, it is paramount to be patient and mindful of their fit as you clock up the miles. The key is to stop before any serious discomfort starts and make adjustments as needed.

Tips for dealing with discomfort during the break-in process

When it comes to dealing with discomfort during the break-in process, the best tip is simply to go slow. You should gradually increase the distance and duration of wear until you have a good understanding of how the boots fit your feet. As you do this, make sure to look out for any hotspots or blisters that could signal discomfort from an ill-fitting boot. If you start feeling any pain, don’t be afraid to take off the boots for a few minutes or even switch out for another pair if necessary.

How to identify when your boots don’t fit properly

It’s also important to identify when your hiking boots don’t fit properly. If the heel slips too much or there’s too much pressure around the ankle area, it could lead to pain and injury on hikes and other outdoor activities. If you find yourself having trouble getting comfortable in your boots, consider consulting with a professional who can help select a better fitting pair or suggest good lacing techniques that might provide better support.


Investing time in prepping your hiking boots is essential for an enjoyable and pleasurable outdoor adventure. When you properly break-in your shoes before hitting the trail, it increases overall comfort and reduces potential pain or blisters, making that journey all the more fulfilling! As you get accustomed to your new boots, be sure to pay attention to the feel of them while walking and running; this will help you make any necessary adjustments for a comfortable fit.