Getting new leather work boots can be exciting, especially if your old boots have seen better days. But it’s important to take time to break in your new pair before you wear them for a full day of work. If you skip this important step, you might come home with aching feet and a few blisters to show for it. Here are several easy strategies you can use for breaking in your new work boots.
Use a Stretcher Stick
Purchase a boot stretcher stick online or in a specialty shoe store for a quick and simple fix for tight boots. Simply insert the stretcher into the boot and expand it until it feels snug inside the boot. Leave it in that position for several hours, and then try on the boots to see if you need to keep expanding them for a comfortable fit.
If you need to expand a specific point on a boot, such as a tight spot at the heel or toe, press a thick stick (such as a broom handle) at that location. Stretch the boot manually with the stick, taking breaks to try it on until you no longer feel pressure at that spot.
Apply Boot Conditioner
When you apply boot conditioner, it loosens the fibers on the boots, so they don’t feel so snug and stiff. Liberally coat the exterior of your boots in leather conditioner or mink oil, focusing especially on any areas that feel tight on your foot. Leave the conditioner on overnight and wipe off any excess with a soft cloth the next day. Slip on the boots and walk around in them a bit to make sure the leather is now supple enough for a comfortable fit.
This is one of the most popular strategies for breaking in high-quality leather boots. The same leather conditioner can be applied regularly to help authentic leather uppers resist cracking, scuffing, and stiffness.
Freeze Your Boots
Image via Flickr by David Jackmanson
Fill two resealable plastic bags with water and remove the excess air before sealing them. Place one bag in each boot, positioning the bag so the water is angled toward where the boot pinches your foot. Put your boots in the freezer. As the water turns to ice, it will expand slightly to stretch out the boots. Once the water is completely frozen, remove the boots and allow the water to thaw out before removing the bags.
Submerge Your Boots
Soak your leather boots in a bucket of warm water for about 30 minutes (or slightly longer for boots with finished leather uppers). After soaking, take the boots out of the water and empty out any water remaining inside. Put on thick socks and wear your boots for about an hour. The soaked fibers will be slightly loosened, enabling the boot to mold to each foot as it dries.
Use an Insole
Need a quick fix for your boots? You can insert an insole to get a little more padding in the sole while you adjust to your new leather boots.
Breaking in your new work boots is a great way to ensure that they provide the support you need day in and day out. Use one of these strategies to make your leather boots more comfortable.