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How to Break in Hiking Boots: Expert Guide for Preparing Your Boots

You know that having the right gear is essential to a good hike. One of the most important pieces of gear is your hiking boots.

But if you’ve never owned hiking boots before or just bought a new pair, breaking them in can seem like a daunting task.

Here are some tips on how to break into your hiking boots to hit the trails with confidence.

Why is it important to break in your hiking boots?

Like most hikers, you take great pride in your gear.

You meticulously research the perfect tent, stove, and sleeping bag for your needs.

But when it comes to footwear, many of us take a less serious approach.

We might buy a new pair of hiking boots or shoes and wear them right out on the trail, with no break-in period.

And then we wonder why our feet are so sore by the end of the day.

Hiking boots are designed to protect your feet from the elements and provide support on rugged terrain.

But if you don’t take the time to break them in, they can do more harm than good.

  • Breaking in your hiking boots will help them mold to the shape of your feet, which will make them more comfortable and less likely to cause blisters.
  • It will also help you get a feel for how they perform on different types of terrain to be better prepared for what the trail throws at you.

One hiker I spoke to said that she bought a new pair of hiking boots and wore them on a five-mile hike.

By the end, her feet were battered and bruised, and she had to be carried off the trail by her friends.

Another hiker told me about when he didn’t break in his new hiking boots and ended up with such severe blisters that he had to crawl the last mile back to his car.

Neither of these hikers was eager to hit the trails again anytime soon.

So, how do you avoid such disasters?

Let’s look at some tips on how to break in your hiking boots.

Tip: If you are still looking for a suitable shoe for hiking, then I recommend my buying guide. Just follow the link.

How to break in your hiking boots?

If you want to make your new hiking boots last as long as possible and feel comfortable, it’s important to break them in before hitting the trails.

Here are a few tips on how to do that:

1. Go slow and steady

When breaking in your new hiking boots, going slow and steady is important.

Start by wearing them around the house for a few hours.

Then, once they feel comfortable, take them out for short walks or hikes.

You can gradually increase the distance and intensity of your hikes as your boots start to mold to the shape of your feet.

Just be sure to listen to your body and take breaks as needed.

2. Listen to your feet

Your feet will tell you when they’re ready for a longer hike.

If you start to feel any discomfort, such as blisters or hot spots, take a break and give your feet a chance to recover.

Once the pain goes away, you can continue breaking in your hiking boots.

So take your time when you break in your boots.

3. Avoid the quick fix

You might be tempted to break in your hiking boots by wearing them in the shower or putting them in the dryer.

But resist the urge!

While these methods might help soften the leather, they can also damage the structure of your boots and shorten their lifespan.

It’s best to break in your hiking boots gradually over time.

By following these tips, you can avoid any painful mishaps and ensure that your hiking boots are ready for the trails.

How to break in hiking boots at home?

Thinking of going on your first hiking excursion but not knowing how to break in your new hiking boots?

With a few simple steps, you can easily break in your hiking boots at home so that they’re comfortable to wear on the trail.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Start with short wearing periods

When you first get your new hiking boots, starting with short wearing periods is important.

Wear them at home for 30 to 60 minutes at a time.

This will help get your feet accustomed to the feel of the boots and allow you to identify any areas that may rub or cause discomfort.

If you do experience any discomfort, make sure to note where it’s located on your foot.

You can then use a bandage or moleskin to prevent blisters.

2. Try radical methods

You can try stuffing the shoe with newspaper or another material and letting it rest tied up overnight in a warm place.

This will help the shoe stretch out.

If you choose this method, make sure to stuff the shoes with newspaper, so they keep their shape and don’t get deformed.

Another method is to wear 2 or 3 pairs of socks in the shoe to increase the pressure on and help it stretch out.

Wearing your boots with thick socks will also help break them in more quickly.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your hiking boots should be well on their way to being broken in and ready for the trail.


Keep in mind that it’s still important to go on shorter hikes first to make sure that your feet are comfortable in the boots.

After following the previous steps, you should be ready for a short hike.

Start by hiking for 30 to 60 minutes to get a feel for how your boots perform on the trail.

If everything feels good, gradually increase the distance and time of your hikes until you’re comfortable enough to take on longer trails.

How to break in hiking boots outdoors?

Let’s say you’re on a hike, and you find out along the way that your shoes need to be broken in.

What do you do now not to hold up the whole troop?

How can you break in your hiking shoes outside?

Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Take off your hiking boots and try to squeeze the boots on the spots you feel pain. This will help loosen the shoe and reduce the pressure on your feet.
  • If you still feel pain, try to find something to stuff your shoes with, like newspaper or leaves. This will help stretch out the shoe and provide some cushioning for your feet.
  • If you have a second pair of socks, put them on and walk in them for 30 minutes. After that, you can take off one pair of socks and see if the shoe feels more comfortable.

After a few minutes, put your hiking boots back on and see how you feel.

If the pain has subsided, then you can continue on your hike.

If the pain is still there, it’s best to head back and try another day again.

It is impossible to break in the hiking boots in a short time on a hike – it takes time.

Breaking in your hiking boots can be a bit of a process, but it’s important to take the time at home to do it right.

Tip: In addition to breaking in your hiking boot, the boot also needs some care. Learn how to clean hiking boots in my other article.


I will answer some frequently asked questions about breaking in your new hiking boots.

How long does it take to break in hiking boots?

It typically takes between 2 to 4 weeks to break in a new pair of hiking boots.

This can vary depending on the type of boot, how often you wear them, and the activities you use them for.

Some people find that it takes longer to break in hiking boots than other shoes.

If you’re having difficulty breaking in your boots, try some of the above methods to help hasten the process.

How many miles to break in hiking boots?

There is no set number of miles you need to hike to break in your hiking boots.

Some people find that they need to hike 20 miles or more before their boots are fully broken in, while others only need to hike a few miles.

The best way to break in your hiking boots is to gradually increase the distance and time you spend hiking in them.

Start with shorter hikes and gradually work your way up to longer distances.

If you find that your feet are sore after a hike, try decreasing the distance or time of your next hike.

It’s important to listen to your body and give your feet plenty of time to adjust to the new feel.

Are weights good for breaking in hiking boots?

Wearing weights around the house is unnecessary and can do more harm than good.

This is because the additional weight can put too much pressure on your feet and cause pain.

If you’re going to hike with a backpack, it’s best to wait until your boots are broken in before adding any extra weight.

Does breaking in hiking boots hurt?

It’s normal to feel some discomfort when breaking in new hiking boots.

This is because your feet are not used to the new shoes and need time to adjust.

If you experience throbbing or sharp pain, it’s best to break from wearing the boots and try again later.

Remember to take it slow and give your feet plenty of time to adjust to the new boots.

Why should you read hiking boot instructions?

Reading the instructions for your hiking boots is important for a few reasons.

First, it will help you understand the different features of the boot and how to use them.

Second, the instructions will guide how to care for your boots to last longer.

And finally, reading the instructions will help you understand the warranty that comes with your purchase.

Taking the time to read the instructions will help you get the most out of your hiking boots.

Why should you wear hiking boots before you buy them?

Walking in a store and buying the first pair of hiking boots you see is not the smartest thing to do.

There are a few things you should do before making that purchase.

Did you know that 80% of all foot pain is due to poorly fitted shoes?

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to find the right hiking boots for you.

Buying a cheap, ill-fitting pair of boots can end up causing more pain and problems down the road.

So, how do you find the perfect pair of hiking boots?

Here are a few tips:

1. Do your research

Before you even set foot in a store, it’s important to do your research and figure out what hiking boots you need.

There are different types of hiking boots for different purposes.

For example, if you’re planning on doing some backpacking, you’ll need a different type of boot than if you’re going on a day hike.

2. Get your feet measured

This is an important step that many people forget about.

Your feet can change shape and size over time, so it’s important to get them measured before buying a new pair of boots.

3. Try them on

Once you’ve done your research and found a few pairs of boots that seem like they would be a good fit, it’s time to try them on.

Make sure to bring along the type of socks you’ll be wearing when you hike to get an accurate idea of how the boots will feel.

4. Walk around in them

After putting on the boots, take some time to walk around the store and get a feel for how they feel on your feet.

Do they feel comfortable?

Do they rub or pinch your feet in any way?

5. Ask questions

If you’re unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson for help.

They should be able to answer any questions you have about the boots.

6. Take your time

Don’t feel like you have to buy a pair of boots right away.

If you’re not sure, take your time and come back another day to make your purchase.

Tip: To make your hiking adventure a complete success, you should have the following equipment when hiking. Under the link, you will find my article on this topic.

Happy hiking!