So, hiking season is around the corner, and you’ve got your brand-new hiking boots ready, and you can’t wait to hit the trails. But, as with all new shoes, you’re wondering how to break in hiking boots. Breaking into new shoes is the process of your shoes and feet getting accustomed to each other.
Breaking into new shoes can be painful. The pain, blisters, bunions, and calluses won’t be much fun either. Even if you chose the correct shoe size, it could take a few weeks to break into hiking boots because they are more rigid than regular shoes. Everyone’s feet have unique features and proportioned differently, so, even if two people share the same shoe size, their shoes may not fit the same way. Just make sure that you do not go hiking straightaway with unbroken boots. The last thing you want is blisters in the middle of a long hike!
As with any shoe, there are preventative measures you can take to make the shoe stretching process quicker and more comfortable. Don’t consider stretching to be a fix for poorly fitted boots.
- • Hit the shoe stores near the evening. Our feet expand by as much as 5% throughout the day.
- • If you’re ordering online, order two sizes so you can return the least fitting one later.
- • Do not try boots on with just one foot. Try on both boots. In rare cases, people have different sized feet.
- • Buy your hiking boots at least 3 weeks before you plan to go hiking. It can take this amount of time to break into your new boots.
- • There should be some space between the front of the boot and your longest toe so that you won’t be smashing your toes when going down hills.
Here are some general tips on how to break in hiking boots:
1. Use thick socks
This is probably the most common piece of advice you will hear about breaking in new shoes. Wear a thick pair of socks and spend time walking around in your new boots for several days. The boots will gradually stretch to conform to your feet. Flex and bend to get a better conformability.
2. Use heat
You can speed up the breaking in with the previous tip, by walking around in thick socks in a warm environment. Alternatively, you could use a hairdryer on a high heat setting and directing the nozzle to the tightest areas of the boot.
Using heat is more effective on leather hiking boots (works for nun-buck and suede as well) as the material softens and expands more easily in the presence of heat.
3. Stuff them
You can stuff your new hiking boots with a lot of old newspapers, rags and plastic bags. Stuff them depending on how much stretching your boots need. Leave them for several days.
You can speed up the process by doing this and using heat as before.
4. Freeze them
Yes, you read that correctly. You can try freezing your new shoes.
- • Place a plastic bag inside the boots.
- • Fill the bag up with water and tie it up securely.
- • Leave the boots in the freezer.
Water expands as it freezes so it will force your boots to stretch out. You can also try freezing with stuffed newspapers or plastic bags instead of the bag of water.
5. Invest in a shoe stretcher
Fancier boot owners can invest in good shoe stretcher. Shoe stretchers come in two types, Ball-and-ring stretcher, and Two-way stretcher. Two-way shoe stretchers consist of a two-part mold that can expand lengthwise and widthwise. They generally work with shoe stretcher sprays.
6. Professional Shoe Stretching service
If you don’t want to run the risk of ruining your new boots, you could inquire at local shoe stores if you could get them professionally fitted.
There are some tips online advising to soak new boots in water, but this method only works for certain types of material. It could damage or wear the material.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to break in hiking boots so that you can have a blister-free and comfortable breaking in experience.
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