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How to Soften Work Boots

by M.H. Dyer

You may hate it when you have to trade in your comfortable work boots for a new pair, but even the best boots don’t last forever. Your new boots aren’t going to feel like the old pair -- at least not for a while. Don’t be in a big hurry to wear your new boots because a proper breaking-in period softens stiff new boots and prevents a batch of miserable blisters. Patience pays off, and you’ll get many dependable miles from your new pair of boots.

Waterproof new work boots to soften the leather, using a light coat of rub-in, oil-based paste, shoe wax or silicone spray. Read the care instructions that came with the boots to determine the appropriate product.

Loosen the laces in the lower two or three holes, but tighten strings in the upper holes enough to prevent rubbing around the boot tops and ankles.

Put on two pairs of cotton socks. Don’t wear synthetic or wool socks, which are more likely to slide and cause friction. Change your socks if your feet sweat.

Protect your heels, toes, ankles and other commonly rubbed spots with stick-on moleskin pads. You can also use a liquid bandage product to prevent friction.

Wear your boots around the house. Start with a short period and increase it gradually, but take the boots off as soon as they begin to rub.

Limit walking time when you wear your boots outdoors for the first time. Avoid long hikes or steep hills and stop when your feet begin to feel sore. Increase the time gradually every day, but don’t wear your boots to work until they’re fully broken in and no longer feel tight or create friction.

Items you will need
  • Oil-based paste, shoe wax or silicone spray
  • Cotton socks

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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