How to Soften or Break In Men's Boots

by Ivy Morris ; Updated July 18, 2017

Take shorts walks to soften new boots.

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If you've ever spent the day walking in a brand new pair of boots, you've probably learned the hard and painful way that some boots need breaking in. Although hiking boots are generally the worst offenders, even cowboy and dress boots may require some breaking in before regular use. Old boots that haven't been worn for awhile may also require a break-in period. Softening your boots may take up to several weeks, but it's an investment well worth it to achieve a comfortable fit and prevent blisters and skin rubbed raw.

Wear appropriate socks for the boots, and lace up your boots tightly, ensuring the tongue of the boot is straight and centered.

Walk around your house in the boots for short periods of time. You don't want to take the boots outside until you're sure you won't be returning them.

Increase the amount of time you spend in the boots little by little.

Remedy "hot spots" -- where the boot irritates the skin, making it hot -- with hiking sole inserts. These inserts add orthopedic support and help prevent irritation and blisters. You can also soften hot spots by rubbing the area with a rounded object or by applying leather softener.

Take long walks or short hikes to finish breaking in the boots.


  • Wearing damp socks with new full-grain leather boots breaks them in faster, according to blogger Aron Snyder.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Ivy Morris specializes in health, fitness, beauty, fashion and music. Her work has appeared in "Sacramento News and Review," "Prosper Magazine" and "Sacramento Parent Magazine," among other publications. Morris also writes for medical offices and legal practices. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in government-journalism from Sacramento State University.