How to Break-in New Tight-Fitting Work Boots

by Melissa King

Brand-new work boots tend to feel stiff and inflexible, and that can cause agonizing foot pain, chafing and blistering. Fortunately, you don't need to grin and bear it. Regularly wearing work boots will eventually break them in, but that might take too long when you're in a hurry. If you can't wait, try stretching out your boots in just a few hours with the help of your freezer.

General Breaking-In Tips

Put on thick socks and wear your boots around your home. Gradually increase the time you wear the boots each day. When the boots start to feel comfortable, wear them outside and walk short distances.

Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of one part water and one part rubbing alcohol. Mist the inside each of boot with the alcohol mixture. This helps relax the boots so they'll feel more comfortable.

Roll up two washcloths, then insert one in each boot when you're not wearing them. Once you've broken in the boots, the cloths will also allow the boots to keep their shape.

Freezer Method

Put one zippered freezer bag inside another freezer bag.

Slide the layered bags into the boot as far as they will go. Keep the bag openings facing up.

Pour water into the inner bag slowly. Take care not to spill any of the water inside the boot. Continue pouring water until the bag is bulging.

Seal both zippered bags. If you're worried that the bag will leak, seal the top with duct tape or tie a string around the top of it.

Lace the boot and tie it as if you were wearing it.

Repeat this process with the other boot.

Put both boots in the freezer. Stand them up straight to help prevent the bags from leaking.

Let the boots sit in the freezer overnight. The water in the bags will freeze and expand, causing the boots to stretch.

Remove the boots from the freezer and let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours so the ice melts.

Pull the bags out of the boots when the ice has melted enough. Inspect the boots for wetness and dry them off with a towel, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Socks
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Washcloths
  • Freezer bags
  • Duct tape or string (optional)
  • Towel


  • If your new boots cause significant foot pain, rubbing or pinching, return them and try another size or style.
  • Wear a new pair of socks with your new boots. They provide extra padding that protects against blisters.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images