How to Break in Red Wing Leather Boots

by Deborah Lundin ; Updated September 28, 2017

Breaking in Red Wing leather boots takes time, but your feet will appreciate it.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

For more than 100 years, Red Wing has been crafting heavy-duty yet comfortable leather work boots and hiking boots that are designed to last. Just like any shoe, these boots will require some time to break in and allow your feet to get used to them. While breaking in new shoes usually requires a bit of time, there are ways to speed up the breaking in process.

Step 1

Put on a pair of socks that are similar to the ones you will wear with your new boots. Place your new boots on and wear for an hour or so as you perform your regular routine around the house. Continue to do this every day for a week or so as you gradually increase the time you spend in the boots.

Step 2

Drop yourself down into a squatting position while wearing the boots and remain in this position for as long as you comfortably can. The most important part of a boot to break in is the sole, and by squatting you are bending and breaking in this area.

Step 3

Take the boots off of your feet and, with your hands, bend the sole of each shoe.

Step 4

Treat your Red Wing boots with mink oil or a leather conditioner to help soften the leather and aid in the breaking in process when you first purchase your boots. Reapply conditioner whenever the leather looks dry or becomes stiff and needs softening.


  • While it may take a few days or even weeks, gradually getting your feet used to the new boots will make a big difference and your feet will appreciate it when you decide to work a full day or go on an extended hike in your new boots.


  • While some people recommend soaking your leather boots and wearing them wet, or wearing your new boots with wet socks, REI and Mother Earth News do not recommend this because it can break down the leather and shorten the life of your boots, as well as create mildew on the insides.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.