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How to Break In Hiking Boots

What does it mean to break in new hiking boots? And why is it so important? Put simply, it means to wear them around casually, breaking in the leather before heading out on your first big hike. As with any footwear, breaking in your hiking boots is paramount to achieve the best fit. If you want to know how to break in hiking boots, read our guide below:

  • Step 1: Get Boots That Fit
  • Step 2: Wear New Boots Around the House for a Few Days
  • Step 3: Take Your Boots to the Trail!

Before You Buy

When shopping for a new pair of hiking boots, one of the most important considerations is how they fit before breaking them in. Hiking boots come in a wide variety of styles, with a wide variety of features. Shopping for boots online is a great way to narrow down what styles and features you like. But at the end of the day, it's important to actually see how the boots feel on your feet.

If you plan on buying your hiking boots online, look for a good return policy or comfort guarantee, like Hi-Tec’s 60-day Comfort Guarantee. This helps to ensure you find a pair of hiking boots that fit just like you want, without any risk – if they don’t fit right, just send them back! Of course, another option is to stop by a hiking boot store first to try the boots on before completing your purchase online.

When trying on boots, it is important to note that they may not feel immediately comfortable right out of the box. Of course, it’s not a bad thing if they do, but it is actually ideal for brand new boots to feel a bit snug. Snug is good, but if they feel too tight, you might want to size up. Generally, a hiking boot will loosen up as you break them in. In fact, if they are not a little snug at the point of purchase, chances are they may loosen up too much as you break them in.

Immediately After Purchase

Time to start breaking in your hiking boots! Start by simply walking around the house in your new boots while doing anything: making breakfast, vacuuming, or even just hanging out. It is important to wear them around the house first so as to keep the boots in like-new condition in the event that you do need to return or exchange them.

When you are walking around the house, try to wear high quality hiking socks - the same socks that you will use when you are out on the trail. You will also want to make sure you adjust and line everything up just right, because the shape the boot takes will begin to permanently set while it is being broken in. The last thing you want is a stubborn sideways tongue or uncomfortable creases.

As you are breaking in your boots, they may feel stiff initially. This is normal, however there shouldn’t be any pinching, rubbing, or pain around the heel, sides, or toes. If you are experiencing this, you may want to return your boots back and try another style.

Let’s Get Outside!

After a few days of short indoor walking sessions, your boots will start to feel more and more comfortable. At this point, it is time to start taking your boots outside for short walks. These can be anything from walking the dog around the block to checking the mail or running errands. Continue to wear the kinds of socks that you would wear if you were going on a day hike or backpacking trip.

Once you’re feeling comfortable in the boots during these short, outdoor walks, head out and hit the trails! Start with small hikes and work your way up to longer, more difficult hikes. It would be best to start with trails that are just a couple miles at most to ensure that the boots don’t start rubbing or hurting halfway through - you don’t want to be stuck walking in pain for miles. As you increase distance, continue to make sure everything is lined up as it should be.

After a few small hikes increase the distance to full day hikes. At this point your hiking boots should be comfortable and completely broken in. You’re now ready to conquer your next adventure in comfort!

Wrapping It All Up

During this process you will probably be tempted to just bring them out to the trails and hike all day. After all, that’s why you bought them, right? But it is essential to resist that urge and break in your boots the right way. Most hiking boots are not designed for big hikes right out of the box. That said, each boot is different – some require more time to break in than others. Hi-Tec customers regularly comment on how quickly they’re able to break in their new boots. So take that into consideration as you utilize the above information to break in your hiking boots.

Now that you know how to properly break them in, it’s time to find the perfect pair of hiking boots. Check out our selection of Men’s Hiking Boots and Women’s Hiking Boots to get started.

Hi-Tec USA