Anyone who has ever purchased a new pair of shoes may find they are uncomfortable in the beginning until you become accustomed to them.
In the case of a new pair of hiking boots, this feeling can be more than uncomfortable. It can create all manner of soreness in your feet if you skip the steps of breaking in your new hiking boots.
While many boot manufacturers offer out of the box comfort, this is far from reality. Here, you can learn what to look for to make sure you have the best boot fit and a look at the breaking in process.
Hiking Boot Tips
Before breaking in boots and heading out to hit the trails. You need to be sure you have the right boots in the first place.
Here are a few tips that can help from start to finish.
Understand your feet: When you are looking for boots, you need to know if you have wide or narrow feet, or do you have flat feet or a high arch? It may be you have bunions from ill-fitting boots, or your feet are different sizes.
Understanding foot discomfort: You may find this with your current boots or shoes, yet knowing what causes these problems can help when breaking in hiking boots.
- Rubbing heels: If you suffered from heels rubbing, you could use the heel lock lacing method to hold your feet securely in your boots.
- Cramping Arches: Lack of support, and you may require support insoles.
- Pressure on the top of feet: You can have high arches or high volume feet. Try a different lacing method.
- Hot Feet: If you feel hot spots on the bottom of your feet, it signifies your boots or shoes are too small or tied too tight.
Fabric vs. Leather Hiking Boots
Leather boots need a separate method of breaking in than fabric boots. Leather is thicker, so it will take longer to break in than other varieties.
You can’t do this quickly, and it needs you to follow a gradual process of breaking in a new pair of hiking boots.
Leather hiking boots can deliver the best experience, yet if you need a pair quickly to go on upcoming hiking trips, you may need to opt for another material.
Breaking in Your Hiking Boots
Here you can learn how to break in hiking boots the right way. While materials are different, it won’t hurt to follow the same methods for both.
Wear Your Boots at Home
To start breaking in a pair of boots is wearing them at home as much as possible. You can do your chores, climb stairs, or wear them when you walk around the grocery stores.
You need to take precautions to prevent blisters from forming. Make sure you wear the right insoles and hiking socks you will be using when you hit the trail. Pull out the tongues and gussets to loosen them up, as they will be stiff at first.
You do need to pay attention to what you feel in your feet, as this is the best way of avoiding sores or aches. There are no quick fixes, and your feet will thank you over the years by taking the time now.
Flexing and Storing
Soles may be stiff, and this can affect how your feet move while walking. While flexing during walking or by hand, just be careful not to bend them too much in case a crack forms accidentally.
Doing a few squats on your toes is one of the best ways to bend the sole when breaking in new boots.
For the uppers, you do need to care for the material, especially if you have a pair of leather boots.
Adding a good quality leather conditioner can maintain suppleness in the leather as well as cracking. Fabric boots need lots of aeration after wearing the boots to remove odors and let them dry.
Short Trips and Drips
Once you have been wearing your new pair of boots around the home and the neighborhood, it is time to increase the distance and begin heading off on short treks.
If you take short hikes, you can finish in an hour; you can see how your boots feel without subjecting your feet to too much wear and tear.
Although they are new boots, you should try to make sure you step in any puddles or streams.
You can test them, and the inclusion of additional moisture can help them supple up before you dry them.
With any new pair of boots, that is as much as you need to do. Start slow and build up to full hikes once your boots feel good on the feet. It is as much as you, adapting to your boots as your boots adapting to you.
If you are new to hiking, it can take this breaking in period for a pair of hiking boots, to train your feet. You can do a few things to help them feel at home inside your new boots.
Blisters are not the only issue, but they are one of the more common. You can help combat this by wearing thick socks, which you will be using on your hiking travels.
Cracking feet can be other symptoms when starting to wear boots, so applying a good moisturizing cream on your soles and ankles can help.
Once you start heading off, be sure to take breaks now and again. Applying fresh creams or letting your feet cool can pay dividends in the end.
Blister kits should be one of your hiking gear essentials, no matter if you are wearing new boots or a trusted pair.