If you have purchased a new pair of boots, you are so tempted to wear them anywhere you go and use them. However, they are not meant to be comfortable from the first time of wearing and give in only eventually, before they actually start feeling comfortable on your feet.
Each shoe has been manufactured with a constant design and feature which is made keeping the universal aspects of people in mind. It may not adjust to the specific issues people have on their feet be it a high arch, or a padded heel, or joint pains due to ill-fitting of the shoes, bursitis, cramping feet, etc.
Therefore, for you to get accustomed to work boots easily and reduce the overall break-in period of the boots, we have come up with some tips and tricks to adjust to your new pair easily.
Remember: Try Fitting In Before Breaking In
Sure you have set your eyes on a pair of shoes, but what if they don’t fit you? What if you wish to break into a pair of workboots only to find your feet jammed up in the toe area or feels too narrow on the footbed? You can never expect a pair of shoes to break-in unless the fitting is right. For which, referring to the size chart is very important.
Here are some points to remember that may help if you want to fit in your shoes and reduce the break-in period.
Try the shoes on
Check both the length and width measurements and if unsure, go for a size larger. You can also try the boots out at a local store and then order them online if you find a better deal for a better view and selection.
Measure your feet
If you do not have access to a shoe store to try the workboots on, measure your feet. Check our article on how to measure your feet for shoes in different ways for getting started. You can use a drawing paper, pencil, and measuring tape to trace your feet and measure the dimensions.
Check the lengthwise and widthwise dimensions and match the figures with the ones mentioned in the size chart. Accordingly, you can check for your corresponding size.
If you measure and figure out that your left foot is slightly larger than the right foot, then you must always go for the larger sized pair.
Look for Specific Brand Dimensions
While one brand may offer a 9.5 which fits you perfectly, it is not always the same if you change your preference for brands. Every brand follows a different size chart so while you are wondering a brand fits you perfectly in size medium, another brand may offer the same size in large or vice versa. Therefore, check the size chart of the brand before choosing to buying and managing to break in!!
If you have a hard time getting your feet in the right pair, there is no harm in going custom. Go to the nearest shoemaker, or cobbler and get your feet measured to curate a custom set of shoes for you. Sure they would charge you a heavy buck, but it would be worth it with all the comfort you would get after fitting into the right size.
How to Break in Work Boots?
Here are some tips to break-in into your pair of workboots:
Breaking in leather boots
If your workboots are a beautiful pair made of leather, then the leather is indeed stiff and tough to maintain the rigidity and shape of the shoe when it’s new.
The two most stiff areas are around the toes and the heel region. And that is where the maximum movement of the feet happens because that is how the foot naturally bends. So those areas specifically need to be capable of flexing and adjusting as per the movement of your feet.
For helping them adjust to the feet, the front and the heel section needs to bend and flex in a way that it may end up developing creases. This will help the shoes to further stretch as per your foot movement.
So when you move your toes and make the rocking motion, the shoes should develop creases in the forefront section. When you move your legs forward and backward with the shin, heel, and ankle area, is when the upper heel and the adjoining collar section must develop creases.
Tip no. 1: Wear thick socks for the shoe to not hurt your feet
You want to wear the shoes a few times before taking them with you to work. However, you are afraid they might cause you a shoe bite. Well, you can always wear a pair of thick socks to protect your feet against rubbing on the surface of the shoes.
The socks also make your feet a bit larger, meaning, if you plan to wear the shoes without the socks on, the socks make them roomy enough and stretch them for making the boots spacious and wider.
Tip no 2: Wear the shoes around the house
You want to understand how the boots feel around your feet. Before moving out for actual work with the shoes, wear them around the house. Don’t dirty them but walk around the house, fold them, and make sure of how they can blend and contour to the shape and movements of your feet.
If you feel there is not enough room in the shoes, if there are any pinch points that are irreparable, if there is constant friction against the skin, remove them off and get them replaced.
Tip no. 3: Do not overuse the workboots
If you want to get used to a pair of boots, you may bear the pain for your favourite pair but it can get terrible sitting in a robust leather workboot all day at work and feeling uncomfortable.
Depending upon the thickness and intensity of the leather material and the quality, the break-in period will differ significantly. Therefore, wear them for a few hours daily but not till a point where your feet becomes numb and it is almost impossible for you to walk about.
Keep another pair of comfortable shoes handy before you decide to wear these shoes out or for work so you can replace them immediately if your feet feel pressurized.
Tip no. 4 – For people with high arches
For people who have a high arch, the top of the feet can touch the surface of the shoe and constantly rub against the roof making you feel uncomfortable and pressurized. The shoe may start feeling compressed which can cause other feet deformities. The best you can do is, tie the laces differently.
Miss a few eyelets, tie the shoe tightly over the area where you want them to fit in properly, avoid tightening them around the roof of the feet and keep the shoes as comfortable and breathable as possible. You can tie the lace in any fashion as long as it does not rub against the roof of your feet and feel too tight.
Your motive is to widen and make the shoes comfortable for wearing and stretch the fabric, so the laces wouldn’t really matter when you want the shoes to be comfortable. You can also adjust the laces as per the tightness in different areas, be it the toe box or even around the heel.
Tip no 5: Use a leather softener
For leather material that is too stiff and especially fails to stretch if your feet are too wide, then you can invest in a leather softener or a leather conditioner. You can apply a little of it in the area which is extremely stiff.
This moistens the section of the boots making them softer on the area of the feet and mould or contour to your feet accordingly. You may want to keep applying it regularly for the best of results.
Tip no 6: Break-in at the heel
There are times when your feet may slip off the heel area and take time to adjust to the heel section. Over time, it will form a nice depression at the heel section but this takes time. What you can do is, take a piece of small sandpaper and rub it at the point between the collar and the heel intersection.
This creates a rough terrain so that your feet don’t slip out. Make sure to wear the boots with socks if you are planning to do so, for the rough surface to not rub against the skin of the feet. Else, the roughness actually prevents your heel from slipping and keeps it bound to the surface of the shoe.
Do’s and Dont’s with Work Boots
While we have mentioned the tips and things that you can do, here is a list of things that you may not want to combine with the ideas we mentioned above.
Do’s: Using a water spray or leather conditioner/softener to moisten the boots
Dont’s: If you feel water can really soften the leather, think it over because excessive moisture can cause the leather to get spoilt and start shrinking. You do not want to soak the boots in water and wear them around the house as it is not only bad for your feet but also for the shoes.
The wet shoes rubbing against your feet may cause infections, soggy feet, and blisters while also causing the leather to compress and look over creased upon drying.
Do’s: This is probably the last resort you would want to take if the surrounding conditions are too cold and the leather just refuses to break in. If the material is too stiff, you can place it around the heater for a few minutes or use a hairdryer. For safety measures, use a leather conditioner immediately after heating.
Dont’s: Heating is not a very highly recommended method especially for leather workboots as it removes the moisture of the shoes making the material crumbly and extremely dry. This can cause excessive friction on your feet which can lead to injuries and blisters and burns due to boots. It spoils the texture of the leather and the overall quality.
Don’t use alcohol or any conditioner/softener that contains harsh chemicals. It can spoil the leather material upon reaction or even cause the dye or colour on the leather to fade out. It will spoil the looks of your shoes and cause the material to shrink.
If you have bought a new pair of work boots, another challenge before you can start using them thoroughly is break-in into the work boots. While you can only wait for the shoes to wear out after several times of use, using them while trying to adjust to the boots can cause pain to your feet.
Therefore, we come up with effortless and comfortable solutions to reduce the break-in period of your work boots so you can enjoy wearing them while also getting adjusted to your new and fabulous pair of shoes.
Don’t forget to tell us which tip worked for you in the comments section below!!
I am a registered professional nurse with experience of 10+ years under my belt. I graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since then, I have been beneficial for various rehabilitative and critical medical situations. I work with Feetfitness.com Team with researching foot problems and assists them by providing my expertise in the best footwear for different medical conditions. I am also instrumental to the group by helping in test, compile, and present the best footwear for professionals & everyday uses