How to Break in Work Boots
Are you wondering how to break in your work boots? You break in work boots by starting with the right size boot, walking around inside and outside your house, bending and moisturizing them, as well as using a shoe stretcher.
Blisters and foot pain are standard traumas you could suffer from not breaking your boots in properly.
This resulting discomfort, pain, and possible fatigue will bring your work productivity to a swift halt.
A new pair of boots is the equivalent of joining a college fraternity. Even if you make the right vow, there may be some unpleasant hazing1.
That hazing is the dreaded break-in time for boots when the most sensitive regions of your feet get pulled, pinched, and squeezed.
Luckily for you, we’ve taken the discomfort out of breaking in your work boots!
Through this article, you’ll discover:
Our expert editorial squad at MyBestWorkBoots strives to give you the freshest market intel.
With your comfort in mind, we’ve assembled this all-inclusive guide on how to break your work boots in.
Let’s get to it, shall we!
Why It’s Important to Break Your Work Boots In
It’s important to break your work boots in because if you don’t, your feet will be in much pain, and you may incur injury.
Unbroken-in boots could cause blisters which might get infected, leading to severe difficulties.
Also, performing intense activity all day while your muscles and bones are fragile due to boots that haven’t been properly broken in might harm your feet.
Even if you have the pain tolerance of a running back, you should break in your work boots before using them on the job.
9 Proven Ways to Break in Work Boots Faster
Proven ways to break in work boots faster are:
- Starting with the right size.
- Walking around the house.
- Walking around outside.
- Wearing your boots with thick socks.
- Bend the boot, and step on the heel.
- Condition and moisturize your boot.
- Use a shoe stretcher.
- Stick it and stuff it.
- Bring an extra pair of work boots with adhesives to work.
Let’s explore each of these ways to break in your boots in more detail.
Start With the Right Size
One proven way to break your work boots in is by starting with the right size of the work boot because the wrong sized boot will cause unnecessary discomfort.
Some boots have a small fit, while others are larger.
The shape of your foot will determine which fit to choose.
People looking for new work boots must know how much arch support they require, affecting the boot size.
The flatter your foot2, the more arch support you will require.
If you become hot easily, regardless of whether your feet are broad or not, leave additional room in the toe of the boot.
Make an informed decision about your work boot’s size and arch support.
You may begin to believe you’re fated to work in anguish with your miraculously unbreakable shoes, whereas the problem might be that they’re just the wrong size.
Walk Around the House
Walking around inside your house is a great way to break your work boots in.
Begin by walking around your home in your new boots for a few hours each day.
If you’re pressed for time during the week, give it approximately 15-20 minutes before and after work, then progress to wearing them around your home all weekend.
Leather is durable, it’s what bullwhips are made of.
Because of the hardness of leather boots, they may require more effort to break in.
The leather will eventually flex into the form of your foot.
You could also walk up and down the stairs in your new work boots to break them in.
Good for you
Place your foot on the edge of a step and rock it back and forth.
This is how riding boots are broken in, and it always works.
Walk Around Outside
Walking around outside your house is another way to break your work boots in.
You don’t have to venture too far from home, but if you have patio steps, an apartment staircase, a front yard, or a back garden, break your boots in on varied textures and these different floors.
Take advantage of the sidewalk in front of your home as a breaking-in step.
Perform the midsole rocking method I mentioned with the step, but this time do it on the sidewalk rise.
Important to note: do most of the breaking in inside first. Once you’ve worn your boots outside, you can’t return them to the store.
Wear Your Boots With Thick Socks
Wearing your work boots with thick socks is a great, gentle way to break your work boots in.
The additional layers added by the socks will stretch the leather from the inside out.
Your socks will also cushion your feet throughout the break-in period.
When breaking in steel toe boots3, thick socks are just as useful.
Steel toe work boots are not only thicker, but they also have an extra heel pad, and your socks will allow you to stretch the interior at every angle.
Thick socks can also help you break in your boots passively.
Wear the boots with socks while eating supper or watching football on weeknights to break them in without traipsing4 anywhere.
Sure, it’s not as instantaneous a solution as walking around in them, but the socks are still working even when you aren’t.
Bend the Boot, Step on the Heel
Bending the boot back and forth with your hands and stepping on the heel are breaking-in methods you can do while in front of the TV watching a game or listening to your favorite podcast.
Stepping on the boot’s heels relaxes the stiff areas.
Some people propose treading on the toes as well.
However, it’s recommended that you do so while wearing a soft flip-flop or indoor moccasin.
Condition & Moisturize Your Boot
Conditioning and moisturizing your work boots are awesome ways to break your boots in, as this softens the boot material and lengthens boot longevity.
The use of leather conditioners, moisturizers, and oils softens and relaxes the upper of the boot.
This facilitates the stretching of the fibers.
Manufacturers may propose certain types of products for specific shoe models.
The four ways to condition and moisturize your work boots to break them in are using a leather conditioner, mink oil, rubbing alcohol, and boot stretching spray.
It is recommended that you be gentler with your unbroken-in boots than with your broken-in boots, and moisturizing them is a great way to give them extra care.
Using a leather conditioner on your work boots softens the leather fibers.
When the leather fiber in the upper of your boots softens, it allows them to conform to the shape of your feet, making them more comfortable to wear.
The procedure to soften the fibers of the boot using a leather conditioner is as follows:
- Take your brand-new pair of boots.
- Apply a generous layer of leather conditioner to the uppers of the boots.
- Leave the conditioner in for a few hours.
- When the fibers are supple, wear them.
- The boot will wrap around the shape of your feet.
- Now, using a moist cloth, rub out the extra conditioner.
- Using a boot dryer, dry the boots.
Mink oil is well-known for its emollient properties5, working similarly to conditioning your boots with leather conditioner, which softens the fibers of your work boot.
This procedure is nearly identical to the leather conditioning procedure, with a few exceptions:
- Using a soft cotton cloth, apply mink oil to the upper portion of your boots.
- Allow the mink oil to soak into your boots overnight.
- The mink oil will soften the fibers of the leather.
- The next morning, use tissue paper to remove any excess oil from the uppers of your boots.
- Wear the boots for a few hours to allow the fibers to mold to the shape of your feet.
While alcohol is ordinarily used to clean leather, it also functions as a softening agent for the fibers.
Rubbing alcohol should be sprayed on the sections that need to be broken in.
Allow it to sit for a few hours, then wear the boots and wipe the alcohol down with a moist cloth.
Using a dryer, dry your boots thoroughly.
Boot Stretching Spray
Use boot stretching spray to soften the material of your work boots to break them in.
This spray is useful for boots made of different materials, such as leather, suede, nubuck, or reptile skin.
When using this method of breaking boots in, spray the stretching spray onto your brand new work boots, then wear them immediately until the spray dries.
Repeat the technique until you’re satisfied that your boots have broken in to your specifications.
Use a Shoe Stretcher
A shoe stretcher helps stretch the boot’s material, giving it a less tight fit around your feet, making them more comfortable to wear.
A shoe stretcher is a piece of wood shaped like a shoe that you slip into your boot.
It has a mechanism that moves the stretcher’s front (located in the toe) and back (located in the heel) further apart.
Lock it and leave it in the boot for a prolonged time to break it in. A shoe stretcher is useful for getting into the tighter areas of the boot.
Stick It & Stuff It
You can break your work boots in by sticking things inside your boots or stuffing them.
Loosen the leather fibers by bending them, then insert a long wooden instrument into the tight areas of the boot that your shoe stretcher can’t reach.
You can use a wooden spoon, a long brush handle, or anything similar.
You may also break the boot in by packing a thick bunch of socks or scrap paper into the boot overnight.
Bring an Extra Pair of Boots With Adhesive Bandages to Work
Wear more than one pair of work boots while they are being broken in, and carry bandages with you to work during the breaking-in period.
This is essentially insurance for the first few days of wearing your new boots to work, during which your discomfort levels will likely be high.
There may be distinct ways your feet and ankles need to bend or move on the job that you may be unable to execute while breaking in your work boots because of their stiffness.
If this gives you distracting pain or discomfort, apply a bandage to cover the sensitive regions of your foot or change back into your old boots when you need a bit of a break or need a little more flexibility.
The extra pair of work boots is just to offer you some relief early on in the breaking-in process, but with time you be able to wear your new boots to work for longer and longer periods until you’re able to wear them all day without discomfort.
What Happens When You Don’t Break in New Work Boots?
If you don’t break in new work boots, they will be difficult to wear due to stiffness, making you feel uncomfortable at work all day.
Not breaking your boots in will cause foot pain.
Your rigid new work boots will not allow the mobility of your feet in your boots to be carried out according to your natural movements.
Unbroken-in boots will create blisters, bunions, and calluses6 when you wear them.
Boots that haven’t been broken in will not provide a perfect fit, no matter how snug they are, because they have not yet assumed the exact shape of your foot.
New work boots that haven’t been broken in can result in knee and back pain.
4 Things to Avoid When Breaking In New Work Boots
Things to avoid when breaking in new work boots are overdoing it, using a hot water treatment, applying direct heat to your boots, and getting impatient.
Avoid Overdoing it
Avoid overdoing it when breaking in new work boots.
Take rest days in between break-in days.
Go for a couple of days in a row, then take a break for one or two days—alternate between doing your break-in workouts every other day.
If you don’t give your boots some rest, moisture will accumulate inside without an opportunity to dissipate.
Avoid Using the Hot Water Treatment
Avoid using hot water treatment when breaking in your work boots, as this could cause damage to them.
Immersing your boots in a bucket of very warm water for half an hour at a time is the hot water treatment.
Before you realize it, the leather has gone from loose to deformed.
We do not suggest this procedure because it dries and damages the leather.
Avoid Applying Direct Heat to the Boots
Avoid applying direct heat to your work boots when breaking them in or for any reason, as this could cause boot damage.
Contrary to popular belief, using a hairdryer to speed up the drying process after conditioning is not good.
This will dry out the leather and cause cracks, particularly in unbroken boots.
Avoid Getting Impatient
Avoid getting impatient when breaking in new work boots, you’ll only frustrate yourself unnecessarily.
Work boots are built to last.
It will take some time to break them in.
Be patient and give the processing time.
Getting impatient may lead you to take shortcuts to break your boots in that may cause damage to them.
Don’t take this risk.
How Long Do Work Boots Take to Break in?
Work boots take 80 to 100 hours to break in.
That being said, don’t expect your feet to be at ease if you wear your boots for 4 days in a row.
Instead, limit this time to 2 to 3 hours every day and keep a spare pair of boots on hand.
How Do You Break in Stubborn Boots?
To break in stubborn boots, apply leather conditioner or mink oil as soon as you get your boots to soften the fibers of the material of your boots.
These will soften the leather without causing damage.
Apply conditioner once a week until the shoes are broken in, then once a month or so as part of your leather care routine.
How Do I Break in Steel Toe Work Boots Fast?
To break in steel toe work boots fast, wear them for hours every day at home, and use a metal shoe stretcher overnight to break them in whenever you aren’t wearing them.
Work boots are designed to offer you comfort and protection from work hazards.
If they are not broken in properly, they will be uncomfortable and obstruct your work activity.
Breaking in such a tenacious piece of footwear may appear to be a post-fraternity rush workout, but breaking in work boots is a terrific way to stay safe and pain-free on the job site.
So, whether you’re going to strap your work boots on for a few laps around the block or bend and twist them during the next big game, these simple strategies for how to break in your work boots are sure to assist.