No matter what type of footwear you choose or where you wear it, getting a blister can be a big problem. Want to head out in the wild? Sorry, but your blistered riddled feet won’t allow it! Before you fling your boots in the corner, there’s a way to avoid those painful sores and blisters that appear on your feet after they’ve gone to hell and back in your tight boots.
Sturdy leather boots, with thick leather uppers and solid midsoles, take a while to break into. Sometimes, it can take weeks to feel comfortable in your boots. While you would want to invest in a pair of sturdy and long-lasting boots, you would not want to wait for weeks for your boots to feel comfortable, especially after paying top dollar for them.
Why You Should Break in to Boots?
Regardless of how excited you may be to wear your new leather boots, it is important to make sure you break into them first. Even more importantly, it’s important to break into the leather boots the right way. This will keep you from getting those painful sores and blisters on your feet.
Not breaking into your leather boots first will not only result in blisters on your feet, but it can also end up causing cracks and other damage on your boots that will be irreparable. So, keeping that in mind, here are a few things to consider when breaking into the boots you have bought.
How to Break in Boots
The following are some tips and tricks to break into your leather boots the right way.
Get it Right
Whether you’re investing in premium leather boots or settling for the average types, your comfort level will depend on the size of the boots. When it comes to purchasing leather boots, one of the mistakes many people make is that they count on the leather stretching while choosing size. They erroneously believe that the shoes will eventually expand to fit their feet.
Make no mistake, there’s nothing that can be done for boots that are one size too small. Besides, even leather can’t stretch that much. So, factoring in the leather stretching while purchasing boots is not going to help at all.
When purchasing new leather boots, you want to make sure that the boots you’re about to invest in are a good fit front-to-back. If you feel any discomfort at the back of your heel or if you feel the toe area is cramped, try a larger size.
On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to get leather boots that are too big. Boots that are larger than your feet are blister magnets that you should avoid at all costs. When purchasing leather boots, it’s important to remember that sores and blisters are formed whenever there is friction. If your feet are going to be sliding back and forth or from side to side in your leather boots, it is going to result in blisters.
Thanks to online stores, it’s easy to buy footwear now more than ever. But if you’re confused about your feet size, it’s best to visit a shoe store and get your feet measured by a professional. You can also use online conversion tools to convert the size charts of different brands to make sure you get the right-sized leather boots. By far, the best way to purchase leather boots is to try out the boots in person. This allows you to try on a few sizes until you find the right fit.
Apply Leather Oil
According to the experts, it can take anywhere from 50 to 100 hours to break into leather boots. To make sure you’re doing it right, you can use leather oil from a good brand that will soften the stiff leather. The leather oil can be applied to the vamp of the boot, which is the piece of leather that runs from ball to the toe.
Applying leather oil, a leather softener, or a leather conditioner to this part of the shoe at least three times in the first week after you bring the leather boots home will soften the boots a bit and allow the leather to adjust to the shape of your foot.
It is best not to use leather oil on the quarters of the boots just yet because you will want the ankle area to remain sturdy for better arch support. You are sure to notice a slight change in the fit of the leather boots as you break into them. With time, the toe area of the leather boots will naturally point upwards. The leather oil will stretch the ball area of the boot and the leather insole will start to take the shape of the footpad, which will result in a more comfortable fit.
Use a Boot Stretcher
If you’re planning to buy leather boots in bulk, then it might be a good idea to invest in a boot stretcher. Like shoe stretchers, a boot stretcher is also used to stretch the leather of the boot, which can make for a more comfortable fit. The biggest advantage of using a boot stretcher is that it allows you to avoid all the heavy lifting involving breaking into your boots.
Using a boot stretcher is also incredibly easy. All you have to do is to insert the boot stretcher into your boot and tweak the bar that’s located at the opposite end of the stretcher to expand the insert. Expanding the insert expands the boots as well. This makes it a great way to break into your leather boots without even putting them on.
The insert that’s usually made of wood resembles the shape of a foot. The boot stretcher can be put in place in the boot and left overnight so it does all the work while you sleep. This way, you can have a more comfortable fit the next morning.
Take it Slow
Just like when in a relationship, you would want to take things slow! Hold back at the start, you don’t have to wear your new leather boots all the time. As a rule of thumb, you should wear your leather boots in the morning when your feet have been rested all night and it is cooler outside. Once it hits noon, you should take the boots off since that’s the time when our feet tend to get sweaty and in some cases, the feet start to swell slightly with all that walking around.
Wearing leather boots all day long will only increase the chances of friction, which will ultimately cause sores and blisters on your feet. Who said you have to wear your new pair of leather boots all day? You can keep a used pair of boots under your desk that you can put on around lunch time.
Wear Thick Socks
One of the oldest ways to break into leather boots is to simply wear thick socks. This is a great tip to use for stretching leather boots, that is, if you’re not living in a place with a hot weather. You can start by finding the thickest pair of socks you can find and just swap them with your regular socks. You can also do this while wearing the boots around the house.
Wearing really thick socks along with the leather boots stretches the leather by using a combination of moisture, heat, and pressure. Over time, the thick socks result in the build-up of sweat in the boots that softens the inner leather. The pressure that is applied to the leather by the thick socks as you walk helps loosen the stiff leather of a just-out-of-the-box leather boot.
Add Heat to the Leather
For this strategy to work, you will need to make sure that the leather of your boots is genuine. While wearing your leather boots with the thick, double-layered socks, aim your girlfriend’s/wife’s blow-dryer (don’t forget to ask first) at the area of the boot that feels the tightest.
If you face the same issues with breaking into leather boots as most people, these areas are probably going to be the toe and heel area of the boots. While using the previously-mentioned strategy is an effective way to break into leather boots, this will add a bit of oomph to your efforts and ultimately result in a quicker break-in.
With the blow-dryer set on high, aim it to the leather boots, and more specifically, the toe and heel area. The heat produced by the blow-dryer, together with the pressure and moisture build-up of the thick socks, will soften the leather quicker.
As a result, your feet will expand the boot and mold the insole of the boots to the shape of your feet. As an important side note, you would want to apply the heat from the blow-dryer for no longer than 30 seconds. You can try this method a few times a week or until you break in the leather boots.
Don’t Wear the Boots for Many Days in a Row
While leather boots that are straight out of the box may look great and are tempting to wear at all times, you should try not to wear your new leather boots for several days in a row. This is mainly because of the tight fit and the nature of leather make for poor breathability. This often results in the build-up of sweat that takes more than a night to dry off completely.
Giving your leather boots a break will give them some time to dry off properly, and it will also avoid the funky odor that comes from the boots due to sweat. You should do this not only during the process of breaking into the leather boots but throughout the boots’ lifetime.
Work the Leather
There are two main areas where leather boots, and boots in general, bend while walking. One is the ankle, and the other is just below the toe area at the ball of your feet. These are also two of the areas of your leather boots which will need the most work to break into. After a few wears, whenever you take off the boots, work the leather by bending the sole. This will open-up the leather fibers by stretching the boots at the ankle and heel.
Read Also: How to Polish Boots
Ask a Professional
Trying any one of the above-mentioned methods of a combination of them is normally enough to break in leather boots. But if you find that you’re dealing with a tough pair of boots, then it’s best to bring in the experts. Professionals use specialized tools that are used specifically for stretching and expanding the boots. Doing a quick Google search will get you the names of all the local shoe stores in your area where you can take your boots.
The internet is full of articles and blogs on how to break in leather boots. Some of them are effective in getting the job done, while others can end up damaging your leather boots for good. To be safe, it’s best to be careful whose advice you listen to. Don’t wear wet socks or fill the boots with water or alcohol to break in them because you will only end up ruining the boots.
Breaking into your leather boots might take a while depending on multiple factors, such as how often you wear the boots, what methods you use to break in the boots, and the quality and hardness of the leather. You should be able to identify the areas of your foot where there’s redness and an increased chance of getting a blister after a few days of wearing the boots. Instead of sitting back and allowing the blister to form, just slap a band-aid on those places to stop the blister in its tracks. Also, go with fabric band aids since the plastic ones tend to slip from their place.