So you just bought a new pair of boots for your rapidly approaching hiking trip with your buddies, yet since it’s just a few weeks away, you need to have broken them in, like yesterday.
What can you do? Is there any way to break hiking boots in fast?
Well first off, don’t panic (too much).
It is obviously best to have a great pair of boots that have been broken in for a while, but sometimes that isn’t an option. If that’s the case with you, don’t fret, you can still go on your trip and you can still have a great time.
Just follow these suggestions below, and you will be hiking that mountain, new boots and all, blister-free in no time.
How To Break In Hiking Boots Fast!
However, before we get into what you can do, why is it so important to not only break those new hiking boots in, but to break them in well?
If you don’t break in your new pair of boots, you will most certainly regret it- approximately ¼ into your hike. Let’s face it, feet sweat, and on a hike, in large, rugged boots, they sweat more than usual, causing your skin to get nice and tender, build bacteria and likely form blisters or other abrasions in a hurry.
The best way to avoid this to break them in ahead of time. Whether that’s months beforehand or only a few short weeks, any “break-in” time will make a difference.
Ok, so now that we have that out-of-the-way, let’s see how to break in hiking boots fast.
Step 1: Buy the right boots.
This may seem like a given, but you wouldn’t believe how many people complain about the brand of their boots or the material, but come to find out, the problem was neither of the two, it was just a bad fit. That’s all.
Thus, be sure to pick up the right fit. Whether you have to try on 20 pairs or not having the right fit is the biggest and best advantage to having a pain-free hike.
Step 2: Wear them- All day, every day!
Ok, so obviously you probably can’t literally wear them all day, every day, but try to do a much as you can in them as possible. I mean, clean the house, walk your dog, wear them on your drive to work, exercise in them (ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far), but you get the idea.
Make sure you tighten them up, just like you would on the actual hiking excursion, including putting the gusseted tongue in place correctly, something just as important on the actual day of your hike to keep any rocks, debris and other surprises from getting in your boot.
You need to put them “to the test” so-to-say and get them on a personal level with your 10 toes and 2 feet. It’s the best way to ensure a happy relationship with them later on.
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Step 3: Choose the right socks/insoles
This step really coincides with step 1, but when you’re doing your “practice runs” with your new hikers, be sure to wear your chosen pair of socks for your trip at the same time you are breaking in your new boots. This is really important. Why?
Well, first off, when you break in a new pair of boots, you are essentially contouring the boots to your unique feet.
Thus, if you wear a thin pair of socks in your new boots while sweeping around your house, but on the big trail have a pair of thick, wool socks, the molds already made in the boot will be different and inevitably you will have a bad experience, likely resulting in uncomfortable, sweaty feet and quite possibly some chafing.
And as we know, no one likes chafing on our feet or anywhere else. So be sure to choose the right pair! Not sure what to look for in a great pair of hiking socks? Check out my recommendations in the article right here.
Aso, keep in mind if you are going to wear a special pair of insoles as well on your big hiking trip, make sure to wear these too when breaking your hikers in. This is just as important as wearing the same socks, for the same reason.
Step 4: Go on a mini-hike, or two!
Notice I said ‘mini.’ This doesn’t have to be a long, whole day hike, nor even hours at a time. Once again, the more you can break the boots in, even on generally flat terrain, the better.
Of course, the very best option would be to take them on some trails that aren’t flat but windy, rocky, uneven and as similar to the real hike you’re looking forward to, but let’s face it, we don’t always have that luxury.
Step 5: Bend the Soles
This step can certainly be a great benefit to getting those new boots broken in fast. However, you want to be careful while doing this. You don’t want to end up flexing the soles too much, as you could end up tearing the sole on a less durable boot, or perhaps even over-stretch the soles as well.
However, if you carefully bend the front half of the shoe back and forth each day before your big hike, you will be gently loosening the fit and break up some of that stiffness as well.
This can be a lifesaver as stiff shoes are the worse to be in on a long hike.
Non-Traditional Method, But Fast
Ok, so the above options definitely can work if you are consistent with each step and take advantage of every moment possible to really work your feet into them.
However, what if you only have days? I mean, like your college buddies are all getting together, doing a bit off-roading and then going on a 3-day hike this weekend? An epic adventure for sure, but with little to no prep-time, is it even a possibility?
Well, that really depends on you. How badly do you want to go? Ok, obviously, if you clicked on this article, probably pretty badly.
So there may be a way to make it happen. Now I can’t speak from experience on this, because I have not done it personally, however many hikers swear on this method to break in those boots fast– and that is to soak the boots in your bathtub.
To do this, simply place your boots into the water until they are completely covered and soaked through and then walk around in them until they are thoroughly dried.
Why does wetting the boot work? Well by soaking the boots you are able to soften the materials and thus get them to fit your feet correctly.
Afterward, while your boots are drying on your feet, they will supposedly shrink back to the perfect fit.
As I mentioned, I have not personally done this, so I am not necessarily recommending it, but it is an option, especially as many have claimed it as a fast way to break in those new boots.
Remember though, you must be willing to have potential damage done to your brand new hiking boots.
Hikers, if they don’t turn out how you expect, is it worth the risk? Well, that all depends on you.
Did you break in your hiking boots in record time? If so, tell me about it in the comments below!