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Ouch! -OR- How do I break in my hiking boots?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Tracy, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    ~whine~ My feet hurt.

    I've been wearing my boots around the house to stretch them out and I feel more like I've had my feet bound rather than seeing the leather expanding.

    A friend of mine sugested standing in a tub of water and then wearing the soggy things around all day to stretch them out. My knowledge of leather says that after I take them off that they'll harden and shrink during the drying process (and may not smell very nice - eeew).

    I was "smart" enough to get two pairs of these (in different colors, of course :D) a couple years ago (so they're not returnable). I figure it's time to break them in. I've decided that they will fit comfortably, I'm just not sure how yet ;).

    What do you Monkeys do with a new pair of boots? How long does it take?
  2. hartage

    hartage Monkey+++

    I've always gotten hiking boots that I can wear with really thick socks. The thick wool socks helps keep blisters at bay by wicking moisture away and help air circulate. They also keep rubbing minimized. Maybe because of that I've never had much of an issue breaking in boots.

    Maybe a rub of mink oil on the leather will soften it enough to let it stretch.
  3. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    What we used to do in the military, fill each boot with water, put it on how you plan on wearing it, with the socks you plan on wearing, then wear them until they are dry. Might take awhile and wouldn't suggest doing it in the winter when it's freezing out! When they are dry, then use a leather treatment on the non treated side. I have heard of people using alcohol, but don't quite know how that helps.
  4. sheen_estevez

    sheen_estevez Monkey+++

    It makes you forget you got two soakers on[lolol]

    Getting them wet and wearing them until dry works great, then some mink oil or something like that to treat them back up works great
  5. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ya, I should have prefaced it with rubbing alcohol. Fine drinking alcohol would be alcohol abuse and would warrant a severe beating!
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If they are just stiff (though could also help some for needing to strech SLIGHTLY) I use bag balm or vasoline and rub them down good with that then set them near the stove or use a hair dryer to soak/melt it in. It softens the leather a fair bit and at the smae time touphens it up. I had learned about it from some old bikers that used the meathod to 'bullet proof' their leather coats as, while makeing it more pliable, it also makes it harder to cut/rip/penetrate, the guy who told me about it had actualy been shot with a .32 and the leather slowed it down enouph that the cloth inner liner stoped it.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    The walk in them wet until they dry out scheme works with good leather. Never alcohol, it dries the leather's natural oils. When dry, and if you want, treat with Neat's Foot oil, and you are good to go. Heavy socks are the rule, hot or cold weather. It takes hours of walking (not necessarily all at the same time) to do a complete job of breaking in, but well worth the effort.
  8. CuriousPony

    CuriousPony Monkey++

    I wear nick's boots, and they reccomend that you give them an ocasional rub with 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water during the initial break in. A good pair of boots will need many days of wear before they are really broke in anyway. Trying to rush the process is just wearing your boots out faster.
  9. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Exactly, thats how I do if I need to.
  10. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Uh....all I can add is DON'T do it the way I did...

    Bought them one day....

    Hiked almost 4 miles straight up a mountain in Tennessee the next day...

    and of course, had to come down..




    They're good now though!
  11. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Tracy just quit being a whiner and suck it up. [lolol]

  12. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member


    Tracy-The only difference I have done is to use hot water. For treating the leather I've used Huberd's Shoe Grease or Neat's Feet Oil and then eventually waterproof them with Snow-Seal or any beeswax product.
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    OGM, CC; [tongue] You ain't heard nothin', yet. ;) You guys just wait for the day that I'm wearing soggy boots around. :)

    Thanks for your help, everyone! I'll follow your suggestions (including the alcohol ;) ) after the weather warms a bit and let you know how it works out for me.

    Sounds like serious socks are important to prevent blisters during this break-in.
  14. hartage

    hartage Monkey+++

    Serious socks are a must when hiking even after break in. The thick socks (specificly hiking socks) keep your foot well supported and stable (reduces blisters and other foot problems). They also help quite a bit in getting trapped moisture away from your skin and out of the shoe. Even though they might be a tad pricy go for the wool socks or blend but with a high wool percentage. You should notice enough of an improvement over regular socks to never go back to regular socks for hiking.
  15. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Same here.

    I was told to heat them up with a hair dryer, then rub it in. I would keep the heat on the boots until I felt they were soaked with the oil/sealant. It has worked so far.
  16. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Tracy the best advise I could give you is; tell that cheap husband of yours to buy you some boots that don't require breaking in. [booze]
  17. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    :lol: Now that's funny! :lol:
  18. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    But I can always turn the computer off if I get tired of hearing you whine, I don't think CC has that option. [LMAO][LMAO][LMAO]

  19. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member


    Actually, my voice is in a frequency range that his ears cannot detect.

    Some freak accident must've occurred shortly after the wedding.[dunno]
  20. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder


    He is a lucky man.


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