How Long Does It Take To Break in Hiking Boots?

You’re not alone if you have ever wondered why your hiking boots still feel odd even when you purchased the correct size. No matter how accurately the boot size you choose, adjusting or contouring your feet will still take some time. So if you are experiencing the room in the boots or if they are a little bit stiff, it will take some time to break in.

Sometimes, when you shop online, the boot size differs from what you anticipate. So breaking them in is the wise option to consider. But how long does it take to break in hiking boots in the first place?

Usually, it should take anywhere between one week to a whole month for at least 50 miles of walking wearing boots to correctly break in the hiking boots.

However, there is no hard and fast rule about it. Various factors depend on boot break, such as your foot type, how often you hike, do you put pressure on your feet, and whether you are on a strenuous hike, etc. Therefore, I will share straightforward and foolproof tips to break in your hiking boots below.

How to Break in Hiking Boots? 7 Proven Ways

Down below, I have listed and explained all the ways that you can try out to break into your hiking boots, especially leather, keen, and ankle boots, with different time intervals.

Note: Please note that after trying the below methods, you have to walk at least 20-50 miles to break in the boot for sure, as I did.

1. Use Boot Breaker – Break-in Time: 1 Week

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots in a week?

Then this method is for you.

This method is good for leather, keen, and ankle boots.

If you use a boot breaker, it will help to break in the boot quicker. So, if you still face the size issue in the newly purchased hikers boot. Break the boot using a spot from where you want to break it.

Simply insert the boot breaker into the boot and expand it in order to break in the boot. Doing this will stretch the hiking boot just then or might break it in within days to a week. Usually, leather boots take more to break in than synthetic material, so, the hiking boot you have and its material will actually determine how long it will take to break in the hiker boot.

My Choice

FootFitter Boot Breaker

  • Top-notch wood material
  • It comes with a widening handle which enables it to break into boots of all sizes
  • It relieves pressure points to save you from the inside hard walls of the boot.

2. Use Spray – Break-in Time: 3 Days

It sounds crazy, but this method is getting popular. All you have to do is to just spray the boot with liquid, and your boot breaks in quickly and fast. Spraying it three times will result in softening and breaking in the boot within 3 days with 20 miles walked at least. This spray works fast on hiking boots opposite to work boots but still, it is a smart and easy method.

My Choice

Boot Breaker Spray

  • Great conditioner for a leather boot
  • Won’t stain or fade
  • Does not smell, yet softening tough boots

3. Choose Thicker Boot Socks – Break-in Time: 1 Week

The right size hiking boot with thick socks is another pretty simple way to break in the hiking boot. So, when you want to break in your hiking boots within weeks, try wearing them while you wear thicker socks.

If you have the correct boot socks, you will certainly get results faster and more efficiently. The reason is thick socks will press against the boot interior rather than the feet’ sensitive skin. Not to mention how thick socks ensure plenty of room in the boot.

My Choice

Dickies Thick Socks

  • 70% Cotton, 28% Polyester, 2% Spandex
  • Soft Breathable Moisture Control Fibers
  • Full Cushion Foot for Added Comfort
  • Useful for breaking in new boots

4. Adjust the Laces of the Boot – Break-in Time: 4 Weeks

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots in a month?

Then this method is for you.

If you take lacing up for granted, it would impact proper boot break-in and overall fitting. You can easily prevent blisters and abrasion if you tie the laces properly. When you are lacing your boot, ensure that the knot is tight enough and the tongue of the boot does not rub to change boot fitting.

Proper lacing of the hiking boot will take almost one week to adapt according to your feet for proper breaking in. Adjusting laces will help you in hiking boots breaking in the most because the leather or the material will mold to the couture in that shape. This technique can take time till the leather softens up, such as a month.

Here is the right way to adjust hiking boot laces:

5. Practice Walking – Break-in Time: 1-2 Weeks

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots in a week?

Then this method is for you.

The more you walk, the more boot will take after your feet. So if your concern is breaking in the hiking boots, you should avoid taking up shortcuts on trails and walk more. Make sure to walk slowly and steadily so that the pressure and boot take up the shape of your feet, ideally.

After wearing the hiking boots, walk indoors and ensure you have worn socks and insoles. Do not tie the laces too tightly; keep the boot tongue and gussets straight. It would be stiff initially, but you will feel the difference after a week.

Additionally, you can also walk from one block to another when you do not feel too much pinching and you feel good while walking indoors. You can also wear hiking boots when you are walking your dogs or on a quick walk to the store. This practice will take one to two weeks to properly break in the hiking boot. Walking on pavements will tell you how the boot works in different environments and help take the perfect feet shape.

6. Immerse the Boots in Water – Break-in Time: 1 Day/Faster Way

submerging boot in the water to break in

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots fast? or How to break in hiking boots in one day?

Then this method is for you.

Submerging the hiking boot is an old yet helpful technique to break in the boot quickly. You surely have heard of boot soaking. It works quicker and better. So if you want to go hiking anytime soon, get them soaking wet until you go hiking (make sure they’re dried up when you wear the boots). Soak the hiking book in lukewarm water for about fifteen minutes for better results.

The water will help the boot to break in, and it will indeed become soft enough to take after your feet more effectively. The best part is that his method will only take 1-3 days. This technique may damage the boot by being totally submerged if the quality of the footwear is somewhat mediocre. However, it is not too noticeable.

Please ensure your boot is waterproof and can bear moisture to try this method.

7. Wear Hiking Boots With a Backpack – Break-in Time: 1 Week

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots in a week?

Then this method is for you.

Once you wear the hiking boots and are done with the lacing, wear the boots while wearing your backpack. The load in the backpack will better help the boot to adapt to the best position that goes with your feet. However, if the boot still pinches from somewhere or is tight from the toe box, ensure you haven’t laced it up aggressively.

Note that no boot will accept your foot shape instantly. It takes time to accept the feet contour, and even if you are comfortable from the first wearing, the boot will slightly change its appearance over continuous wearing time. Therefore, wearing boots with a backpack on will take almost a week to accept your feet fully. You can add more load for a quicker boot break-in.

8. Get Creative With the Laces Combination – Break-in Time: 1 Week

If you are looking for:

How to break in hiking boots in a week?

Then this method is for you.

As mentioned above, the slight adjustment in the hiker boot laces goes a long way to break them in. However, if that does not work, you can try different lace styles. Choose what goes well according to your foot shape and contour. For instance, you can choose tightness around the ankle area or the toe to keep the choice in the shape of your feet. This technique should help you within a week or so.

I have also found this video helpful for me to break in my hiking boots the right way:


Tim Campbell

I am Tim. Getting the inherited hobby from my father when I was a child to the fully grown individual I always loved boots. I live in hilly areas and love to explore the world at heights. That's where my profound hobby of boots collection comes in. I have tried a lot of boots and now helping my community to do better when having fun in different conditions like hilly areas, work, or farming. In this very blog, I have covered some awesome reviews and information that you may get hard otherwise. All of my self-experience and expert advice I have incorporated in this blog.

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