Breaking In your New Hiking Boots

Getting a new pair of hiking boots can be bittersweet because while it's fun to get some new gear, the stiff bastions can take forever to break in. Here are some quick tips to help break those stiff bastions before you hit the trail:

Blowdry your Boot: If your boot is primarily leather or has a leather insole, add some heat with your blowdryer to give the material a chance to soften and accept your foot shape. Blow Dry on high heat for about 30 seconds, then slip your foot in. 

Double Sock your Foot:  A lot of times our feet swell on the trail, get your boots used to a slightly larger foot.  Its best to try them on with a hiking sock first even though the default may be to wear your normal everyday sock

Go Adventure in your Neighborhood: Take them for a test drive. While some people will tell you to wear them in the house, I don’t find this to be all that helpful. These boots are meant for outside so wear them out. Run around, do exercises up and down stairs and walk across rocks and uneven pavement. This will help break in the soles and balls of the cushions.

Add Weight and Go Off Road: Gravel and grass are one thing, but you will need to graduate to off road use. I suggest taking a 20-30 lb pack and going out for a causal day hike nearby. By this point, your shoes should be better adapted to the way you move

If you are experiencing pain at any point, try different lacing techniques and ensure you have the right socks. If the boots still don't feel right by the time you are taking them outside, do yourself a favor and get different ones. 

Don't Soak Them: I've heard a couple people say to soak the boots to break them in. That's nonsense. And has never worked for anyone I know.  You only end up damaging the boots and hurting your feet. Keep your boots as dry as possible for the most comfortable fit. 

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