Going Hiking? Break in Your Boots First
By Susan M. Keenan
Going Hiking? You better break in your new boots first if you know what’s good for your feet. Even good intentions sometimes go awry, so it is important that you go about the business of adjusting your feet to those new boots properly so you don’t have to pay the physical price along with the financial one. Despite the fact that your new boots might feel great on your feet, your feet might have something to say about that later after a few hours of hiking with blisters.
Depending on the type of boots that you have purchased for yourself, the amount of time that you need to break them in will vary. Lightweight boots usually don’t take as long to break in as heavyweight boots. Plus, boots manufactured from real leather are going to take several weeks before they are broken in properly. Breaking in your boots can make them feel more comfortable as they gently stretch them out and form them to the contour of your feet.
Buying the Right Boots for Your Feet
It is important to start with the right boots before attempting to break them in. After all, no amount of break-in time is going to correct a poor fit. Therefore, have your feet measured or do it yourself and make sure that the boots that you purchase are the correct size.
Basic Tips for Breaking in New Boots
To break in your boots properly, start inside your home with a pair of socks that you will most likely wear with the boots. Put the boots on for a few hours at a time every other day or so. It’s important to lace up the boots much the same way that you will when wearing them outdoors. Additionally, you need to line up the tongue of the boots properly and fold the gusset material flat. Remember that whatever creases you create are going to stay with the boots forever.
If your feet begin to show any signs of pain, skin that has been rubbed raw, or pinching, take an extra day off in between wearing the boots to give your feet an opportunity to heal. If the problems are severe, you might want to consider the possibility that you have purchased either the wrong size or a bad style for your feet.
Once you have broken the boots in a bit and they seen to fit well and feel fine, it is time to try them out in the real world. Plan to wear them for several hours while walking around most of the time. This will help to simulate what your boots and your feet will go through on a real hike or camping trip.
If this stage of the breaking-in period goes well, increase the number of hours that you spend wearing the boots outside. If all goes well, you can also decrease the number of days in between each time that you wear the boots.
Only move on to the next stage for breaking in a new pair of boots if your feet feel comfortable and no signs of trouble exist. The minute that you notice any pain or discomfort, take a step back and decrease the amount of time that you are wearing the boots or decrease the amount of walking that you are doing in them.
Intro: Should you wear brand new boots on a hike without breaking them in first? If not, what is the best way to break in your new hiking boots so that your toes stay tender and your tread stays light?