Do Hiking Boots Need to Be Broken In?

Hiking boots are a significant investment, and you want to be sure you’re getting the most out of them. It’s not only about buying the highest quality boots; they have to fit and feel comfortable when worn.

Do hiking boots need to be broken in? Yes, hiking boots need to be broken in when brand new! Although it is – sometimes – a consuming and uncomfortable process, it is a necessary step to ensure our boots are comfy and fitting during long hikes.

Some hikers refer to the process as a necessary evil. Maybe it is. However, I don’t see it that way.

Breaking in hiking boots does not have to be a stressful and long process. To help you in this endeavor, I have an article on the most effective way of safely breaking in boots in the shortest amount of time possible.

Do Hiking Boots Need to Be Broken In?

Check it out and tell me what you think in the comment section below. Meanwhile, this article will feature the most asked questions on this topic. Feel free to read on. You might get an answer you never knew you needed!

Is It Normal for Hiking Boots to Hurt at First?

Brand new hiking boots -any boot- should feel tight or uncomfortable the first few times. It is normal for hiking boots to hurt(soreness or blister in one place or another) your feet after wearing them for an extended period while still new. You got to cut the boots some slack and give them time to adjust to your feet.

However, if you break in your boots gradually in the proper manner, you might never have to feel soreness or deal with blisters. It doesn’t have to hurt; that’s all I am trying to say!

In addition, extreme pain is not part of wearing any boots, new or old. That’s not normal, and you should seek professional help as early as possible.

Do Hiking Boots Need to Be Broken In?
A blister of feet

If you have broken in your boots, and your feet still hurt, you might want to check that out! Here are some of the causes of hurting feet in boots:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Wearing smaller or bigger-sized boots
  • Lack of enough toe space at the front
  • Lacing methods

As you can see, there are myriad reasons why feet hurt. You must be honest in finding the cause, as only you can stop the pain.

How Many Miles Should You Walk to Break in Hiking Boots?

We don’t commonly use distance; instead, we talk about time concerning the breaking in boots. Nonetheless, I will answer the question as is.

On average, 3 – 5 miles for ten days straight should do the trick. If you do the math, that’s about 30 to 50 miles to break in new boots fully.

When breaking in new boots, I suggest starting with shorter hikes and gradually increasing the mileage. You don’t want to overdo it and end up with blisters or sore feet.

A short hike
A short walk on the road

After a week or two of short treks, you will notice a difference in how my boots feel. They become more comfortable, and I can walk for extended periods without having any issues.

Once you hit the 50-mile mark, the boots are suitable for anything. You can take them out on long hikes, backpacking trips, and multi-day treks.

They’ve been through the wringer and are ready for anything you throw at them. So, if you want to break in new boots, start with shorter hikes and work your way up. In no time, you’ll be hiking in comfort for miles on end.

Can You Break in Hiking Boots in a Week?

It is possible to break in hiking boots in a week, but it will be much better if you do it over a few weeks! Though you will be stretching it, your feet won’t like it either.

If you must do it in a week, a few factors can help or impede the realization of your goal. Factors include the boot type and material quality, how often you wear them, etc.

Here are a few things you can do to break in your boots in a week:

  • Wear boots and walk around your house. You can have them on as soon as you’re out of bed in the morning or as late as you’re going to bed.
  • Use boot stretchers. As the name suggests, they are devices that stretch and widen boots. You can have a boot stretcher in your boots for 8 hours straight.
  • Use water to soften them up. Wet the boots and wear them until they dry up. Besides softening them up, this method will mold the boot material to your feet’s structure.

The above methods effectively break in boots in a week or less. Unfortunately, they come with some drawbacks.

A man hiking in the mountains.
My ideal hiking day looks something like this!

For the first method, the victim will be your feet. You can’t wear a new pair of boots all day and expect no pain in your feet. Prepare enough band-aids and treatments for blisters if you still decide to go this route.

The last two methods will cause no harm to you – only the boots. Boot stretchers damage boots, especially if used for an extended period. Water and leather are not a very good combination.

A cold chill runs down my spine whenever I think of wetting a pair of leather boots to break them in. It probably works for some people, but it’s not a risk I am willing to take!

Quick Summary

  1. You have to break in a new pair of hiking boots. You must do it to make them comfortable.
  2. New boots can hurt your feet during your hikes. It is normal. However, this should stop once you have sufficiently broken in your boots.
  3. It is best to break in boots gradually. Set a whole month towards this goal. That means buying boots earlier than you intend to use them.
  4. It can take about 30 to 50 hiking miles to break in boots sufficiently.
  5. You can break down boots in less than a week. You will have to sacrifice something to achieve this, but it is possible.

List of Top 5 Best-Selling Hiking Boots

While on the topic, here is a list of the best-selling hiking boots on Amazon:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Earth, 10 M US
  • Waterproof membrane seals out water and lets moisture escape
  • Pigskin leather and mesh upper
  • Metal hook traditional lace closure
  • Bellows tongue keeps out debris
  • Protective toe cap
SaleBestseller No. 2
Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped, Elk/Mountain Red, 8.5
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot features a seam-sealed construction, combined with our TECHLITE lightweight midsole, for long-lasting comfort with superior cushioning and high energy return.
  • DURABLE HIKING BOOT: This women's boot is inspired by classic mountaineering style. A durable mid cut waterproof hiker that provides great traction and comfort. This classic Columbia hiking boot, will deliver years of comfortable service.
  • ALL TERRAIN TRACTION: Our signature Omni-GRIP non-marking traction rubber outsole provides high grip across a wide variety of terrain, and versatile three season use.
  • HANDY FEATURES: Treacherous days out on the trail are comfortable and worry-free with this hiking boot's waterproof combination of supportive leather and suede construction.
  • REINFORCED TOE AND HEEL CONSTRUCTION: Designed for extended years of use, we’ve reinforced the toe and heel barriers, and extended the outsole toe overwrap to guard these key wear points.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Suede Waterproof Boot, Breathable with High-Traction Grip,elk/Mountain red,10.5
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: This Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Suede Waterproof hiking boot features our signature lightweight midsole for long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return as well as our high-traction grip outsole.
  • QUALITY MATERIALS: Waterproof suede and leather make up the construction of this boot for a protective yet stylish silhouette and build.
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: A lace-up closure ensures an adjustable, secure fit.
  • DURABILITY: Metal hardware and a seam-sealed construction makes this hiking boot durable enough to withstand rain, muck, puddles, and more.
  • OMNI-GRIP: This multi-terrain traction system matches specially formulated compounds and treads to specific environments. A dual-zone winter tread pattern ensures solid footing on surfaces such as ice and snow.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Medium Brown, 10
  • Our White Ledge Men's Hiking Boots have premium full-grain waterproof leather uppers, seam-sealed waterproof construction, and rustproof speed lace hardware with hooks at top for secure lacing.
  • LOOK NO FURTHER for trail-ready performance and style. Our selection of men’s hiking boots, waterproof hiking boots, casual boots, and casual shoes is designed to fit in with your outdoor-ready ensembles.
  • TIMBERLAND HAS YOU COVERED whether you're looking for men's boots, women's boots, or kids boots. For the best in hiking boots, rain boots, work boots, casual shoes & boots & more, choose Timberland.
  • WHAT YOU NEED IN THE OUTDOORS: Timberland has the gear you need for all your outdoor adventures, including jackets and coats for outdoor activities, backpacks and luggage & outdoor accessories.
  • Covered by the Timberland Limited Warranty. For complete terms, limitations, and instructions on how to make a warranty claim, please visit the Timberland website.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot, Walnut, 10 M US
  • Pigskin leather and mesh upper
  • Metal hook traditional lace closure
  • Bellows tongue keeps out debris
  • Protective toe cap
  • Breathable mesh lining

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