There’s nothing more satisfying than buying a new pair of work boots, and that is until you remember the pain and discomfort you have to go through breaking them in. While you can break in work boots the old-fashioned way, there’s no need to subject yourself to that kind of pain and discomfort.
There are many tried-and-tested methods, some quite fast, and some that can be done with basic items you have lying around the house. To save you scouring the internet for them yourself (and a lot of unnecessary foot-ache from doing it the old-fashioned way), we decided to put all the info you could ever need together in one handy article.
How to Break in Work Boots: 7 Ways
Break them in around the house
The most popular way to break in a pair of work boots is to wear them around the house for a few days. This allows them to adjust to the shape of your feet without you needing to spend all day on your feet.
The wet towel method
Another popular method is to leave a wet towel inside each boot for around an hour. This softens the leather and makes it easier for the boots to contour to the shape of your feet. Once you’ve soaked both boots, give them a slight dry and then wear them for around 30 minutes to break them in.
If you already have a pair of comfortable work boots, a great way to break in your new pair is to alternate between the two. This gives your new boots time to break in without you needing to spend extended periods wearing them. Try switching out once a day or alternating between pairs daily.
Wear extra thick socks
Wearing thick socks is a great way to break in new boots. You’ll give your feet extra cushioning as they break in while also ‘expanding’ the effective size of your feet in the boots. The extra pressure helps to break them in faster.
Use a boot stretcher
Use a boot stretcher like the HOUNDSBAY Boxer Boot Stretcher by setting it to the smallest setting and placing it inside the boot. Gradually expand the stretcher until it’s snug, then give it one or two more turns for a little extra pressure. Leave it overnight, and your boot should be ready in the morning. Be sure to use the correct type of boot stretcher for your boots, as using one for a different type of shoe can cause permanent damage. Here are some tips on how to break in cowboy boots instead.
Use boot-stretching spray
Boot stretching spray is designed to soften the fibres of leather boots and speeds up the breaking-in process. You just spray the product on the inside and outside the boots, then wear them in for a few hours. Consider also using a quality leather conditioner to protect your boots’ material once they’ve been stretched.
How to break in work boots fast
The fastest way to break in new boots is to combine a boot-stretching device with boot stretching spray. The boot stretcher exerts continuous pressure on the boot, and the spray softens the material to speed up the process. This process takes a couple of hours.
If you don’t have these items to hand and need to break in your boots right now, you can use the wet towel method (see above). It only takes a couple of hours, but you will need to wait for the boots to dry afterwards.
If your boots are made of synthetic leather, use the freezer method to break them in overnight. Simply fill a sealable plastic bag with water, place it in the shoe, and then place the shoe in your freezer overnight. The water will expand as it turns to ice and exerts pressure to stretch the boot.
However, this method doesn’t work well for real leather boots, as the freezing process can degrade the material. Instead, use a boot stretcher that can be placed inside the boot, expanded, and left overnight to achieve the same effect.
How long do work boots take to break in?
If you’re wearing them in with no specific pre-treatment, it can take a week or more to break in new boots (depending on how much you’re on your feet). If you use one of the techniques outlined above, you can break them in in just a few hours.
What is the benefit of breaking in work boots?
Not breaking in work boots before wearing them is a recipe for blisters, sores, and overall discomfort. By breaking in your work boots, you ensure that you have a comfortable and supportive experience wearing them from the very beginning.
How to break in Red Wing boots
Red Wing boots are known for their particularly gruelling break-in period. That being said, you can break in a pair of Red Wings in the same way as any other boots. For the best results, we recommend wearing them around the house for a couple of weeks as much as possible before you start using them. If they begin to hurt, take them off, give your feet a rest, then come back to them when they’ve recovered. Rinse and repeat.