I bought new steel toed boots recently (I wear them at work, and I prefer them in the winter anyway as I believe that they’re slightly more durable). At work I was talking with a friend about how this brand is the absolute worst to break in of all the boots that we’ve tried (and we’re talking over 20 years of boot breakings-in between the two of us). Apparently they took her a month! Mine took me three days, which is the longest and most difficult that I’ve ever experienced. It seems that I’ve got my methodology down to a fine art, having been working on it since high school’s exclusive Doc Marten days. So, if you’re trying to break in your boots, here’s my (almost!) painless method of doing it.
First we need to know what it is that makes breaking in boots so incredibly painful. For me it’s the fact that my heel rubs and gets blisters, despite my callouses. And what forces my heels to rub? The fact that I can’t bend my foot at the ball. So this is what I do to remedy this situation as fast as possible:
- Put on comfy socks. I like thick ones.
- Optional step! Take a pain reliever of your choice. Wait about 20 minutes for it to kick in.
- Put on your new boots. If they have laces be sure to tie them as tightly as humanly possible, and then some. It’s a bit like putting on your ice skates for the first time that year.
- Get up and walk around! The way that you go about this is specific.
- Go for a walk. Try to bend your knees and lean forward as you walk. It’s like walking in downhill skiing boots. Or, that’s the goal anyway.
- Try to encourage the ball of your foot to bend as much as possible. I find it helps to have my knees slightly bent and my weight forward.
- Once you’ve done that for a while (and hopefully softened up where that crease will be) go and find a flight of stairs.
- Try going up and down the stairs on your toes. Do this until the pain makes it too difficult.
- Go for a walk. Again, try to walk as naturally as possible despite the pain, and with emphasizing the bend at the ball of your foot.
Eventually, as you repeat the stairs and the walks, your foot will start to be able to bend naturally again. As that happens your boots will become more comfortable! You may want to not wear them for a few days so that your feet can heal before going for new boots: day two! That said, you will quickly reap the benefits of the dedicated time. Rather than being crippled by your boots for a month, it’s a matter of hours to days. That’s pretty sweet, eh!?