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How To Break In Winter Boots

For many people, getting a pair of new winter boots is the most exciting wardrobe addition once the cold season rolls in. However, that joy can sometimes be overshadowed by a long row of blisters just waiting to sink their teeth into your poor, unsuspecting feet. Therefore, learning how to break in new winter boots is essential.

Steps to Break in Boots

There are many ways to soften the hard leather patches on your footwear. However, some work better than others, which is why we’ve made a failsafe selection in this article. Here are four tips that will help with successfully breaking in your new cold weather boots.

1.    Take It Slow

According to GQ Magazine, the first essential thing to keep in mind when breaking in new boots is to take it slow at first. Although you will most certainly be tempted to wear them all the time, you need to give your feet a couple of days in between to eliminate the risk of aggravated blisters.

Alternate between them and more comfortable footwear to achieve the best results. And make sure to strategically place medicinal patches on those certain spots on your foot which are more prone to blistering.

If you can’t even make it through one whole day, keep another pair at your desk. This way you can wear your new winter boots on your way to and from work, but you will have a comfier option for your daily tasks. They might be an amazing addition to your outfits, but they’re certainly not worth compromising your job productivity.

2.    Wear Thick Socks with Your New Cold Weather Boots

Everyone knows that thick socks are your best friend when it comes to breaking in those new bulky winter boots. However, this shouldn’t be understood as something to be attempted while out and about. Wear your boots around the house with your sock armor of choice until they start feeling tight. By repeating this process daily, the hardened areas will eventually give in.

Trying to do this when you take your footwear for a spin on the town is not recommended because it can aggravate any potential discomfort they will cause. Doing it at home where you can take them off at your liberty is the ideal choice.

3.    Use a Hairdryer

Another thing you can do at home while simultaneously applying the sock technique is to use a hairdryer on the problem areas of the boot. The heat that this device emanates will help loosen the leather on your boots, which in turn will provide your feet with a bit more leeway. To achieve the best results, do this for a bit and then walk around the house.

You need to be careful, however, regarding the duration of this process. Exposing the leather to too much heat at once will damage it beyond repair. Therefore, don’t exceed a few minutes per session and always give it some time to cool off. The idea here is to soften the construction, not destroy it completely.

4.    Oil Them Up

When all else fails, you can try slathering a generous amount of mink oil or any other similar leather conditioner on your boots. However, be careful to do it just in those certain places where they pinch or snag away at your feet. Leave them to penetrate overnight, then clean any residue. By softening the leather in those areas, the entire shoe will now be a lot more comfortable to wear.

If your cold season footwear of choice happens to be rubber instead of leather, the perfect solution for them is a mixture of rubbing alcohol and wintergreen oil. Make sure the former is in a larger quantity, preferably three parts to one. Depending on the size of the area that needs softening, these numbers will vary.


No matter what your boot of choice for the cold season is, there is a high chance that it will need some breaking in. Most autumn and winter footwear are made in such a way as to be sturdy enough to ensure durability, but this also means that the first couple of wears can be extremely difficult.

Remember that you'll want to test your boots indoors to be sure the fit is correct before you wear them outside.  Once boots are worn outside, they cannot be returned so it's important to take some test runs on the couch watching the news or just walking around the house doing laundry.   There's a difference between a boot that needs to break in and one that is just too small or too large.

To successfully soften them up, first and foremost you need to take it easy. Don’t wear your winter boots daily and try to keep a spare pair by your desk or general place of work to change if it gets too uncomfortable. When at home walk around the house with thick socks and your new boots on, and briefly warm up the troublesome spots with a hair dryer to encourage them to give in faster.

As a last resort only, attentively leave your winter boats to penetrate in oil or a special mixture overnight. What you use depends on the material they are made of (most winter boots are constructed from either leather or rubber). By using these methods, those gorgeous new winter boots will be ready to wear in no time!

Special thanks to guest blogger Vincent West of Workboot Critic!


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