When you buy new hiking boots, they’re usually directly off the assembly line or, if you’ve got a very nice pair, straight from the cobbler’s hands. That is to say, they haven’t been worn that much.
Each person’s feet, like all other body parts, are unique. You’ll need to wear and utilise these new boots for a while to have them shaped and acclimated to your feet. That is essentially what it means to ‘break your hiking boots in.’ You’re customising them to fit your specific foot shape.
Because of the reasons outlined below, most hiking boots, especially high-quality leather ones, will not fit your feet exactly from the start. So, if you put them on and go on a 20-mile trek right away, you’re going to be frustrated and angry on your feet.
Hot areas, blisters, minor wounds, and other similar symptoms are common. To avoid this, gradually increase your use of the boots, enabling your feet to adjust to them over time. That is why it is critical to break in hiking boots. You won’t get very far with a blister caused by your new hiking boots.
What should you do? Tips For Stretching Hiking Boots
There are various things you can do to make the process of breaking in hiking boots go as smoothly as possible.
To begin, it’s worth mentioning that certain hiking boots take longer to break in than others. Leather hiking boots, for example, will almost always take longer to break in than Gore-tex hiking boots.
Wear them at home
When you acquire a new pair of hiking boots, you usually have at least 30 days to return them to the retailer if you don’t wear them outside.
Assuming you’ve invested effort in finding a nice pair of boots and having a suitable fit, you’re nearing the end of establishing your boots’ long-term appropriateness.
So, the next best thing is to wear the boots as often as possible inside your house. So, when you arrive home from work late at night after purchasing your new hiking boots, put them on.
This isn’t an issue if you don’t regularly wear shoes inside your house because these boots have never been worn outside and will be brand new! Make sure you wear your hiking socks with the boots so they fit precisely how you want them to while you’re out on the trail.
Put them through their paces
Push them a little bit, for example, go up and down your stairs a few times to acquire a feel for the uphill and downhill. Of course, this will never be able to replace the trail or the mountains, but it is the best you can do before committing to them.
Some may find all this talk of dedication and effort ridiculous, but if you’re paying $200 to $400 on a pair of hiking boots, you want to make sure you get the appropriate ones.
Wear boots on short walks
Shorter walks, such as 2 to 4 miles at initially, will help to stretch them. An excellent example of where to take your dog for a first test run is to take them for a brief stroll in the neighbourhood park at night.
When you first start, though, go by ear. If your feet start to feel weary or uncomfortable after one mile, it’s a good idea to turn around and walk home, making it a two-mile round trip.
Then all you have to do is gradually increase the distances. Increase the distance to 4 miles, then 6 miles, and so forth. You’re walking on typical streets and level enough terrain at this point to avoid overworking yourself.
How to stretch hiking boots
You could discover that the above works just well, especially if you give your new hiking boots plenty of time to stretch out. However, you may need to use alternate ways on occasion, or you may wish to try to speed up the stretching process.
If you need to break in your hiking boots fast, these hiking boot stretching options may help you get your new boots trail-ready and comfy while reducing the risk of blisters.
When you have new, stiff boots, you may find it simpler to stretch them by hand to loosen them up. Bend your boots in your hands to promote the creases that should form where your toes meet the ball of your foot when you wear them.
This will promote flexibility and allow your feet to move more freely by allowing the soles to bend slightly.
Heat is fantastic for extending boots, but use it sparingly to avoid damaging or weakening your new hiking boots. To stretch your boots, you can use a hairdryer on a low setting.
Put on your hiking boots and socks, then gently blow them dry with a hairdryer while flexing your feet. Start on low and gradually raise the heat or blow closer to the boot if you don’t see any progress.
You may also soak your hiking boots for an hour or two in a warm, but not too hot, location before wearing them about the home. This will also help with flexibility and stretch.
If you utilise heat, be extremely cautious, since it may easily go wrong and cause harm! However, there is another approach that may be beneficial.
Some folks swear by applying a little rubbing alcohol on their new hiking boots’ tight places. After softly dampening in tight areas, go around and flex your feet for further flexibility where needed.
While using rubbing alcohol to stretch boots can assist, you’ll need to see how this affects their waterproofing and maybe re-treat them before wearing them out to ensure that they are entirely waterproof.
I hope you found this blog post useful in teaching you how to stretch your hiking boots.
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.