How Long Does it Take to Break in Hiking Boots?

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So, you bought a new pair of hiking boots and can’t wait to hit the trails. But hold on a minute – you can’t just put on a new pair of hiking boots and expect to go hiking without any pain or blisters.

You need to break in your boots, no matter how comfortable and lightweight they are. In most cases, it will take two to three weeks to properly break in a pair of hiking boots, and this time will vary depending on several factors, which we will talk about today. Let’s get started.

Breaking in Hiking Boots

Boot Type/Style

The type of hiking boots you choose will play a huge role in how long it will take to break them in. For instance, if you have lightweight hikers, shoes, etc., these will be much easier to break in and take a lot less time.

On the other hand, if you are a serious hiker and need heavy-duty leather boots, expect it to take a few weeks to break them in well enough to be worn on long hikes.


The materials your hiking boots are made from will also help determine how long it will take to break them in. While boots with leather uppers are still the most popular choice because they are not only heavy-duty but also mold to the shape of your feet, synthetics are becoming increasingly more popular all the time.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you won’t want leather boots, so you need to look for the best quality boots made from synthetic materials and no animal products.

There are good things and bad things about boots made from synthetic materials, with the worst being that, unlike leather, they will not mold to your feet.

Have a Good Insole

One of the best ways to break in a pair of hiking boots made from synthetic materials is to make sure that you have a good insole. This will make things go a lot faster, and your boots will be a lot more comfortable in the long run.

Adjustments may be Necessary

While you are breaking in your boots, whether made from synthetic materials or leather, you may find that you need to adjust them periodically. This could be as simple as tightening or loosening the laces or using a different insole.

How to Break in Your Hiking Boots

Unfortunately, there is no fast way to break in a pair of hiking boots. Therefore, you will need to wear them regularly before hitting the trails to make sure that they will be comfortable enough for any type of hiking you wish to do without ending up with blisters and sore feet and legs.

Wear Socks

Any time you put on the boots for the breaking-in period, make sure you wear the type of socks you will be wearing while hiking. The tongue and gusset should be flat and lined up, and the boots should be laced entirely up. Then, as you break them in, you will be better able to tell how tightly they need to be laced.

How Long Does it Take to Break in Hiking Boots

Do it Gradually

The best way to break in any pair of hiking boots is to do it slowly. Start out by wearing them around the house. Then, walk inside and in the yard to learn how they will feel on different surfaces. Once you have done this for a few days, you can move on to longer walks.

Now you can start going for short walks around your neighborhood. This will give you an idea of how the boots feel on concrete. Once you have been walking on concrete for a few days, it’s time to take the next step and try out some easy hiking trails.

Start out slowly, taking two- to three-mile hikes on easy terrain. Each day, add a few minutes to the length of time you hike and switch up the terrain a little bit to make it more difficult.

Once you have been walking in the boots for about a week, they will feel a little less stiff, and you will find that the boots are more and more comfortable every day. This is particularly true if they are made from leather.

Put Them to the Test

Once you figure your boots are pretty much broken-in, it’s time to really put them to the test and head out for a full-day hike. Make sure you are close to civilization just in case your feet and legs get sore and tired. The terrain will depend on whatever you prefer, mild, moderate, or harsh.

How to Take Care of Your Hiking Boots

Once your hiking boots have been broken in and you’re wearing them regularly, don’t forget that you still need to take care of them. After all, they cost a lot of money, and you put a lot of time and effort into breaking them in, so the last thing you want is for them to not last for as long as possible.

Clean Them Regularly

It is essential to clean your hiking boots after every use, inside and out. Wipe off any mud or other dirt, and give the insides a spray to keep them smelling fresh. Here are a few more tips for preserving your hiking boots.

Store in the House

Never leave your hiking boots in the trunk of your car (or anywhere else in the car). They should not be exposed to extreme temperatures when they are not being worn.

Store Them Upright

Your boots should be stored in an upright position to keep them from losing their shape. You may even want to ball up some socks or newspapers to put inside, so they hold their shape.


The length of time it will take to break in a new pair of hiking boots depends on different factors. Only you will know when they’re fully broken-in and ready to use on all types of hiking trails.

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