How to Break in Hiking Boots || REI


Want those new hiking boots to fit like a glove? Liv is here to walk you through the right way to break in your boots to keep you and your feet happy. And if you want more info on hiking boots, check out our Hiking Boot Basics series:

If you want to try some difference lacing techniques to dial in the fit on your boots, check out our video:

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30 comments

  • I bought some lowa Camino gtx I went for a walk along the flat today, notice some slight pain on the inside ball of my ankle(I have a slight in step) any suggestions? I made sure laces weren’t too loose, may also take time as new boots take a While to shape to foot

  • Long story short: just wear them.

  • so just "use them"…wow…stellar advice, never would ve thought of that in my wildest dreams /thumbsup

  • This is what I'm looking for in these types of videos: short, informative and to the point. Thank you!

  • Has anyone ever hiked the entire PCT/CDT in Danner Mtn Lights?

  • So absolutely do NOT let REI stretch a boot with a manufacturer warranty longer than REIs return period. It Voids most boot manufacturers warranties to do so. Example the 2 yr warranty that ASOLO has is voided by stretching in strict language on thier product info. Just return and get a different boot if lacing tech doesn't help.

  • win

    Remember to keep some blister plasters in your rucksack if you start to feel the rub until fully worn in, treat yourself to some nice merino/breathable socks and some impact insoles.

  • Mountaineering boot people… You got 2 choices… and I've done them both. My first pair of La Sportiva Nepal EVO's I committed to breaking in the hard way, doing it hiking, breaking in my foot and the boot together… and it took 30 total miles of sweaty foot hiking wearing the boots for them to break in… The first trip I could only stand wearing them 1 mile before having to switch to my running shoes… Every following trip to break them in things got better and better, my foot got tougher and the boot leather relaxed a little more. But I couldn't wear them comfortably indefinitely until after 30 miles of varrying degrees of agony. But once they were good, I could run 10 miles in them with a 50lb pack and feel awesome at the end.

    Fast forward to my 2nd pair of La Sportiva Nepal EVO's 8 years later… I put them on new out of the box and fit them exactly how I like them. The I wore them into a bathtub with moderately warm/hot water. I walked back and forth in the bathtub until I felt the leather relax ever so slightly, this took about 5 minutes. Then I walked out of the house with my soaked boots on and did about a mile in them. When I got home, I removed as much excess water as I could using gravity, pressure, and shammy towels. Then I put them on my boot dryer, after drying them all the way on the boot dryer I waterproofed them. After that little process I could wear them comfortably indefinitely.
    I know everyone is a little different but when it comes to mountaineering boots, you can either suffer or be smart about it. You cannot compare breaking in light, medium, or heavy hikers to friggen mountaineering boots, this woman has no idea what she is talking about.

  • Here's a list that helped me out.
    whinyl.com/bhbts-guide/
    In the end, I went with #4.

    "2:20"

  • You wear shoes in your house?

  • Exactly what I didn't do…
    Bought new stiff boots.
    Next day went to a 30 km hike on loose stones for two days.
    Blisters on my ankles.
    Lesson learned…

  • Bought a pair of breeze 2s today. I’m sure this will help. Thank you

  • Hi! What is the middle boot pictured here? Thanks!!

  • Bought new books today and by the time I'd got home I had eaten them. Back to square one now.

  • Im so particular on my shoes and the oboz waterproof feel amazing but my feet are so warm in them anything I can do to help with the sweaty feet? I really want to wear these

  • Great tips! I really love the idea of wearing the boots around the house first, to start breaking them in. It's definitely no fun to be out on the trail with uncomfortable shoes and no easy way out.

  • So rather common sense than any information at all then, thanks.

  • You should rename this viedo: "Common sense and no actual how-to instruction."

  • My experience is that shoes that do not fit in a 15 minute walk around the store should not be purchased. I have so rarely seen an exception that I no longer consider boots that do not fit right from the start. Peoples feet are so different that you just have to keep looking until you find ones that pass the 15 minutes test on both feet. (assuming you're wearing the same socks and insole you will use during hiking.) Shop for boots first and spend that 30 minutes in the store testing for hot spots. Since I have followed this rule I have not had one bad blister in over 25 years of extensive hiking. Don't settle because you like the look or features of a boot. No fit, no go. REI is the very best place to buy hiking boots because of the extensive selection, the helpful people and the walking surfaces they provide to test your boots. Be patient and make sure they fit!

  • Great advice, but the link to the lacing techniques doesn't work

  • I wear mine to work. It sure looks weird when your pizza guy shows up wearing mountaineering boots but hey, it works!

  • conditioner helps soften leather making it more pliable. kneel down on your toes and see where the boots break at the toe box, might need to manually manipulate the break for the right amount of comfort. watch out for heel reinforcements, sometimes they ride on the ankle bone. might be able to fix that with a heel or insole but that will elevate your foot in the boot there by changing the proper wear and fit of the boot.

  • Hello Liv- Some good advice here. I learned my very painful lesson, doing a winter ascent of Mt. Moosilauke in a new pair of North Face boots. They are VERY stiff when you get them. Recently, I met up with an AT thru-hiker who was doing the entire thing in sandals! He ended up getting some trail runners for the Whites, though, after a few miles of granite rock scrambles!

  • Yay! … finally, no more poop lady … she gone.
    Good video … thank you. 👍

  • I've broke in so many pairs of work boots, and hiking boots… Put large patch bandages on your heels, 2 pairs of socks on… Wear them for a few days… Done.

  • Great video !!

    Btw, what is the watch you are wearing ?

  • Can I get a link for the lighter hiking boots?

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