How to break in your walking boots
When we buy a new pair of shoes, we expect instant comfort. However, with walking boots it’s important to break them in before we take to the hills. When government guidance allows expeditions to go ahead, you’ll want to make sure your walking boots are comfortable, broken in, and have had the time to form to your individual foot shape.
For someone not used to wearing a mid-cut boot, the boots may seem stiff and restrictive around the delicate ankle area.
Here are a few handy tips from Hi-Tec, the DofE recommended manufacturer of walking boots, on how to break in your walking boots.
Things to consider before you buy
When shopping for a new pair of walking boots you need to consider the fit of the boot. Ensure there is enough room for a comfy pair of midweight socks and the lacing system secures your feet well. Some people choose to go a size up in their walking boots as your feet can swell during a long walk.
It’s a good idea to try boots on at the end of the day, so you can see how they feel when you’ve been on your feet and moving around.
If you buy your hiking boots online, look for a good returns policy or comfort guarantee. This helps ensure you find a pair of boots that fit with peace of mind that you can return poorly fitting boots or exchange them if you need to change sizes.
The DofE Recommended Retailers of Expedition Kit offer free boot fitting – find your nearest store for when they are open.
Once you’ve got your boots, follow these two steps to break them in and get maximum comfort for your expedition.
STEP 1: Wear your boots around the house
The vital part of the breaking in process begins now, so get moving!
Start by simply walking around indoors in your new boots, whether that be while making dinner or cleaning the house.
Walking up and down stairs is a great idea to ensure you and your boots can tackle hill walking. At the beginning, make sure the boots are not worn outside, just in case you need to return or exchange them.
During the ‘house stage’ it is important you wear high quality walking socks, such as Bridgedale’s DofE recommended HIKE walking socks. Good walking socks will help minimise blisters, as they have padding and moisture protection fabric.
Try lacing your boots in different ways – this has a surprising effect the way your boots fit your feet.
Your boots may feel stiff initially, but this is perfectly normal and all part of the fitting process. However, if you experience discomfort such as persistent pinching or rubbing, it may be worth returning the boots and trying an alternative style.
The upper material can affect the fit hugely; if you have very sensitive feet, then a suede or fabric upper such as the Hi-Tec Aysgarth WP boot will be a little gentler. However, a soft supple full grain leather boot, like the Hi-Tec Eurotrek Lite WP boot, can be just as gentle but hard wearing.
STEP 2: Take your boots for a walk
After the initial house phase proves successful, it’s time to get outside for short walks to try your boots on different terrains and elevations. Remember to always wear the socks you will wear when walking the trails.
Once you are feeling comfortable in your boots during these shorter walks, it is time to increase the distance and terrain. After a couple of walks at a greater distance, your boots should be truly comfortable and completely broken in and ready for all your outdoors adventures. Make sure to keep your walking boots lined and laced up properly.
Now you are ready to go the distance – Enjoy!
Hi-Tec are a market leader in walking boots and manufacturer of DofE Recommended walking boots on the DofE Kit List. All DofE Recommended walking boots from Hi-Tec are waterproof and have a Dri-Tec waterproof, breathable membrane that keeps your feet dry.
Don’t forget you can save at least 10%, and often more, with your DofE Card at our recommended retailers, GO Outdoors, Blacks, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors and Tiso online now and in store when they re-open.