Blog 25.04.2023

How to get your boots expedition ready


At Hi-Tec, we’re passionate about creating quality footwear that enables everyone to enjoy sports and the world outside. Founded in 1974, we’ve been constantly committed to bringing innovative, lightweight, and instantly comfortable shoes to millions of consumers. Offering unparalleled technology, city to trail versatility and made-to-last quality, HI-TEC delivers comfort anywhere.

As proud recommended kit partners of the DofE, we offer a wide range of tested and approved waterproof walking boots which have aided Leaders and participants for 10+ years.

With over 49 years in the footwear field, we’d like to think of ourselves as footwear connoisseurs and have come up with answers to some of the most burning questions participants have about their walking boots before going out on their expedition!

With all that said, read on to find out our useful tips to ensure their expedition is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible!

How to break in new walking boots

Breaking in new walking boots is essential for hikers to achieve ultimate comfort, confidence and support on a long hike. But how do you break in new walking boots? And why is it necessary?

  • Like any footwear, walking boots often need to be broken in before wearing them on a long hike. When you first purchase your walking boots, particularly leather walking boots, they may feel a little stiff. This is perfectly normal, so please don’t worry, they will soon feel like an additional part of your feet once you have worn them a few times and you will build confidence in your new boots.
  • Your new walking boots should also feel a little snug at first. Again, this is good because they’ll loosen up a little over time. But remember – ‘snug’ is good, ‘tight’ is not, and there should be absolutely no pinching or rubbing either.
  • If you haven’t yet purchased your walking boots, we’d strongly suggest you go and get a proper boot fitting to ensure you get the fit right first time. The DofE recommended retailers all offer boot fitting, so find your nearest store here.



Breaking in new walking boots around the house

  • It’s important to break in your new walking boots around the house on clean, carpeted surfaces before taking them outside. If after the first couple of wears you find that the fit isn’t right, the boots will still be in a ‘like new’ condition so you can return them to the retailer you purchased them from for a replacement.
  • After a few wear trials of walking around the house and up and down stairs, you will find that they begin to form to your foot and become more comfortable. The wearing-in stage also gives you the opportunity to try out different lacing techniques to find the most comfortable fit for your foot shape.
  • Make sure that when breaking in new walking boots, you always wear the same socks that you would wear on a hike, such as merino walking socks. This will ensure that the boots will form to the correct foot shape and that your lacing technique is suitable for when you’re ready to tackle a longer hike. If you’re planning on changing the insoles or adding arch support, you should also do this before breaking in the boots.
  • Throughout the ‘in-house’ breaking in period, pay attention to any discomfort and whether it improves. If your boots still feel overly tight or continue to rub/pinch after a few wears and you’ve tried different lacing techniques, then you may need to return them for a larger size.

Wearing new walking boots outside for the first time

  • If wearing your new walking boots around the house hasn’t caused any problems and you’re finding your boots comfortable, it’s time to venture outside. This is another important part of the breaking in phase and should be done gradually. Again, always be sure to wear the socks/insoles/arch support that you’d wear on a hike.
  • Start with a very short walk, then slowly build up the distance and difficulty each time you go out. Don’t try to go too far too soon or you may end up miles from home with painful blisters and no option but to hobble back!
  • As you increase the distance of your walks, try increasing the incline too. This will help to flex the soles and reduce the stiffness giving you wider movement. If you don’t live near any hills, try doing a few squats!
  • If the short walks have not highlighted any problems, try walking for a mile or two ‘off road’ on some public walking trails with rougher terrain. At this stage, you should also wear your rucksack if you’d take one on longer hikes, to ensure that you’re used to the added weight.
  • Once you’ve built yourself up to walking a good few miles and are confident that your new walking boots are comfortable and fit well – consider them broken in!



How long does it take to break in new walking boots?

  • Breaking in new walking boots can take longer for some than others and depends on multiple factors such as the type of boots and how frequently they’re being worn.
  • Leather boots will take longer to soften than fabric boots simply due to the nature of the material. Walking boots being worn around the house for approximately 1-2 hours a day will be broken in far sooner than those only being worn for 15 minutes a few times a week.
  • Trust your judgement on when you feel like you’re ready to start wearing your boots outside and just ensure that you build up gradually to your first long hike. But generally, we’d say that a week of in-house wear should do it.
  • With this in mind though, it’s actually important to purchase your new walking boots at least a week before planning any proper long hikes. This will ensure the extra time should you find that you’re original choice of boots are not suitable and you need to replace them and break in the new pair of walking boots.
  • Hi-Tec often hear from customers who tell us that their new walking boots didn’t need breaking in and were immediately comfortable. This is fantastic to hear, but all boots (and feet!) are different, so we’d still suggest following the steps above, just to be on the safe side.

We hope this information proves useful when purchasing a new pair for walking boots and enables you to have fun outdoors, whilst not having to worry about pesky blisters or sore feet!

Roll on the expedition we say!

Shop DofE recommended Hi-Tec walking boots

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.

Not sure where your card is? Login to eDofE or the DofE app to download your Digital DofE Card.