How Do I Break-In Military Boots?

Just like with any other type of footwear, breaking in new boots is very important. The discomfort that can plague your feet from a new set of footwear can be both unbearable and excruciating, not to mention unnecessary. There are many rumored methods circling around on how to break in boots but some of them may actually shorten the life the boot or make them more uncomfortable.

Why Should You Break In Your Boots?

Today's military boots do not require much break-in compared to traditional leather and rubber boots of the past. Today's boots are made of modern materials such as foam-rubber polyurethane and nylon fabric that don't require much to make them feel comfortable. Though military boots may not be the most comfortable form of footwear, breaking them in properly can make them as comfortable as wearing your favorite athletic shoes. Breaking in boots is a vital part of reducing blisters and hot spots caused from the friction and rubbing of the material against your feet and toes. Hot spots are the sore, red, burning spots that appear on feet after repeated rubbing on an area of skin for a period of time. These painful areas causing a feeling that initially feels like a small fire being started on an area of your foot. Blisters, or an irritated build-up of fluid under the top layer of skin, can be equally as painful and uncomfortable. Either one of these burdensome injuries can make walking and movement much more difficult and painful than it should be. That is one of the reasons it is very important boots should be broken in quickly.

Another second reason boots should be broken in is to reduce the strain and discomfort of the ankles and feet caused by walking. Whoever wrote the song stating “these boots are made for walking” was way off from the truth. In all honesty, they can be one of the most uncomfortable types of footwear for walking. Made to endure tougher environments than most other footwear, military boots can cause more strain and discomfort, thus detrimentally affecting your duty performance if not broken in correctly.

Breaking Them In: 2 Easy Steps

Here are 2 easy steps to break in a pair of boots safely and quickly.

1. Flex the leather – As it is the same with any type of footwear, a new pair of boots are rather stiff, allowing limited movement of the feet and toes. By bending the boot mainly around the toe area, the material will begin to form creases and loosen up, allowing for better movement and comfort. This process can safely be repeated until the desired looseness is achieved.

2. Walk in them – The best way to break in a pair of boots is by walking in them. Lace them up and walk with them on for 20 minutes. Then try 30 minutes the next day and so on and so forth. By the end of the week you should be able to wear them for a couple of hours with no problems. Don't forget to wear the correct socks. Wool boot socks will provide adequate padding and reduce pressure, friction, hot spots, and blisters. Why does this method seem somewhat conservative versus just lacing them up and wearing them for half a day? It's because if you're preparing for an upcoming mission or deployment, a blister could completely ruin your comfort and performance for up to a week. Keep in mind that a blister will take 4-6 days to heal and this means not aggravating it by wearing shoes or boots.

We don't recommend soaking them in water and wearing them contrary to rumor. This method may have worked for traditional boots in the past but today's boots are made from modern materials which don't require this. In addition, you risk introducing mold and odor with boots that aren’t allowed to dry adequately.


Other Resources:
Blisters -
Hot Spots -