How to Break in Work boots (Leather and Synthetic)
You couldn’t be more excited to put your brand new boots on and experience that new comfortable feeling while coworkers and friends stared on in envy.
The only problem is, once you got your feet in, your excitement quickly turned as you felt the stiff, unforgiving leather creating immediate discomfort.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to break in boots so you can get to wearing and enjoying them.
Regardless of what anyone says, all new boots need to be broken in no matter how flexible or supple the leather.
Some people also have wider feet which means your boots can feel very narrow and constricting.
As leather goes through the manufacturing process, it’s cut, stretched, and treated with chemicals that can leave a rough first impression on the buyer's end.
The process of “breaking boots in” is a means for simply softening the leather so it’s more pliable and responsive to your natural motion which will ultimately create that comfort you were after when you bought them.
How to Break in Leather Boots
(The Natural Way)
As nice as it is to speed up the natural process to save some time and anticipation, you run the risk of causing damage to the leather if you’re not careful. The natural method is considered the best way to break in boots because there is no chance of damage occurring, though it can take upwards of two weeks.
Supplies Needed: None
Step 1 - Clean the boots thoroughly
Even if they’re fresh out of the box and have never touched the pavement, you’ll want to gently wipe them down a moist rag to remove manufacturing chemicals and other residues that can prolong the break in process. (How to clean leather boots guide here)
Step 2 - Wear them around first thing in the morning and in the evening before bed
This will help the leather conform to your foot’s natural shape and size to create a more true and comfortable fit. Wear thick, cushioned socks during the break in period to prevent blisters from forming and to minimize discomfort.
Step 3 - Crush, bend and twist the leather while not wearing the boots
Pay special attention to the seams and tough areas like the heels and toes. This helps to mimic what the leather undergoes as you wear them, resulting in more softness and a faster break in.
Step 4 - Enjoy your boots
In two weeks time, your boots should have a nice broken in feel to them so you can enjoy all of the comfortable benefits.
For more information on taking care of your boots including waterproofing, breaking in and avoiding irritation in work boots check out all our guides.
This boot expert shows you a great, simple and cost effective way to break in your boots with just water.
How to Break in Boots Fast! (Using Mink Oil)
Mink oil has long been used to waterproof (best waterproof boots here), condition, restore, and prolong the life of leather. It can save you some time if you need your boots ready to wear in a few days, but you’re going to have to put some elbow grease into it. Let’s get into how to break in leather boots using the Mink oil method.
- Mink oil
- Blow dryer
- Clean rags
Step 1 - Clean the boots thoroughly
As we covered above, manufacturing chemicals and residue can increase the break in time of the boots. Give them a quick wipe down before applying any oil.
Step 2 - Test the Mink oil
Mink oil has a propensity to turn lighter colored leathers darker. Test a small dab of the oil on a lesser seen area to make sure you’ll be happy with the outcome.
Step 3 - Heat the Mink oil and apply to the leather with a clean rag
Using a blow dryer, thoroughly heat the oil until it is in a near liquid state. Dab a clean rag into the heated oil and begin to lather it into the leather using circular motions. Be sure to cover the entire boot while paying special attention to the seams.
Step 4 - Heat the oiled boots
Once again, using the blow dryer, gently heat the oiled boots. This will help to open up the leather’s pores and ensure maximum absorption. As more oil is soaked up, the softer the leather will become.
Step 5 - Twist, bend, and crush the oiled boots and then let dry for 24 hours
Using a pair of clean gloves, proceed to crush and bend the leather at its toughest points to make sure that the Mink oil effectively penetrates. Afterward, allow at least 24 hours for the leather to absorb and condition.
Step 6 - Lather the remaining Mink oil into the leather again
Repeat step 3 and apply as much oil as possible to the boots. This double coating of oil will help to ensure that the break in duration is shortest.
Step 7 - Buff the boots with a clean rag until no oil remains
Take a clean rag and thoroughly buff the boots until it’s free of excess oil and has a slick shiny coat. Slip them on to see if the leather has been broken in enough. If not, revert to the natural method above.
Which method do we recommend?
Congratulations, you’re now well equipped with the knowledge of how to break in boots. As we touched on briefly, we always recommend using the natural method if possible to ensure that there’s no chance of damaging your investment.
While Mink oil is fairly easy to apply so long as you follow the above guide, if it’s your first time and you’ve got some expensive boots, you can risk over oiling the leather and cause it to become too soft, thus compromising some of its naturally rugged support.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and don’t forget to follow every step no matter which method you’ve decided on using. Enjoy your newly broken in footwear!