How To Soften Leather Hiking Boots

how to soften leather hiking boots

How to soften leather hiking boots? These days, everyone has boots, whether they are for work or style. If you are reading this, there is a good possibility that you wear them for business and have struggled with the difficulty of breaking them in. I have established a technique for breaking in new leather boots, and I wear them for both work and pleasure. I wanted to pass on my information so you could hit the trail sooner and be that much more comfortable with your next pair of kicks.

Finding the proper hiking boots is critical for any trek. A pair of excellent hiking boots should allow you to tackle any path or journey, but not right away. Hiking boots that have not been broken in properly are worse than useless. Boots are molded upon a ‘last,’ which is a standard foot form around which they are formed and stitched. However, if you look at your foot, you’ll notice creases and calluses, folds and arches: each foot is unique owing to the body’s structure and style of walking.

A brand-new boot has a hard sole, no insole, and a stiff top (the fabric of the boot). It will not bend and move with your foot because it is not flexible. There will be friction points and loose areas as a result of this, causing pain and blisters. Going straight for the hills in new boots would only cause you problems. They must be broken in.

How To Soften Leather Hiking Boots

person in gray nike running shoes
how to soften leather hiking boots

Shop Carefully

Start with boots that are comfortable for you. Various lasts are used by various brands and styles, so find the one that fits you best and make sure it is fitted correctly. We have a variety of buying recommendations available: see our list of the finest hiking boots for men or the best women’s hiking boots if you need help. Alternatively, if you prefer something lighter, check out our guides to the best walking shoes overall and the finest women’s walking shoes.

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Synthetic boots, on the other hand, will feel more at ease straight out of the package. Leather boots, on the other hand, might be tough to get used to at first due to their design and material. They will mold to your foot and retain that form more than synthetic boots.


In order to preserve and extend the life of your new boots, apply a leather conditioner. You have no idea how long they have been treated (it could be months). A conditioner will soften the leather and allow it to bend more easily.

All you have to do is apply it using your bare hands in a uniform manner over the entire shoe surface. Gently massage and work it in. Brush away any excess conditioner with a shoe brush once you have covered the whole shoe.

If applied to leather, choose a conditioner with lanolin and use the directions as directed. This is the most successful leather softener for shoes that I have found.

Wear Them

Wearing your shoes or boots around the house might help you break them in. Wear socks that are as thick as those you would wear outside. Try wearing them for a few hours at a time several times throughout the day.

As a rule of thumb, avoid wearing your combat boots two days in a row to ensure that they dry out fully from any foot perspiration. Shoetrees are also an excellent option; your shoes will stay in good form. Cider shoetrees are the greatest since they may absorb moisture from your shoes.

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Put on your boots and walk around the house, trying to duplicate the bends and strides you would make if you were walking outdoors. Just take it easy and gentle with them, ensuring that you do not perform any abnormal contortions with your feet. Leather is flexible, but it takes time to stretch.

Wearing Your Shoes Outdoors

When you have decided to wear your shoes for real, be sure they are taken out in decent weather. When breaking in your shoes (dress, casual, or hiking boots), there is no point in subjecting them to terrible conditions. Because bad circumstances such as rain, puddles, mud, slush, or snow will eventually happen when you put them on, try to avoid them while getting used to wearing them.

Take a stroll around the block in your hiking boots, gradually increasing the length of time you walk. If you have daily tasks to complete, wear them as you become accustomed to them. The shoe will eventually adapt to your foot form and walking style after some use.

Other Factors That Affect Comfort

three person showing sneaners
how to soften leather hiking boots

Keep in mind that even when your shoe is well past the breaking-in period, many factors can influence how it fits.

Leather Quality

The type of leather on your shoe will have a significant influence on how comfy it is, as well as its appearance and durability. Calfskin, pigskin, cowhide, chromexcel, and shell cordovan are just a few examples of the many varieties. There are various levels of quality: genuine leather, top-grain, bonded leather, and corrected grain.

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Sole Material

Hiking boots may be made of a variety of materials. Rubber, crepe, leather, and synthetic fabrics are all used to make hiking boots. The presence or absence of a shank will have an impact on how your shoe feels on your foot as well.

Other Factors

The design of the boot, as well as other aspects such as the sole, is also essential. The vamp (the front and center portion covering the front part of the foot) should not be too tight. The support of the arch in the sole should also match your actual foot’s arch.

After going through all of this information, if your shoe size is correct, you should not have any problems breaking them in. Also, keep in mind that each manufacturer has its own sizing guidelines. As a result, I never buy a brand I am not familiar with on the internet.

I would rather go to a physical shop and try on the shoe to ensure my size with a new brand than order online. You’ve undoubtedly heard terms like “runs small,” “runs large,” or “run true to size.” These are references to the differences in sizing among brands. Having stated that, I confidently purchase fashion items from well-known manufacturers that I have previously owned and know for fit consistency.

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